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Chemicals from East Palestine derailment spread to 16 US states, data shows

Rain and snow samples from Wisconsin to Maine and North Carolina after crash show highest pH levels over last decade

Chemicals released during the East Palestine train wreck fires in February 2023 in Ohio were carried across 16 US states, new research of federal precipitation and pollution data shows.

Analysis of rain and snow samples collected from northern Wisconsin to Maine and North Carolina in the weeks following the crash found the highest levels of pH and some compounds recorded over the last 10 years. That includes chloride, which researchers say was largely released during a controversial controlled burn of highly toxic vinyl chloride carried by the train.

Researchers expected to find some evidence of the burn 50 miles from the site, and the high levels of contamination in the samples across the vast range that it was spread was “very surprising”, said David Gay, a University of Wisconsin researcher and lead author.

“We saw the chemical signal from this fire at a lot of sites and far away,” he added. “There was more than we ever would have guessed.”

Dozens of cars on the Norfolk Southern train derailed and burned in the town of 4,700 at the edge of the Appalachian hills. The fire burned near tankers carrying vinyl chloride, and, two days later, fearing a “major explosion”, officials conducted a controlled burn of of the chemical as a prevention measure.

In the immediate vicinity and in pockets throughout the city, a potent chemical odor hung in the air for weeks. The pollution also spread far and wide because the wreck’s fires burned for so long, and the controlled vinyl chloride burn was extremely hot and concentrated, Gay said. It sent a towering plume into the Earth’s free troposphere, where winds often blow between 50 and 100mph.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Scientists sound the alarm on pharmaceutical pollution crisis

Credit: Unsplash

Our increasing dependency on pharmaceuticals comes at a major environmental cost, researchers have warned.

In an article published in the journal Nature Sustainabilty, researchers warn that discharges to the environment during drug production, use, and disposal have resulted in ecosystems around the globe being polluted with mixtures of pharmaceuticals, posing a growing danger to wildlife and human health.

While emphasising that pharmaceuticals are indispensable in modern healthcare and will remain crucial in the future, the researchers highlight the need for designing and manufacturing more sustainable drugs to combat this issue at source.

“A wide variety of drugs have now been detected in environments spanning all continents on Earth,” said Assistant Professor Michael Bertram, a researcher at The Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) and shared first author.

“Exposure to even trace concentrations of some of these drugs can have severe impacts on the health of wildlife and human populations, and has already led to severe population crashes in vultures throughout India and Pakistan, as well as widespread sex-reversal of fish populations exposed to the human contraceptive pill.”

Pharmaceutical pollution is a complex problem that demands a multifaceted solution. So far, environmental protection efforts have mainly been focused on upgrading wastewater treatment infrastructure to remove drugs before release into waterways more effectively.

Despite being an important part of an overall solution, wastewater treatment is unable to address this issue in isolation.

In the article, 17 leading international scientists call for an increased focus on designing greener and more sustainable pharmaceuticals to tackle this issue at its source.

“Because drug design is the first step in the life-cycle of pharmaceuticals, greener drugs reduce the potential for pollution throughout the entire cycle” said Gorka Orive, a scientist and professor of pharmacy based at the University of the Basque Country.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Big Oil’s Dangerous Radioactive Secret

DeSmog writer Justin Nobel’s new book explores how workers bear the brunt of the oil and gas industry’s hidden contaminated waste.
Left, Petroleum 238 cover. Credit: Sabrina Bedford, design; Julie Dermansky, photo. Right, author Justin Nobel. Credit: Karen LeBlanc.

In Paris, France, there are fine cafés and famous landmarks. But what nobody really knows is at the other end of a building known as Le V, on the northeast side of the city, is a portal that leads to a secret pile of fracking waste from the woods of West Virginia. A lot more comes to the surface at an oil and gas well than just the oil and gas, including billions of pounds of waste every day across the U.S., much of it toxic and radioactive. My journey into this topic started when an Ohio community organizer told me someone made a liquid deicer out of radioactive oilfield waste for home driveways and patios, which was supposedly “Safe for Pets” and had been selling at Lowe’s. As you will see, this indeed was the case. Unraveling how that came to be turned into a 20-month Rolling Stone magazine investigation, which won an award with the National Association of Science Writers, and an entire set of shocking DeSmog investigations. And, eventually, it all became this book, Petroleum 238: Big Oil’s Dangerous Secret and the Grassroots Fight to Stop It — available here on Amazonhere on Bookshop, or it can be ordered at any local bookstore.

It almost doesn’t seem real, and you might deny it. But really all that has happened here is a powerful industry has spread harms across the land, its people, and more so than anyone, their very own workers, and did what they could to make sure no one ever put all the pieces together. And no one ever has…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

It will cost up to $21.5 billion to clean up California’s oil sites. The industry won’t make enough money to pay for it.

For well over a century, the oil and gas industry has drilled holes across California in search of black gold and a lucrative payday. But with production falling steadily, the time has come to clean up many of the nearly quarter-million wells scattered from downtown Los Angeles to western Kern County and across the state.

The bill for that work, however, will vastly exceed all the industry’s future profits in the state, according to a first-of-its-kind study published on May 18 and shared with ProPublica.

“This major issue has sneaked up on us,” said Dwayne Purvisa Texas-based petroleum reservoir engineer who analyzed profits and cleanup costs for the report. “Policymakers haven’t recognized it. Industry hasn’t recognized it, or, if they have, they haven’t talked about it and acted on it.”

The analysis, which was commissioned by Carbon Tracker Initiative, a financial think tank that studies how the transition away from fossil fuels impacts markets and the economy, used California regulators’ draft methodology for calculating the costs associated with plugging oil and gas wells and decommissioning them along with related infrastructure. The methodology was developed with feedback from the industry.

The report broke down the costs into several categories. Plugging wells, dismantling surface infrastructure and decontaminating polluted drill sites would cost at least $13.2 billion, based on publicly available data…

…click on the above link to read the rest…

The Real Environmental Disaster: Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’ Everywhere, Even Babies’ Umbilical Cords

The Real Environmental Disaster: Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’ Everywhere, Even Babies’ Umbilical Cords

The corporate state assumes for itself the role of environmental savior, ordained by God Himself to wage holy war against “climate change.”

But it doesn’t apparently care too much, strangely, about the ongoing synthetic “forever” chemicals infestation of literally everything, including the food and water, which eventually make their way into even babies’ umbilical cords.

Via Environmental Working Group:

“EWG scientists reviewed 40 studies examining the presence and health effects of PFAS [perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances] in cord blood. All 40 reported the detection of a wide range of PFAS in the blood. Sixteen studies found associations between PFAS exposure in cord blood and changes in vital body molecules called cord blood lipids, as well as harm to fetal and childhood development.”

Babies will get to enjoy those plastics for the duration of their lifetimes, from cradle to grave.

PFAS, per the National Institutes of Health, are used universally in all kinds of everyday products from food packaging to carpets to the water supply. The social engineers also lovingly add PFAS to COVID masks – the kind that schoolchildren who have no appreciable health risks are forced to wear in order to receive an education.

PFAS have earned the charming nickname “forever chemicals” because, as the name suggests, they don’t degrade in the environment like organic molecules and they stay in the body forever.

The body’s natural detoxification organs, the liver and kidneys, are incapable of filtering them out. Once ingested, they remain unmolested in the blood and tissues.

One doesn’t need a degree in The Science© to understand why babies administered a steady diet of PFAS isn’t an optimal situation health-wise. Here are a few reasons anyway:

…click on the above link to read the rest…

‘Forgotten, but not gone’: How governments have deliberately ignored the safety of contaminated sites in England – and why climate change makes this worse

‘Forgotten, but not gone’: How governments have deliberately ignored the safety of contaminated sites in England – and why climate change makes this worse

This is an over thirty-year long story about my involvement with contaminated sites, and helping communities to get action to clean them up[1]. It’s innately connected to my home town, Banbury: An average small town, on the border between the Midlands and the South East; yet in the 1980s, this place taught me about the issues of waste disposal and land contamination. Not because it was exceptional, but because these issues affect almost every community across Britain.

Generations of my family have lived here, from at least the early Nineteenth Century. By word of mouth I learned about local industrial sites, what they did, and where their waste was buried.

The problem with today’s highly mobile society is that such local knowledge is increasingly rare; and before the late 1970s, records of waste or pollution releases were rarely kept. Despite warnings about the issues of contaminated land since the 1960s, governments have failed to act to create a comprehensive system to track down, assess, and where necessary decontaminate these sites.

Just like other major ecological issues – such as climate change – the obstacle to change are the economic vested interests that pressure decision-makers not to act. Valuing profit over the lives of ordinary people, they prevent effective action.

‘What’s past is prologue’

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Here’s the catch

The journey of an agricultural pollutant from its source, along its flow path (often in surface water flooding across fields), to its end destination, where it has the potential to do damage to the natural environment, is an essential concern of Catchment Sensitive Farming officers (CSFOs) on every farm they advise. Understanding how pollutants manifest on a farm, and the journey they subsequently take into the surrounding environment, enables farm advisers including CSFOs to evaluate how to address water and air pollution from agriculture.

Successful reduction of this diffuse pollution from food production can best be achieved by the adoption of practices which stop nutrients or pesticides becoming a pollutant in the first place. This not only has benefits for the environment but also for the farmer who saves money by wasting fewer inputs. Inevitably though, some agricultural inputs (such as fertiliser and manure) escape down a field or out of a livestock shed. Here, measures to intercept the errant material along its flow path come into play.

To mitigate this, a buffer strip of grassland and trees protecting a river or a ditch from waterborne nitrates or a shelterbelt of trees trapping ammonia emanating from a poultry house are just two examples of how Catchment Sensitive Farming is helping farms to address such diffuse pollution. And in flood prone areas of farmland, these practices can also help slow the flow of surface water encountered during storm events, enough to reduce the worst of its impact further down river catchments.

It takes careful consideration of each field and cropping rotation, each hedge or drystone wall boundary, farm track and gateway for the full benefits of Catchment Sensitive Farming to be realised…

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

David Burton , sustainable food trust, pollutants, farming, food production

Scientists’ warning on affluence

Scientists’ warning on affluence


For over half a century, worldwide growth in affluence has continuously increased resource use and pollutant emissions far more rapidly than these have been reduced through better technology. The affluent citizens of the world are responsible for most environmental impacts and are central to any future prospect of retreating to safer environmental conditions. We summarise the evidence and present possible solution approaches. Any transition towards sustainability can only be effective if far-reaching lifestyle changes complement technological advancements. However, existing societies, economies and cultures incite consumption expansion and the structural imperative for growth in competitive market economies inhibits necessary societal change.


Recent scientists’ warnings confirm alarming trends of environmental degradation from human activity, leading to profound changes in essential life-sustaining functions of planet Earth1,2,3. The warnings surmise that humanity has failed to find lasting solutions to these changes that pose existential threats to natural systems, economies and societies and call for action by governments and individuals.

The warnings aptly describe the problems, identify population, economic growth and affluence as drivers of unsustainable trends and acknowledge that humanity needs to reassess the role of growth-oriented economies and the pursuit of affluence1,2. However, they fall short of clearly identifying the underlying forces of overconsumption and of spelling out the measures that are needed to tackle the overwhelming power of consumption and the economic growth paradigm4.

This perspective synthesises existing knowledge and recommendations from the scientific community. We provide evidence from the literature that consumption of affluent households worldwide is by far the strongest determinant and the strongest accelerator of increases of global environmental and social impacts. We describe the systemic drivers of affluent overconsumption and synthesise the literature that provides possible solutions by reforming or changing economic systems. These solution approaches range from reformist to radical ideas, including degrowth, eco-socialism and eco-anarchism. Based on these insights, we distil recommendations for further research in the final section.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How Has the US Fracking Boom Affected Air Pollution in Shale Areas?

How Has the US Fracking Boom Affected Air Pollution in Shale Areas?

Trucks in front of a flare at a fracking site

Urban air pollution in the U.S. has been decreasing near continuously since the 1970s.

Federal regulations, notably the Clean Air Act passed by President Nixon, to reduce toxic air pollutants such as benzene, a hydrocarbon, and ozone, a strong oxidant, effectively lowered their abundance in ambient air with steady progress.

But about 10 years ago, the picture on air pollutants in the U.S. started to change. The “fracking boom” in several different parts of the nation led to a new source of hydrocarbons to the atmosphere, affecting abundances of both toxic benzene and ozone, including in areas that were not previously affected much by such air pollution.

As a result, in recent years there has been a spike of research to determine what the extent of emissions are from fracked oil and gas wells — called “unconventional” sources in the industry. While much discussion has surrounded methane emissions, a greenhouse gas, less attention has been paid to air toxics.

Upstream Emissions

Fracking is a term that can stir strong emotions among its opponents and proponents. It is actually a combination of techniques, including hydraulic fracturing, that has allowed drillers to draw hydrocarbons from rock formations which were once not profitable to tap.

Drillers shatter layers of shale rock with high-pressure water, sand and chemicals to start the flow of hydrocarbons from a well. The hydraulic fracturing process itself, aside from its large demand for water, is possibly the least environmentally impactful step along the complete operational chain of drilling for hydrocarbons. Arguably, the more relevant environmental effects are wastewater handling and disposal, as well as the release of vapors from oil and gas storage and distribution.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Obama Makes Fracking a Cornerstone of Climate Policy … But Fracking Does Much More Harm than Good

Obama Makes Fracking a Cornerstone of Climate Policy … But Fracking Does Much More Harm than Good

A Fracked Up Policy

“Clean natural gas” from fracking has been touted for years as a cure for global warming.   It’s a cornerstone of Obama’s climate plan.

But scientists say that fracking pumps out a lot of methane … into both our drinking water and the environment.

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas: 72 times more potent as a warming source than CO2.  As such, fracking actually increases – rather than decreases – global warming.

Cornell University researchers found in 2011 that – when measured in its entire life cycle – fracked gas emits much MORE greenhouse gas than coal.  And see this.

Last year, a study published by Purdue scientists in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that fracking puts between 100 and 1,000 times more methane into the atmosphere than the EPA assumed.

And a new scientific paper published at Energy & Science Engineering by expert and gas industry consultant Touché Howard shows that previous studies cited by the EPA and the fracking industry low-balled actual fracking emission rates “by factors of three to five.”

A 2014 study by scientists from Colorado and Brown University found that fracking increases severe birth defects – including congenital heart defects – for families living within 10 miles of fracking sites.

A team of Yale scientists published a study last year in the journal Environmental Health Perspectiveswhich found that people who live near fracking sites have more health problems than those who don’t.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Toxic Waste Sullies Solar’s Squeaky Clean Image

Toxic Waste Sullies Solar’s Squeaky Clean Image

Toxic sludge and filthy air – byproducts of the oil and coal industries – are a constant irritant for opponents and even proponents of fossil fuels, while renewables like wind and solar are often seen as bastions of rectitude for their relative cleanliness.

However, before the proponents of solar energy can claim the moral high ground, they may need to deal with an inconvenient truth of their own: mountains of hazardous waste being created by the production of solar panels.

Sodium hydroxide and hydrofluoric acid are among the caustic chemicals required in the manufacturing process, along with water and electricity, the production of which emits greenhouse gases. Metals that go into solar panels are often mined in jurisdictions with low environmental standards and even poorer safety records.

The biggest problem, though, is waste. The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC), a San Francisco-based non-profit, has been tracking the waste created by solar panel manufacturers since 1982, and reports a disturbing upward trend in the amounts being generated annually.

Related: Bankruptcies Starting To Pile Up In Coal Industry

“We need to take action now to reduce the use of toxic chemicals in [photovoltaic production], develop responsible recycling systems and protect workers throughout the global PV supply chain,” the coalition said in its latest report.

The SVTC produces an annual scorecard rating solar companies for their commitment to, among other things, the environment, transparency and workers’ rights. Last year Trina occupied the “sunniest” position on the list, while the “cloudiest” ranking went to JA Solar.

In a sense, the problem is a byproduct of the industry’s success; fueled by government incentives, production of solar panels has skyrocketed in recent years, and in the process, millions of pounds of polluted sludge and contaminated water have also been produced.


…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

EPA’s New Fracking Study: A Close Look at the Numbers Buried in the Fine Print

EPA’s New Fracking Study: A Close Look at the Numbers Buried in the Fine Print

When EPA’s long-awaited draft assessment on fracking and drinking water supplies was released, the oil and gas industry triumphantly focused on a headline-making sentence: “We did not find evidence of widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States.”

But for fracking’s backers, a sense of victory may prove to be fleeting.

EPA’s draft assessment made one thing clear: fracking has repeatedly contaminated drinking water supplies (a fact that the industry has long aggressively denied).

Indeed, the federal government’s recognition that fracking can contaminate drinking water supplies may prove to have opened the floodgates, especially since EPA called attention to major gaps in the official record, due in part to gag orders for landowners who settle contamination claims and in part because there simply hasn’t been enough testing to know how widespread problems have become.

And although it’s been less than a month since EPA’s draft assessment was released, the evidence on fracking’s impacts has continued to roll in.

study in Texas’ Barnett shale found high levels of pollutants – volatile organic compounds, heavy metals, and known carcinogens – in many people’s drinking water, based on testing from over 500 water wells. The contaminants found were associated with the shale drilling industry, but the researchers cautioned it was too soon to say whether the industry actually caused the contamination.

But the association was strong, the researchers said. “In the counties where there is more unconventional oil and gas development, the chemicals are worse,” lead researcher Zachariah Hildenbrand told Inside Climate News. “They’re in water in higher concentrations and more prevalent among the wells. As you get away from the drilling, water quality gets better. There’s no doubt about it.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…



Unprecedented Mass Die Offs as Pacific Ocean “Turning Into a Desert” Off California Coast

Unprecedented Mass Die Offs as Pacific Ocean “Turning Into a Desert” Off California Coast


“Ocean’s dying, plankton’s dying… it’s people. Soylent Green is made out of people. They’re making our food out of people. Next thing they’ll be breeding us like cattle for food. You’ve gotta tell them. You’ve gotta tell them!”

It was the dying cry of Charlton Heston in the creepy 1973 film Soylent Green… and it could resemble our desperate near future.

The ocean is dying, by all accounts – and if so, the food supply along with it. The causes are numerous, and overlapping. And massive numbers of wild animal populations are dying as a result of it.

Natural causes in the environment are partly to blame; so too are the corporations of man; the effects of Fukushima, unleashing untold levels of radiation into the ocean and onto Pacific shores; the cumulative effect of modern chemicals and agricultural waste tainting the water and disrupting reproduction.

A startling new report says in no uncertain terms that the Pacific Ocean off the California coast is turning into a desert. Once full of life, it is now becoming barren, and marine mammals, seabirds and fish are starving as a result. According to Ocean Health:

The waters of the Pacific off the coast of California are a clear, shimmering blue today, so transparent it’s possible to see the sandy bottom below […] clear water is a sign that the ocean is turning into a desert, and the chain reaction that causes that bitter clarity is perhaps most obvious on the beaches of the Golden State, where thousands of emaciated sea lion pups are stranded.


…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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