Tag Archives: Health and Environment

Study Shows CFL Lightbulbs Can Harm Human Skin Cells


Read this story from examiner.com on a new study from tony Brook University that shows compact fluorescent light bulbs can harm human skin cells. (July 19, 2012)

Environmentalists have pushed to abolish traditional incandescent light bulbs, in order to reduce the amount of electricity needed to light up our homes.

However, a small but vocal minority has insisted that the curlicue-shaped compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) pose a threat to human health.

Now, a group of scientists at Stony Brook University has proven that CFLs do emit ultraviolet (UV) light rays that can harm human skin cells.

Cracks in CFL coating

In the first part of their study, the researchers purchased CFLs from different stores in two different counties. Then they measured the invisible UV rays given off by the bulbs when lit.

The rays appeared to escape through tiny cracks in the white phosphor coating on the inside of each CFL bulb’s glass. The phosphor particles actually glow with visible light as a result of an electrochemical reaction inside the bulb.

The scientists noted that these cracks in the phosphor were present in all the CFLs they studied. They found significant levels of UV were emitted from the bulbs.

Skin cell specialists

The research team included scientists from Stony Brook’s Advanced Energy Research and Technology Center (AERTC) and the New York State Stem Cell Science (NYSTEM).

The team exposed human skin tissue cells to the CFLs they had collected, as well as to traditional incandescent bulbs with the same brightness (intensity).

The scientists also added titanium dioxide (TiO2) nanoparticles to some of the skin cells, because this chemical is commonly used in sunblock lotions to absorb UV rays.

Damage from UV radiation

“Our study revealed that the response of healthy skin cells to UV emitted from CFL bulbs is consistent with damage from ultraviolet radiation,” said Miriam Rafailovich, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and the lead scientist for the study.

“Skin cell damage was further enhanced when low dosages of TiO2 nanoparticles were introduced to the skin cells prior to exposure,” she said.

The researchers found that incandescent light of the same intensity had no effect on healthy skin cells, with or without the presence of TiO2. Incandescent lamps do not emit significant quantities of UV radiation.

Based on a European study

The Stony Brook scientists decided to research the possible effects of UV radiation from CFLs partly because of a 2008 European Commission study, conducted by the Scientific Committee on Emerging and Newly Identified Health Risks (SCENIHR).

The European report had found that some CFLs emit UV radiation, which under prolonged exposures at short distances (less than 8 inches) may approach the workplace limit set to protect workers from skin and retinal damage.

However, at the time of the SCENIHR report, peer-reviewed test data comparing incandescent light bulbs to CFLs was not available to provide a clear answer to the questions of whether CFLs emit UV radiation that may be harmful to particularly sensitive patients, and whether they may be harmful to the general public when in close proximity to the skin.

Four years later, the Stony Brook team published its data in the peer-reviewed journal, Photochemistry and Photobiology.

Read more: http://www.examiner.com/article/scientific-study-proves-energy-efficient-bulbs-can-harm-human-skin-cells


US Geological Survey Confirms Fracking Contaminated Groundwater


Read this story from Reuters on a new study from the US Geological Survey confirming earlier tests results that showed natural gas fracking operations contaminated groundwater in Wyoming. (Sept. 28, 2012)

SALMON, Idaho, Sept 28 (Reuters) – Government testing of a drinking water aquifer near a tiny Wyoming town has shown concentrations of gases like ethane and propane and diesel compounds, but a natural gas company said it did not cause the contamination.

A report by the U.S. Geological Survey showed petroleum-based pollutants in samples from a monitoring well in the aquifer adjacent to Pavillion, Wyoming, which is at the center of a national debate over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

A draft study released in December by the Environmental Protection Agency linked fluids used in fracking, a drilling method that has unlocked vast shale gas deposits across the nation, to pollution in the underground formation that supplies drinking water to residents near Encana Corp’s gas production wells east of Pavillion.

The findings contradicted claims by gas drillers that fluids from fracking, which injects water, sand and chemicals underground to boost extraction of fuel, have never contaminated drinking water.

Criticism by the oil and gas industry and Wyoming officials of the methods the EPA employed to collect water quality data and regulators’ interpretation of the findings prompted recent retesting under a monitoring plan designed by the state, the USGS and the EPA.

Compared to the 2011 EPA study, the USGS results from testing of one of two monitoring wells in the aquifer indicated higher levels of gases like methane, lower levels of diesel-range organics and the absence of such solvents as toluene, an Encana analysis showed.

The EPA is expected in coming days to release its testing of water from two groundwater monitoring wells, several domestic wells and a public well. The data sets are to be submitted for peer review.

The EPA said the groundwater monitoring data in its 2011 report and USGS findings were “generally consistent.”

But Encana spokesman Doug Hock said the findings are not equal and singled out USGS for providing “credible data” in research whose “implications are not just for Encana but for the whole industry.”

Hock and Simon Lomax, research director of an arm of the Independent Petroleum Association of America, underscored a decision by USGS to discount samples from the second of two monitoring wells because of concerns that low water quantity and other factors might skew results.

“The USGS effectively disqualified one of the EPA’s two monitoring wells,” Lomax said in a statement.

He pointed to a March 1 letter by Donald Simpson, director of the Bureau of Land Management office in Wyoming, that recommended the installation of additional monitoring wells for a “larger and much more robust study effort and investment prior to drawing any conclusions, particularly in the case about the role of hydraulic fracturing use in development of the oil and gas resource.”

Encana’s Hock said the Canadian company denies the pollution in Pavillion is related to its operations.

But Rob Jackson, professor of environmental sciences at Duke University, said his review of USGS data shows it is consistent with EPA’s initial results, “which suggested the contamination at the site from fracking is a real possibility.”

Jackson, co-author of a peer-reviewed paper that showed fracking in the Marcellus shale in Pennsylvania did not pollute adjacent drinking water wells with brine, said the report by the USGS should quiet criticism of the EPA.

“You can’t say that EPA botched the job if USGS goes on and gets similar numbers,” he said.

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/29/usgs-aquifer-tests-pavillion-wyoming_n_1924604.html


Fracking Wastewater Used in Ohio Full of Radium


Read this story from the Columbus Dispatch on the discovery of radiation in water trucked from the Marcellus Shale in Pennsylvania to Ohio for hydraulic fracturing operations. (Sept. 3, 2012)

Millions of barrels of wastewater trucked into Ohio from shale-gas wells in Pennsylvania might be highly radioactive, according to a government study.

Radium in one sample of Marcellus shale wastewater, also called brine, that Pennsylvania officials collected in 2009 was 3,609 times more radioactive than a federal safety limit for drinking water. It was 300 times higher than a Nuclear Regulatory Commission limit for industrial discharges to water.

The December 2011 study, compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey, also found that the median levels of radium in brine from Marcellus shale wells was more than three times higher than brine collected from conventional oil and gas wells.

“These are very, very high concentrations of radium compared to other oil and gas brines,” said Mark Engle, a U.S. Geological Survey research geologist and co-author of the report.

State law bans radioactive shale-well sand and sludge from Ohio landfills. However, brine can be sent down any of Ohio’s 171 active disposal wells regardless of how much radium it contains. Michael Snee, the Ohio Department of Health’s radiation-protection chief, said that’s the safest place for brine.“Injection wells are almost the perfect solution for that disposal issue,” Snee said.

However, environmental advocates say the Geological Survey’s report intensifies their fears of surface spills and leaks to groundwater.

“It’s an alarm bell in the night that we better get serious about testing the material in the Utica shale right here in Ohio,” said Jack Shaner, an Ohio Environmental Council lobbyist.

Shaner and others said the study shows that state officials should look at what’s bubbling out of Ohio’s shale wells.

Radiation is yet another wrinkle in the ongoing debate over “fracking,” a process that sends millions of gallons of water, sand and chemicals down wells to shatter shale and free trapped oil and gas. Thousands of Marcellus shale wells have been drilled in Pennsylvania. Of the 12.2 million barrels of brine injected into Ohio disposal wells last year, 53 percent came from Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

Read more: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2012/09/03/gas-well-waste-full-of-radium.html

American robins killed by DDT as shown in Michigan State University research in 1961.From Introduction to Ornithology, 3rd Edition, 1975

Sick, Stupid and Sterile: The 50th Anniversary of ‘Silent Spring’


In September 1962 – 50 years ago this month – a book was published which changed the way we looked at the post-World War Two chemical revolution. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring – a clarion call about the perils of pesticides – is largely credited with launching the modern day environmental movement.

Soon after its publication, the indiscriminate spraying of  DDT on farm fields and suburbs in the US ended, followed in 1972 by an outright ban on its manufacture and use. Forty years later, DDT’s metabolite DDE can be found in the bodies of 95% of Americans.

These chemicals persist.

Rachel Carson wrote about the damage pesticides could do to humans and wildlife in doses as small as one part per million.

In 1996 another ground-breaking book was published. Our Stolen Future by Theo Colborn and Peter Myers details the wealth of scientific research highlighting the ability of many supposedly safe manmade chemicals (including still widely used pesticides) to mimic hormones and – in parts per billion – interfere with immune system, cognitive and reproductive development.

Put simply, there is every reason to believe that chemicals in our environment are making us sick, stupid and sterile.

Earlier this year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) released its annual guide to pesticide residues on domestic and imported produce. The guide highlights the worst of the worst, the dirty dozen fruits and vegetables which shoppers should replace with organic produce wherever possible.

Think all you have to do is wash and peel your fruit and vegetables before you eat them? Guess again. The majority of studies on which the EWG guide is based involved testing samples after they had been washed or peeled. 

Most alarming were the number of samples contaminated with organophosphate (OP) insecticides.

A study by Stephen Rauch of BC Children’s Hospital has linked prenatal exposure to these known neurotoxins with lower birth weight and shorter gestation. Rauch notes that these pregnancies began after OPs were restricted for most uses. He also flags other studies linking prenatal exposure to OP insecticides with abnormal reflexes and reduced cognitive abilities.

In a worrying article in the current issue of Watershed Sentinel, children’s health expert Bruce Lanphear highlights the research linking exposure to environmental contaminants with increasingly common childhood illnesses and disabilities.

For example, OP insecticides have been strongly linked with dramatic increases in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), while the marine anti-fouling chemical tributyltin has been identified as an “obesogen” which can mimic the hormones involved in the development of obesity.

One of the several quotes from Rachel Carson which Lanphear uses in his article is the following: “Thalidomide and pesticides represent our willingness to rush ahead and use something new without knowing what the results are going to be.” Lanphear points out that the substantial and lifelong implications for children of exposure to environmental chemicals are subtle and often unlikely to be recognised.

In the month when the manufacturer of thalidomide finally issued an apology for the damage caused by its drug, Lanphear quotes environmental health expert David Rall, who once remarked: “If thalidomide had caused a ten-point loss of IQ instead of obvious birth defects of the limbs, it would probably still be on the market.”

In an article written for Environmental Health News to mark the 50th anniversary of the publication of Silent Spring, the distinguished scientist Paul Ehrlich observes: “Many people have the impression that climate disruption is the worst environmental problem humanity faces, and, indeed, its consequences may be catastrophic. But the spread of toxic chemicals from pole to pole may be the dark horse in the race.”

Ehrlich thinks Rachel Carson would be appalled by our lack of progress in stemming the flow of toxic chemicals into our air, water, food and bodies.

Perhaps it’s too late. Perhaps we’re already too sick and stupid. I hope not.


In-Depth CBC Report: Food Lobbies Have Been Controling Canada’s Food Guide, Nutritional Info for Years


Check out this in-depth report from CBC on the history of manipulation of Canada’s Food Guide and nutritional recommendations for the public by power food lobbies. (July 30 ,2012)

The 1992 food guide marked “a new era in nutrition guidance in Canada,” according to Carmen Connolly, then the chief of the Nutrition Programs Unit at Health Canada.

The title changed to Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating and the design changed to a rainbow graphic to display the four food groups. The major change was a shift in philosophy to a “total diet approach” for meeting both energy and nutrient requirements, replacing the minimum requirements approach of earlier guides.

When the draft guide was sent out to food industry groups for comment, they didn’t like what they saw.

The draft guide had a small, fifth food group in a corner, called “extras,” with this description:

There is no recommended number of servings for these foods since they have little nutritional value. They provide taste appeal but are often high in fat and calories. The less you eat of these foods, the better.

The Grocery Products Manufacturing Council found it disturbing “that ‘extras’ continue to be presented negatively and inappropriately, creating a good/bad food scenario.”

In the final version of the guide, “extras” was gone and that corner of the rainbow was white. Replacing it was a box on the second page of the two-page guide called “Other foods,” with this description:

Taste and enjoyment can also come from other foods and beverages that are not part of the other four food groups. Some of these foods are higher in fat or calories so use these foods in moderation.

Check out full report – including audio clip: http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2012/07/27/f-food-guide-70.html

Cartoon by Stephanie McMillan - from her

Counting the Nuclear Fallout from Fukushima


My partner Mike was a professor with a wealth of knowledge about all things nuclear. Of all the achievements of his long, illustrious career, there was none of which he was more proud than playing a pivotal role in keeping nuclear power out of British Columbia in the 1980s. One of the last things he wrote before his sudden death in March 2011 was a column for our local paper about the fundamental flaws in producing nuclear energy which led, inevitably, to the Fukushima nuclear plant disaster.

Last month, when a 20 metre-long dry dock washed up on the shore of Oregon 15 months after being cast adrift by the Japanese tsunami, I could almost hear Mike asking: What about the invisible fallout from this disaster?

After all, even though it wasn’t reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences until May 2012, within five months of the Fukushima explosion scientists on the US Pacific coast found radioactive contamination levels ten times higher than normal in migrating bluefin tuna.    

Airborne radioactive pollution crossed the Pacific much faster than those tuna. An investigation by The Georgia Straight last year revealed efforts by Health Canada to downplay the significance of massive spikes in radiation in BC and across Canada within weeks of the Fukushima nuclear plant explosion.

By the time those radioactive tuna were turning up in California, Health Canada had already removed nine supplementary radiation monitors installed in BC and the Yukon following the Fukushima meltdown. According to their website, this was done because “radioactivity levels across Canada continue to be within normal background levels and  there is no cause for concern”.

So, we’re just getting our regular, every day, perfectly safe dose of radiation. Well, that’s a relief, isn’t it? Or is it?

When their research was published in May this year, Daniel Madigan, one of the scientists who analysed those tuna, told Reuters: “I wouldn’t tell anyone what’s safe to eat or not safe. It’s become clear that some people feel any amount of radioactivity, in their minds, is bad and they’d like to avoid it. But compared to…what’s established as safety limits, it’s not a large amount at all.”

Established as safety limits, eh? Established by whom?

As Gordon Edwards, president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility told The Georgia Straight last year: “The government of Canada tends to pooh-pooh the dangers of nuclear power because it is a promoter of nuclear energy and uranium sales.”

Dr. Samuel Epstein, professor emeritus of the Chicago School of Public Health, has warned: “The claim that low doses of radiation are harmless has always been just a claim.” Mike  and countless other nuclear experts (though not surprisingly none in the nuclear power industry) would agree: there is no risk-free dose of radiation.

As Anna Tilman explains in Watershed Sentinel magazine, ionizing radiation (which all radioactive material coming out of a reactor produces) is powerful enough to initiate and promote cancer. A single radionuclide can cause a lethal cancer, and damage to DNA that may be carried to future generations.

Just how much radiation is in the air you’re breathing? According to Health Canada, not enough for you to worry about.

In case you don’t believe them, you now have a chance to find out for yourself. Watershed Sentinel (in co-operation with the BC Environmental Network and a private donor) has purchased a Geiger counter. The magazine wants to put the Geiger counter on the road, sending it to communities around BC and Alberta to test for hotspots. Results will be mapped and posted on its website. Details about borrowing and operating the Geiger counter are available at sentinelhotspots.ca/hotspots/radiation.

The above cartoon was republished with permission from Stephanie McMillan – to see more of her “Code Green” cartoons, go to www.stephaniemcmillan.org/codegreen


Stephen Hume on BC Govt’s Routine Failure to Inform Public on Health, Safety Issues, Salmon Diseases


Read this column by Stephen Hume in the Vancouver Sun on the BC Government’s systemic failure to disclose vital information to the public concerning matters of disease, health and safety. (June 6, 2012)

The provincial government routinely fails its legal duty to promptly inform citizens of risks to public health and safety, warn legal scholars at the University of Victoria.

Failures to disclose include air pollution, deteriorating infrastructure, parasite infestations, contaminated water and disease risk. Relevant information has been withheld from potential victims, scientists and the media — in some cases for almost a decade, says the university’s Environmental Law Clinic following a study of six cases across B.C.

On Tuesday, the group asked the province’s information and privacy commissioner for a full investigation into what it says appears to be “an ongoing system-wide failure” by government to disclose in timely fashion information with clear public safety implications.

The pattern needs to be addressed “before a catastrophe occurs,” it warned.

“Concerns about ‘panicking’ the public must not become an excuse for withholding information,” the call for investigation says. “In many cases, the fact that the information is alarming is precisely why it must be disclosed.”

The submission, filed on behalf of the B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association, says that under provincial law, public bodies are required to act “without delay” in publicly disclosing information about any “risk of significant harm to the environment or to the health or safety of the public.”…

…In 2002 and 2003, back-to-back collapses occurred in wild pink salmon populations migrating between Vancouver Island and the mainland. Concerns were raised that sea lice infestations around fish farm pens might play a role.

“The scientific community lacked important data on the abundance of sea lice at particular farms,” the researchers noted. But although the province held detailed records, it “refused to release the data, instead prioritizing the concerns of the aquaculture industry that the data be kept confidential.”

Only eight years later, following a direct order from the office of the information and privacy commissioner, did the province eventually release the critical data to scientists investigating the role of sea lice in wild salmon losses in 2002 and 2003.

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Hume+taken+task+failure+inform+public/6735884/story.html


Attack of the Biotech Guys


In the late 1980s, executives at Monsanto were told,genetic engineering offered the best prospect of preserving the commercial life of Monsanto’s most important product, Roundup, in the face of the challenges Monsanto would encounter once the patent expired.”

Monsanto’s guys in lab coats began working wildly to modify as many crops as possible to survive saturation in Roundup (trade name for the herbicide glysophate). Meanwhile, guys in lab coats at corporations like Bayer and Syngenta were splicing bacillus thuringiensis (Bt – a naturally occurring bacterium previously used in organic agriculture) into corn and other crops. 

Canada and the US were asleep at the switch. By the time activists in Europe were ripping out field trials of GM crops and the EU was implementing a ban, GM canola, corn and soya were in widespread commercial production in North America. How did this happen? Merda taurorum animas conturbit. (Google it.)

Our regulators bought the biotech industry’s argument of “substantial equivalence”. In other words, if it looks and tastes like its non-GM predecessor, it must be the same thing. Therefore, the industry implied, there could be no environmental or health risks. Great – except the tests used to establish this supposed equivalence dealt only with known toxicants and could not properly address potential allergic reactions and other issues of concern.

In 1999 substantial equivalence was dismissed in Nature as a “pseudo-scientific concept” and “a commercial and political judgement masquerading as if it were scientific. It is, moreover, inherently anti-scientific because it was created primarily to provide an excuse for not requiring biochemical or toxicological tests. It therefore serves to discourage and inhibit potentially informative scientific research.”

By 1999, potential environmental risks associated with GM crops (e.g. cross pollination) identified by the Union of Concerned Scientists were already happening. Ongoing biotech industry claims that there could never be any human health consequences failed to persuade the British Medical Association which, in the same year, recommended a moratorium on the planting of GM organisms. This repeated call, reflected the BMA’s concerns “about the impact GM foodstuffs may have on our long-term health”.

Ten years later, as evidence about human health threats continued to mount, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine issued this warning: “Because GM foods pose a serious health risk in the areas of toxicology, allergy and immune function, reproductive health, and metabolic, physiologic and genetic health – and are without benefit – the AAEM believes it is imperative to adopt the precautionary principle.”

Chemical and biotech (or, as they prefer to be called, “life science”) companies view the precautionary principle as an annoying impediment to quick profits. Without the precautionary principle, it is left to university and (in Canada increasingly endangered) government scientists to do this research – after the genie is out of the bottle and the damage is already being done.

In 2010, Watershed Sentinel reported that multiple and increasing allergies associated with GM crops have come to light since the guys in lab coats started running amok with Roundup and Bt. Links have also been made with organ failure and infertility.

Now, as Anne Sherrod reports in the current issue, scientists from the University of Caen report that the Bt toxin Cry1Ab from GM plants kills human cells. Previous research from the university documented DNA damage and endocrine disruption caused by exposure to Roundup/glysophate at concentrations currently permitted in food. 

Meanwhile, doctors from Sherbrooke Hospital in Quebec have found Cry1Ab in the bloodstream of nearly 80% of women tested. In the absence of any other identifiable exposure route, the doctors speculate that contamination may be the result of consuming beef fed on GM corn.

Nearly 20 years ago, geneticist Steve Jones warned: “The triumph of human ingenuity has not been unalloyed: because living organisms can deal with new challenges by evolving to cope, genetic engineers, unlike those who build bridges, must face the prospect that their new toys will fight back.”


Dr. Peter Ross has published world-renowned scinece on pollution and marine mammal health during his 13 years at DFO

Silent Summer: Leading Fisheries Researcher on Harper Govt. Killing Ocean Pollution Monitoring


by Dr. Peter Ross

Since being hired 13 years ago as a Research Scientist at Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), I have been fortunate to conduct research on such magnificent creatures as killer whales, beluga whales, harbour seals and sea otters. I have visited some of the wildest parts of coastal British Columbia, Arctic Canada and further afield. I have been humbled by the power of Mother Nature as we deployed teams to explore and better understand the lives of creatures beneath the surface of the ocean. I have marveled at the evolutionary adaptations of marine mammals to an existence at the interface of land, sea and atmosphere. And as a scientist, I have come to learn that I possess but rudimentary powers of observation when it comes to the mystery and beauty of a vast ocean. For all of this, I remain eternally grateful.

A blend of challenging field work and cutting-edge laboratories has helped me to look into the lives of fish and marine mammals, and the ways in which some of the 25,000 contaminants on the domestic market affect their health. Our research has drawn on the combined expertise of dedicated technicians, biologists, vessel operators and aboriginal colleagues, ultimately leading to scientific publications now available around the world. This is knowledge that informs policies, regulations, and practices that enable us to protect the ocean and its resources, both for today’s users, and for future generations.

I am thankful for the rich array of opportunities aboard Canadian Coast Guard ships and small craft, alongside Fisheries Officers, chemists, habitat biologists and managers, together with colleagues, technicians, students and members of aboriginal communities. I have enjoyed weaving stories of wonder on such issues as the health of killer whales, effects of flame retardants on beluga whales, hydrocarbons in sea otter habitat, trends in priority pollutants in harbour seals, impacts of current use of pesticides on the health of salmon, the identification of emerging contaminants in endangered species and risk-benefit evaluation of traditional sea foods of First Nations and Inuit peoples.

Past scientific discoveries such as high levels of PCBs in Inuit foods, dioxins in pulp and paper mill effluent, and DDT-associated eggshell thinning in seabirds formed the basis for national regulations and an international treaty (the Stockholm Convention) that have led to cleaner oceans and safer aquatic foods for fish, wildlife and humans. Canada was a world leader in spearheading this profoundly important treaty, drawing on ground-breaking scientific research in tandem with the knowledge of aboriginal communities.

I am thankful to my friends, family, supporters and colleagues, who have always been there to converse, share, learn and teach – in the laboratory, in the field, in the cafeteria, in the hallway. These people have made it all worthwhile.

It is with deep regret that I relay news of my termination of employment at Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the loss of my dream job. It is with even greater sadness that I learn of the demise of DFO’s entire contaminants research program – regionally and nationally. It is with apprehension that I ponder a Canada without any research or monitoring capacity for pollution in our three oceans, or any ability to manage its impacts on commercial fish stocks, traditional foods for over 300,000 aboriginal people and marine wildlife.

Canada’s silence on these issues will be deafening this summer and beyond.

For more information about Ross’ work:

Silent Snow: The Slow Poisoning of the Arctic, by Marla Cone, published by Grove/Atlantic http://www.groveatlantic.com/?title=Silent+Snow