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Is Bottled Water Safe to Drink, Everyday?

Is Bottled Water Safe to Drink, Everyday?

Photograph Source: Sascha Kohlmann – CC BY-SA 2.0

The next time you put your lips to a plastic bottle of “crystal-clear mountain spring water” think about Trump’s herculean efforts to dismantle federal agencies that protect health.

More to the point, Trump’s innate distrust of science is already starting to impact health risks, e.g., according to Consumer Reports (“CR”) excessive levels of arsenic are found in some bottled water that should have been spotted by federal regulators, and not by Consumer Reports.

As it happens: “The federal government’s safety inspections of water bottling facilities hit a 15-year low in 2017, according to documents CR obtained through a public records request.”

The referenced CR headline: “Arsenic in Some Bottled Water Brands at Unsafe Levels, Consumer Reports Says,” June 28, 2019. More on that travesty, later.

Meanwhile, because Trump is doing everything possible to take federal regulations back to the “Sixties,” then Rachel Carson’s inimitable The Silent Spring (1962) should be required reading for every household in America because she exposes the dangers of 60 years ago that are, once again, starting to be exposed today. To say that this is a remarkable event is, indeed, remarkable!

Rachel Carson has never been more relevant, in fact doubly more relevant, e.g., according to The Silent Spring, page 237: “Human exposures to cancer-producing chemicals (including pesticides) are uncontrolled and they are multiple. An individual may have many different exposures to the same chemical. Arsenic is an example… It is quite possible that no one of these exposures alone would be sufficient to precipitate malignancy— yet any single supposedly ‘safe dose’ may be enough to tip the scales that are already loaded with other ‘safe doses.”

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

New Jersey is Making Companies Pay for Toxic Contamination–Shining a New Light on a Little-Known Offender

Illustration: Soohee Cho/The Intercept

NEW JERSEY IS MAKING COMPANIES PAY FOR TOXIC CONTAMINATION — SHINING A NEW LIGHT ON A LITTLE-KNOWN OFFENDER

NEW JERSEY LAID financial responsibility for dealing with PFAS contamination squarely at the feet of the chemical companies responsible for it. The state’s Department of Environmental Protection issued a directive on Monday ordering five companies to pay the costs of dealing with the toxic chemicals that have been associated with numerous health problems, including cancer. The companies include 3M, which created both PFOA and PFOS; DuPont, the chemical giant that used PFOA to make Teflon since the 1950s at the now massively contaminated plant Chambers Works; and DuPont’s spinoff, Chemours.

Monitoring, research, and cleanup of the chemicals, which the state has already begun, is likely to ultimately total “hundreds of millions of dollars,” according to the order.

The hefty price tag reflects the state’s serious PFAS problem. New Jersey is thought to be one of the states most contaminated with these chemicals.

The hefty price tag reflects the state’s serious PFAS problem. New Jersey is thought to be one of the states most contaminated with these chemicals. Seventy percent of drinking water samples taken from 20 of New Jersey’s 21 counties contained at least one compound from the class of chemicals, according to research done in 2009 and 2010. And, last year, another state study showed that all surface water samples taken from 11 waterways and ecosystems around New Jersey contained PFAS. All the fish found there contained the chemicals as well. The state is also home to military bases that have been contaminated by firefighting foam, as well as several industrially polluted sites.

The order also announced the state’s intention to propose the lowest drinking water limits in the country for both PFOS and PFOA on April 1.

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

Ecological Civilization: Could China Become a Model for Saving the Earth?

Ecological Civilization: Could China Become a Model for Saving the Earth?

Peasant and industrialized agriculture facing each other — in China. Painting gifted to me by Ye Jingzhong, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China. Photo: E.G. Vallianatos.

Industrialized agriculture is threatening humanity with catastrophe. It feeds global warming and dissolves societies. In addition, its pesticides contaminate and poison drinking water and food.

Undoing rural America

I reached this conclusion from working for the US Environmental Protection Agency for twenty-five years. I summarized my experience in my 2014 book, Poison Spring: The Secret History of Pollution and the EPA. This essay reflects my knowledge from that experience.

The industrialization of agriculture did massive damage to rural America, turning most of that beautiful land into medieval plantations. Instead of millions of small family farmers, we now have a few thousand large corporate farmers in charge of rural America and the growing of most food. Democracy and human and environmental health suffered a severe blow. Money and power triumphed.

Catching up

Like many countries, China is trying to catch up with the agricultural superpower illusion of America. Yes, America produces huge amounts of food, but at unsustainable and catastrophic costs and consequences.

There are non-toxic alternatives to coaxing more from an acre of land.

In the United States, the alternative to chemical farming has the name of “organic” agriculture. In the European Union, the alternative is “biological” agriculture. These alternatives are sophisticated modifications of traditional agriculture. They produce and sell food without using pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetic engineering, sludge, and radiation. But like industrialized farming, the organic-biological alternatives ignore the size of farms, the plight of farm workers, the kind and size of farm machinery, the use of petroleum and petroleum products like plastics.

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

Not-So-Superfood? Pesticide Residue Found In 70% Of US Produce & 92% Of Kale

Not-So-Superfood? Pesticide Residue Found In 70% Of US Produce & 92% Of Kale

Roughly 70% of all produce sold in the U.S. has pesticide residue in it, even after it is washed, according to a new report from the Guardian. According to data from the US Department of Agriculture and analyzed by the Environmental Working Group, strawberries, spinach and kale have the heaviest pesticide presence, while sweetcorn, avocados and pineapples had the lowest presence.

In news likely to send anxiety attacks across vegan circles, more than 92% of kale that was tested had two or more pesticide residues in it. A sample of any conventionally farmed kale could contain “up to 18 different pesticides”, according to the report.

Dacthal was the most common pesticide found. It was detected in about 60% of kale samples and is banned in Europe and classified as a possible carcinogen in the U.S. 

Alexis Temkin, a toxicologist working with the EWG, said:

 “We definitely acknowledge and support that everybody should be eating healthy fruits and vegetables as part of their diet regardless of if they’re conventional or organic. But what we try to highlight with the Shopper’s Guide to Produce is building on a body of evidence that shows mixtures of pesticides can have adverse effects.”

Other foods that the group warns about include grapes, cherries, apples, tomatoes and potatoes. Foods like avocados, onions and cauliflower were found to be “clean”. 

Leonardo Trasande, an environmental medicine specialist at the New York University medical school, told the Guardian that the report was “widely respected” and that “it can inform shoppers who want to buy some organic fruits and vegetables, but would like to know which ones they could prioritize.”

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

Toxic Chemical Inferno Threatens Houston Area As Black Plume Extends For Miles

Toxic Chemical Inferno Threatens Houston Area As Black Plume Extends For Miles

The petrochemical fire that has been raging out of control at an oil storage facility in Deer Park, Texas since Sunday is now impacting the greater Houston area by what’s been described as a “plume of thick, black smoke [which] for a third day intensified overnight as pungent fumes pervaded neighborhoods more than 20 miles away,” according to Bloomberg and local reportsThe Intercontinental Terminals Company in Deer Park, Texas on March 18. Image source: AP

The fire which has consumed highly flammable chemical tanks at the Intercontinental Terminals Company oil plant about 15 miles (24 kilometers) southeast of Houston remains “uncontrolled” according to local officials. 

The petrochemical fire had triggered a “shelter-in-place” warning for area residents on Sunday, who were further advised by Deer Park city officials to close air ventilation systems in their homes and close all windows.

Embedded video

“Last night was really bad. Hard to breathe.” A thick cloud of toxic smoke is stretching for miles as the result of a massive chemical plant fire nearr Houston. @TVMarci reports from Texas.

Disturbingly, a black plume has settled over downtown Houston and has now reportedly made its way to the city’s northside. Bloomberg cited one local woman who noted“You can really smell and taste it now.”

According to prior local reports, the initial chemical tanks that caught fire were known to contain a highly flammable liquid hydrocarbon mixture called naphtha, which is often used as a raw material for production and conversion to gasoline.

Bloomberg further described:

“…in residential neighborhoods on the city’s north side, a chemical odor descended Tuesday morning on an otherwise clear day.”

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

Your Recycling Might Be Poisoning Poor Communities

Your Recycling Might Be Poisoning Poor Communities

You know the routine, which has become a required liturgical rubric of the American civic religion. You separate your trash: plastics here, glass here, cans here, papers here. Doing so is our little way of showing we care about the environment. Not doing so – let’s just say it would be better not to be spotted in noncompliance by anyone with an elevated civic consciousness. 

What happened to all the recyclable material then? Most people hadn’t had a clue. The mostly unknown fact is that it has been mostly sent to China, which has thus far had an insatiable need for cheap raw materials for manufactured products to feed its astonishing rise over the last twenty years into the leading industrial power in the world. 

The system worked beautifully. Americans got to feel good about themselves by recycling as much as possible. China obtained the lowest possible prices for essential materials. The system worked, until suddenly it stopped working. 

The End of Recycling 

In the last year, everything changed with a new law that China passed at the onset of America’s trade war. The law, which came into effect in February 2018, is called the “National Sword” and its aim is to stop China from being used as the dumping ground for refuse from all over the world. It bans imports of 24 types of waste material. And it sets a regulatory standard for contamination that US recyclables cannot meet – with enforcement of that standard imposed by X-rays of shipping containers and much deeper inspections.

Basically, China no longer wants your leftover pizza box. Nor your empty 2-liter bottle of Mountain Dew. 

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

Nationwide Class-Action Lawsuit Targets Dupont, Chemours, 3M, and Other Makers of PFAs Chemicals

The Teflon Toxin

Robert Bilott, who successfully sued DuPont over PFOA, has filed a lawsuit on behalf of everyone in the U.S. who has PFAS chemicals in their blood.

A CLASS ACTION lawsuit against 3M, DuPont, and Chemours was filed this week on behalf of everyone in the United States who has been exposed to PFAS chemicals. The suit was brought by Kevin Hardwick, an Ohio firefighter, but “seeks relief on behalf of a nationwide class of everyone in the United States who has a detectable level of PFAS chemicals in their blood.” Hardwick is represented by attorney Robert Bilott, who successfully sued DuPont on behalf of people in West Virginia and Ohio who had been exposed to PFOA from a plant in Parkersburg, West Virginia.

In addition to 3M, DuPont, and its spinoff, Chemours, the suit names eight other companies that produce the toxic chemicals, which are used to make firefighting foam, nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, and many other products. While much of the litigation around PFAS has focused on PFOA and PFOS, this suit targets the entire class of PFAS chemicals, including “the newer ‘replacement’ chemicals, such as GenX.”

Rather than suing for cash penalties, the suit seeks to force the companies to create an independent panel of scientists “tasked with thoroughly studying and confirming the health effects that can be caused by contamination of human blood with multiple PFAS materials.” Such a panel would parallel the C8 Science Panel, which was created by the earlier class action litigation in West Virginia. That panel, overseen by epidemiologists approved by lawyers from both sides in the suit, found six diseases to be linked with PFOA exposure, including testicular cancer and kidney cancer.

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

Chemical Deceit

Chemical Deceit

Photo Source CGP Grey | CC BY 2.0 www.CGPGrey.com

A friend recently put me in touch with Janet Brown (not her real name). This is a woman from Chicago who had the misfortune of renting an apartment that had been sprayed with the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos. Dow/DuPont produces this deleterious substance.

In late August 2018, Janet Brown visited me and we spent several hours talking. Her real education started in the poisoned apartment in Chicago.

She had read my book, Poison Spring. She wanted to talk.

A poisoned apartment

Our discussion was mostly about pesticides and the Environmental Protection Agency, which “regulates” toxic pesticides like chlorpyrifos. I told Janet Brown a few of my EPA stories. And she told me her astonishing story.

Janet Brown grew up in Illinois. She got married to a doctor. She had hopes of becoming a doctor herself. However, the poisoned apartment blew up in her face, causing a tsunami of psychological and health adversities and pain.

The tragedy took place in the 1990s. Janet Brown gave birth to two children. The apartment landlord informed her he was spraying the apartment. He did that for a decade.

The effects of chlorpyrifos poisoning were devastating to her and her children. She had trouble staying awake. She was confused, ill, and endured chronic and savage headaches. The children screamed for days and months. They could barely crawl, walk and talk. Experts said autism explained their hyperactivity, inability to pay attention,  low self-esteem, and aggressive behavior.

This tyranny of disease, the perpetual anguish of the mother, and the ceaseless pain of the children: their constant humiliations in school, the incomprehensible anger and hidden violence boiling over at home and everywhere else, teenagers unable to sign their name or find their shoes – all but annihilated their future.

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

Chemically Induced Frankenstein-Humans

Chemically Induced Frankenstein-Humans

Photo Source CGP Grey | www.CGPGrey.com

One of the biggest open questions of this century is whether 144,000 different chemicals swirling throughout the world are properly tested and analyzed for toxicity. By almost all accounts, the scale of toxic risk is unknown. This may be the biggest tragedy of all time, a black eye of enormous proportions.

Correspondingly and very likely, not yet 100% proven but probably 99%, as a result of ubiquitous chemical presence, one hundred fifty million (150,000,000) Americans have chronic disease, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, fibromyalgia, cancer, stroke, asthma, cystic fibrosis, obesity, and osteoporosis (Rand Corporation Review 2017). Why?

According to Dr. Paul Winchester, who discovered the link between chemicals, like pesticides atrazine and glyphosate aka Roundup and epigenetic human alteration, the findings are: “The most important next discovery in all of medicine.” (Source: EcoWatch, Aug. 16, 2018)

Dr. Winchester was one of the researchers/authors of “Atrazine Induced Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Disease, Lean Phenotype and Sperm Epimutation Pathology Biomarkers,” PLOS, published September 20, 2017.

The grisly underlying message of that study is as clear as a bell: Chemicals found far and wide throughout America alter human hormones as well as human DNA, which passes along generation-to-generation known as transgenerational inheritance.

Frankly, nothing more should need to be said to spur outrage and pissed-off people all across the land because, if that seminal study is correct in its analysis that chemicals mess up/distort/disrupt human hormones and alter human DNA in a destructive manner, then the streets of America should be filled with people wielding pots and pans, probably pitchforks, and ready for the fight of a lifetime because, by any account, there has been massive failure of ethical standards and regulations of chemicals for decades and decades. Who’s to blame?

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

Michigan Declares State Of Emergency After Cancer-Linked Toxin Found In Drinking Water

Michigan officials declared a state of emergency on Sunday after high levels of Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) were discovered in Kalamazoo County tapwater, reports Mlive.com

The declaration was made by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley (R), several days after the toxic compound was found in the water supply of Parchment and Cooper Township.

“This declaration will allow the state to supply additional resources to help with response efforts and ensure the health and safety of residents in Parchment and Cooper Township,” Calley said in a statement, adding “This helps make sure that every resource that is possible is on the table and that we can work as expeditiously together as we possibly can.”

“State and local officials and members of the community have been working in full partnership to ensure people in the area have safe water in the short, medium and long term,” Calley said.

Officials detected a concentration of 1,587 parts per trillion of PFAS substances, while the EPA’s maximum recommended dose is 70 parts per trillion. Recent research by the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, however, suggests that single-digit levels of the compounds can cause health problems, reports The Hill.

Crews from Kalamazoo are currently working to flush Parchment’s water lines, which may stir up sediment and discolor the water – which residents are advised not to drink. In the meantime, officials are distributing water at Parchment High School.

PFAS compounds can be found in food packaging, commercial household products – especially those with Teflon and other nonstick surfaces. They are an emerging public health threat across Michigan – having contaminated the water supplies of over 20 communitiesacross the state.

The compounds can cause low infant birth weight, immune system issues, cancers, and thyroid hormone disruptions.

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

 

The Ecosystem is Breaking Down 

The Ecosystem is Breaking Down 

Photo by Richard Allaway | Public Domain

The ecosystem is the quintessential essence of life on our planet, and this crucial life system is showing signs of breaking down. It is likely a more pressing problem than climate change. Time will tell but time is short.

The ecosystem consists of all living organisms that interact with nonliving components like air, water, and soil contained within the biosphere, which extends from the bottom of the oceans to the top of the mountains. Although unannounced by authorities or professional orgs, it is already becoming evident that the ecosystem is breaking down. Alas, it’s our only ecosystem.

The evidence is too prevalent to ignore. For example, when (1) abundance of insects plummets by 75%, and (2) tropical rainforests mysteriously emit CO2, and (3) Mt Everest’s snow is too toxic to pass EPA drinking water standards, and (4) squid at 1,000 fathoms carry toxic furniture protection chemicals, and (5) ocean oxygen production plummets, then something is wrong, horribly, horribly, horribly wrong. But, nobody has announced it. Global warming gets all of the attention.

All of which begs the question: What does it take to determine when the ecosystem is losing it? After all, it surely looks like it is doing exactly that. For example, the loss of 75% of insect abundance in a landmark study in Germany (referenced in prior articles) released only last month is enough, all by itself, to indicate an extinction event is in the works. That is a monstrous wake up call.

Equally horrifying, recent studies show tropical rainforests emitting more CO2 than automobiles, which is kinda like getting hit repeatedly in the head with a wooden two-by-four, a deadly serious wake up call that says the planet is breaking down.

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

Arkema Texas Plant Explodes Causing “Massive” Fire, “Black Smoke Fills The Air”

Arkema Texas Plant Explodes Causing “Massive” Fire, “Black Smoke Fills The Air”

You can’t say they didn’t warn us: this afternoon, the VP of US manufacturing Daryl Roberts at French chemicals giant Arkema, said the company was on “high alert” as more fires could start at the doomed facility at any moment. Well, that moment took place around 6pm ET, when ABC Houston reported that the doomed Arkema plant has exploded, causing a “massive” fire and “sending dark, black smoke into the air.”

The smoke could be seen in the residential Newport area of Crosby, about 7 miles away. Harris County officials are advising residents who did not evacuate the 1.5-mile area around the plant to close their windows and turn off their air conditioning systems.

“You could call this a warning sign that more explosions or fires could
be coming soon,” Jeff Carr, a spokesman for Arkema, told the Houston
Chronicle.

Hazardous materials crews are headed to the scene.

Moreno said no change was made to the evacuation zone.

This is the second of nine trailers at the plant that has caught fire. The trailers each contain liquid organic peroxides, which needs to be cooled to a certain temperature, otherwise it will explode. Officials said that three of the nine trailers have lost power, according to KPRC.

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

Harvey Victims Face Toxic Pollution as Hurricane Recovery Begins

TEXAS COMMUNITIES THAT have long experienced health problems from nearby oil refineries and chemical plants are now facing the fossil fuel industry’s longer-term impacts: storms made more severe by climate change and the painful recovery process that follows their landfall — a recovery made far worse by industrial contamination.

A number of low-income communities that sit on the fence-lines of the Gulf Coast petrochemical industry have been hit particularly hard by Hurricane Harvey. On Thursday morning, Hilton Kelley stood at a makeshift first responders headquarters in Port Arthur, Texas, directing out-of-state rescue professionals to parts of his neighborhood where he knew people were probably still trapped. A curfew put in place from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. was just ending and the streets were eery and barren, with a few alarms going off in nearby buildings. Kelley’s home had filled with a foot and a half of water, and his wife and granddaughter had taken shelter at his soul food restaurant, Kelley’s Kitchen.

“What I saw is really not uncommon to us here that live on the fence-line of these facilities — what I saw was some major flaring at the Motiva refinery and the Flint Hills chemical plant, with black smoke coming off the tips of the flare,” Kelley said. The pungent odor irritated the sinuses and made his eyes squint.

Residents of the mostly black community in Port Arthur have an outsizedcancer mortality rate, and Kelley has fought for years to convince area plants like the Motiva refinery — the largest in the U.S. — to reduce carcinogenic emissions.

PORT ARTHUR, TX - AUGUST 30:   Evacuees sit in the auditorium of the Woodrow Wilson Middle School after they were evacuated from the flooding of Hurricane Harvey on August 30, 2017 in Port Arthur, Texas. The evacuees said they  were waiting for instructions on where they will sleep for the night as well as when they might be fed. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Port Arthur residents sit in the auditorium of the Woodrow Wilson Middle School after they were evacuated from the flooding of Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 30, 2017.  Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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Study Finds Connection Between Living Near Oil and Gas Development and Childhood Leukaemia

Study Finds Connection Between Living Near Oil and Gas Development and Childhood Leukaemia

With the rise of new technologies like fracking and horizontal drilling, oil and gas development in the United States has exploded over the past 15 years. As development expands, it’s also pushing ever closer into areas where people live. It’s been estimated that today more than 15 million Americans live within one mile of oil and gas development.

The drilling process, of course, has the potential to emit toxic substances, including the carcinogen benzene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and diesel exhaust, into the surrounding air and waterways. But researchers have long been trying to determine to what extent oil and gas drilling operations may threaten public health, particularly around cancer risk.

However, new research suggests that childen living in areas of high-density oil and gas development may face increased risk of health impacts, namely a certain type of leukemia, as a result of their exposure to pollutants associated with this activity.

In some parts of Colorado where oil and gas development is especially concentrated, hundreds of oil and gas wells reportedly lie within one mile of residential areas. And according to a recent study, children and young adults who were diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia were 4.3 times more likely to live within 10 miles of an active oil and gas well than kids with other types of cancer.

This finding, published in the scientific journal PLOS One, applied to youth between 5 and 24 years old. The study did not find a connection between other types of cancer, such as non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and proximity to oil and gas wells.

“Over 378,000 Coloradans and millions of Americans currently live within a mile of at least one oil and gas well, and petroleum development continues to expand into residential areas,” Dr. Lisa McKenzie, professor with the Colorado School of Public Health at the University of Colorado Anschutz and the lead author of the study, said in a statement.

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

High Levels of Chemicals Found in People Living Near Gas Wells: New Report

High Levels of Chemicals Found in People Living Near Gas Wells: New Report

Chemicals from gas wells were discovered in biological samples drawn from residents of Pavillion, Wyoming, at levels as much as ten times the national averages, according to a new report. The study is the first to sample both the air near drilling sites and the levels of chemicals in people living and working near those wells, allowing researchers to study the ways that toxic air pollutants are entering people’s bodies near gas wells and putting their health at risk.

The researchers found evidence of 16 potentially dangerous chemicals in 11 individuals who volunteered to participate in the study by wearing air monitors and providing blood and urine samples. They found benzene, toluene, 2-heptanone, 4 heptanone and evidence of roughly a dozen other substances — including some known to be quite dangerous and others for which little safety information is available.

Wilma Subra, a chemist and microbiologist who has spent three decades researching the impacts of toxic chemicals, and who participated in the new report, told DeSmog that there was reason to be concerned about the health of the people included in the study, saying that they found chemicals “above acceptable levels in many cases.”

The health concerns would be about the same in many gas fields across the U.S., she said. “It is very similar to other areas where shale has been developed,” she added, “but also to areas where conventional drilling has taken place over the years.”

Pavillion is perhaps best-known nationwide for its battles over water contamination and fracking, which began in roughly 2008 when locals first reported that their water tasted different and carried strange odors. The Environmental Protection Agency launched a study, then dropped it, leaving the investigation to state regulators who have yet to reach any final conclusions.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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