Tag Archives: Pollution

Making ‘Fringe’ Scientist Who Argues Exposure Good for People a Key Witness, Trump’s EPA Moves to Roll Back Radiation Safety Rules

“The agency is ignoring scientific evidence by instead claiming a little radiation is good for you. This is clearly an attempt to save industry money at the expense of women and children’s health.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-3-2018

The Monticello, MN nuclear power plant, 30 miles northwest of Minneapolis on the Mississippi River. Photo: NRC/flickr

Provoking outrage among environmentalists, Trump’s EPA sent toxicologist Edward Calabrese—who has argued that loosening radiation regulations could have positive health effects on humans, as well as saving money for businesses that currently work to limit exposure—as its lead witness to testify before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

The EPA sent toxicologist Edward Calabrese, who has argued that loosening radiation regulations could have positive health effects on humans, as well as saving money for businesses that currently work to limit exposure, as its lead witness to testify before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Continue reading

Share

Relaxed environmental regulations heighten risk during natural disasters

File 20180920 10511 nllgfa.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Environmental regulations generally improve communities’ preparedness and resilience during disasters. AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

Brian J. Gerber, Arizona State University and Melanie Gall, Arizona State University

Heavy rains following Hurricane Florence have raised concerns over the release of toxic materials. Ash from coal-fired power plants stored at a landfill has spilled out and the state of North Carolina has said dozens of sites have released hog waste or are at risk of doing so.

These types of events not only highlight the potential of harm to humans and the environment due to this type of uncontrolled pollution, but also the linkage between environmental regulations and the risks communities face when natural disasters occur. Continue reading

Share

‘Mind-bogglingly Dangerous’: Trump EPA Rolls Back Water Pollution Limits for Coal Plants

“A bold-faced gift to the coal industry at the expense of the health of families everywhere”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-14-2017

The EPA placed a delay on a rule that would have limited wastewater pollution from coal-fired plants. (Photo: pennjohnson/Flickr/cc)

In a move that critics are calling “deeply disturbing,” the Trump administration announced on Wednesday a two-year delay to an Obama-era rule limiting wastewater pollution at coal plants.

In 2015 the Obama administration developed new limits on metals including lead, mercury, and arsenic in coal-fired plants’ wastewater, set to go into effect in 2018. The pollutants in question “can cause severe health problems, including cancer and lowered I.Q. among children, as well as deformities and reproductive harm in fish and wildlife,” according to the Center for Biological Diversity, which fought against the rollback of the limits. Continue reading

Share

Monsanto Chemical May Leave Orca Pod ‘Doomed to Extinction’

By Carey Wedler. Published 5-10-2017 by The Anti-Media

An orca whale that washed up on the coast of Scotland last year was poisoned by environmental pollutants, according to a report released last week.

The Guardian reported last Tuesday that Lulu, the full-grown whale who died, “was a member of the UK’s last resident pod and a postmortem also showed she had never produced a calf. The pollutants, called PCBs, are known to cause infertility and these latest findings add to strong evidence that the pod is doomed to extinction.Continue reading

Share

In a World Made Toxic, Nearly a Quarter of All Human Deaths Caused by Pollution

Contaminated water, polluted air, chemical waste, climate change, and UV radiation kill 12.6 million people annually, says a new report from the WHO

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-15-2016

A child scavenges for coal scraps in a slum in Manila. One in four children's deaths around the world are caused by unhealthy environments, the WHO has found. (Photo: Adam Cohn/flickr/cc.)

A child scavenges for coal scraps in a slum in Manila. One in four children’s deaths around the world are caused by unhealthy environments, the WHO has found. (Photo: Adam Cohn/flickr/cc.)

Nearly a quarter of all deaths around the world are caused by living and working in toxic and polluted environments, and the worst affected are children, the poor, and the elderly, a new report (pdf) released on Tuesday by the World Health Organization (WHO) has found.

“If countries do not take actions to make environments where people live and work healthy, millions will continue to become ill and die too young,” said Dr. Margaret Chan, the WHO director-general, according to Business Insider.
Continue reading

Share

The Great Grief: How To Cope with Losing Our World

In order to respond adequately, first we may need to mourn

Written by Per Espen Stoknes, Published 5-14-15 in CommonDreams.

‘To cope with losing our world,’ writes Stoknes, ‘requires us to descend through the anger into mourning and sadness, not speedily bypass them to jump onto the optimism bandwagon or escape into indifference.’ (Photo: Nikola Jones/flickr/cc)

Climate scientists overwhelmingly say that we will face unprecedented warming in the coming decades. Those same scientists, just like you or I, struggle with the emotions that are evoked by these facts and dire projections. My children—who are now 12 and 16—may live in a world warmer than at any time in the previous 3 million years, and may face challenges that we are only just beginning to contemplate, and in many ways may be deprived of the rich, diverse world we grew up in. How do we relate to – and live – with this sad knowledge?

Across different populations, psychological researchers have documented a long list of mental health consequences of climate change: trauma, shock, stress, anxiety, depression, complicated grief, strains on social relationships, substance abuse, sense of hopelessness, fatalism, resignation, loss of autonomy and sense of control, as well as a loss of personal and occupational identity. Continue reading

Share

How Not To Cover Your Tracks

Sometime today, the Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S.697) will be introduced at a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing. This bill, if enacted into law, would be the first update in 39 years to the federal regulations dealing with toxic chemicals and substances such as asbestos and formaldehyde along with hundreds of other chemicals.

Asbestos cleanup by volunteers, Detroit. Photo by Friend_in_Detroit (mcs asbestos debris) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Asbestos cleanup by volunteers, Detroit. Photo by Friend_in_Detroit (mcs asbestos debris) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The bill has received significant positive press from a diverse group of organizations such as the Environmental Defense Fund and the Technology Sciences Group, It has bipartisan sponsorship; Senators David Vitter (R-LA) and Tom Udall (D-NM). It has many co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle. It is supposed to be the result of two years of negotiation and collaboration between the sponsors, the chemical industry and environmental groups. In other words, something we don’t see very often these days. So, what could possibly be wrong with it? Continue reading

Share

Our Rivers Run Through It

These stones are often walked across by visitors to the place the Mississippi begins. Photo By Mark Evans from Orange City, USA (MN18) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

These stones are often walked across by visitors to the place the Mississippi begins. Photo By Mark Evans from Orange City, USA (MN18) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Lake Itasca State Park is the headwaters of the mighty Mississippi, America’s longest river. When you visit this park in Minnesota, you are in an area of the state seemingly untouched by industry and urbanization. You see only wildlife, hear only birds and the water is crystal clear and ice cold as it trickles over rocks in areas you can literally step across or straddle the river as it begins it journey through the state.

The Mississippi reaches the Twin Cities after winding its way through northern Minnesota; remote farmland and wooded countrysides. By the time it reaches St. Paul, the water has a distinct stench to it, and is not suitable for wading or swimming. By the time it reaches Winona, before leaving its home state, it smells putrid and one must be desperate to consider fishing it for food consumption. Fish are not healthy. The last time I fished this portion of the river, the fish were so contaminated their flesh mushed in my hand when I was attempting to take them off the hook. That was in 1996.

On April 9, 2014, American Rivers Conservation released their “America’s Most Endangered Rivers® report… a list of rivers at a crossroads, where key decisions in the coming months will determine the rivers’ fates. Over the years, the report has helped spur many successes including the removal of outdated dams, the protection of rivers with Wild and Scenic designations, and the prevention of harmful development and pollution.”

San Joaquin River in California. Photo By Dave Gatley (This image is from the FEMA Photo Library.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

San Joaquin River in California. Photo By Dave Gatley (This image is from the FEMA Photo Library.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Topping the list this year is the San Joaquin River in California. Drought and poor water management policies have threatened wildlife and the water supply of the four million people living in the watershed. The river and its tributaries support some of the most productive and profitable agriculture in the world, irrigating more than two million acres of arid land. Without immediate action, all this is endangered.

To see the complete list of 10 rivers named, click here.

Instead of further consideration of defunding, if not totally abolishing, the EPA and other agencies protecting public health and resources, Congress needs to step up and understand saving rivers saves jobs and stabilizes local economies along their banks.

What jobs? Recreation and fishing industries provide jobs and millions of dollars to local economies annually. Agriculture does not exist without water for irrigation of crops. This affects food supplies of grains and feed for livestock. Toxic water makes people sick, contributing to worsened health conditions and illnesses.

Increased industrialization and development of gas and oil drilling will contribute to these serious problems. From the increased traffic of heavy trucks along the banks of these rivers to the toxic runoff and water discharges from drilling and fracking operations, the problem will only increase without intervention. And let’s not forget about the Dan River in North Carolina, polluted with coal ash thanks to Duke Energy, or Freedom Industries’ contribution to the polluted waters of the Elk River in West Virginia.

Congress, while responsible to the public, receives large sums of money from lobbyists in order to allow for more policies favoring corporations, regardless. The mantra of “job-killing regulations” does not translate to what this really means to most Americans – and media is shirking their responsibility to report the problem in its full impacting consequences.

As a result, we will one day wake up and realize all our rivers are poisoned, our fish and birds are dead, we are unable to grow crops, our tap water lights on fire with a match and our cancer rates are skyrocketing. We will ask why, and the government will commission a three year study at tax payer expense to come back and say it is too late to save the environment, but they set up contracts with several corporations to import fresh clean water from China.

Share