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DocWatch
contamination
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News stories about "contamination," with punchlines: http://apocadocs.com/d.pl?contamination
Related Scary Tags:
health impacts  ~ ecosystem interrelationships  ~ climate impacts  ~ toxic leak  ~ heavy metals  ~ toxic buildup  ~ oil issues  ~ toxic water  ~ airborne pollutants  ~ pesticide runoff  ~ corporate malfeasance  



Fri, Jan 8, 2016
from Mother Jones:
The EPA Finally Admitted That the World's Most Popular Pesticide Kills Bees--20 Years Too Late
For more than a decade, the Environmental Protection Agency has been under pressure from environmentalists and beekeepers to reconsider its approval of a class of insecticides called neonicotinoids, based on a mounting body of research suggesting they harm bees and other pollinators at tiny doses. In a report released Wednesday, the EPA basically conceded the case. ...


Let the beestrictions, beenalties, and beecotts beegin.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jan 5, 2016
from Wisconsin State Journal:
Pipeline company sues county over moot insurance requirement
A Canadian oil pipeline company that is building a tar sands oil pumping station in northeastern Dane County sued the county on Monday over the continued inclusion of permit language requiring it to buy spill insurance, despite a new state law forbidding that requirement.... The state Legislature included language in the state budget, signed by Gov. Scott Walker in July, that prohibits such insurance requirements, but the county zoning committee on Sept. 29 voted to restore the requirement, adding a note that reflects the state law... County Board Chairwoman Sharon Corrigan has said that the board left the insurance requirement in the permit in case a future Legislature changes the law. ...


One can always hope.

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Fri, Dec 12, 2014
from Climate Progress:
The Ocean Now Has At Least 700 Pieces Of Plastic Per Person On Earth
A study published on Wednesday estimates that the ocean contains over 260,000 tons, or 5.25 trillion pieces, of plastic. The study found that the amount of microplastics, pieces of plastic that are less than half a centimeter, found on the ocean's surface were much smaller than expected.... Over 90 percent of the searches that the study did contained plastic, and polystyrene made up most of the plastics found. One of the researchers said that in some areas with larger amounts of debris, there was more plastic in the water than living creatures. ...


Planet Polystyrene

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Mon, Dec 1, 2014
from Newsweek:
Boxer Rebellion: A Pocketed Cellphone May Be Behind Your Infertility
The object that billions of people around the world hold to their face to make calls or place in their pocket when not in use emits radio frequency energy, which is considered a potential health hazard... "With fertility, the verdict isn't out anymore," contended Michael Lam in an interview with Newsweek. Lam is the co-founder of Belly Armor, a company that got its start in 2009 making maternity, prenatal and nursing products out of a silver conductive textile. In September, the company expanded their products into the world of male fertility by launching a radiation-shielding boxer brief for men. The underwear, which is specifically targeted to men trying to conceive, costs about $50 a pair due to the high cost of silver fabric. ...


Nothing says "I want to reproduce with you" more than radiation-shielding underwear.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Nov 26, 2014
from Reuters:
Chemicals in sunscreen, aftershave may affect male fertility
A new study suggests chemicals in sunscreen may impair men's ability to father children, government scientists say, but other experts question whether the chemicals wound up in men's urine from sunscreen or through another route. The FDA has not authorized the substances - benzophenone-2, known as BP-2, and 4-hydroxybenzophenone, known as 4-OH-BP - for use in sunscreens. And BP-2 does show up as an ingredient in aftershaves, colognes, antiperspirant and other personal-care products. ...


A natural method for birth control.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Nov 11, 2014
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Traces of radiation from Fukushima detected off California
The first faint traces of radioactivity in the ocean from the Fukushima nuclear disaster have been detected 100 miles off Eureka, a scientist who has been monitoring radiation levels across the Pacific reported Monday. The levels of the radioactive element Cesium-134 were far lower than any radiation that would pose a threat to human or marine life, said Ken Buesseler, a nuclear chemist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod. The radioactivity was detected in samples of ocean water volunteers aboard a research vessel from the Moss Landing Marine Laboratory in Monterey County collected last August. The samples were sent for analysis to Buesseler's lab at Woods Hole.... No federal government agency finances efforts to track radioactivity in ocean water, so Buesseler has created a volunteer organization of coastal residents to collect water samples periodically and send them to his lab at Woods Hole. He has volunteers collecting water samples along the coast from San Diego to Canada and around Hawaii. ...


That's right -- saving the world will require crowdsourcing!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Oct 13, 2014
from London Guardian:
Drugs flushed into the environment could be cause of wildlife decline
Potent pharmaceuticals flushed into the environment via human and animal sewage could be a hidden cause of the global wildlife crisis, according to new research. The scientists warn that worldwide use of the drugs, which are designed to be biologically active at low concentrations, is rising rapidly but that too little is currently known about their effect on the natural world. Studies of the effect of pharmaceutical contamination on wildlife are rare but new work published on Monday reveals that an anti-depressant reduces feeding in starlings and that a contraceptive drug slashes fish populations in lakes. ...


We are fouling our planetary nest.

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Sun, Aug 17, 2014
from PhysOrg:
Mexico acid leak leaves orange river, toxic water
Yesenia is one of 20,000 people left without water since a massive sulfuric acid leak last week at the Buenavista copper mine in northwestern Mexico, one of the largest in the world. She waited in the sweltering heat with her mother and two daughters for water brought into the town of Arizpe by a tanker truck, but left empty-handed after the truck ran dry, unable to meet the demand from the seven affected towns.... An estimated 40,000 cubic meters (10.6 million gallons) of sulfuric acid, which is used to dissolve copper from ore for processing ,leaked out of a holding tank at the mine, owned by leading Latin American mining company Grupo Mexico. The spill happened on August 6, but the authorities say the company only informed them 24 hours later.... Juan Rebolledo, Grupo Mexico's vice president for international relations, downplayed the impact. "The content of these acids is not toxic in itself," he said on radio network Formula. "There's no problem, nor any serious consequence for the population, as long as we take adequate precautions and the company pours lime into the river, as it is currently doing." The mine has dumped 100 tonnes of lime into the Sonora to neutralize the acidity, according to the state government. ...


We've carefully calibrated our response to ensure that neither overalkalinity or overacidity results. There is no problem.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Aug 13, 2014
from Los Angeles Times:
Oil companies fracking into drinking water sources, new research shows
Energy companies are fracking for oil and gas at far shallower depths than widely believed, sometimes through underground sources of drinking water, according to research released Tuesday by Stanford University scientists.... "Thousands of gallons of diesel fuel and millions of gallons of fluids containing numerous inorganic and organic additives were injected directly into these two formations during hundreds of stimulation events," concluded Dominic DiGiulio and Robert Jackson of Stanford's School of Earth Sciences... they point out that there is no way of knowing the effects of fracking into groundwater resources because regulators have not assessed the scope and impact of the activity. ...


It's only water!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 12, 2014
from Scientific American:
BPA-Free Plastic Containers May Be Just as Hazardous
... recent research reveals that a common BPA replacement, bisphenol S (BPS), may be just as harmful. BPA is the starting material for making polycarbonate plastics. Any leftover BPA that is not consumed in the reaction used to make a plastic container can leach into its contents. From there it can enter the body. BPS was a favored replacement because it was thought to be more resistant to leaching.... Nearly 81 percent of Americans have detectable levels of BPS in their urine. And once it enters the body it can affect cells in ways that parallel BPA. A 2013 study by Cheryl Watson at The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston found that even picomolar concentrations (less than one part per trillion) of BPS can disrupt a cell's normal functioning, which could potentially lead to metabolic disorders such as diabetes and obesity, asthma, birth defects or even cancer. ...


From now on, I will only drink from the palm of my hands.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 12, 2014
from Center for Effective Government:
GAO Report Finds Problems with EPA Groundwater Protection Program
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not adequately monitoring more than 172,000 wells used to enhance oil and gas drilling and dispose of drilling wastewater, according to a July 28 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report, based on two years of research, identified several significant problems with EPA's program to protect groundwater from drilling chemicals and wastes. Since millions get their drinking water from groundwater, these problems raise significant questions about how effectively and consistently we are protecting public drinking water. ...


Who cares? It's underground.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Aug 7, 2014
from CBC:
Tailings pond breach in BC threatens pristine deepwater lake system, sockeye salmon; state of emergency declared
A local state of emergency has been declared in an area where a B.C. tailings pond wall collapsed, sending millions of cubic metres of mine waste water and metals-laden sand into local waterways.... The breach sent 10 million cubic metres of water and 4.5 million cubic metres of metals-laden sand out into local waterways, scouring away the banks of Hazeltine Creek and sending debris flowing into Quesnel Lake and Polley Lake, which rose 1.5 metres.... A summary of the material dumped into the tailings pond last year was filed with Environment Canada. It said there was 326 tonnes of nickel, over 400,000 kilograms of arsenic, 177,000 kilograms of lead and 18,400 tonnes of copper and its compounds placed in the pond last year. ...


That was last year. Old news. What's done is done, so let's just move forward in trying to reestablish trust.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Aug 6, 2014
from Columbus Dispatch:
Ohioan gets prison after workers dump toxic drilling brine
The owner of a northeastern Ohio business that collected and stored toxic fluids from oil- and gas-drilling operations was sentenced yesterday in Cleveland to 28 months in federal prison and fined $25,000.... "Clean air and fresh water is the birthright of every man, woman and child in this state," U.S. Attorney Steven Dettelbach said in a statement after the sentencing. "Intentionally breaking environmental laws is not the cost of doing business. It's going to cost business owners their freedom." ...


And brine is exactly what he'll eat for lunch in prison.

ApocaDoc
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Want more context?
Try reading our book FREE online:
Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
More fun than a barrel of jellyfish!
Mon, Aug 4, 2014
from Washington Post:
As more male bass switch sex, a strange fish story expands
...In the latest study, smallmouth bass and white sucker fish captured at 16 sites in the Delaware, Ohio and Susquehanna rivers in Pennsylvania had crossed over into a category called intersex, an organism with two genders.... The previous studies detected abnormal levels of compounds from chemicals such as herbicides and veterinary pharmaceuticals from farms, and from sewage system overflows near smallmouth-bass nesting areas in the Potomac. Those endocrine-disrupting chemicals throw off functions that regulate hormones and the reproductive system. In the newest findings, at one polluted site in the Susquehanna near Hershey, Pa., 100 percent of male smallmouth bass that were sampled had eggs, ...


About time I got some help!

ApocaDoc
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Sat, May 31, 2014
from Associated Press:
Cow blamed for causing spill in North Dakota oil patch
A cow is suspected of causing a spill of natural gas liquids near a tributary of the Little Missouri River, prompting North Dakota regulators to warn energy companies to ensure their facilities are bovine-proof. State Environmental Health Chief Dave Glatt said Thursday that a cow might have rubbed against a tank valve two days earlier, spilling about 20 barrels of natural gas condensate near Sully Creek, south of Medora in western North Dakota. ...


Right. Blame it on the cow.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, May 27, 2014
from Alaska Dispatch:
Arctic sea ice littered with tiny bits of 'microplastic' pollution
Dartmouth scientist Rachel Obbard was looking at samples of Arctic sea ice for small organisms when something else caught her eye: Tiny, bright-colored bits and pieces and miniature string-like objects that did not seem to belong. Those small specks turned out to be a type of pollution known as microplastics. Their presence in sea ice collected from the central Arctic Ocean showed that some of the vast quantities of garbage and pollution floating in the world's seas has traveled to the northernmost waters.... sea ice holding the small bits of trash is thinning and likely to shed them back into the water, where they can be ingested by fish, birds and mammals... ...


At least it sounds kinda pretty.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, May 22, 2014
from Associated Press:
Probe finds scant oversight of chemical plants
The government has no way of fully knowing which U.S. chemical facilities stock ammonium nitrate, the substance that exploded last year at a Texas fertilizer plant and killed 14 people, congressional investigators say. Outdated federal policies, poor information sharing with states and a raft of industry exemptions point to scant federal oversight, says a new report obtained by The Associated Press. The report found regulatory gaps in environmental and worker protections and urged broad changes to U.S. safety rules. ...


Welcome to the United States of Ammonium(nitrate)

ApocaDoc
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Thu, May 22, 2014
from Huffington Post:
Minnesota Becomes First State To Ban Antibacterial Chemical Triclosan From Soaps
It's widely used nationwide as a germ-killing ingredient in soaps, deodorants and even toothpaste, but it's being banned in Minnesota. Gov. Mark Dayton on Friday signed a bill to make Minnesota the first state to prohibit the use of triclosan in most retail consumer hygiene products. The Minnesota House and Senate passed it earlier last week because of health and environmental concerns about the chemical. ...


I'm gonna wash that germ right out of my soap!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, May 12, 2014
from Associated Press:
Fed govt failed to inspect higher risk oil wells
The government has failed to inspect thousands of oil and gas wells it considers potentially high risks for water contamination and other environmental damage, congressional investigators say. The report, obtained by The Associated Press before its public release, highlights substantial gaps in oversight by the agency that manages oil and gas development on federal and Indian lands. Investigators said weak control by the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management resulted from policies based on outdated science and from incomplete monitoring data. ...


All's not well that ends not well.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Apr 30, 2014
from Toronto Globe and Mail:
Climate change and health: drinking water in decline
... Water tainted by agricultural runoff is an old concern in rural Canada, but one that is becoming increasingly worrisome as the climate changes. Extreme weather events, such as sudden deluges and floods, increase the flow of pollutants into surface waters. Extended dry periods cause industrial and organic pollutants to build up on the land - then an intense rainstorm can wash it all at once into watersheds. Those storms also cause floods and erosion, which can overwhelm water-filtration systems. At the same time, river flows are declining and water is residing longer in lakes, concentrating pollutants. The results, being seen across Canada, are increasingly tainted aquifers and nutrient-enriched lakes or drinking reservoirs where toxic algae growth is occurring - even in once pristine water bodies such as those that supply Metro Vancouver. ...


Let them drink Coke.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Apr 29, 2014
from Al Jazeera:
Environment Second radioactive oil waste site found in North Dakota
North Dakota this week confirmed the discovery of a new radioactive dump of waste from oil drilling. And separately, a company hired to clean up similar waste found in February at another location said it had removed more than double the amount of radioactive material originally estimated to be there. The twin disclosures highlight a growing problem from North Dakota's booming Bakken oil development, and for other oil and gas operations across the country: the illegal disposal of radioactive material from drilling sites. Rocks deep in the earth contain naturally radioactive material, and when those rocks are drilled for oil and gas the drilling equipment and water can become slightly irradiated. As more drilling occurs across the nation, experts warn of a brewing crisis of leftover radioactive materials. ...


Clearly, the rocks are at fault here.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Apr 25, 2014
from Associated Press:
Major oil and gas firm to list fracking chemicals
A major supplier to the oil and gas industry says it will begin disclosing 100 percent of the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluid, with no exemptions for trade secrets. The move by Baker Hughes of Houston is a shift for a major firm; it's unclear if others will follow suit... "This really good news. It's a step in the right direction," said Dr. Bernard Goldstein, the former dean of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. "One hopes that the entire industry goes along with it." But Goldstein noted one "major hedge" in the Baker Hughes position, since the company said it will provide complete lists of the products and chemical ingredients used in frack fluids "where accepted by our customers and relevant governmental authorities." ...


Two steps forward, one toxic step back.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Apr 17, 2014
from Huffington Post:
One Year After Texas Disaster, Report Looks At Schools Located Near Chemical Facilities
A new study released Wednesday finds there are almost 10,000 schools across the country located within a mile of a chemical facility. The research was released ahead of the April 17 anniversary of an explosion at a West, Texas, fertilizer plant, which killed 15 people and injured hundreds of others. The explosion left many people wondering why schools and homes were located so close to the plant. The report finds that 4.6 million children attend a school located within a mile of a facility that stores potentially risky chemicals. ...


An opportunity for hands-on learning!

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Mar 22, 2014
from CNN:
Plane search hampered by ocean garbage problem
Another debris field, another new and so-far futile focus in the search for Flight MH370. Two weeks after the Malaysia Airlines jet disappeared, one thing has been made clear: the ocean is full of garbage, literally. "It isn't like looking for a needle in a haystack," Conservation International senior scientist M. Sanjayan said of the difficulty in finding the Boeing 777 aircraft. "It's like looking for a needle in a needle factory. It is one piece of debris among billions floating in the ocean." ...


And the damage done...

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Mar 10, 2014
from McClatchy:
Duke Energy would charge customers for moving coal ash in N.C.
As public pressure builds to dig up coal ash from waste lagoons in North Carolina, Duke Energy is facing a big cleanup bill that the electric utility has been trying to dodge... Duke chief executive Lynn Good said Friday that Duke would seek to recover the cost through customer rates. Billing Duke's customers for such an extensive cleanup operation would require approval from the N.C. Utilities Commission. Critics of Duke's coal-ash storage practices say that customers should be spared and that instead the cost should be borne by Duke and its investors. ...


Where's the Tea Party when you need 'em?

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Mar 7, 2014
from Reuters:
Groups sue EPA to force it to move on pesticide disclosures
Three environmental and public health groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday, seeking to press it to move forward with rules that would require public disclosure of certain pesticide ingredients... The groups claimed there has been an "unreasonable delay" on the EPA's part in finalizing rules to require chemical manufacturers to disclose hazardous inert ingredients in their pesticide products. The groups said there are more than 350 inert pesticide ingredients that can be just as hazardous as active ingredients that are labeled and can comprise up to 99 percent of a pesticide's formulation. Of the common inert ingredients, many are classified as carcinogenic, possibly carcinogenic or potentially toxic, the lawsuit said. ...


Instead of calling them inert we should call them ert.

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You're still reading! Good for you!
You really should read our short, funny, frightening book FREE online (or buy a print copy):
Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
We've been quipping this stuff for more than 30 months! Every day!
Which might explain why we don't get invited to parties anymore.
Thu, Feb 27, 2014
from Reuters:
Accidents spur U.S. to mandate tests of oil moving by train
U.S. regulators issued an emergency order on Tuesday requiring oil from North Dakota being loaded onto trains to be tested and properly labeled to reflect its volatile nature after a series of explosive train derailments over the past year. ...


It always helps to know what sort of explosion you're dying of.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Feb 12, 2014
from CNN:
Officials: Coal slurry spill blackens 6 miles of West Virginia creek
Inspectors are looking into the cause of a coal slurry spill in West Virginia's eastern Kanawha County after it blackened six miles of a creek, officials with the state Department of Environmental Protection said Tuesday. More than 100,000 gallons of the coal slurry is believed to have flowed into Fields Creek, a tributary of the Kanawha River, officials said. Inspectors are testing the water to determine exactly how much leaked into the creek, the officials said. ...


Live by the sword; die by the sword.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Feb 10, 2014
from Reuters:
Chinese villagers mob police in environmental spat: Xinhua
Around 100 villagers attacked a police station in southwestern China on Friday as part of an environmental protest, state media said in a rare report about what are increasingly common demonstrations.... There are tens of thousands of unreported protests in China each year, a rising number of which are over environmental disputes in a country where rapid economic growth has taken its toll on the air, water and land. ...


Here, we just post angry diatribes on Facebook.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Feb 10, 2014
from Al Jazeera:
NC authorities say river has elevated arsenic from coal ash spill
North Carolina's environmental agency says it was wrong to declare the arsenic levels in the Dan River safe for people after a massive coal ash spill. An environmental group had said Friday that its tests indicated the water's chemical levels were high. The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources said Sunday a water sample taken two days after the spill was four times higher than the maximum level for people to have prolonged contact, such as swimming... Critics charge that Duke Energy and the state government are too closely aligned, and that helped the company avoid regulation. Over the last year, environmental groups have tried three times to use the federal Clean Water Act to force Duke Energy to clear out leaky coal ash dumps like the one that ruptured last week, spewing enough toxic sludge into a North Carolina river to fill 73 Olympic-sized pools. Each time, they say, their efforts have been stymied -- by the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources. ...


In the U.S. the fox often guards the hen house.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Feb 10, 2014
from Bloomberg:
Coal Ash Declared Safe for Recycling by EPA
Coal ash from power plants is safe for use in cement and wallboard, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said today in a long-delayed decision that may boost recycling of a major source of industrial waste. The determination and an EPA court filing last month indicating it may not regulate ash as a hazardous waste will boost utilities and companies such as Headwaters Inc. (HW) that use the product. The EPA acted as Duke Energy Corp. (DUK) deals with a spill at a North Carolina coal-ash disposal pond that sent toxic arsenic, chromium and lead into a river. Recycling can help curb the number and use of coal-ash ponds, proponents say. ...


Probably not as toxic as that drywall from China.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Feb 8, 2014
from WFYI:
EPA: Harding Street Plant Responsible For Most Of County's Pollution
A new report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says one Indianapolis power plant is responsible for most of Marion County's pollution. The Agency finds the Harding Street Power Plant caused 88 percent of toxic industrial pollution in the county in 2012. That ranks as one of the worst 100 polluters among electric utilities nationwide and Jodi Perras of the Sierra Club says it is evidence the facility needs to shut down. ...


I give Harding Street a B+ in spoiling our environment!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Feb 4, 2014
from Edmonton Journal:
Pollution from oilsands greater than first believed, new research suggests
A new study released Monday suggests environmental assessments of oilsands projects have underestimated the impact of pollution, raising questions about the accuracy of data used as part of the approval process. Despite taking into account emissions from industry-related activities, researchers from the University of Toronto found estimates in environmental impact statements submitted to regulators were insufficient to explain existing contamination levels in northern Alberta... Examining the reported level of emissions, Wania and his team concluded that other significant sources of contamination need to be considered, including toxins from tailings ponds that are spread as they evaporate into the air. ...


Another blow to the oilsands industry.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Feb 4, 2014
from Charlotte Observer:
Duke Energy plant reports coal-ash spill
Duke Energy said Monday that 50,000 to 82,000 tons of coal ash and up to 27 million gallons of water were released from a pond at its retired power plant in Eden into the Dan River, and were still flowing... Ash was visible on the banks of the Dan River on Monday, and the water was tinted gray. ...


Paradise Losht.

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Tue, Feb 4, 2014
from Environmental Health News:
Canada river 'sweetened' by contaminants
Three artificial sweeteners have been found in a Great Lakes river at the highest concentrations found in surface waters worldwide, according to a new study. The study is one of the first to measure them in a river used for drinking water, and it adds to growing evidence that such compounds are making it past wastewater treatment. ...


Those Great Lakes aren't just great they're sweet!

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Tue, Jan 28, 2014
from Bloomberg News:
Pesticide DDT Linked to Heightened Alzheimer's Risk
The pesticide DDT, banned in the U.S. because of its toxic effects on wildlife and potential to harm human health, may raise the risk for Alzheimer's disease, according to the first study linking the chemical to the brain-ravaging illness. People with Alzheimer's disease had about four times the level of a DDT byproduct in their blood compared with those who didn't have the dementia, according to the research published yesterday in the journal JAMA Neurology. ...


Wish I could remember what DDT is.

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Thu, Jan 23, 2014
from McClatchy:
More oil spilled from trains in 2013 than in previous 4 decades
More crude oil was spilled in U.S. rail incidents last year than was spilled in the nearly four decades since the federal government began collecting data on such spills, an analysis of the data shows. Including major derailments in Alabama and North Dakota, more than 1.15 million gallons of crude oil was spilled from rail cars in 2013, according to data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. By comparison, from 1975 to 2012, U.S. railroads spilled a combined 800,000 gallons of crude oil. The spike underscores new concerns about the safety of such shipments as rail has become the preferred mode for oil producers amid a North American energy boom. ...


Human beings: constantly improving our numbers!

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Thu, Jan 23, 2014
from High Plains Public Radio:
Study Links Natural Gas Drilling and Spills to Hormone Disrupting Chemicals
Chemicals used in gas drilling work against our endocrine system, a network of glands and cells that release hormones into our bodies. The chemical disrupters can effect fertility, sperm counts, cause breast and prostate cancer, compromise our immune system, and even contribute to obesity, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. ...


Drill fatty drill.

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Wed, Jan 22, 2014
from Bergen Record:
Christie declines to sign bill requiring public notice of raw sewage overflows
Governor Christie declined to sign a bill that would have required public notification whenever sewer-outfall pipes dump raw sewage into local rivers and bays, legislation that had received overwhelming support by both parties in the state legislature. The bill also would have required outfall pipes to be clearly marked with signs for swimmers, fishermen, kayakers and other who use the water. Christie's office announced Tuesday that he let the bill expire without signing it - in effect a pocket veto. ...


Why do you suppose he wouldn't want shit to come up?

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Wed, Jan 22, 2014
from Wall Street Journal:
High-Tech Monitors Often Miss Oil Pipeline Leaks
Energy and pipeline companies like to point out they use high-tech sensors and remote-monitoring systems to automatically alert engineers when a pipeline starts to leak oil. However, most leaks usually aren't discovered that way, according to a review of four years of liquid pipeline accident records. The overwhelming majority of these pipeline spills, ruptures and leaks were discovered by somebody near the accident site, a Wall Street Journal review of a database of more than 1,400 accident reports collected by the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration found. ...


Nothing quite packs the punch of someone shouting out ruuuunnnnnn!

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Mon, Jan 20, 2014
from Washington Post:
W.Va. chemical spill poses a new test for lawmakers
There are more than 80,000 chemicals in the United States catalogued by government regulators, and the health risks of most of them are unknown. This became glaringly obvious when, on Jan. 9, a clear, licorice-smelling chemical leaked from an old storage tank into the Elk River in West Virginia... The 15-page material safety data sheet for the chemical, which is manufactured by Tennessee-based Eastman Chemical, uses the phrase "no data available" 152 times. ...


No common sense available either.

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Sun, Jan 12, 2014
from Charleston Gazette:
Minimum 'several days' till safe water
... About 300,000 residents have been told to use water only for flushing toilets since a Thursday chemical spill contaminated the Elk River and the water supply of eight West Virginia counties, and part of a ninth. The chemical, "Crude MCHM," is used in coal processing and leaked out of a 35,000-gallon tank owned by Freedom Industries, a chemical distributor based in Charleston and Nitro. A retaining wall surrounding the tank, supposed to serve as a failsafe, was scheduled for $1 million in repairs. ...


Eek! River

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Thu, Jan 9, 2014
from Fargo Forum:
911 calls from Casselton train derailment show crew member first reported his train carried ethanol
Emergency 911 calls indicate at least one member of the crew involved in the Dec. 30 train derailment and explosion west of Casselton thought the train was carrying ethanol instead of highly combustible Bakken crude oil. Another railroad worker shortly after the accident told dispatchers he was worried the derailed cars could explode, and sought permission to decouple burning cars to prevent a chain reaction. ...


Asleep at the switch(grass).

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Wed, Jan 8, 2014
from Associated Press:
4 states confirm water pollution from drilling
In at least four states that have nurtured the nation's energy boom, hundreds of complaints have been made about well-water contamination from oil or gas drilling, and pollution was confirmed in a number of them, according to a review that casts doubt on industry suggestions that such problems rarely happen. ...


Regarding fracking, industry fribs.

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Tue, Dec 31, 2013
from Reuters:
Special Report: Japan's homeless recruited for murky Fukushima clean-up
Seiji Sasa hits the train station in this northern Japanese city before dawn most mornings to prowl for homeless men. He isn't a social worker. He's a recruiter. The men in Sendai Station are potential laborers that Sasa can dispatch to contractors in Japan's nuclear disaster zone for a bounty of $100 a head. "This is how labor recruiters like me come in every day," Sasa says, as he strides past men sleeping on cardboard and clutching at their coats against the early winter cold. It's also how Japan finds people willing to accept minimum wage for one of the most undesirable jobs in the industrialized world: working on the $35 billion, taxpayer-funded effort to clean up radioactive fallout across an area of northern Japan larger than Hong Kong. ...


The Grapes of Wradiation.

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Tue, Dec 31, 2013
from Al Jazeera:
Researchers find 7,300-sq-mile ring of mercury around tar sands in Canada
Scientists have found a more than 7,300-square-mile ring of land and water contaminated by mercury surrounding the tar sands in Alberta, where energy companies are producing oil and shipping it throughout Canada and the U.S. Government scientists are preparing to publish a report that found levels of mercury are up to 16 times higher around the tar-sand operations -- principally due to the excavation and transportation of bitumen in the sands by oil and gas companies... Kirk and her colleagues' research shows that the development of the tar sands may be responsible for spreading mercury -- which can cause nervous-system damage -- far beyond the areas where drilling and transportation are taking place. ...


I'd be nervous about this if my nervous system functioned properly.

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Tue, Dec 31, 2013
from Los Angeles Times:
Explosive oil train collision triggers evacuation in North Dakota
A small town in North Dakota was being partially evacuated Monday evening after a train carrying crude oil collided with another train, setting off a large fire and explosions, according to the local sheriff's department. No injuries have been reported, Sgt. Tara Morris of the Cass County Sheriff's Office told the Los Angeles Times. ...


No injuries -- except to Mother Earth.

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Mon, Dec 30, 2013
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Breast milk harbors environmental pollutants
It's advice that doctors impart to mothers over and over: Breast milk is the most nutritious, fortifying food they can feed their babies. But women may not be aware of the strong possibility that their milk is also less than pure, an unintended consequence of living in a developed nation. That's because their bodies are exposed to chemicals like pesticides, flame retardants, additives and other chemicals from household products, air, water and food. Breast milk's high fat and protein content tends to attract heavy metals and other contaminants that make their way into a woman's body from the environment, and are then passed on to newborns, albeit usually in minuscule amounts. ...


Udderly busted.

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Mon, Dec 30, 2013
from Huffington Post:
Millions Of Acres Of Chinese Farmland Too Polluted To Grow Food, Highlighting Growing Threat
More than 8 million acres of China's farmland is too polluted with heavy metals and other chemicals to use for growing food, a Cabinet official said Monday, highlighting a problem that is causing growing public concern. The threat from pollution to China's food supply has been overshadowed by public alarm at smog and water contamination but is gaining attention following scandals over tainted rice and other crops. The government triggered complaints in February when it refused to release results of a nationwide survey of soil pollution, declaring them a state secret. The figure given at a news conference by Wang Shiyuan, a deputy minister of the Ministry of Land and Resources, would be about 2 percent of China's 337 million acres of arable land. Some scientists have given higher estimates of as much as 60 million acres, or one-fifth of the total, though it is unclear how much of that would be too badly contaminated for farming. ...


Why don't we build factories on that otherwise useless farmland.

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Fri, Dec 27, 2013
from Environmental Health News:
High PCBs linked to lower testosterone in Mohawk boys.
A new study has linked PCBs exposure to lower testosterone in Native American boys on a reservation along the St. Lawrence River. Because they eat a lot of locally caught fish, the Akwesasne Mohawk, who live on territory between upstate New York, Ontario and Quebec, are highly exposed to banned industrial compounds called polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs. The higher the exposure, the lower the testosterone levels, according to the new study of 127 Mohawk boys between 10 and 17 years old. A 10 percent increase in exposure to PCBs was associated with a 5.6 percent reduction in testosterone... disruption of hormones during adolescence is considered worrisome because it may have long-term repercussions in adulthood, particularly for fertility and reproductive diseases. ...


Boys will not necessarily be boys.

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Fri, Dec 27, 2013
from Los Angeles Times:
An ecosystem of our own making could pose a threat
The plastisphere, a marine ecosystem that starts with bacteria on particles of discarded plastic, is drawing increasing attention. Scientists fear it might host pathogens and leach dangerous chemicals... The plastisphere was six decades in the making. It's a product of the discarded plastic -- flip-flops, margarine tubs, toys, toothbrushes -- that gets swept from urban sewer systems and river channels into the sea. When that debris washes into the ocean, it breaks down into bits that are colonized by microscopic organisms, many of them new to science. Researchers suspect that some of the denizens may be pathogens hitching long-distance rides on floating junk. Scientists also fear that creatures in the plastisphere break down chunks of polyethylene and polypropylene so completely that dangerous chemicals are leached into the environment. ...


I am a plastispherephobe!

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Mon, Dec 23, 2013
from Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research and Education:
New York City Bans Styrofoam Food Containers
The Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research and Education (COARE), applauds the New York City Council for its decision yesterday to ban food service expanded polystyrene (EPS) within city limits. EPS is commonly referred to as "styrofoam." ... With an overwhelming 51-0 unanimous vote, the City Council of New York made a clear statement making NYC the largest in the world to ban foam foodware. Comprising more than 8.3 million people, New York is the most populous city in the U.S., and an estimated 23,000 tons of foam is thrown away in New York City each year. ...


RIP EPS

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Tue, Dec 17, 2013
from Reuters:
Scientists still waiting for clear signs of ozone hole healing
Earth's upper atmosphere is still so saturated with ozone-eating chlorine that it will take about another decade for evidence that a nearly 25-year-old ban on such destructive chemicals is working, scientists said. Full recovery of the ozone layer, which shields Earth from the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation, should occur around 2070... Researchers report puzzlingly large variations in the size of the annual ozone hole over Antarctica. In 2012 for example, the ozone hole was the second smallest on record, an apparently positive sign that the 1989 Montreal Protocol agreement - which called for the phasing out of Freon and other damaging chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs - was working. But scientists say that meteorological effects masked the hole's true size. The year before, they point out, the ozone hole was nearly as big as it was in 2006, the largest on record. ...


My patience is running thin with Mother Earth's procrastinating ways!

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Mon, Dec 16, 2013
from Christian Science Monitor:
Australia approves coal port near Great Barrier Reef
Environmentalists fear that approval for one of the world's largest coal ports and an associated dredging operation to create a 'shipping super-highway' will cause severe damage to Australia's Great Barrier Reef. ...


Another reef bites the dust.

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Thu, Dec 12, 2013
from National Public Radio:
Robots Could Help Farmers Rein In Fertilizer Pollution
Lately, robots have been taking over all kinds of jobs that humans used to do on the farm -- from thinning lettuce to harvesting spinach. Three brothers in Minnesota are betting that robots could compete with machines on the farm, too: the huge, and often inefficient, fertilizer applicators made by John Deere and the like. The brothers' Rowbot, in comparison, is so small it can move between rows of crops and fertilize plants one at a time. "We joked about it being the Roomba of the cornfield," says one of the brothers, Kent Cavender-Bares, referring to the autonomous vacuum cleaner. The motivation for creating a fertilizer robot is simple: Many farmers overuse fertilizer, and that's costly and bad for the environment. But farmers don't have many tools to help them cut back. ...


No shit! Or rather... less shit.

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Mon, Dec 9, 2013
from Associated Press:
Environmentalists, unions seek to fix gas leaks
Unions and environmentalists have found one point of agreement in the bitter debate over the natural gas drilling boom: fixing leaky old pipelines that threaten public health and the environment. It's a huge national effort that could cost $82 billion. The leaks are a problem because methane, the primary component of natural gas, is explosive in high concentrations and is also a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. The Department of Transportation estimates that more than 30,000 miles of decades-old, decaying cast-iron pipe are still being used to deliver gas nationwide. ...


Boy, the cost of duct tape has skyrocketed!

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Thu, Dec 5, 2013
from Environmental Health News:
New report: Unregulated contaminants common in drinking water
Traces of 18 unregulated chemicals were found in drinking water from more than one-third of U.S. water utilities in a nationwide sampling, according to new, unpublished research by federal scientists. Included are 11 perfluorinated compounds, an herbicide, two solvents, caffeine, an antibacterial compound, a metal and an antidepressant. "The good news is the concentrations are generally pretty low," said Dana Kolpin, a research hydrologist with the USGS who participated in the study. "But," he added, "there's still the unknown. Are there long-term consequences of low-level exposure to these chemicals?" ...


Isn't it wonderful to be experimented on every day?

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Wed, Dec 4, 2013
from London Guardian:
Mounting microplastic pollution harms 'earthworms of the sea' -- report
Tiny bits of plastic rubbish ingested by marine worms is significantly harming their health and will have wider impact on ocean ecosystems, scientists have found. Microplastic particles, measuring less than 5mm in size, have been accumulating in the oceans since the 1960s and are now the most abundant form of solid-waste pollution on Earth... Using the lugworm as an indicator species, the first study, from the University of Exeter, found that worms feeding in highly contaminated ocean sediment ate less and had lower energy levels. The second study, from Plymouth University, has established for the first time that ingesting microplastics can transfer pollutants and additives to worms, reducing health and biodiversity. ...


Ingesting plastic makes me invincible!

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Mon, Dec 2, 2013
from Politico:
The $38 billion nuclear waste fiasco
Doing nothing often has a cost -- and when it comes to storing the nation's nuclear waste, the price is $38 billion and rising. That's just the lowball estimate for how much taxpayers will wind up spending because of the government's decades of dithering about how to handle the radioactive leftovers sitting at dozens of sites in 38 states. The final price will be higher unless the government starts collecting the waste by 2020, which almost nobody who tracks the issue expects. ...


Radioactive Leftovers is my band's name!

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Mon, Dec 2, 2013
from Scientific American:
Dandruff Shampoo Could Mess Up Waterways
Every time you wash your hair, a lot of shampoo goes down the drain. And if you're bothered by tiny white flakes, odds are you use a shampoo that deals with dandruff. Such medicinal shampoos often include a fungicide. A fair amount of fungicide thus ends up at the local wastewater treatment plant. Those industrial facilities remove a lot of stinky stuff. But they mostly fail to grab the drugs in soaps, shampoos, toothpastes, perfumes, sunscreen and other skincare products that our daily habits add to wastewater. Now a study has detected fungicides from anti-dandruff shampoos in the water. And even at concentrations as low as 0.5 micrograms per liter of H2O such fungicides can hurt many organisms, from tiny algae to big plants and fish. ...


Shame-poo on you!

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Fri, Nov 29, 2013
from Environmental Health News:
Only half of drugs, other newly emerging contaminants removed from sewage
...More than 1,400 wastewater treatment plants in the United States and Canada discharge 4.8 billion gallons of treated effluent into the Great Lakes basin every day, according to the study. The scientists reviewed 10 years of data from wastewater treatment plants worldwide to see how well they removed 42 compounds that are increasingly showing up in the Great Lakes. Six chemicals were detected frequently and had a low rate of removal in treated effluent: an herbicide, an anti-seizure drug, two antibiotic drugs, an antibacterial drug and an anti-inflammatory drug. Caffeine, acetaminophen and estriol (a natural estrogen) also were frequently detected in sewage but had high removal rates. ...


Whoa. Free drugs, dude!

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Tue, Nov 26, 2013
from On Earth:
Generation Toxic
We've known for years that lead seriously impairs early childhood development. Now scientists are finding that our kids' brains are at risk from a barrage of other common chemicals.... Every day, America's pregnant women and young children are exposed to a trifecta of suspected neurotoxicants in the form of pesticides (mostly via food and water but also home, lawn, and farm applications), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAH (mostly via exposure to vehicle exhaust), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs (flame retardants, mostly in upholstered furniture and electronics). ...


Sounds like a poison party!

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Sat, Nov 23, 2013
from Muncie Star Press:
Insect killer misuse widespread in Indiana
A civil investigation by the state chemist's office last year revealed that Ecolab Pest Elimination had illegally sprayed insect killer inside dozens of restaurants, motels, nursing homes, a hospital, a resort, convenience stores and other buildings throughout the southern half of Indiana... The product is called Termidor, active ingredient fipronil, which is highly effective in controlling ants, termites, cockroaches and other pests. But the manufacturer, BASF Corp., warns on the label it is a violation of state and federal law to use Termidor indoors, because its use indoors has not been evaluated for human or environmental safety. ...


Might as well just nuke 'em.

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Fri, Nov 15, 2013
from Huffington Post:
Texas Gas Pipeline Fire Near Milford Sends Flames Shooting Above Field
A liquid petroleum gas pipeline south of Dallas, Texas caught fire and exploded on Thursday. The fire from the 10-inch line has forced evacuations from the small town of Milford, CBS DFW reported. The explosion occurred at an active drill site after crews punctured the pipeline, according to The Dallas Morning News. The pipeline is owned by Chevron. There may also be a second pipeline at risk of explosion. The Milford fire chief said there are no known injuries, WFAA reported. ...


Pipelines blow so often we can't even keep track!

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Tue, Nov 5, 2013
from Huffington Post:
Hinton Coal Mine Leak: Alberta Pit Failure Dumps Plume Of Refuse Into Athabasca River
The "major failure" of a pit at an Alberta coal mine has released one billion litres of contaminated water into the Athabasca River. The breach at the Obed Mountain Coal Mine has resulted in murky water entering two tributaries, which carried the refuse into the Athabasca and is now visible in the river in the form of a muddy plume, states the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER.)... "It's our understanding that the water has entered two tributaries in the Athabasca River." The pit, which is located approximately 30 kilometres east of Hinton, failed during Halloween, stated the AER. These kinds of incidents are rare, Barter told the Edmonton Journal, adding he was surprised it happened. ...


A billion litres here, a billion litres there, pretty soon it adds up to real contamination.

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Mon, Nov 4, 2013
from Al Jazeera:
Toxicologists 'predicted with certainty' that Gulf of Mexico residents and clean-up workers would become severely ill post-BP.
"After sea kayaking after BP's spill happened, I was sitting at my desk and started coughing up loads of blood," Frizzell, an avid outdoorsman, told Al Jazeera. "My doctor ran a scope down to the top of my lungs and said my bronchi were full of blood." Frizzell's medical records bear out that he was exposed to toxic chemicals, and he is far from alone. Since the spill began in April 2010, Al Jazeera has interviewed hundreds of coastal residents, fishermen, and oil cleanup workers whose medical records, like Frizzell's, document toxic chemical exposure that they blame on BP's oil and the toxic chemical dispersants the oil giant used on the spill.... "BP told the public that Corexit was 'as harmless as Dawn dishwashing liquid'," Dr Susan Shaw, of the State University of New York, told Al Jazeera. "But BP and the EPA clearly knew about the toxicity of the Corexit dispersants long before this spill."... "The combination of crude oil and Corexit is exponentially more toxic than either alone, since they contain many ingredients that target the same organs in the body."... "People across four states expressed concern that these headache-dizziness-nausea-respiratory problems-blood disorders-skin lesions were different than anything they'd experienced before, and far more intense." Ott said that people she is seeing along the roughly 900km impact zone are all consistently describing these same symptoms of exposure to chemicals in the oil and dispersants. ...


We had no choice: Lie, or create public panic. We chose stability.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Oct 31, 2013
from Environmental Health News:
Common insecticides may be linked to kids' behavior problems
Insecticides commonly used in households may be associated with kids' behavior problems, according to a new study by researchers in Quebec. The study is one of the first to investigate potential human health effects of pyrethroids, which are used in more than 3,500 commercial products, including flea bombs and roach sprays. ...


Pests will be pests.

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Thu, Oct 31, 2013
from Bloomberg:
North Dakota Oil Spill Spotlights Obama Delay on Rules
Three years after an oil pipeline rupture in Michigan spilled 843,000 gallons of sludge, government regulators still haven't produced promised rules to compel operators to detect leaks. An oil spill in North Dakota last month and the continued debate over construction of TransCanada Corp. (TRP)'s Keystone XL Pipeline have led to renewed criticism to the government's inaction on safety measures... The issue has entered the contentious debate over TransCanada's proposal to build the Keystone pipeline from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico. Supporters say pipelines are safer than shipping oil by train, truck or barge, and point to the July explosion of a runaway train carrying oil through Quebec that killed 47 people. Critics point to leaks or ruptures in Michigan, Arkansas and now North Dakota to say the lines aren't nearly as safe as proponents argue. ...


Fossil fuels ... just ain't safe.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Oct 28, 2013
from Associated Press:
ND spills went unreported; state testing website
North Dakota, the nation's No. 2 oil producer behind Texas, recorded nearly 300 oil pipeline spills in less than two years, state documents show. None was reported to the public, officials said. According to records obtained by The Associated Press, the pipeline spills -- many of them small -- are among some 750 "oil field incidents" that have occurred since January 2012 without public notification.... Dennis Fewless, director of water quality for the state Health Department, said regulators are reviewing the state's policies for when to publicly report such incidents after a massive spill was discovered last month in northwestern North Dakota by a wheat farmer. State and company officials kept it quiet for 11 days -- and only said something after the AP asked about it. ...


God hath given Man the Earth to Shitteth Upon.

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Thu, Oct 24, 2013
from Huffington Post:
CNRL Primrose Oil Leak Likely Contaminating Aquifers
The leak at the Primrose oilsands project in northern Alberta has likely contaminated groundwater aquifers, the province states in an environmental order. Sticky bitumen, which rose to the surface over six months ago, says the order, "has entered local non-saline groundwater aquifers, likely contaminating the groundwater," according to the Edmonton Journal.... The new order confirms a major problem, groundwater contamination, and should raise a red flag about CNRL's high-pressure steam process known as fracking, for extracting bitumen, New Democrat environment critic Rachel Notley told the Edmonton Journal. ...


Well? Water yer options?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Oct 23, 2013
from Huffington Post:
BP Oil Refinery Waste Stored At Koch Brothers-Owned Site Polluting Nearby Chicago Neighborhoods
Residents in several lower-income Chicago neighborhoods say a dirty oil byproduct from a nearby BP refinery is creating environmental and health hazards -- and no one is doing enough to stop it. "Us little people, we're not millionaires, we're working stiffs," East Side resident Frank Caporale, a Chicago garbage truck driver, told the Sun-Times. "We are being overcome by a super company that we don't have a say in, whether we want it here or not. It's like it came and we're stuck with it." Dust from petroleum coke or "petrocoke" is produced at the nearby BP refinery in Whiting, Ind. but the oil byproduct is stored in Chicago shipping yards on the city's South Side. ...


Beware the PetroKoch.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Oct 23, 2013
from Springfield News-Leader:
Malfunction at power plant spews ash over SW Springfield
A malfunction at City Utilities' John Twitty Energy Center earlier today sent a cloud of ash billowing over the surrounding area. CU said in a news release that a piece of equipment at the power plant "experienced a brief malfunction" that "allowed fly-ash that is normally collected to be released into the atmosphere." "City Utilities has resolved the situation at the power plant and as required, the incident was reported to the proper authorities," the release said. CU said the fly-ash that was released "is not hazardous to people, animals, or vegetation and can be rinsed with water from most surfaces. CU recommends that residents who have vehicles that the ash has landed on to have them washed commercially." ...


Just put your head between your legs and close your eyes and everything will be all right.

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Mon, Oct 21, 2013
from InsideClimate News:
Why Is Exxon Taking Its Time Restarting Its Ruptured Dilbit Pipeline?
In the six months since an ExxonMobil pipeline unleashed Canadian oil in an Arkansas neighborhood, nearby residents have had much to endure -- the muck and stench of heavy crude, lengthy evacuations, sickness and economic loss... Exxon, meanwhile, is not pressing to restart the line. Even though the lengthy outage is costing the company as much as $450,000 a day in lost revenue -- totaling as much as $90 million so far -- Exxon is proceeding slowly, conducting additional tests and digging down to the pipeline in places to assess its condition. That caution could reflect fears that the Pegasus problems might be systemic and costly to solve. But analysts say Exxon also is mindful that additional leaks could sink its chances of salvaging the line for good and also undermine public support for new pipeline projects such as the controversial Keystone XL. ...


Perhaps they've been smoking that pipe.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Oct 14, 2013
from Associated Press:
Lake Erie algae a threat to Ohio drinking water
Toxins from blobs of algae on western Lake Erie are infiltrating water treatment plants along the shoreline, forcing cities to spend a lot more money to make sure their drinking water is safe. It got so bad last month that one township told its 2,000 residents not to drink or use the water coming from their taps... The unsightly surface has scared away tourists, and toxins produced by the algae have contributed to oxygen-deprived dead zones where fish can't survive. The toxins also are a threat to the drinking water that the lake provides for 11 million people. ...


Let them drink Coke.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Oct 11, 2013
from Fargo Forum:
ND pipeline spills 20,600 barrels of oil on farmer's land northeast of Tioga
The farmer who discovered a pipeline break that spilled 20,600 barrels of Bakken crude near here said Thursday he hopes the industry learns from the incident and does a better job monitoring for leaks. Steve Jensen said he's been told by Tesoro Logistics it will take at least two to three years to clean up his field where he noticed the oil spill while harvesting wheat Sept. 29. ...


No sense crying over spilt oil!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Oct 8, 2013
from USA Today:
Researchers raise concerns about BPA and breast cancer
A growing number of health advocates are raising concerns about possible links between the estrogen-like chemical BPA and breast cancer. Consumer concern about BPA, or bisphenol A, has led manufacturers to remove it from baby bottles and infant formula packaging.... The report cites 60 animal and human studies, which link prenatal BPA exposure to an increased risk of a variety of health problems, from breast cancer and prostate cancer to decreased fertility, early puberty, neurological problems and immune system changes. ...


Hope those pink ribbons don't have BPA on 'em.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Oct 7, 2013
from Los Angeles Times:
Study: Honeybees can't smell flowers well amid pollution
When it comes to zeroing in on nectar-rich flowers, worker honeybees rely heavily on their expert sense of smell. But new research suggests pollution from diesel exhaust may fool the honeybee's "nose," making their search for staple flowers all the more difficult. ...


It's not nice to fool Mother Nature.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Oct 7, 2013
from Los Angeles Times:
Company fires scientist who warned of Hanford waste site problems
When senior scientist Walter Tamosaitis warned in 2011 about fundamental design flaws at the nation's largest facility to treat radioactive waste in Hanford, Wash., he was assigned to work in a basement room without office furniture or a telephone. On Wednesday, Tamosaitis, an employee of San Francisco-based URS Corp., was laid off from his job after 44 years with the company... The Hanford site is the nation's most contaminated property, holding 56 million gallons of highly radioactive sludge in underground tanks, some of which are leaking. The complex sits on a plateau above the Columbia River, which could be threatened if the cleanup fails to contain the tank waste. ...


Thank goodness he didn't complain about the toilet seat being left up!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Oct 2, 2013
from Louisville Courier-Journal:
Sinkhole terrain will challenge pipeline developers
Even as landowners and officials battle the merits of the planned Bluegrass Pipeline, experts say that Kentucky's sinkhole and cavern-riddled geology poses major construction and operational challenges to its developers. One geologist said the potential problems are so significant that they need to be fully evaluated before any dirt gets turned on the plan to run about 150 miles of new 24-inch diameter pipeline through Kentucky. The pipeline would carry natural gas liquids from Pennsylvania to the Gulf Coast. ...


Those sinkholes could easily become stinkholes.

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Wed, Oct 2, 2013
from Duke University :
Streams Below Fracking Wastewater Treatment Show Elevated Salts, Metals, Radioactivity
Elevated levels of radioactivity, salts and metals have been found in river water and sediments at a site where treated water from oil and gas operations is discharged into a western Pennsylvania creek. "Radium levels were about 200 times greater in sediment samples collected where the Josephine Brine Treatment Facility discharges its treated wastewater into Blacklick Creek than in sediment samples collected just upstream of the plant," said Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment. ...


I'd hate to see what untreated wastewater is like.

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Wed, Oct 2, 2013
from Midwest Energy News:
Chambers of Commerce want fracking oversight left to states
Calling shale gas a "great new resource of energy" that "creates millions of quality jobs," Chambers of Commerce in 20 states are calling on the EPA to leave fracking oversight to state regulators. In a letter sent to Administrator Gina McCarthy on September 20, the group points to Illinois as an example of states that have "passed legislative regulations ensuring that hydraulic fracturing is employed safely, transparently and with a continued commitment to environmental protection." ...


What could go wrong?

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Tue, Oct 1, 2013
from Environmental Research Web:
Antibacterial products fuel resistant bacteria in streams and rivers
Invented for surgeons in the 1960s, triclosan slows or stops the growth of bacteria, fungi, and mildew. Currently, around half of liquid soaps contain the chemical, as well as toothpastes, deodorants, cosmetics, liquid cleansers, and detergents. Triclosan enters streams and rivers through domestic wastewater, leaky sewer infrastructure, and sewer overflows, with residues now common throughout the United States. Emma Rosi-Marshall, one of the paper's authors and an aquatic ecologist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in Millbrook, New York explains: "The bacterial resistance caused by triclosan has real environmental consequences. Not only does it disrupt aquatic life by changing native bacterial communities, but it's linked to the rise of resistant bacteria that could diminish the usefulness of important antibiotics." ...


I think it's time to declare war on bacteria.

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Fri, Sep 20, 2013
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Brain-eating amoeba rattles nerves in La. parish
While officials try to pin down the source of a deadly amoeba found in the water supply of a suburban New Orleans community, bottled water sales in St. Bernard Parish have skyrocketed and some people worry about washing their faces in the shower. That's despite experts who say the only danger is to people who manage to get the microscopic organism way up their noses. Its only entry to the brain is through minute openings in a bone about level with the top of the eyeball, said Dr. Raoult Ratard, Louisiana's state epidemiologist. ...


Rule #1: Don't snort water!

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Thu, Sep 19, 2013
from Midwest Energy News:
Report: Social costs, if accounted for, make coal uneconomical
New research from a national environmental group finds that the cost of producing electricity from renewable resources like wind and solar is lower than that of conventional coal-fired generation when factoring for the adverse costs of climate change and human health impacts. That conclusion, derived from analysis on the "social cost of carbon," is at the heart of a study published in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences... ...


Clearly these durn tree huggers don't care a whit about keeping the poor healthcare industry alive!

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Thu, Sep 19, 2013
from Environmental Health News:
Women living near pesticide-treated fields have smaller babies
Women in Northern California farm towns gave birth to smaller babies if they lived within three miles of strawberry fields and other crops treated with the pesticide methyl bromide, according to researchers. The soil fumigant, which is injected into the soil before planting, can volatize into the air, exposing nearby neighborhoods. Use of methyl bromide has been declining over the past decade under an international treaty that phases out chemicals that deplete the Earth's protective ozone layer. Strawberries and a few other crops are exempt under the ban because they are deemed "critical uses." ...


I have always considered babies to be pests.

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Wed, Sep 18, 2013
from Agence France-Press:
Ecuador's Correa calls for Chevron boycott
Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa called Tuesday for a global boycott of Chevron, as part of a campaign to highlight Amazon pollution that Quito has attributed to the US oil giant. Chevron has never worked directly in Ecuador but inherited a pollution lawsuit when it acquired Texaco in 2001, and has yet to pay an associated $19 billion fine. "This is one of the biggest environmental disasters in the world," Correa said as he launched the campaign in the town of Aguarico, in the north Amazonian province of Sucumbios, where Texaco operated between 1964 and 1990. "The tools that we will use to fight Chevron are the truth and a call for solidarity of citizens of the world to not buy Chevron products," he said. ...


We citizens of the world have to get started somewhere.

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Wed, Sep 18, 2013
from Reuters:
Holy water in Austria unsafe to drink: researchers
Holy water at religious shrines and churches in Austria is often contaminated with fecal matter and bacteria, researchers have found, advising the faithful not to drink it, especially in hospital chapels. Scientists at Vienna University medical school's Institute of Hygiene and Applied Immunology came to the conclusion after analyzing the water quality at 21 "holy" springs and 18 fonts at churches and chapels at various times of year. Only 14 percent of the water samples from holy sources showed no fecal contamination, and none of the springs could be recommended as a source of drinking water, the study presented to a conference in Vienna this week found. ...


You'd pretty much have to call that holy shit water.

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Tue, Sep 17, 2013
from Chemical and Engineering News:
Microplastic Beads Pollute Great Lakes
An array of skin care cleansers on the market promise to exfoliate and unclog pores. Some of these skin-scrubbing products contain tiny beads of plastic scattered through a gel or creamy paste. After washing with these cleansers, consumers rinse the soapy stuff -- along with its teeny spheres -- down the drain, giving nary a thought to what happens to the plastic bits, which are less than 1 mm in diameter. Now, researchers are finding plastic microbeads in the Great Lakes. They say the miniscule spheres could harm aquatic animals that mistake them for food. Perhaps more ominously, they worry that the plastic balls could help transfer toxic pollutants from the Great Lakes to the food chain, including fish that people eat. ...


It's worth it if my skin is squeaky clean!

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Mon, Sep 16, 2013
from InsideClimate News:
Americans Finding Themselves Powerless to Stop Pipeline Companies From Taking Their Land
...Michigan, like almost every other state that is crisscrossed by oil pipelines, does not stipulate how much space should separate pipelines from houses. The state's Public Service Commission asks only that pipelines be "designed and routed in a reasonable manner."... A section of the new line already has been installed about 7 feet from Marty Burke's house in Howell, Mich. -- so close that Enbridge used a special process to make sure his foundation didn't collapse. "At every level of government I contacted, they all said they had no regulations or no authority to do anything," Burke said. ...


Maybe he could hang his laundry on it.

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Thu, Sep 12, 2013
from Honolulu Civil Beat:
Molasses Spill Could Cause Substantial Damage to Marine Life
State officials are rushing to head off an environmental and health disaster in Honolulu Harbor, where nearly a quarter million gallons of molasses from a ruptured pipeline have caused a massive marine die-off. On Wednesday, colorful surgeonfish, pufferfish and eels were swaying limp or lifeless in the currents. How much damage the molasses spill has caused was still being assessed. But health officials estimate that it's killing thousands of fish and damaging coral reefs. ...


Honey, I killed all the fish!

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Tue, Sep 10, 2013
from American Chemical Society:
State E-Waste Disposal Bans Have Been Largely Ineffective
One of the first analyses of laws banning disposal of electronic waste (e-waste) in municipal landfills has found that state e-waste recycling bans have been mostly ineffective, although California's Cell Phone Recycling Act had a positive impact on cell phone recycling. However, e-waste recycling rates remain "dismally low," and many demographic groups remain unaware of their alternatives for properly disposing of e-waste, according to the study. Presented in Indianapolis today at the 246th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), it found that providing more information to women and older people could increase the effectiveness of e-waste disposal bans and recycling programs. ...


Right. Put the burden on women and old people, again.

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Mon, Sep 9, 2013
from Huffington Post:
EPA Quietly Withdraws Two Proposed Chemical Safety Rules
The Environmental Protection Agency this week quietly withdrew two draft rules dealing with the regulation of chemicals. The potential rules were in limbo at the Office of Management for several years. One of the rules was a proposal to add Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical included in many water bottles and other plastic products that has been linked to a number of potential health concerns, to the list of "chemicals of concern" that would be subject to more scrutiny. The EPA also proposed listing eight different types of phthalates, another group of chemicals often used in plastic products, and several types of flame retardants known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs).... A second rule that EPA withdrew would have forced companies to disclose to the public the chemicals used in products and the health and safety studies the companies have conducted on those chemicals -- much of which companies have been allowed to protect as "confidential business information." ...


So much for the "protection" promised by the EPA.

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Tue, Sep 3, 2013
from Environmental Health News:
New study suggests "universal fetal exposure" to BPA
A new study in California found bisphenol A in all samples of umbilical cord blood obtained from pregnant women, suggesting universal fetal exposure. More than one-third of the samples had levels comparable to or higher than levels associated with health effects in animals. All samples of umbilical cord blood obtained from pregnant women in California had detectable levels of bisphenol A, suggesting "universal fetal exposure," according to newly published research. The study is the first to show that second-trimester fetuses are widely exposed to relatively high levels of BPA, an estrogen-like substance found in polycarbonate plastic, food can liners and other commonplace consumer products. ...


"Universal"? Don't they mean planet-wide?

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Tue, Sep 3, 2013
from AP, via HuffingtonPost:
Fukushima Disaster: Japan To Build Costly Subterranean Ice Wall To Stop Nuclear Reactor Leaks
The Japanese government announced Tuesday that it will spend $470 million on a subterranean ice wall and other steps in a desperate bid to stop leaks of radioactive water from the crippled Fukushima nuclear station after repeated failures by the plant's operator. The decision is widely seen as an attempt to show that the nuclear accident won't be a safety concern just days before the International Olympic Committee chooses between Tokyo, Istanbul and Madrid as the host of the 2020 Olympics.... The ice wall would freeze the ground to a depth of up to 30 meters (100 feet) through an electrical system of thin pipes carrying a coolant as cold as minus 40 degrees Celsius (minus 40 Fahrenheit). That would block contaminated water from escaping the facility's immediate surroundings, as well as keep underground water from entering the reactor and turbine buildings, where much of the radioactive water has collected.... With anti-government demonstrations plaguing Istanbul, Turkey's bid and a recession and high Spanish unemployment hanging over Madrid's candidacy, Tokyo is pushing its bid as the safe choice in uncertain times. ...


It's sad when "a safe choice in uncertain times" means "160 miles from our Acme Sure-Fire Death Ray Protection System."

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Mon, Sep 2, 2013
from Wall Street Journal:
New Radiation Hotspots Found at Fukushima Daiichi
TOKYO -- The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex said over the weekend that its struggles to control highly radioactive water had suffered new setbacks. The company announced the discovery of contaminated spots in new parts of the compound where the water is stored, while radiation levels jumped to highly dangerous levels in another part of that area where readings were previously lower. ...


There is no "me" in Daiichi.

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Wed, Aug 21, 2013
from Mother Jones:
The Solar Industry's New Dirty Secret
It's no secret that manufacturing solar panels often requires toxic heavy metals, explosive gases, and rare-earth elements that come from shoddy mines in war-torn republics. But here's a surprise: The solar industry is actually getting dirtier in some respects. The latest Solar Scorecard from the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC), released last week, reports that the industry has slipped on several key environmental metrics, with many solar-panel manufacturers now refusing to provide any information about their manufacturing practices at all. ...


The Sun: She never hides the truth.

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Wed, Aug 14, 2013
from Reuters:
Insight: After disaster, the deadliest part of Japan's nuclear clean-up
The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant is preparing to remove 400 tons of highly irradiated spent fuel from a damaged reactor building, a dangerous operation that has never been attempted before on this scale. Containing radiation equivalent to 14,000 times the amount released in the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima 68 years ago, more than 1,300 used fuel rod assemblies packed tightly together need to be removed from a building that is vulnerable to collapse, should another large earthquake hit the area. Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) is already in a losing battle to stop radioactive water overflowing from another part of the facility, and experts question whether it will be able to pull off the removal of all the assemblies successfully. ...


Oh Fukushima ... will the horrors ever end?

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Fri, Aug 9, 2013
from The Asahi Shimbun, via Desdemona:
Radioactivity levels in Fukushima groundwater increase 47-fold over 5 days
Radioactivity levels soared 47-fold over just five days in groundwater from a monitoring well on the ocean side of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, the plant operator said Aug. 5. Tokyo Electric Power Co. said 56,000 becquerels of radioactive substances, including strontium, were detected per liter of groundwater sampled on Aug. 5 in the "No. 1-5" monitoring well, which is adjacent to the turbine building for the No. 1 reactor. The previous measurement for the well water was made on July 31. ...


It's a nuclear trickledown!

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Mon, Jul 15, 2013
from Akron Beacon Journal:
Portage County is No. 1 in Ohio for injecting drilling wastes
Portage County injected enough drilling wastes deep into the ground in 2012 to fill a train of tanker cars that would stretch nearly 37 miles from downtown Akron to the center of Garrettsville. State records show that Portage was No. 1 in Ohio last year for waste injections, delivering 2,358,371 ... barrels of brine and other wastes into 15 active wells -- nearly two-thirds of it from out of state. The volume grew 18.7 percent from 1,986,653 barrels in 2011. ...


Portage County: Dumping ground of the Midwest!

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Sat, Jul 13, 2013
from All Alabama:
Renowned whale expert studying Deepwater Horizon's toxic effect on Gulf sperm whales
... By going to the top of the food chain, Payne and the research team aboard the 93-foot research vessel, the Odyssey, hope to discover the long-term impacts of the spill that loosed 4.9 million barrels of oil and more than 1 million gallons of the dispersant Corexit into the Gulf.... "Every step of the food chain you get about a 10 times increase in the concentration of a contaminant, so if you're dealing with an animal at the sixth level of the food chain, you get 10 to the sixth power," Payne said. "That's a million times the concentration, so when you get some of these contaminants, even though they're in fantastically low concentrations in the water, when you concentrate them up a million times, you're creating a real hazard in the animal." ...


Jeez, whales: toughen up!

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Wed, Jun 5, 2013
from CNN:
Nepalese farmers go organic with human waste
Jeevan Maharjan has a different approach to human waste -- he considers it as wealth. Rather than flush it down the toilet, the 47-year-old Nepalese farmer collects it to spray on his crops. "It's three times better than chemical fertilizers," he said .... The urine and feces are stored in separate airtight compartments of the toilet, he said, for later use on the land. The urine is kept for about two weeks before it is used, while the feces, which is turned into manure, is used every six months. ...


Aged ... like fine wine.

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Wed, May 29, 2013
from Time Magazine:
Study Links Exposure to Bug and Weed Killers to Higher Risk for Parkinson's
Who doesn't want a pristine lawn free of annoying weeds and bugs? But some of those pest-fighting strategies may come with a price -- to your health. A new study published in the journal Neurology found that pesticides, which have already been linked to a range of health complications from allergies to lower IQ levels, may also play a role in the development of Parkinson's. ...


Revenge of the Lawn

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Wed, May 29, 2013
from Kansas City Star:
Wal-Mart pleads guilty in case involving pesticides sent to Missouri contractor
Retailer Wal-Mart resolved years of hazardous-waste complaints Tuesday with criminal guilty pleas in Missouri and California and the settlement of a civil lawsuit filed by federal environmental authorities. The day's admissions cost the company about $81.6 million in fines and penalties, an amount that the company said would "not be material to its financial position." ...


Chump change

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Wed, May 22, 2013
from Columbus Dispatch:
Consumers could pay to clean up old natural-gas plants
Natural-gas utilities want to change the law to make clear that consumers rather than shareholders can be charged cleanup costs for about 90 abandoned natural-gas plants in the state, according to an amendment that might get tucked into the state budget. Some of the gas plants date to the 1800s, when communities used coal and other fuels to manufacture natural gas for use in lighting. The plants have all shut down, leaving polluted sites that have largely been absorbed by the state's major utilities. ...


The customer is always screwed.

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Tue, May 21, 2013
from Center for Public Integrity:
'Upset' emissions: Flares in the air, worry on the ground
....unplanned emissions -- known in regulatory parlance as "upsets" -- are occurring more often than industry admits or government knows, according to more than 50 interviews with regulators, activists, plant representatives, workers and residents, and an analysis of tens of thousands of records by the Center for Public Integrity. For many communities, these upsets have evolved into an invisible menace: They disrupt lives, yet offenders are rarely punished. ...


Whoops! I just had an unplanned emission!

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Tue, May 14, 2013
from Michigan Live:
Small crack found in tank at Palisades nuclear plant; inspection still ongoing, executives say
Eight days after Palisades Nuclear Power Plant shut down May 5, an inspection is still ongoing of the safety injection refueling water tank. Until that inspection is complete, residents of Southwest Michigan won't know what the permanent solution to repair the leaking tank will be. It will, however, have to pass muster with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph....So far, the inspection has turned up a crack about -inch-long around a nozzle... ...


A little crack goes a looooong way.

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Mon, May 13, 2013
from RT:
US approves new pesticides linked to mass bee deaths as EU enacts ban
In the wake of a massive US Department of Agriculture report highlighting the continuing large-scale death of honeybees, environmental groups are left wondering why the Environmental Protection Agency has decided to approve a "highly toxic" new pesticide.... One group, Beyond Pesticides, has called the EPA's recent green light for use of a new insecticide known as sulfoxaflor irresponsible in light of its "highly toxic” classification for honey bees. ...


Here in the US we expect our bees to toughen up.

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Mon, May 13, 2013
from Center for Public Integrity:
'Chemicals of Concern' list still wrapped in OMB red tape
For anyone anxious about toxic chemicals in the environment, Sunday marked a dubious milestone. It has been three years since the "chemicals of concern” list landed at the White House Office of Management and Budget. The list, which the Environmental Protection Agency wants to put out for public comment, includes bisphenol A, a chemical used in polycarbonate plastic water bottles and other products; eight phthalates, which are used in flexible plastics; and certain flame-retardant compounds called polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs....The EPA proposal arrived at OIRA on May 12, 2010. There it remains -- a symbol, some say, of a broken regulatory system. ...


What's three years in the scheme of things?

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Wed, May 8, 2013
from CBCNews:
Enbridge breaks safety rules at pipeline pump stations across Canada
The biggest oil and gas pipeline company in Canada is breaking National Energy Board safety rules at 117 of its 125 pump stations across the country, but Enbridge says it's not to blame. Enbridge was ordered by the Canadian energy regulator to disclose whether or not it had backup power to operate emergency shut-down systems in the facilities that keep oil flowing through its pipes. The company told the NEB only eight of its pump stations complied with the board's backup power system regulation. On top of that, Enbridge disclosed that 83 of its pump stations were missing emergency shut-down buttons. ...


I'm not to blame for anything!

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Tue, May 7, 2013
from Science News:
Toxic waste sites may cause health problems for millions
Living near a toxic waste site may represent as much of a health threat as some infectious diseases, a study in three developing countries finds. Researchers analyzed 373 toxic waste sites in India, Indonesia and the Philippines, where an estimated 8.6 million people are at risk of exposure to lead, asbestos, hexavalent chromium and other hazardous materials. Among those people at risk, the exposures could cause a loss of around 829,000 years of good health as a result of disease, disability or early death, the team reports May 4 in Environmental Health Perspectives. ...


What doesn't kill you ... really kills you.

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Mon, May 6, 2013
from Agence France-Press:
Hong Kong risks losing its pink dolphins
Conservationists warned on Monday that Hong Kong may lose its rare Chinese white dolphins, also known as pink dolphins for their unique colour, unless it takes urgent action against pollution and other threats. Their numbers in Hong Kong waters have fallen from an estimated 158 in 2003 to just 78 in 2011, with a further decline expected when figures for 2012 are released next month, said the Hong Kong Dolphin Conservation Society. ...


With whom will the blue dolphins mate?

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Mon, May 6, 2013
from Environmental Health News:
'Chemicals of high concern' found in thousands of children's products
Cobalt in plastic building blocks and baby bibs. Ethylene glycol in dolls. Methyl ethyl ketone in clothing. Antimony in high chairs and booster seats. Parabens in baby wipes. D4 in baby creams. An Environmental Health News analysis of thousands of reports from America's largest companies shows that toys and other children's products contain low levels of dozens of industrial chemicals, including some unexpected ingredients that will surprise a public concerned about exposure. The reports were filed by 59 large companies, including Gap, Mattel, Gymboree, Nike, H&M and Wal-Mart, to comply with an unprecedented state law. ...


Not totally sure the public gives a shit.

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Mon, May 6, 2013
from Detroit Free Press:
Palisades nuclear power plant shuts down after water leak
COVERT TOWNSHIP, MICH.-- Operators of the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant in southwestern have removed it from service because of a repeat water leak from a tank that caused seepage into the control room last year.... The plant is owned by New Orleans-based Entergy Corp. and has been under extra NRC scrutiny after numerous safety issues. There were four shutdowns last year and at least two this year. ...


This plant is a vewy vewy bad plant!

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Mon, May 6, 2013
from InsideClimate News:
The Case of the Disappearing Dilbit: How Much Oil Was Released in 2010 Pipeline Spill?
A key piece of data related to the biggest tar sands oil spill in U.S. history has disappeared from the Environmental Protection Agency's website, adding to confusion about the size of the spill and possibly reducing the fine that the company responsible for the accident would be required to pay. The July 2010 accident on an Enbridge Inc. pipeline dumped thousands of barrels of Canadian dilbit into the Kalamazoo River and surrounding wetlands. But almost three years and two federal investigations later, one of the most important questions about the spill remains unanswered: Exactly how much oil spilled from the pipeline? ...


The Powers That Be are all-powerful.

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Wed, May 1, 2013
from International Herald Tribune:
Billions of Cellphones Polluting the World
Once considered a status symbol, cellphones have become ubiquitous. There are now 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide, 800 million more than at the end of 2011. But mobile technology poses serious environmental challenges, both because of the raw materials needed to produce the hardware and the pollution associated with disposal. ...


6.8 billion? Population is 7.1 billion. Those 300,000,000 poor souls.

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Tue, Apr 30, 2013
from New York Times:
Flow of Tainted Water Is Latest Crisis at Japan Nuclear Plant
Two years after a triple meltdown that grew into the world's second worst nuclear disaster, the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is faced with a new crisis: a flood of highly radioactive wastewater that workers are struggling to contain. Groundwater is pouring into the plant's ravaged reactor buildings at a rate of almost 75 gallons a minute. It becomes highly contaminated there, before being pumped out to keep from swamping a critical cooling system. A small army of workers has struggled to contain the continuous flow of radioactive wastewater, relying on hulking gray and silver storage tanks sprawling over 42 acres of parking lots and lawns. The tanks hold the equivalent of 112 Olympic-size pools. ...


This image of Fukushima is brought to you by Hieronymus Bosch.

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Tue, Apr 30, 2013
from Climate Central:
Hurricane Sandy's Untold Filthy Legacy: Sewage
Hurricane Sandy was one of the largest storm to hit the northeast U.S. in recorded history, killing 159, knocking out power to millions, and causing $70 billion in damage in eight states. Sandy also put the vulnerability of critical infrastructure in stark relief by paralyzing subways, trains, road and air traffic, flooding hospitals, crippling electrical substations, and shutting down power and water to tens of millions of people. But one of the larger infrastructure failures is less appreciated: sewage overflow. ...


And the turds shall inherit the earth.

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Tue, Apr 9, 2013
from Great Lakes Echo:
Toxic chemicals turn up in Great Lakes plastic pollution
Toxic chemicals clinging to plastics could cause health problems for fish and other organisms in the Great Lakes. They were discovered in samples from the first-ever Great Lakes plastic survey in Lake Erie, Lake Huron and Lake Superior last summer, Lorena Rios Mendoza, an assistant chemistry professor at the University of Wisconsin -- Superior, announced Monday. And instead of just sitting in sediments as some scientists previously thought, those pollutants might be traveling with plastics to other parts of the Great Lakes. ...


Buncha hitchhikers.

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Fri, Apr 5, 2013
from Treehugger:
Exxon won't pay into cleanup fund because oil spilled in Arkansas isn't "oil"
Despite spilling tens, if not hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil and chemicals into an Arkansas neighborhood, thanks to a loophole in a law from 1980, ExxonMobil will not be paying into a federal oil spill cleanup fund because the oil they spilled is not the right type of oil. It is a twisted example of the legal technicalities and lax regulations that all too often favor oil companies, but a coalition of environmental groups are working to close the loophole. ...


Nor do I pay for my methane releases charmingly referred to as "farts."

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Wed, Apr 3, 2013
from InsideClimate News:
At Oil Spill Cleanup in Arkansas, Exxon Running the Show, Not Federal Agencies
...The town of 2,000 people is now suddenly the focus of national attention in the divisive debate over whether President Obama should approve the Keystone XL, a $5 billion pipeline to ship Alberta's heavy crude to U.S. refineries along the Texas coast. The stakes are high and Exxon is running the show here, with federal agencies so far publicly invisible. ...


They'd just get in the way.

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Fri, Mar 29, 2013
from Reuters, via NBC, through DesdemonaDespair:
EPA: More than half of U.S. rivers unsuitable for aquatic life
Fifty-five percent of U.S. river and stream lengths were in poor condition for aquatic life, largely under threat from runoff contaminated by fertilizers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said on Tuesday. High levels of phosphorus and nitrogen, runoff from urban areas, shrinking ground cover and pollution from mercury and bacteria were putting the 1.2 million miles of streams and rivers surveyed under stress, the EPA said.... Twenty-one percent of the United States' river and stream length was in good biological condition, down from 27 percent in 2004, according to the survey, carried out in 2008 and 2009 at almost 2,000 sites. ...


I guess the cost of progress is measured in gigagallons.

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Thu, Mar 28, 2013
from Guardian:
Peru declares environmental state of emergency in its rainforest
Peru has declared an environmental state of emergency in a remote part of its northern Amazon rainforest, home for decades to one of the country's biggest oil fields, currently operated by the Argentinian company Pluspetrol. Achuar and Kichwa indigenous people living in the Pastaza river basin near Peru's border with Ecuador have complained for decades about the pollution, while successive governments have failed to deal with it. Officials indicate that for years the state lacked the required environmental quality standards.... In declaring the state of emergency, Peru's environment ministry said tests in February and March found high levels of barium, lead, chrome and petroleum-related compounds at different points in the Pastaza valley. Pluspetrol, the biggest oil and natural gas producer in Peru, has operated the oil fields since 2001. It took over from Occidental Petroleum, which began drilling in 1971, and, according to the government, had not cleaned up contamination either. ...


Can we extend the boundaries of that emergency? Like, to "everywhere"?

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Tue, Mar 26, 2013
from Agence France-Press:
Dead ducks in Chinese river as swine flow eases
SHANGHAI -- At least 1000 dead ducks were found floating in a Chinese river, state media reported Monday, after Shanghai said it had almost finished recovering thousands of deceased pigs from its main waterway. The ducks were fished out of a section of river by authorities in the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan, the official Xinhua news agency said. They were then buried in plastic bags three meters underground, the report added. It did not specify how the ducks had died. The report came after Shanghai officials said a clean-up was close to ending after an embarrassing pollution case which saw dead pigs floating down the city's main river, with the total number recovered standing at more than 16,000. ...


I don't think I'll be swimming in that river any time soon!

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Tue, Mar 26, 2013
from London Guardian:
One in five French bottled waters 'contain drugs or pesticides'
They are sold as being cleaner, healthier and purer than the water that spouts from the average French tap. Now, however, an investigation has discovered traces of pesticides and prescription drugs -- including a medicine used to treat breast cancer -- in almost one in five brands of bottled water on the shelves of France's supermarkets. While scientists say the contamination is minuscule and the water remains safe, consumer groups are warning of a "potential cocktail effect" for drinkers, and say the findings raise serious environmental concerns. ...


Sacre bleu!

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Mon, Mar 25, 2013
from Associated Press:
Chevron fuel spill in Utah much worse than thought
A Chevron fuel spill near a northern Utah bird refuge is much worse than originally thought as up to 27,000 gallons might have leaked, authorities said. A split in a pipeline that runs from Salt Lake City to Spokane, Wash., is suspected of releasing diesel fuel into soil and marshes at Willard Bay State Park ... Initial reports pegged the spill at up to 6,000 gallons, and Chevron later revised that to some 8,100 gallons. ...


Just once could we read a story with the headline: Spill much better than thought?

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Tue, Mar 19, 2013
from USA Today:
Bird group calls for halt to widely applied insecticide
...The [Anerican] Bird Conservancy, one of the nation's most active bird-conservation groups, released a 97-page report Monday that says that independent studies of the damage to birds and aquatic ecosystems they depend upon for food raise "significant environmental concerns" and that the Environmental Protection Agency has been too lenient in allowing the use of this class of insecticides, called neonicotinoids. Their possible role in the decline of honeybee populations in the USA and Europe has spurred intense debate among scientists, wildlife advocates and manufacturers, and the EPA is re-evaluating its registration of this class of insecticide. ...


Let me tell you 'bout the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees...

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Mar 19, 2013
from Associated Press:
Crippled Japanese nuclear plant suffers blackout
A power failure at Japan's tsunami-damaged nuclear plant on Monday night has left three fuel storage pools without fresh cooling water for hours, the plant's operator said. Tokyo Electric Power Co. said the power failure at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant was brief at its command center but continued for hours at three of the seven fuel storage pools and at several other facilities, including one that treats water contaminated with radioactivity. ...


In the post-Apocalyptic future, "Fukushima" will be synonymous with "cursed."

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Mar 19, 2013
from Environmental Health News:
Fish lose sense of smell in polluted waters
Fish in lakes tainted with metals are losing their sense of smell, stoking concern among experts that the problem could devastate populations. But if the fish can just get into cleaner water -- even if they've been exposed to pollutants their whole life -- they start sniffing things properly again, according to new research out of Canada. Fish use their sense of smell to find mates and food, and to avoid getting eaten. It helps them navigate their often murky world, and it is necessary for their growth and survival. But when metals contact fish nostrils, the neurons shut down to protect the brain. "We've tested everything from leeches to water fleas to several species of fish,” said Canadian scientist Greg Pyle. "Every species and every metal we've observed has had effects at low, environmentally relevant concentrations.” ...


Bet their eyesight becomes super acute.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Mar 18, 2013
from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Company could nearly double pipeline capacity
Enbridge Inc. is seeking approval from the U.S. State Department to sharply upgrade its oil delivery from Canada's tar sands region to Superior, according to government documents published on Friday. Enbridge potentially could nearly double its capacity, the documents showed, indicating that the Canadian firm has plans to transport more oil through Wisconsin than previously reported.... Enbridge has occasionally struggled with pipeline problems, including a massive spill in 2010 that required the cleanup of 819,000 gallons of oil that entered a creek and then flowed into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan. ...


What could go wrong?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Mar 11, 2013
from Associated Press:
2,800 pigs dumped in Shanghai river raises concern
BEIJING--A surge in the dumping of dead pigs upstream from Shanghai--with more than 2,800 carcasses floating into the financial hub through Monday--has followed a police campaign to curb the illicit trade in sick pig parts. The effort to keep infected pork off dinner tables may be fueling new health fears, as Shanghai residents and local media fret over the possibility of contamination to the city's water supply, though authorities say no contamination has been detected. Authorities have been pulling out the swollen and rotting pigs, some with their internal organs visible, since Friday--and revolting images of the carcasses in news reports and online blogs have raised public ire against local officials. ...


Rivers... quiet, giant floating trashcans...

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Mar 11, 2013
from Midwest Energy News:
Report: A "ripped safety net" at Midwest nuclear plants
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has a "ripped nuclear safety net,” according to a new study by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The report, by nuclear engineer Dave Lochbaum, details 14 incidents in 2012 where the NRC did special inspections at reactors and considered that the likelihood of a core meltdown had increased at least 10-fold over normal circumstances. In the past three years, 40 of the nation's 104 reactors logged such incidents. ...


That net isn't just "ripped," it's in tatters!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Feb 21, 2013
from London Guardian:
Halve meat consumption, scientists urge rich world
People in the rich world should become "demitarians" -- eating half as much meat as usual, while stopping short of giving it up -- in order to avoid severe environmental damage, scientists have urged, in the clearest picture yet of how farming practices are destroying the natural world.... The quest for ever cheaper meat in the past few decades -- most people even in rich countries ate significantly less meat one and two generations ago -- has resulted in a massive expansion of intensively farmed livestock. This has diverted vast quantities of grain from human to animal consumption, requiring intensive use of fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides and, according to the Unep report, "caused a web of water and air pollution that is damaging human health". The run-off from these chemicals is creating dead zones in the seas, causing toxic algal blooms and killing fish, while some are threatening bees, amphibians and sensitive ecosystems. ...


All I did was order a cheeseburger!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Feb 21, 2013
from BBC:
Mosquitoes ignore repellent Deet after first exposure
Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine say mosquitoes are first deterred by the substance, but then later ignore it.... The research was carried out on Aedes aegypti, a species of mosquito that spreads dengue and yellow fever. ...


D'eet!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Feb 21, 2013
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Toxic nap mats draw suit in Oakland
An Oakland watchdog group said Tuesday it is suing major manufacturers and retailers, including Target and Amazon.com, for selling nap mats made with a toxic flame retardant that is also a known carcinogen.... Many foam nap mats, which are widely used at places like day care centers, are doused with flame retardants linked to obesity, hormone disruption and infertility, according to the lawsuit. One of those flame retardants is chlorinated Tris, a carcinogen that was banned more than 30 years ago from children's pajamas, the group says. These chemicals are released into the air that infants and toddlers inhale as they doze on the mats, said Caroline Cox, the center's research director. ...


This just ... makes me ... sleepy.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Feb 19, 2013
from Umea University:
Fish Become Bolder and More Gluttonous from Mood-Altering Drug Residue in Water
Anxiety-moderating drugs that reach waterways via wastewater create fearless and asocial fish that eat more quickly than normal. These behavioral changes can have serious ecological consequences. ...


They've got the munchies.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Feb 13, 2013
from Brisbane Times:
Mutant cane toads invade Gladstone
A concerning rate of "mutant toads" with extra limbs and missing eyes are being found in the industrial Queensland city of Gladstone. Scott Wilson from Central Queensland University said up to 20 per cent of cane toads in certain areas in Gladstone were found with "malformations", compared with 1 per cent of the population in non-urban areas... Cane toads have been found with a fifth leg growing from their chest, while others have been found with missing limbs....Gladstone is home to a coal-fired power station, two aluminium refineries, and a developing liquefied natural gas industry. ...


Sounds like they've been hitting the cane a bit too hard.

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Tue, Feb 12, 2013
from Center for Public Integrity:
U.S. report urges deeper look into breast cancer's environmental links
A new federal advisory panel report makes a forceful case for more research into environmental causes of breast cancer, which was diagnosed in 227,000 women, killed 40,000 and cost more than $17 billion to treat in the United States last year. Compiled by the congressionally mandated Interagency Breast Cancer and Environmental Research Coordinating Committee, the report notes that most cases of breast cancer "occur in people with no family history," suggesting that "environmental factors -- broadly defined -- must play a major role in the etiology of the disease." Yet only a fraction of federal research funding has gone toward examining links between breast cancer and ubiquitous chemicals such as the plastic hardening agent bisphenol A; the herbicide atrazine; and dioxin, a byproduct of plastics manufacturing and burning... ...


Race for the truth!

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Feb 2, 2013
from Yale Environment 300:
Mercury's Silent Toll On the World's Wildlife
This month, delegates from over 140 countries gathered in Geneva and finalized the first international treaty to reduce emissions of mercury. The treaty -- four years in the works and scheduled for signing in October -- aims to protect human health from this very serious neurotoxin. But barely considered during the long deliberations, according to those involved in the treaty process, was the harm that mercury inflicts on wildlife ... Lately, though, Hopkins and others have uncovered mercury in reptiles, amphibians, insects, spiders, terrestrial songbirds, and a wider variety of mammals than expected.. ...


Newsflash: Earth to be renamed Mercury2.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jan 29, 2013
from Reuters:
Beijing shuts factories, removes cars, but pollution stays high
Beijing temporarily shut down 103 heavily polluting factories and took 30 percent of government vehicles off roads to combat dangerously high air pollution, state media reported on Tuesday, but the capital's air remained hazardous despite the measures. Air quality in Beijing has mostly stayed above "very unhealthy" and "hazardous" levels for about two weeks. On Tuesday, it hit 517 on an index maintained by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, which described the pollution as "Beyond Index". ...


I am beyond caring.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jan 29, 2013
from Nature:
Minor oil spills are often bigger than reported
By analysing satellite images, oceanographers have found that small oil spills in the heavily drilled northern Gulf of Mexico are often much larger than reported. The researchers presented their results last week at the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill and Ecosystem Science Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. ...


Another report from the Department of Duh.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jan 28, 2013
from Reuters:
Crude oil spills into Mississippi River after oil barges crash
Two oil barges pushed by a tugboat slammed into a railroad bridge in Vicksburg, Mississippi, on Sunday, causing one to leak crude oil into the Mississippi River, the U.S. Coast Guard said. Officials used an "absorbent boom" to contain the undetermined amount of oil that leaked into the river after the collision, which occurred shortly after midnight and damaged both barges, Lieutenant Ryan Gomez said. The barge that is leaking was holding 80,000 gallons of light crude oil, he said....No one was injured in the accident. ...


No one was injured except for Ole Man River!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jan 22, 2013
from London Daily Mail:
Sperm quality has declined by 38 percent in a decade
Sperm counts are falling at an alarming rate - up to 38 per cent in a decade - with diet and lifestyle largely to blame. A Spanish study has found that even in young men, sperm concentration fell by an average of two per cent a year - and could soon hit levels where fertility is compromised. A ten year-study of more than 200 men found the average concentration went from 72 million spermatozoids per millilitre in 2001 to 52 million/ml in 2011.... It is believed the trend is linked to diet, lifestyle and 'gender bender' chemicals - and possibly even tight underwear.... The findings also confirm research over the past 20 years that has shown sperm counts declining in many countries across the world. ...


Could be Mother Nature's way of phasing humans out of the equation.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jan 14, 2013
from London Independent:
Made in Britain: The toxic tetraethyl lead used in fuel sold to world's poorest
A British company convicted of bribing foreign officials to maintain sales of a poisonous lead fuel additive is continuing to sell the chemical abroad to unstable countries, despite mounting evidence that it is responsible for long- term damage to human health and may be linked to violent crime. ...


In America, we call that trickle-down.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jan 7, 2013
from Associated Press:
EPA fracking study may dodge some tough questions
An ongoing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency study on natural gas drilling and its potential for groundwater contamination has gotten tentative praise so far from both industry and environmental groups. Glenn Paulson, the EPA's science adviser, describes the project as "one of the most aggressive public outreach programs in EPA history." The final report won't come out until late 2014. But a 275-page progress report was released in December and, for all its details, shows that the EPA doesn't plan to address one contentious issue -- how often drinking water contamination might occur ... for example, once every 100,000 wells or once every 1,000. ...


I've never really cared much for numbers anyway.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jan 7, 2013
from Environmental Health News:
Study finds insecticide in Costa Rican children near banana and plantain plantations
Children living near traditional plantations in Costa Rica are exposed to twice as much of the insecticide chlorpyrifos compared to children living near organic plantations, a study reports. More than half of the 140 studied children -- mostly indigenous Ngabe and Bribri -- had higher daily exposures than what is considered safe by U.S. standards. Residential use of the pesticide, which has been linked to neurological effects in children, is banned in the United States, although it is still permitted on some crops. Costa Rica's banana and plantain plantations export products to U.S. and European markets. ...


Yeah, but kids near organic plantations are exposed to arrogance.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Dec 27, 2012
from Agence France-Press:
China's boom savages coral reefs: study
China's economic boom has seen its coral reefs shrink by at least 80 percent over the past 30 years, a joint Australian study found Thursday ... Scientists from the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and the South China Sea Institute of Oceanology said their survey of mainland China and South China Sea reefs showed alarming degradation... Coastal development, pollution and overfishing linked to the Asian giant's aggressive economic expansion were the major drivers, the authors said, describing a "grim picture of decline, degradation and destruction". ...


There's no sense of corality when it comes to mindless growth.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Dec 26, 2012
from Associated Press:
West Coast girds for more tsunami debris in winter
Volunteers who patrol California beaches for plastic, cigarette butts and other litter will be on the lookout this winter for flotsam from last year's monstrous tsunami off Japan's coast... The March 2011 disaster washed about 5 million tons of debris into the sea. Most of that sank, leaving an estimated 1 1/2 million tons afloat. No one knows how much debris -- strewn across an area three times the size of the United States -- is still adrift. ...


We are all connected!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Dec 10, 2012
from NPR:
Conflicts, Errors Revealed In Positive Fracking Study
A report that shed favorable light on fracking is at the center of a controversy at the University of Texas ... The author of the study, Dr. Charles Groat, retired in the wake of the scathing review ... The original fracking study concluded that hydraulic fracturing was safe, the danger of water contamination low and suggestions to the contrary mostly media bias. But then it was reported this summer that Professor Groat sat on the board of a natural gas drilling company and received more than a million and a half dollars in compensation. That information was not disclosed in Groat's report. ...


We appear to have been fracked over by Prof. Groat.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Dec 10, 2012
from INFORUM:
North Dakota ranchers say oil harming herd
Jacki Schilke likes to say her black angus cattle live in harmony with the cats and dogs on her rural Williston ranch. But recently, Schilke's ranch has not been in harmony with oil development expanding around her 160 acres. Five cows, one bull, two dogs and as many as two dozen farm cats have died in the past two years, and Schilke worries the dozens of oil wells within three miles of her ranch could be to blame....They had four cattle that lost the ends of their tails before they either died or were shot by her husband to end their suffering. ...


You can complain about cheap energy until the cows' tails fall off.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Dec 10, 2012
from Midwest Energy News:
Will Ohio legislation reveal secret fracking chemicals?
Each year, tanker trucks carrying fracking fluid or fracking wastewater log hundreds of miles on Ohio's rural roads. What if one crashes into a car and tips, injuring and spilling fracking fluid on the car's passenger? ... Would doctors treating the accident victims know what they'd been exposed to? Under a 2012 Ohio fracking law, maybe not, says Melissa English, development director of Ohio Citizen Action, a Columbus-based ratepayer and environmental advocacy group (and a member of RE-AMP, which publishes Midwest Energy News). English is among a group of environmentalists and health professionals who say the law makes it nearly impossible for doctors, nurses and emergency medical technicians to get the chemical information they need in time to protect patients. ...


That's why I support prophylactic antibiotics.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Dec 10, 2012
from Food safety news:
Brazil Kept Mad Cow Secret for Two Years
Enough beef to feed one million Americans for a year has been imported from Brazil without the bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) mitigations that are supposed to be applied to countries where BSE is known to exist. That's because for the past two years, USDA was operating under the assumption that Brazil had not experienced any BSE, or Mad Cow disease as it's commonly known. But Brazil -- the world's biggest beef exporting country -- was keeping a secret for the past two years. A secret that if known might well have seen its beef banned from the U.S., or at the very least, subjected its beef to BSE controls. That's because while the U.S. was importing 67 million pounds of beef from Brazil, South America's biggest country was keeping a Mad Cow secret. ...


This is crazy!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Dec 4, 2012
from InsideClimate News:
First Study of Its Kind Detects 44 Hazardous Air Pollutants at Gas Drilling Sites
For years, the controversy over natural gas drilling has focused on the water and air quality problems linked to hydraulic fracturing, the process where chemicals are blasted deep underground to release tightly bound natural gas deposits. But a new study reports that a set of chemicals called non-methane hydrocarbons, or NMHCs, is found in the air near drilling sites even when fracking isn't in progress. According to a peer-reviewed study in the journal Human and Ecological Risk Assessment, more than 50 NMHCs were found near gas wells in rural Colorado, including 35 that affect the brain and nervous system. Some were detected at levels high enough to potentially harm children who are exposed to them before birth. ...


I've always thought fracking might make me want to frart.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Sep 24, 2012
from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution :
Nuclear industry slowed by its own waste
Just as the nuclear industry is starting to build reactors after a 30-year drought, it faces another dry spell. The industry thought it had what it needed for its rebirth: federal loan guarantees; a uniform reactor design; a streamlined licensing process. The nightmares from the 1979 partial meltdown at Three Mile Island, 1,000 new safety regulations and cost overruns would be left in the past, industry officials believed. But what never came together was a long-term plan for how to store the used radioactive fuel. As a result, judges and regulators have slammed the brakes on new reactor projects -- with two exceptions, one of those in Georgia. ...


This is the central story of human civilization: Not knowing what to do with our waste.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Sep 24, 2012
from Reuters:
Breathing European air shortens lives -report
Microscopic particles, among the most harmful forms of air pollution, are still found at dangerous levels in Europe, although law has cut some toxins from exhaust fumes and chimneys, a European Environmental Agency (EEA) report said. On average, air pollution is cutting human lives by roughly eight months and by about two years in the worst affected regions, such as industrial parts of eastern Europe, because it causes diseases such as lung cancer and cardiovascular problems. ...


I've always wanted to die in Paris.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Sep 24, 2012
from Midwest Energy News:
Minnesota scientists develop bacteria to clean up fracking water
A new biotechnology developed by a team of University of Minnesota scientists could help clean up wastewater from hydraulic fracturing, preventing contamination of rivers, streams, lakes, and even drinking water with toxic chemicals from coal and shale beds. The new method employs chemical-eating bacteria encased in a silica gel. The contaminants from the fracking wastewater slip inside the gel, where they are destroyed by enzymes in the bacteria. The bacteria remain encapsulated and do not contaminate the wastewater themselves... ...


Bacteria ... has our back!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Sep 17, 2012
from Chemical & Engineering News:
Pesticides Firm Hit With Record Fine
Scotts Miracle-Gro will pay the largest criminal fine --$4 million--and the largest civil penalty--$6 million--ever assessed for violations of the federal pesticides law. A major producer of pesticides for lawn and garden use that also sells wild bird food, Scotts agreed to the fines as part of a criminal plea agreement in a federal court case and a civil settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency. Both deals were finalized on Sept. 7. In the criminal case, court papers show that the company pleaded guilty to 11 charges, including creating phony pesticide registration documents... Scotts has admitted to having treated stored wild bird food with two insecticides not authorized for this use, including one labeled as toxic to birds, the court documents say. ...


An actual fine? It's a miracle!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Sep 11, 2012
from London Guardian:
Caribbean coral reefs face collapse
Caribbean coral reefs -- which make up one of the world's most colourful, vivid and productive ecosystems -- are on the verge of collapse, with less than 10 percent of the reef area showing live coral cover. With so little growth left, the reefs are in danger of utter devastation unless urgent action is taken, conservationists warned. They said the drastic loss was the result of severe environmental problems, including over-exploitation, pollution from agricultural run-off and other sources, and climate change. The decline of the reefs has been rapid: in the 1970s, more than 50 percent showed live coral cover, compared with 8 percent in the newly completed survey. ...


The collapse of coral is immoral.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Sep 4, 2012
from Marin Independent Journal:
Pot growers' mess a threat to Peninsula reservoir
You can't swim or boat in Crystal Springs Reservoir because it's the drinking water source for more than a million people, yet illegal pot farms in the rugged land above the water might be a bigger threat than skinny-dippers. Last week authorities pulled 7,200 pounds of trash left behind by illicit marijuana growers off the steep hillsides that funnel rain and creek water into the reservoir. Among the car batteries and black plastic irrigation tubes authorities carted out by helicopter were toxic pesticides that have been banned from the United States. ...


Dude, where's my conscience.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Sep 4, 2012
from Columbus Dispatch:
'Fracking' brine | Gas-well waste full of radium
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. ...


Arrrrr! Is that radium in your brine or are you just happy to see me!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Sep 3, 2012
from Environmental Health News:
Exposure to PCE-tainted water before birth to age 5 affects color vision decades later
Adults exposed to higher levels of the commercial solvent PCE from before birth to age 5 were less able to see contrast and distinguish colors years after the exposures were reduced. While not life-threatening, the ability to tell light from dark and yellow from green affects visual perception and quality of life. The findings are part of a larger, ongoing study assessing the long-term health effects of exposure during early development to PCE-contaminated drinking water in communities near Cape Cod, Mass. Exposure to PCE at work has been linked to impaired color vision. This is the first study to show similar kinds of vision deficits decades after the original exposures. ...


Is this why everything looks rose-colored to me?

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Aug 16, 2012
from Associated Press:
Study off Mass. coast finds noise harming whales
Researchers say increasing amounts of underwater noise, largely from shipping traffic, is enveloping rare right whales in "acoustic smog" that makes it harder for them to communicate. The endangered North Atlantic right whale relies far more on sound than sight, using distinctive noises to maintain contact. ...


(muffled)

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Aug 15, 2012
from Charlotte Observer:
Father's occupation can affect health of newborn
It has long been known that the behavior and environment of the mother during pregnancy can affect a newborn's health. But new research suggests that a father's behavior is important, too. Scientists at UNC Chapel Hill have found that different parental occupations may bring increased risk of birth defects. For example, photographers seem to have a greater risk of having a child with eye defects. The children of landscapers have a greater risk for gastrointestinal defects. ...


And children of despots have a greater risk for arrogance.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 14, 2012
from Environmental Health News:
No more butts: biodegradable filters a step to boot litter problem
Cigarette filters made to degrade quickly may offer a unique solution to the persistent problem of cigarette butts that litter beaches, parks and waterways. The design relies on small tablets of food-grade chemicals inside the filters that burst when they get wet, releasing acid that spurs the filter to break down in months instead of years. The results are an important step toward solving a global problem that impacts people and wildlife. The researchers used principles of green chemistry including designing for degradation, minimizing waste and choosing safer chemicals to ensure that their research would improve the existing technology. ...


Now... if only it would rain.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Aug 9, 2012
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Refinery damage may take months to repair
The damage caused by a fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond will take months to repair and will hobble one of the West Coast's biggest sources of fuel, industry experts said Wednesday. And while panic buying appears to have prompted a jump in wholesale gasoline prices after Monday night's fire, analysts say, the longer-term effect on California drivers may not be as dire as initially feared. ...


Thank goodness drivers will be spared!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 7, 2012
from San Jose Mercury News:
Massive fire at Chevron refinery in Richmond fully contained; shelter in place lifted
Officials have fully contained a huge fire at the Chevron refinery in Richmond that sent thick black smoke wafting across the Bay Area, raising health concerns and prompting shelter-in-place warnings for thousands of residents.... The plume from the fire was an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 feet above ground level, officials said at a news conference late Monday. "The plume is still high above and not touching down into the community," said Trisha Asuncin, a hazardous materials specialist with the county. ...


The sunsets will be sooooo beautiful.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Aug 6, 2012
from Wall Street Journal:
Hong Kong Cleans Up Massive Plastic Spill
A snowy winter scene isn't exactly standard summer fare, but that's the sight that greeted beach-goers in Hong Kong over the weekend. Millions of tiny white plastic pellets have been washing up on the city's shores for the past two weeks, since the city was struck by the worst typhoon in over a decade last month. The storm knocked six containers containing 150 tons of plastic pellets off a ship just south of Hong Kong, sending a tide of white confetti pouring into the waters, which swiftly began washing up on Hong Kong's shores.... Typically measuring just a few millimeters in diameter, the white plastic pellets--also known as "nurdles"--are used as the raw material to produce other plastic products. Experts say that while the pellets aren't toxic themselves, they absorb chemicals and other pollutants from the environment, and could threaten fish or other marine life that consume them. ...


Nurdles sound like such a delicious snack food!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Aug 1, 2012
from Charleston Gazette:
EPA mine water-pollution guidelines thrown out
Dealing another blow to the Obama administration's crackdown on mountaintop removal, a federal judge on Tuesday threw out new federal guidance that aimed to reduce water pollution from Appalachian coal mining operations. U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton ruled that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its authority under federal water protection and strip mining laws when it issued the water quality guidance. ...


Humans: 1, Mountaintops: 0

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jul 31, 2012
from National Geographic News:
Caffeinated Seas Found off U.S. Pacific Northwest
The Pacific Northwest may be the epicenter of U.S. coffee culture, and now a new study shows the region's elevated caffeine levels don't stop at the shoreline. The discovery of caffeine pollution in the Pacific Ocean off Oregon is further evidence that contaminants in human waste are entering natural water systems, with unknown consequences for wildlife and humans alike, experts say. Surprisingly, caffeine levels off the potentially polluted areas were below the detectable limit, about 9 nanograms per liter. The wilder coastlines were comparatively highly caffeinated, at about 45 nanograms per liter. ...


This all makes me very nervous!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jul 30, 2012
from China Daily:
Pipeline canceled after thousands protest
A water discharge project was canceled in the coastal city of Qidong, Jiangsu province, because of strong protests from residents. In the early hours of Saturday, thousands of people gathered in front of the government office and in adjacent streets to protest a water pipeline project, an investment of Japan's Oji Paper Group... Ding Dawei, Party chief of Nantong, which administers Qidong, said later on Saturday that the wastewater pipeline will be canceled permanently and that the public should trust the government. ...


What a topsy-turvy world we live in... Successful protests in China! Governments you can trust!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jul 24, 2012
from Porterville Recorder:
Illegal pot growers are a threat to wildlife
Damage done to wildlife and the environment by illegal marijuana growers is causing great concern, especially for officials with the state Department of Fish and Game. The evidence is growing -- pesticides used on illegal marijuana grows may be sickening and killing wildlife. Specifically, a new study documents deaths of fishers, a forest carnivore of the weasel family, in remote forested areas due to rat poisons, but Fish and Game Warden Patrick Foy said the damage goes far beyond one species... "These systems are impressive and all gravity driven," said Foy of the gardens that can contain more than 40,000 plants. This month, the TCSD busted 11 gardens, one which contained more than 30,000 plants. They also found piles of pesticides and poisons as well as elaborate irrigation systems and a lot of garbage. ...


Dude, that is one awesome garden...

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jul 23, 2012
from Bloomberg News:
Frackers Fund University Research That Proves Their Case
Pennsylvania remains the largest U.S. state without a tax on natural gas production, thanks in part to a study released under the banner of the Pennsylvania State University. The 2009 report predicted drillers would shun Pennsylvania if new taxes were imposed, and lawmakers cited it the following year when they rejected a 5 percent tax proposed by then- Governor Ed Rendell.... What the study didn't do was note that it was sponsored by gas drillers and led by an economist, now at the University of Wyoming, with a history of producing industry-friendly research on economic and energy issues.... As the U.S. enjoys a natural-gas boom from a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, producers are taking a page from the tobacco industry playbook: funding research at established universities that arrives at conclusions that counter concerns raised by critics. ...


This is a fracking outrage!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jul 17, 2012
from Anchorage Daily News:
Shell denies witness claim that drilling rig drifted for 2 hours
For two hours before a big Shell drilling ship stopped near shore Saturday afternoon, a Dutch Harbor resident noticed it slowly moving in that direction, an observed time that contradicts with the much shorter period of uncontrolled drifting in Shell's account of the close call. ...


An oil company... lie?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jul 10, 2012
from ProPublica:
New Study: Fluids From Marcellus Shale Likely Seeping Into PA Drinking Water
New research has concluded that salty, mineral-rich fluids deep beneath Pennsylvania's natural gas fields are likely seeping upward thousands of feet into drinking water supplies. Though the fluids were natural and not the byproduct of drilling or hydraulic fracturing, the finding further stokes the red-hot controversy over fracking in the Marcellus Shale, suggesting that drilling waste and chemicals could migrate in ways previously thought to be impossible... The study is the second in recent months to find that the geology surrounding the Marcellus Shale could allow contaminants to move more freely than expected. ...


Fluids: a most magical elixir!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jul 3, 2012
from Environmental Health Perspectives:
What Do We Know about Obesogens? with Bruce Blumberg
Human beings, as a species, are putting on weight. Obesity rates are rising in rich and poor countries alike for a variety of reasons, from changing dietary habits and activity levels to exposure to artificial nighttime light. Mounting evidence from over the past decade suggests that certain chemicals may be playing a role as well. For some people, so-called obesogens may be altering their metabolism and fat cell development, making it harder to maintain a healthy weight. ...


Clearly, we need to create a line of skinnygens.

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Sat, Jun 16, 2012
from Nature, via New York Times:
India's Septic Problem
Rapidly-modernizing India is drowning in its own excreta. According to the World Health Organization, more than 600 million Indians practise open defecation -- making up 60 percent of the 1.1 billion people who do so worldwide. But even as toilets get built, the challenge of managing excreta grows.... Leaked sewage leads to a deadly and costly spiral. As surface or groundwater gets contaminated, the city must source clean water from farther afield. The cost of pumping water rises -- it now accounts for 30-50 percent of the price of supplying water. The cost of building and maintaining pipelines increases. And if the network is not maintained, water is lost -- 30-50 percent of the water leaks. The nation therefore has less clean water to supply and needs to pay more to get it to the people. It cannot provide these services for everyone, and it chooses the rich. As the water system degrades, the rich move to bottled water. The poor get sick... ...


Same excreta, different country.

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Tue, Jun 12, 2012
from Agence France-Press:
China's Wuhan city covered in mysterious haze
Young and old residents of the Chinese metropolis of Wuhan were advised to stay indoors on Monday after a thick haze blanketed the city of nine million people, official media said. Described by residents as opaque with yellowish and greenish tinges, the fug descended suddenly in the morning, prompting people to rush to put on face masks, witnesses told AFP. The official Xinhua news agency quoted the environmental protection department of Hubei province saying in a statement: "Children, the elderly and people with heart or respiratory diseases are advised to stay indoors." ...


Undoubtedly, that thick haze is repressive Communism.

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Tue, Jun 12, 2012
from Associated Press:
WHO's cancer agency reclassifies diesel fumes as carcinogenic, same as arsenic, UV rays
Diesel exhaust causes cancer, the World Health Organization's cancer agency declared Tuesday, a ruling it said could make exhaust as important a public health threat as secondhand smoke. The risk of getting cancer from diesel fumes is small, but since so many people breathe in the fumes in some way, the science panel said raising the status of diesel exhaust to carcinogen from "probable carcinogen" was an important shift. ...


It's like changing the status of "death" to "certain death."

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Mon, Jun 11, 2012
from Chemical & Engineering News:
Bee-Linked Pesticide Under Fire
A Syngenta pesticide, thiamethoxam, is likely to be banned in France because of concerns about the compound's effects on honeybees. Thiamethoxam is an active ingredient in the Swiss firm's Cruiser OSR neonicotinoid pesticide, which is used as a seed coating for the oilseed crop rapeseed. The proposed ban follows research by French scientists showing that bees exposed to thiamethoxam in nectar have trouble returning to their hive after foraging (C&EN, April 2, page 10). French Agriculture Minister Stephane Le Foll says he based his decision on a review of the research by the French Agency for Food, Environmental & Occupational Health & Safety. ...


What a meth.

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Mon, Jun 11, 2012
from InsideClimate News:
2010 Oil Spill in Michigan Far Larger Than Official Estimates, Evidence Shows
The 2010 pipeline spill in Michigan's Kalamazoo River was far larger than the pipeline operator has reported, according to accumulating evidence and documents recently released by federal investigators. The estimate that Enbridge Inc., the pipeline's Canadian operator, has used since a couple months after the spill is 20,082 barrels, or 843,444 gallons. The estimate used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is larger -- 1 million gallons -- but the documented sources indicate that estimate may also be low, by a significant degree. ...


If they ever get one of these oil spill estimates right it will be by sheer accident!

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Mon, Jun 4, 2012
from Mongabay:
After damning research, France proposes banning pesticide linked to bee collapse
Following research linking neonicotinoid pesticides to the decline in bee populations, France has announced it plans to ban Cruiser OSR, an insecticide produced by Sygenta. Recent studies, including one in France, have shown that neonicotinoid pesticides likely hurt bees' ability to navigate, potentially devastating hives. France has said it will give Sygenta two weeks to prove the pesticide is not linked to the bee decline, known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). France's decision comes after its National Agency for Food, Safety, and the Environment (ANSES) confirmed the findings of two recent studies published in Science. The two studies found that neonicotinoid pesticides, although not immediately lethal, likely hurt bee colonies over a period of time. ...


I think we ought to ban France.

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Thu, May 31, 2012
from Globe and Mail:
Pipeline spill sends 22,000 barrels of oil mix into Alberta muskeg
A huge pipeline spill has released 22,000 barrels of oil and water into muskeg in the far northwest of Alberta. The spill ranks among the largest in North America in recent years, a period that has seen a series of high-profile accidents that have undermined the energy industry's safety record.... The most recent spill was discovered May 19 emanating from a pipeline belonging to Pace Oil & Gas Ltd.... The spill has yet to be contained, although "we're very close," Pace chief executive Fred Woods said in an interview Wednesday.... As with many recent pipeline accidents, Calgary-based Pace did not detect a problem, but was informed of the leak by another company after the spill was spotted from an aircraft. ...


Cleaning these things up could threaten the economy!

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Mon, May 28, 2012
from CBC Canada:
Chemicals in tsunami debris could pose coastal threat
The spill and spread of industrial chemicals across the coastline of British Columbia is a possibility as slower-moving tsunami debris from Japan approaches the west coast, according to experts observing its movements. The risk of chemical contamination is sizable, especially considering that many of the tsunami-affected areas on the Japanese coast were industrial and used many different types of toxic chemicals in manufacturing operations. ...


...and they called the tsunami... Pangea...

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Tue, May 22, 2012
from CNN:
Research ship finds the world's oceans are 'plasticized'
A marine expedition of environmentalists has confirmed the bad news it feared -- the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" extends even further than previously known. Organized by two non-profit groups -- the Algalita Marine Research Foundation and the 5 Gyres Institute -- the expedition is sailing from the Marshall Islands to Japan through a "synthetic soup" of plastic in the North Pacific Ocean on a 72-feet yacht called the Sea Dragon, provided by Pangaea Exploration. ...


Planet Garbage Patch!

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Tue, May 22, 2012
from UPI:
High mercury levels found in wild dolphins
A study has found higher levels of toxic mercury in dolphins downwind of power plants than in captive dolphins, U.S. researchers say. Scientists from The Johns Hopkins University and The National Aquarium said they compared levels of the chemical in captive dolphins fed a controlled diet with dolphins found in the wild that dine on marine life that may carry more of the toxic metal. Levels of mercury were lower in the captive animals compared to wild dolphins tested off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida, a state that is in the path of mercury-laden fumes from power plants, they reported Monday. ...


And the conclusion is... Capture and cage all dolphins!

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Tue, May 22, 2012
from Bloomberg News:
WWII Chemical Exposure Spurs Obesity, Autism, Researcher Says
The World War II generation may have passed down to their grandchildren the effects of chemical exposure in the 1940s, possibly explaining current rates of obesity, autism and mental illness, according to one researcher. David Crews, professor of psychology and zoology at the University of Texas at Austin, theorized that the rise in these diseases may be linked to environmental effects passed on through generations. His research showed that descendants of rats exposed to a crop fungicide were less sociable, more obese and more anxious than offspring of the unexposed. ...


The Greatest (Toxic) Generation

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Fri, May 11, 2012
from Telegraph.co.uk:
Great Pacific Garbage Patch 'has increased 100-fold since the 1970s'
US scientists warned the killer soup of microplastic - particles smaller than five millimetres - threatened to alter the open ocean's natural environment. In the period 1972 to 1987, no microplastic was found in the majority of samples taken for testing, said the paper in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters. Today, scientists estimate the swirling mass of waste known as the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre (NPSG) or the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, is roughly the size of Texas. "The abundance of small human-produced plastic particles in the NPSG has increased by 100 times over the last four decades," said a statement on the findings of researchers from the University of California. The United Nations Environment Programme says around 13,000 pieces of plastic litter are found in every square kilometre of sea, but the problem is worst in the North Pacific. ...


I heard on FOX that the plastic is just natural variation, and will be solved by clouds.

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Tue, May 8, 2012
from Bloomberg News:
Drug-Defying Germs From India Speed Post-Antibiotic Era
...Poor hygiene has spread resistant germs into India's drains, sewers and drinking water, putting millions at risk of drug-defying infections. Antibiotic residues from drug manufacturing, livestock treatment and medical waste have entered water and sanitation systems, exacerbating the problem. As the superbacteria take up residence in hospitals, they're compromising patient care and tarnishing India's image as a medical tourism destination. ...


Superbacteria sounds like a tourism destination to me!

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Fri, May 4, 2012
from The Sunbreak, via DesdemonaDespair:
'A Staggering Mess' as Tsunami Debris Hits Alaska Coast Early
In my opinion, this is the single greatest environmental pollution event that has ever hit the west coast of North America. The slow-motion aspects of it have fooled an unwitting public. It far exceeds the Santa Barbara or Exxon Valdez oil spills in gross tonnage and also geographic scope.... NOAA's latest estimate is that 1.5 million tons of largely plastic debris will hit the western United States coast. That is 30 billion pounds. We expect Alaska to get the largest percentage of that with much of it lodging on northern Gulf of Alaska beaches. Most of this will be plastic which is full of inherent toxic chemicals that will leach into the environment for generations. Possibly worse are the millions of containers full of anything from household chemicals to toxic industrial chemicals that are floating our way. They will eventually burst upon our shores... in sensitive inter-tidal spawning and rearing habitat, endangering shorebirds, marine mammals, fish and everything in between. ...


I hope we've learned the lesson to throw everything away before the tsunami hits.

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Wed, May 2, 2012
from Planet Ark:
Exxon Mobil Shuts Louisiana Oil Pipeline After Leak
Exxon Mobil Corp has shut the 160,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) North Line crude oil pipeline in Louisiana after a leak spilled 1,900 barrels of crude oil in a rural area over the weekend, affecting a conduit that supplies the nation's third-largest refinery. The 22-inch line originates in St. James, Louisiana, and provides shippers with access to oil from the giant Louisiana Offshore Oil Port and crude from offshore platforms, according to Exxon's website.... A spate of recent leaks and incidents has heightened local concerns and prompted calls for tougher scrutiny from regulators. Last July, Exxon' Silvertip pipeline spilled about 1,000 barrels of oil into the Yellowstone River in Montana, an accident that the company said cost it about $135 million. ...


Leaks happen

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Wed, May 2, 2012
from BBC:
Peru examines deaths of more than 500 pelicans
The government of Peru is investigating the deaths of more than 500 pelicans along a 70km (40-mile) stretch of the country's northern coast. Officials say most appeared to have died on shore over the past few days. Scientists have also found the carcasses of 54 boobies, several sea lions and a turtle. They were found in the same region where some 800 dolphins washed ashore earlier this year. The cause of their death is still being investigated. The Peruvian government said it was "deeply worried". A preliminary report said that there was no evidence to show the pelicans had died at sea, but rather on the beach where they were found. ...


I must say I am most concerned about the boobies.

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Tue, May 1, 2012
from Edmonton Journal:
Don't consider native spirituality in mine review, Ottawa urged
A new federal environmental review panel "does not have any right to attribute significance to the spirituality of a place per se," Taseko Mines Ltd. president Russell Hallbauer wrote in a letter obtained under the Access to Information Act and provided to the Vancouver Sun by B.C. independent MLA Bob Simpson. Vancouver-based Taseko, which failed in its 2010 bid to get federal approval after a "scathing" federal review, also asked Ottawa to not permit aboriginal prayer ceremonies at pending hearings on the revised proposal. Children's plays should also be banned, Hallbauer said in his November letter. ...


This guy is the very definition of killjoy.

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Tue, May 1, 2012
from Bloomberg News:
Exposures to Pesticide in Utero Linked to Brain Abnormalities
Babies exposed in the womb to a commonly used insecticide have brain abnormalities after birth, according to a study that looked at children born before the U.S. limited the chemical's use. Magnetic resonance imaging of elementary school-aged children with the highest exposure to chlorpyrifos, used mostly in agricultural settings now, showed structural changes in the brain compared with those who had the lowest exposure, research online today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found. Some parts of the brain were overgrown, while other regions were smaller, the scientists found. The study is the first to use imaging scans to show that prenatal exposure to the chemical, included in Dow Chemical Co.'s pesticide Dursban, is linked to structural changes in the brain five to 10 years after exposure... ...


Perhaps it makes these children more resistant to pests.

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Thu, Apr 19, 2012
from EcoWatch:
BP Covered Up Blow-out Two Years Prior to Deadly Deepwater Horizon Spill
Two years before the Deepwater Horizon blow-out in the Gulf of Mexico, another BP off-shore rig suffered a nearly identical blow-out, but BP concealed the first one from the U.S. regulators and Congress.... The witness, whose story is backed up by rig workers who were evacuated from BP's Caspian platform, said that had BP revealed the full story as required by industry practice, the eleven Gulf of Mexico workers "could have had a chance" of survival. But BP's insistence on using methods proven faulty sealed their fate. One cause of the blow-outs was the same in both cases: the use of a money-saving technique--plugging holes with "quick-dry" cement. By hiding the disastrous failure of its penny-pinching cement process in 2008, BP was able to continue to use the dangerous methods in the Gulf of Mexico--causing the worst oil spill in U.S. history. April 20 marks the second anniversary of the Gulf oil disaster.... [This is an astonishing story. I was in Baku several times in the mid-90s, and it was a police state then, as it is now. The only industry bringing money into Azerbaijan is oil, and drastic measures like "disappearing" threats of any kind has become normalized, and the citizenry cowed.] ...


Our job is to enhance shareholder value by pinching everything else's pennies. Ain't that capitalism?

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Wed, Apr 18, 2012
from Charleston Gazette:
Special panel links C8 to kidney, testicular cancer
A team of experts revealed Monday that it has found a "probable link" between C8 and human cancers, rebuffing DuPont Co.'s longstanding contention that exposure to the chemical is harmless. The three-person C8 Science Panel said it is "more probable than not" that exposure to C8 put residents of the Mid-Ohio Valley at a greater risk of kidney and testicular cancers....In West Virginia, DuPont has used C8 since the 1950s as a processing agent to make Teflon and other nonstick products, oil-resistant paper packaging and stain-resistant textiles. ...


Let's hope this sticks!

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Mon, Apr 16, 2012
from Wall Street Journal:
Grappling With a Garbage Glut
Each week, we push our trash to the curb, and it seemingly disappears. But where does it all go: the spent cartons of milk, the computer keyboard fried by spilled coffee, those empty dog food cans? A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology decided to find out. In 2009, they began attaching transmitter chips to thousands of pieces of ordinary garbage. They tossed this "smart trash" into the bin, sat back and watched the tortuous, disturbing path that our garbage often takes: the meanderings of electronic waste as it headed for distant shores, of ratty old sneakers that ran the equivalent of a dozen marathons, of printer cartridges that traversed the continent not once but twice on the road to recycling.... the average American tosses out 4.4 pounds of trash a day, with about a third getting recycled and the rest going to landfills. ...


The United States of Wastrels

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Wed, Apr 11, 2012
from Associated Press:
AZ House OKs secrecy for environmental reports
Mining companies and other businesses will be allowed to keep environmental studies secret, even if they detail possible pollution problems, under industry-backed legislation that gained final House approval Monday. Under the measure headed to Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, environmental audits generally could not be used as evidence in civil cases. ...


A pox upon this House.

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Wed, Apr 11, 2012
from Environmental Health News:
EPA cancels $20-million green chemistry grant program, gives no explanation
In an announcement that stunned scientists, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has cancelled grant applications for what was supposed to be a $20-million, four-year green chemistry program. The mysterious cancellation comes less than three weeks before the deadline for the proposals. The grants, which were supposed to fund four new centers, would have been a major new source of funding for green chemistry, a field that seeks to design environmentally friendly chemicals and processes that can replace toxic substances. The requests for proposals may be reissued, the EPA said. But the program's sudden halt and uncertain future -- and lack of explanation -- have left scientists disheartened. "My reaction is shock that it happened and total dismay that what appeared to be a novel program was cancelled without warning or explanation," said Eric Beckman, a chemical engineer at the University of Pittsburgh. ...


Environmental Partypooper Agency

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Tue, Apr 10, 2012
from HazMat Management Magazine:
Important ruling on "fracking": HazMat Management
Just eight weeks before ExxonMobil's annual shareholder meeting, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has sided with the company's investors in their battle to address concerns about the energy giant's hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") operations.... In response to the shareholder proposal, ExxonMobil argued to the SEC that it had substantially implemented the requests shareholders laid out in their resolution. However, deeper research revealed a large gap between information shareholders requested and what ExxonMobil disclosed. "ExxonMobil has provided fragmentary and incomplete information on some of the community concerns, does not disclose government enforcement actions as requested by the proposal, and has disclosed far too little analysis useful to investors on the short- and long- term risks posed by these developments," says As You Sow's attorney Sanford J. Lewis.... ExxonMobil asserted to the SEC that it had no hydraulic fracturing-related environmental violations. It made this claim by limiting reportable violations to activities detectable deep underground, ignoring impacts occurring near the surface. In fact, in Pennsylvania alone, 156 notices of violations related to natural gas extraction operations where fracking is underway were issued to ExxonMobil or its recently acquired subsidiary, XTO, between 2010 and 2011. ...


We tell all the truth that fits our business model. Something wrong with that?

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Wed, Apr 4, 2012
from United Press International:
Weed killer causes animal shape changes
The world's most popular weed killer can induce morphological changes in vertebrate animals, U.S. biologists studying its effect on amphibians say. University of Pittsburgh researchers said the weed killer Roundup, in sub-lethal and environmentally relevant concentrations, caused two species of amphibians to change their shape. The study is the first to show that a pesticide can induce morphological changes in a vertebrate animal, biological sciences Professor Rick Relyea said in a university release Monday. ...


Does Roundup make amphibians more round?

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Tue, Apr 3, 2012
from Mother Jones:
America's Top 10 Most-Polluted Waterways
If you are a fly-fisher, a rafter, or heck, just a person who drinks water, here is some troubling news: Our waterways are in rough shape. An eye-opening new report (PDF) from Environment America Research and Policy Center finds that industry discharged 226 million pounds of toxic chemicals into America's rivers and streams in 2010. The pollution included dead-zone-producing nitrates from food processors, mercury and other heavy metals from steel plants, and toxic chemicals from various kinds of refineries. Within the overall waste, the researchers identified 1.5 million pounds of carcinogens, 626,000 pounds of chemicals linked to developmental disorders and 354,000 pounds of those associated with reproductive problems. ...


A (shitty) river runs through it.

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Mon, Apr 2, 2012
from Windsor Star:
New chemicals piling up in environment
New flame retardants meant to replace their toxic predecessors are showing up in the air around the Great Lakes in increasing concentrations and travelling as far north as the Arctic. These new findings raise a red flag that these chemicals need to be more closely examined to see if they accumulate in the environment and animals, according to Hayley Hung, a research scientist at Environment Canada, who found concentrations of tetrabromobenzoate (TBB) and tetrabromophthalate (TBPH) in both Canada's High Arctic and the Tibetan Plateau. "It's not just a localized problem," Hung said. "(They) could become a global pollutant." ...


We are not very bright at making retardants.

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Wed, Mar 28, 2012
from Associated Press:
Japan reactor has fatally high radiation, no water
One of Japan's crippled nuclear reactors still has fatally high radiation levels and hardly any water to cool it, according to an internal examination Tuesday that renews doubts about the plant's stability. A tool equipped with a tiny video camera, a thermometer, a dosimeter and a water gauge was used to assess damage inside the No. 2 reactor's containment chamber for the second time since the tsunami swept into the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant a year ago. The probe done in January failed to find the water surface and provided only images showing steam, unidentified parts and rusty metal surfaces scarred by exposure to radiation, heat and humidity. The data collected from the probes showed the damage from the disaster was so severe, the plant operator will have to develop special equipment and technology to tolerate the harsh environment and decommission the plant, a process expected to last decades. ...


Some nightmares just never seem to end.

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Wed, Mar 28, 2012
from Reuters:
Total: "may be months" to stop North Sea gas cloud
A cloud of explosive natural gas boiling up from the North Sea out of a leak at Total's evacuated Elgin platform forced another shutdown off the Scottish coast on Tuesday as the French firm warned it could take six months to halt the flow... Total, which said the rupture of an unused reservoir above the main production source seemed to have been caused by its own engineers, is now looking at two main options to cut off the shimmering plume of gas rising above the sea: either drilling a relief well nearby, which could take six months, or - faster but possibly riskier - sending in engineers to "kill" the leak. ...


This has "Apocalypse" written all over it!

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Thu, Mar 22, 2012
from Truthout:
About That Dimock Fracking Study: Actually, Result Summaries Show Methane and Hazardous Chemicals
Claire Sandberg, in an interview with Christine Shearer:
The industry likes to state that their number one safety precaution is thousands of layers of impermeable rock and that essentially there is no possible way for the methane to get into the ground water. And we know that the available science conclusively debunks that. The only peer-reviewed study that has been done on groundwater contamination from fracking has found that it occurs a majority of the time, so there is something really wrong here if methane is getting into the groundwater a majority of the time, often at explosive levels of methane. At the same time, the industry does have a point that a lot of the contamination is not from the actual fracking itself - the process where you are injecting chemicals deep into the ground. A lot of the contamination is just from drilling and I think a lot of people are discovering - and this is part of our message with Water Defense - that the risks to water and health are just endemic to drilling and to fossil fuels and it is not specific to fracking. In general, this is the way these companies operate; it is how they have operated around the world, it's "pump and dump." The difference now is that, for the first time, the impacts of fuel extraction are literally in millions of Americans' backyards. And increasingly, it is extreme fossil fuels, more devastating kinds of extraction as we run out of the easier-to-access sources of fossil fuels, but ultimately these problems are inherent to fossil fuels. We need to move to a renewable energy economy. ...


OMG! This could mean turning away from our comfortably suicidal course!

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Wed, Mar 21, 2012
from Great Lakes Echo:
Chemicals on their way out of U.S. consumer products are increasingly present in Great Lakes birds
Chemicals used for more than 60 years in paper, carpet, furniture, clothing, cardboard and Teflon are showing up in the eggs of Great Lakes birds, according to a recent study. The 20 year study, published in November by Canadian Great Lakes researchers, is the first ever of the presence of poly- and perfluorinated compounds in Great Lakes wildlife. The man-made contaminants known collectively as PFCs continue to rise in Great Lakes herring gulls. ...


Apocagullypse!

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Wed, Mar 21, 2012
from Politico:
Greens see politics in EPA rule delays
The Environmental Protection Agency's silence on a slew of pending rulemakings is worrying some supporters, who fear the regulations will remain trapped in the White House when an election-year window for new announcements slams shut. Administrators have repeatedly assured interest groups and lawmakers that the EPA is preparing to release numerous proposed and final rules for greenhouse gases, coal ash, sulfur in gasoline and particulate matter. But in reality, few are moving, and announced deadlines are passing. And as the presidential election season hits full tilt, gasoline prices rise and the summer driving season approaches, it becomes less politically advantageous for the Obama administration to move on many regulations -- especially with the race focusing increasingly on energy. ...


Environmental Procrastination Agency

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Fri, Mar 16, 2012
from Los Angeles Times:
Cadmium in diet is linked to higher breast cancer risk
In a finding that strengthens the link between environmental pollutants and rising rates of breast cancer, new research finds that women whose diets contain higher levels of cadmium are at greater risk of developing breast cancer than those who ingest less of the industrial chemical in their food. Cadmium, a heavy metal long identified as a carcinogen, leaches into crops from fertilizers and when rainfall or sewage sludge deposit it onto farmland. Whole grains, potatoes, other vegetables and shellfish are key dietary sources of cadmium, which also becomes airborne as a pollutant when fossil fuels are burned, and is likely inhaled as well as ingested. ...


When it comes to breasts there's almost always a cad involved.

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Thu, Mar 15, 2012
from UNH, via PhysOrg:
UNH research adds to mounting evidence against popular pavement sealcoat
The research, detailed in a recent feature article in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, has found that one type of pavement sealcoat, common on driveways and parking lots throughout the nation, has significant health and ecosystem implications. Alison Watts, research assistant professor of civil engineering at UNH, is a co-author of the article "Coal-Tar-Based Pavement Sealcoat and PAHs: Implications for the Environment, Human Health, and Stormwater Management." Sealcoat, a black surface applied over asphalt pavements that is marketed as improving appearance and enhancing pavement longevity, is made of either an asphalt emulsion or a refined coal-tar pitch emulsion. Although the two sealcoats are similar in appearance and cost, concentrations of PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), a group of organic compounds known to be detrimental to human and ecosystem health, are about 1,000 times higher in coal-tar-based sealcoats than those based in asphalt.... Studies at the Columbia Center for Children's Health have found that PAHs in homes can contribute to delays in cognitive development, asthma and other respiratory symptoms, obesity and metabolic disorders, or changes at the molecular level that could increase children's cancer risk. Unlike many complex environmental issues, however, this one has a relatively painless fix: avoid coal-tar-based sealcoats in favor of asphalt-based ones, or no sealcoat at all. "Consumers generally can't tell the difference," Watts says. ...


I'm apPAHled.

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Tue, Mar 13, 2012
from Bloomberg News:
Water Pollution From Farming Is Worsening, Costing Billions
Water pollution from agriculture is costing billions of dollars a year in developed countries and is set to rise in China and India as farmers race to increase food production, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said. "Pollution from farm pesticides and fertilizers is often diffuse, making it hard to pin down exactly where it's coming from,” Kevin Parris, author of a report by the Paris-based organization, said in an interview in Marseille. "In some big agricultural countries in Europe, like parts of France, Spain and the U.K., the situation is deteriorating.” ...


If only people ate pollution.

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Mon, Mar 12, 2012
from Bergen County Record:
Exotic grass could help clean lead from soild
A subtropical grass might one day be grown in yards across North Jersey as an affordable way to deal with a lingering childhood health concern -- lead contamination. Dibs Sarkar, a local scientist, is studying how the long roots of the grass can absorb lead from the soil and store it. Tests in a greenhouse have so far been successful; the lead contamination was consumed by the plant so fast that the soil met federal standards in about two years. "We're confident this will work fantastically," said Sarkar, a researcher at Montclair State University. ...


Exotic, invasive grass: What could go wrong??

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Thu, Mar 8, 2012
from ProPublica:
What the Frack is in That Water?
Environmentalists have repeatedly pressed regulators to compel oil and gas companies to report what chemicals they use in the drilling and fracking process. Drilling companies add these chemicals to perform particular functions (for example, to prevent corrosion or give the fluid the right consistency), or leave them in because they're too expensive to remove. According to a 2011 congressional report, many of the chemicals used can pose a serious health risk. No one knows the exact makeup of the frack mixture, drilling muds and other stuff used at well sites (which change from well to well), but this list breaks down the main ingredients revealed so far. Click on the chemical name for more detailed information. ...


Your one-stop-spot to grok the frack.

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Thu, Mar 8, 2012
from New York Daily News:
Mercury found in lotions and cosmetics, says FDA
Women are being warned to stay away from beauty products that contain a toxic ingredient -- mercury. The ingredient has been found in skin-care products, soaps and cosmetics in stores that tend to cater to Latino, African-American, Asian and Middle Eastern communities. The FDA has counted 35 potentially poisonous products, which include goods made by the brands Diana, Stillman's, Lusco and Crema Aguamary, that are manufactured abroad and sold illegally in the U.S. They may claim to lighten skin, cure acne and reduce wrinkles. Exposure to mercury can cause real bodily harm, say doctors. ...


I guess a caucasian beauty like me needn't worry her pretty little head.

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Mon, Mar 5, 2012
from Reuters:
China's missed pollution goals show failure to change -NDRC
China's continuing reliance on heavy industry meant it failed to meet its own targets for cleaning its air and water in 2011, the head of the top planning agency told journalists on Monday. China, which is increasingly dependent on imported energy and suffers from soil, water and air pollution that is damaging public health, wants to use energy more efficiently, and cut emissions. But it missed about half the targets set by Beijing for 2011, including energy intensity, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, and a measure of water pollution. ...


Nobody's perfect!

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Mon, Mar 5, 2012
from The Tyee:
Spill from Hell: Diluted Bitumen
On a July morning in 2010 in rural Michigan, a 30-inch pipeline owned by Calgary-based Enbridge Energy Partners burst and disgorged an estimated 843,000 gallons of thick crude into a tributary of the Kalamazoo River. This was no ordinary crude -- it was the first ever major spill into water of diluted bitumen from the Alberta oil sands. The cleanup challenges and health impacts around Kalamazoo were unlike anything the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had ever dealt with, and raise serious questions about the preparedness in British Columbia to respond to such a disaster on the B.C. coast -- or the Vancouver harbour. ...


I am bitter, man, about this spill.

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Mon, Mar 5, 2012
from Center for Public Integrity:
Venezuela emerges as new source of "conflict" minerals
Black-market coltan likely making its way to high-tech manufacturers' supply; it's used in everything from smart phones to smart bombs... consumer-driven demand for everyday electronics may be supporting criminal gangs and organized crime in an illicit market for valuable minerals in South America. In Colombia, for example, police recently confiscated 83 tons of coltan and other minerals from an operation reportedly run by smugglers who, according to U.S. law enforcement officials, also supply cocaine to Mexico's powerful Sinaloa drug cartel. ...


Just say no to everyday electronics!

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Tue, Feb 28, 2012
from New York Times:
Pacific Sea Otters' Failure to Thrive Confounds Wildlife Sleuths
...For the wildlife biologists, a clear explanation for the sea otters' failure to thrive is proving just as elusive. Almost wiped out by fur traders, the species rebounded after an international ban on commercial otter hunting in 1911. But today, the otter population in California is just 2,700, in a mosaic of small, separate colonies off the coast, down from perhaps as many as 16,000 in the past. Multiple factors are stalling the recovery. One popular view, supported by veterinary pathologists who study dead otters, primarily blames coastal pollution -- in the form of parasites, bacteria, toxins and chemicals. But Dr. Tinker and other biologists say that, at least in the areas where the sea otter population is highest, off Monterey and nearby Big Sur, the underlying problem is simply that the otters are running out of food. ...


Or, perhaps, they're just giving up.

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Tue, Feb 28, 2012
from The Denver Post:
Hickenlooper's spiel in oil, gas ad irks environmentalists
Environmental groups on Monday urged Gov. John Hickenlooper to yank ads paid for by the Colorado Oil and Gas Association in which he claims there has been no contamination of groundwater associated with drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Hickenlooper's office declined to address that request, but COGA issued a statement saying it stands by "our Public Service Announcements." ...


This cozy relationship between government and business is fascistnating.

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Mon, Feb 27, 2012
from Knoxville News Sentinel:
Elevated mercury found in fish in Poplar Creek, Clinch River
East Fork Poplar Creek has been posted as a hazard for decades because of mercury discharges from the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant, where the creek originates.... Sampling by Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists and environmental staff has documented the elevated presence of mercury in fish in Poplar Creek -- downstream of the point where East Fork enters it -- and into the Clinch River and the upper part of Watts Bar Reservoir. ...


Beware of floating mercury bombs!

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Mon, Feb 27, 2012
from Washington Post:
Americans love the beach, but should watch out for bacteria
From sea to shining sea, Americans love the beach. The average citizen hangs out on an ocean shore, Great Lake or river about 10 days a year, according to a federal estimate. And the money they spend is crazy, nearly $6 trillion in 2007, 85 percent of all tourism revenue, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But money doesn't always buy happiness at the beach. About 3.5 million people each year get sick enough to throw up or get diarrhea after splashing in water containing harmful bacteria, according to an Environmental Protection Agency estimate. This is why environmentalists are criticizing the Obama administration's proposal this month to cut all funding for states to monitor contamination at beaches starting in 2013. ...


Rust never sleeps and bacteria never vacations.

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Thu, Feb 16, 2012
from 100 Reporters:
EPA Oversight: Weighing the Parts, Ignoring the Whole
Each year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gives the green light for a score of agricultural chemicals to come to market. But the chemicals the EPA registers for use have little connection with the frequently more toxic substances sold by the millions of pounds to unsuspecting American consumers. Dr. Warren Porter, a professor of zoology and environmental toxicology at the University of Wisconsin, likens the EPA's process for registering chemicals to "bait and switch -- sales tactics. Pesticide makers win approval for specific active ingredients, and then mix those chemicals with a number of other ingredients. The result is a far different formulation that has bypassed government safety reviews and is then sold to the public. "It's like releasing molecular bulls in a china shop," Porter said. "Virtually no pesticide is registered by the EPA. The EPA only registers the active ingredient." ...


More like bullshit in a china shop!

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Tue, Feb 14, 2012
from Washington Post:
Monsanto found liable for weedkiller poisoning in France
Memory loss. Headaches. Stammering. French farmer Paul Francois says he suffered all three neurological problems after inhaling a weedkiller made by biotech giant Monsanto in 2004. On Monday, a French court found Monsanto legally responsible for poisoning Francois and ordered the company to compensate him "entirely," Agence France-Presse reports. The decision could affect more than just Francois; it marks the first time a farmer has successfully sued the company over claims of the health problems caused by pesticides... Francois's suit accuses Monsanto of not providing adequate health warnings on the label of the weedkiller, Lasso, as well as keeping the product on the French market even though it had been banned in Canada, Britain and Belgium. ...


Seems à propos to moi.

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Tue, Feb 14, 2012
from Chicago Tribune:
Study points to dangers of children's exposure to coal tar sealants
Children living next to driveways or parking lots coated with coal tar are exposed to significantly higher doses of cancer-causing chemicals than those living near untreated asphalt, according to a study that raises new questions about commonly used pavement sealants. Researchers from Baylor University and the U.S. Geological Survey also found that children living near areas treated with coal tar-based sealants ingest twice as many polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, from contaminated dust tracked into their homes than they do from food. ...


What doesn't kill you... makes you sick.

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Fri, Feb 10, 2012
from The Hill:
Religious right bashes green evangelicals for supporting EPA rules
Religious-right leaders are slamming a green evangelical group for casting support for Environmental Protection Agency rules to cut power plant mercury emissions as a "pro-life" position. In a lengthy statement, religious leaders including Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, officials with Focus on the Family and other groups that oppose abortion rights take aim at the Evangelical Environmental Network's ad campaign in favor of EPA's rules. ...


Dontcha just love a good, juicy holy war?

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Wed, Feb 8, 2012
from Mother Jones:
The Frog of War
Darnell lives deep in the basement of a life sciences building at the University of California-Berkeley, in a plastic tub on a row of stainless steel shelves. He is an African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis, sometimes called the lab rat of amphibians. Like most of his species, he's hardy and long-lived, an adept swimmer, a poor crawler, and a voracious eater. He's a good breeder, too, having produced both children and grandchildren. There is, however, one unusual thing about Darnell. He's female. Genetically, Darnell is male. But after being raised in water contaminated with the herbicide atrazine at a level of 2.5 parts per billion--slightly less than what's allowed in our drinking water--he developed a female body, inside and out. He is also the mother of his children, having successfully mated with other males and spawned clutches of eggs. ...


Don't knock it if you haven't tried it.

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Tue, Jan 24, 2012
from New York Times:
Mercury's Harmful Reach Has Grown, Study Suggests
The strict new federal standards limiting pollution from power plants are meant to safeguard human health. But they should have an important side benefit, according to a study being released on Tuesday: protecting a broad array of wildlife that has been harmed by mercury emissions.... Methylmercury, the most toxic form of the heavy metal, was found to be widespread throughout the Northeast -- not just in lakes and rivers, as had already been known, but also in forests, on mountaintops and in bogs and marshes that are home to birds long thought to be at minimal risk. ...


I'll bring the pitchfork.

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Mon, Jan 23, 2012
from Environmental Health News:
Pessimistically, lead may taint your outlook
Lead exposure over a lifetime may lead to a darker outlook, which can in turn increase risk of depression, reports a study on aging men. The lead levels in the men were associated with increased pessimism even after the researchers considered the low socioeconomic factors that also are linked to pessimism. The results are published in the American Journal of Epidemiology. Previous studies had shown that lead exposure may be associated with pessimism, but these studies were limited in their ability to consider important factors such as socioeconomic factors in childhood and adulthood. ...


Encouraging old men to "get the lead out" takes on new meaning.

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Fri, Jan 20, 2012
from American Chemical Society via ScienceDaily:
First Link Between Potentially Toxic PFCs in Office Air and in Office Workers' Blood
In a first-of-its-kind study, scientists are reporting that the indoor air in offices is an important source of worker exposure to potentially toxic substances released by carpeting, furniture, paint and other items. Their report, which documents a link between levels of these so-called polyfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in office air and in the blood of workers, appears in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology. ...


I've always suspected my job was ruining my blood!

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Tue, Jan 17, 2012
from Akron Beacon Journal:
Three years after drilling, feds say natural gas in Medina County well water is potentially explosive
A federal health agency says potentially explosive levels of natural gas at two houses in eastern Medina County are a public health threat. The problems in the two drinking water wells appear linked to the nearby drilling of two natural gas wells in 2008, says the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That news contradicts repeated statements from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources on the connection between the drilling and problems at the two houses at State and Remsen roads. "We are the victims of fracking ... and natural gas drilling gone wrong," said Mark Mangan, one of the affected homeowners. ...


These poor frolkes are fracked!

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Mon, Jan 16, 2012
from Columbus Dispatch:
Most 'brine' is from out of state
The industry uses the terms brine or produced waters to describe the salty waste fluid that constantly percolates out of wells drilled to tap oil and natural gas. For decades, the best way for Ohio oil and gas companies to get rid of the stuff was to send it back underground. It's the sole purpose of a network of 177 disposal wells that state regulators have overseen since the 1980s. State records show that nearly 60 percent of the brine that's injected into Ohio disposal wells these days doesn't come from Ohio. It's trucked in from shale gas wells drilled in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Though this flood of brine has been linked to a series of earthquakes in Youngstown, state regulators and industry officials say they have no ability to stop it. ...


That brine ain't mine.

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Sun, Jan 15, 2012
from Glasgow Herald:
Scientists link mass death of British bees to farm pesticides
Nicotine-based pesticides in widespread use by farmers are implicated in the mass deaths of bees, according to a new study by US scientists. The authoritative, peer-reviewed research undermines the pesticide industry's long-repeated arguments that bees are not being harmed, and piles pressure on UK and US authorities to follow other countries by introducing bans on the chemicals. Pesticide companies have been trying to protect their multi-billion pound businesses by lobbying internationally against bans on neonicotinoids, a group of toxic chemicals designed to paralyse insects by attacking their nervous systems. ...


Innocent beestanders.

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Tue, Jan 10, 2012
from Center for Public Integrity:
EPA's Toxics Release Inventory doesn't offer full picture of pollution
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has unveiled its analysis of the 2010 Toxics Release Inventory, a database containing information on the disposal or release of 650 potentially dangerous chemicals used by almost 21,000 facilities....But, as the EPA acknowledged, the database provides only a snapshot of the pollution produced by American industry. "Users of TRI data should be aware that 'it does not cover all toxic chemicals or all sectors of the U.S. economy,' the analysis warned. "Furthermore, the quantities of chemicals reported to TRI are self-reported by facilities and are often estimates." ...


That's Really Idiotic!

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Mon, Jan 9, 2012
from Sydney Morning Herald:
Smashed boat leaking oil off WA coast
Rough conditions at Christmas Island have left authorities on the foreshore watching a broken-up cargo ship leak oil and phosphate on to the coastline this afternoon. General cargo vessel the MV Tycoon, branded as Panamanian, was loading phosphate from Christmas Island late on Sunday on an offshore mooring point when it hit the seawall, Australian Maritime Safety Association general manager Toby Stone said.... Authorities have estimated about 102 tonnes of intermediate fuel oil, 11,000 litres of lubricant oil, 32 tonnes of diesel oil and approximately 260 tonnes of phosphate onboard the vessel. ...


Merry Christmas.

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Mon, Jan 9, 2012
from Reuters:
Hong Kong air pollution at worst levels ever: report
Air pollution levels in Hong Kong were the worst ever last year, the South China Morning Post reported on Monday, a finding that may further undermine the city's role as an Asian financial centre as business executives relocate because of health concerns. Worsening air quality in Hong Kong caused by vehicle emissions and industrial pollution from the neighboring Pearl River Delta is already forcing many in the financial community to move to Singapore. ...


I'm going to take my polluting business and go pollute elsewhere!

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Mon, Jan 9, 2012
from Australia ABC News:
High mercury levels in Antarctic waters
Think Antarctica, think pristine but a new study has again found that's not exactly so. A team of oceanographers have discovered the sea birds in the Southern Ocean have four times the mercury levels of aquatic birds elsewhere. The toxic element has come from both man-made and naturally occurring sources and while the birds seem to be coping, the same can't be said for the region's fish. ...


Antarctick!

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Mon, Jan 9, 2012
from ChemicalWatch:
Researchers find school packed lunches contaminated with phthalates
Scientists have found that food packaging appears to increase the levels of two phthalates in lunches fed to children by up to 50 percent, following a study in Italy. Researchers from the University of Naples measured the levels of di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) and di-n-butylphthalate (DBP) in packed school meals prepared for children aged between 3 and 10 years old, and estimated the influence of the packaging process on meal contamination and the contribution to daily intake. They found that 92 percent of foodstuffs employed in meal preparation contained DEHP, and 76 percent of them DBP, at detectable levels. By comparing food contents before and after packaging, the researchers found that the packaging process contributed to a significant increase in the level of the two chemicals, estimating that for young children school meals can increase daily DEHP intake by up to 18 percent and DBP by up to 50 percent. ...


Phthat's phthreatening!

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Wed, Jan 4, 2012
from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News via ScienceDaily:
Keeping Our Beaches Safe from Fecal Contamination
Fecal contamination of public beaches caused by sewage overflow is both dangerous for swimmers and costly for state and local economies. Current methods to detect Escherichia coli, a bacterium highly indicative of the presence of fecal matter in water, typically require 24-48 hours to produce a result. A new, accurate, and economical sensor-based device capable of measuring E. coli levels in water samples in less than 1-8 hours could serve as a valuable early warning tool and is described in an article in Environmental Engineering Science, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. ...


Shit's up! ... I mean surf's up!

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Tue, Jan 3, 2012
from Baltimore Sun:
Bay group says cleanup to create more than 230,000 jobs
Federal regulations intended to clean the Chesapeake Bay will create hundreds of thousands of jobs in construction and monitoring, according to a report to be released Tuesday by a leading environmental group. Spending on sewage and storm-water treatment alone could support about 230,000 jobs in the region over the next 14 years, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation report found. That spending will be necessary to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements to reduce pollution in the bay.... "Clean air and clean water creates jobs," said William C. Baker, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's president, who said the argument that environmental regulations add to joblessness is "nothing less than absurd." ...


Creates jobs... and tastes good, too!

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Tue, Jan 3, 2012
from Associated Press:
Chile battles 3 huge forest fires; 1 elderly man killed
Firefighters in Chile battled three huge wildfires Monday that have burned about 90 square miles (23,000 hectares) of forest, destroyed more than 100 homes and have driven away thousands of tourists while causing millions of dollars in losses. The fires also claimed their first victim: an elderly man who refused warnings to leave his home. Chile's normally rainy southern regions are suffering from a nationwide heat wave, on top of a drought that makes fires increasingly likely. The country was battling 48 separate fires on Sunday alone, and red alerts were declared for the regions of Magallanes, Bio Bio and Maule. ...


Too bad Chile ... isn't.

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Thu, Dec 29, 2011
from Slate:
What the Frack?
The recent press about the potential of shale gas would have you believe that America is now sitting on a 100-year supply of natural gas. It's a "game-changer." A "golden age of gas" awaits, one in which the United States will be energy independent, even exporting gas to the rest of the world, upending our current energy-importing situation. The data, however, tell a very different story. Between the demonstrable gas reserves, and the potential resources blared in the headlines, lies an enormous gulf of uncertainty.... Assuming that the United States continues to use about 24 tcf per annum, then, only an 11-year supply of natural gas is certain. The other 89 years' worth has not yet been shown to exist or to be recoverable. ...


Damn you, data!

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Wed, Dec 28, 2011
from Politico:
Are GOP pledges to nix agencies undoable?
Republican presidential candidates are promising to save taxpayers a buck by turning entire government agencies into dust. The familiar conservative rallying cry is met with almost universal skepticism from anyone who's seen the wreckage from past bungled attempts to ax big bureaucracies like the Education, Commerce and Energy departments. ...


As the anti-science party, perhaps the GOP should be turned to dust.

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Wed, Dec 28, 2011
from PBS News Hour:
In Peru, Gold Rush Leads to Mercury Contamination Concerns
Now, major environmental concerns over mercury contamination at extensive gold mining operations in the remote regions of the Peruvian Amazon... These miners are part of the biggest gold rush the world has ever seen. Recent spikes in gold prices have lured 10 to 15 million people worldwide into the business of small-scale gold mining. But rising global demand for gold has also fueled demand for a far less prized metal, mercury. The toxic metal is used by millions of miners every day to separate and collect gold from rocks and soil. Miners say mercury is easy to use, readily available, and cheap. ...


There's mercury in them thar hills.

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Tue, Dec 27, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Oil from 2007 spill surprisingly toxic to fish, scientists report
Thick, tarry fuel oil disgorged into San Francisco Bay from a damaged cargo ship in 2007 was surprisingly toxic to fish embryos, devastating the herring population that feeds seabirds, whales and the bay's last commercial fishery, scientists reported Monday. Although the bay's herring spawning grounds are now free of toxic oil, studies have found that the moderate-size spill of 54,000 gallons had an unexpectedly large and lethal effect. ...


What's not to like about disgorged, thick, tarry fuel?

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Wed, Dec 21, 2011
from National Journal:
EPA Unveils Long-Awaited Mercury Rule
Appearing at Washington's Children's Hospital with public health leaders at her side, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson on Wednesday unveiled the nation's first-ever national standards for mercury and other toxic air pollution from power plants. The sweeping regulations -- mandated by Congress in 1990 and delayed by prolonged litigation, lobbying, and legislative battles --will require utilities to cut at least 90 percent of their emissions of mercury, a neurotoxin known to cause brain damage and other health problems, particularly in developing fetuses and young children...EPA says the rule will prevent up to 11,000 premature deaths and prevent thousands of respiratory illnesses, which could translate into $90 billion in health and economic benefits a year. ...


What will we do with all this extra health and money!? Squander it, mindlessly, I suppose...

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Tue, Dec 20, 2011
from Associated Press:
Thousands of residents protest Chinese town's planned coal power plant, clash with police
Thousands of people besieged a government office in a southern Chinese town Tuesday and blocked a highway to demand a halt to a planned coal-fired power plant because of concerns about pollution, protesters said. Riot police used tear gas in an attempt to disperse the protesters at the highway in the town of Haimen in Guangdong province, and the demonstrators hurled rocks, water bottles and bricks in return... ...


In the US, only the cancellation of a beloved TV show would engender such protest.

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Tue, Dec 20, 2011
from Greenwire:
40 percent of state drilling regulators have industry ties
...More than 40 percent of officials regulating oil and gas production in the top drilling states, records show, come from the industry they are charged with policing. It is a degree of self-regulation enjoyed by few other industries, if any. And it heightens suspicion among critics of the nation's drilling boom that companies are allowed to damage the environment with impunity. Supporters of the industry, and the regulators themselves, say it simply makes sense to have technical experts deciding technical issues. ...


That's the fox drilling the henhouse.

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Tue, Dec 20, 2011
from Press Asociation:
Stray showers of mercury getting into food chain
Earth is being showered with mercury that can land anywhere and enter the food chain, a study has shown. The poisonous metal is released as a vapour by burning fuel then falls back to Earth and is easily absorbed by the aquatic ecosystem. Thousands of tonnes of mercury vapour are pumped into the air each year. Scientists discovered that in time mercury is oxidised it can then be deposited back on Earth, either in rain or snow. Bacteria transform the oxidised mercury into methyl mercury, which easily enters the food chain. US scientist Dr Seth Lyman, who led the research while at the University of Washington Bothell, said: "Much of the emitted mercury is deposited far from its original sources.["] ...


Mercury... ubiquitous messenger of doom.

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Mon, Dec 19, 2011
from Brown University via ScienceDaily:
Novel Device Removes Heavy Metals from Water
Engineers at Brown University have developed a system that cleanly and efficiently removes trace heavy metals from water. In experiments, the researchers showed the system reduced cadmium, copper, and nickel concentrations, returning contaminated water to near or below federally acceptable standards. The technique is scalable and has viable commercial applications, especially in the environmental remediation and metal recovery fields. ...


Bet it can't remove smoke on the water.

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Thu, Dec 15, 2011
from NPR:
Putting Farmland On A Fertilizer Diet
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released a document yesterday that got no attention on the nightly news, or almost anywhere, really.... this document represents the agency's best attempt to solve one of the country's -- and the world's -- really huge environmental problems: The nitrogen and phosphorus that pollute waterways.... around the world, environmentalists and scientists are mobilizing to fight the plague of over-nutrition. That's where the new USDA document comes in. It lays out a host of steps that farmers can take -- and will have to take, if they get funding from certain USDA programs -- to minimize the spread of nutrients outside farm fields. Essentially, it involves putting farmland on a sensible diet. Only feed the land as much as it really needs. And don't apply fertilizer, including manure, when the crops don't need it. Also, try to capture and store any excess nutrients. For instance, grow wintertime "cover crops" that can trap free nitrogen before it leaches into groundwater. ...


Sounds like some common sense shit to me!

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Wed, Dec 14, 2011
from USA Today:
Disasters doom Texas oyster crop
...A monstrous bloom of toxic algae looming across the Texas coast has shut down oyster season. Fueled by Texas' ongoing drought, the algae -- known as Karenia brevis-- thrives in warm, salty water and has spread through the bays and islands along Texas' 350-mile coast...he size of the current bloom coupled with the state's ongoing drought and lack of rain could make it one of the biggest and most destructive in history... ...


We don't do anything small in Texas.

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Wed, Dec 14, 2011
from NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service via ScienceDaily:
Expanding Dead Zones Are Shrinking Tropical Blue Marlin Habitat
The science behind counting fish in the ocean to measure their abundance has never been simple. A new scientific paper authored by NOAA Fisheries biologist Eric Prince, Ph.D., and eight other scientists shows that expanding ocean dead zones -- driven by climate change -- have added a new wrinkle to that science. In the December 4 paper published in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change, these scientists sound an alarm that expanding ocean dead zones are shrinking the habitat for high value fish such as marlins in the tropical northeast Atlantic Ocean. ...


Marlins... marginalized!

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Tue, Dec 13, 2011
from CBS News:
Pollution from China alters weather in U.S. West
A U.N. conference on climate change ended Sunday without a major deal to cut toxic emissions. No country emits more carbon dioxide than China -- a byproduct of its booming economy. And, as CBS News correspondent John Blackstone reports, those Chinese emissions are having a big impact in the U.S. Chinese officials insist the murky air over Beijing this month is just fog. But measurements taken at the U.S. embassy there show dangerously high levels of air pollution -- so bad that traffic has been disrupted and flights have been delayed or cancelled. "It's no longer just their problem; it's our problem," said Kim Prather of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Prather studies atmospheric chemistry. CBS News met her at a scientific conference in San Francisco, where she was presenting research that shows what's in the air over China can affect the weather in America. ...


Sheesh, you'd think, given our flat earth, that pollution would just fall off into space.

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Tue, Dec 13, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Vermont Law School's Top 10 Environmental Watch List for 2012
Vermont Law School, which has one of the top-ranked environmental law programs in the country, just released its second annual Top 10 Environmental Watch List of issues and developments that should be closely followed in 2012. Top of the list? Republican attacks on the Environmental Protection Agency. According to an innovative online database set up by L.A.'s own Rep. Henry Waxman, there have been 170 anti-environmental votes under the Republican majority in the 112th Congress, and 91 of them attacked the EPA. Other hot topics on the watch list include that same EPA and the White House clashing over ozone standards, the activist effort to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, and landmark settlements under the Endangered Species Act. ...


Actually, top of the list: Republicans' farts; they're way worse than Democrats' farts.

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Wed, Dec 7, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
Japan baby formula shows radiation taint
Radiation contamination has been found in a leading brand of Japanese baby formula, most likely fallout from the country's crippled nuclear plant, its manufacturer said on Tuesday. Meiji, a major producer of milk, confectionery and pharmaceuticals, said it was recalling some 400,000 cans of "Meiji Step" formula that contained a small amount of radioactive caesium-134 and ceasium-137... The formula was produced at a factory in Saitama prefecture, some 200 kilometres (125 miles) from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, where reactors were sent into meltdown in the aftermath of the March 11 quake and tsunami. ...


This aftermath is incalculable.

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Mon, Nov 28, 2011
from Environmental Health News:
Atrazine in water tied to menstrual irregularities, low hormones
Women who drink water contaminated with low levels of the weed-killer atrazine may be more likely to have irregular menstrual cycles and low estrogen levels, scientists concluded in a new study. The most widely used herbicide in the United States, atrazine is frequently detected in surface and ground water, particularly in agricultural areas of the Midwest. Approximately 75 percent of all U.S. cornfields are treated with atrazine each year. The newest research, which compared women in Illinois to women in Vermont, adds to the growing scientific evidence linking atrazine to altered hormones....use of the herbicide continues to rise. In the first half of 2011 alone, Syngenta reported double-digit growth in sales, with atrazine as a high performer. ...


That's some mean atrazine!

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Thu, Nov 24, 2011
from Associated Press:
Brazil suspends Chevron's drilling permission
Chevron was banned from drilling for oil in Brazil until an investigation into an offshore oil leak at one of the U.S.-based oil company's well sites is completed, regulators said Wednesday. The board of Brazil's National Petroleum Agency met and "ordered the suspension of drilling activities" until it can identify the causes and who is responsible for the leak of more than 110,000 gallons of oil into the Atlantic ocean off the nation's southeastern coast. "This resolution suspends all drilling activity for Chevron Brasil Ltda. in national territory," the statement read. It was not clear how long the suspension would last. Chevron said in an emailed statement that it would "follow all the rules and regulations of the Government of Brazil and its agencies." ...


Chevron, you've been a bad, bad oil boy.

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Mon, Nov 21, 2011
from New York Times:
New Delhi, Now More Polluted Than Beijing
India has recently pulled far ahead of China on one dubious development marker -- air pollution in the country's capital. The air quality in New Delhi on Monday afternoon was significantly worse than the air quality in Beijing, according to real-time air monitors run by the Indian and U.S. governments in both cities. New Delhi, a landlocked, fast-growing metropolis of more than 16 million people, is regularly shrouded by haze and smog (sometimes euphemistically referred to as fog) in winter months, as barometric pressure and cooler air mix with construction dust, smoke from cow dung fires and car exhaust, which then hover over the city for days. ...


This charming elixir of dust, exhaust and cow dung smoke is a real tourism draw.

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Mon, Nov 21, 2011
from The Epoch Times:
Yangtze River Pollution Imperils Hundreds of Millions
The banks of China's Yangtze River are crowded with chemical factories, which dump massive amounts of toxic waste water into the river, affecting hundreds of millions of people who rely on the river for drinking water. Nevertheless, a Chinese official recently stated that the Yangtze's water quality "overall is good and can be used safely." According to a recent Economics Information Daily report, latest data from the Yangtze River Water Resources Protection Bureau says that the total polluted water discharged into the Yangtze exceeded 33.9 billion tons this year and is increasing at a rate of 2 percent per year. Data released by the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection last December said there are over 400 thousand chemical factories, five major steel manufacturing centers, and seven major oil refineries along the banks of the Yangtze. ...


I imagine "Yangtze," loosely translated, means Shit.

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Fri, Nov 18, 2011
from Reuters:
J&J to nix baby-product contaminant within 2 years
Johnson & Johnson, responding to complaints about a potentially carcinogenic chemical in its baby shampoos, said it plans within two years to eliminate formaldehyde-releasing preservatives from hundreds of its baby products. Chief Executive William Weldon made the pledge on Wednesday in a letter to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a consumer group which earlier this month urged J&J to remove from its baby shampoo a preservative called quaternium-15. The chemical is considered by the government to be a possible trigger for some cancers and skin allergies. It is added to many cosmetic products to prevent spoiling and contamination, and works by releasing formaldehyde to kill bacteria. ...


Whatsa couple more years of contaminatin' babies?

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Tue, Nov 15, 2011
from Center for Public Integrity:
In polluted Pennsylvania suburb, a Republican takes on state regulators
From his 13th-floor office in the Berks County Services Center, Commissioner Mark Scott fields constituent complaints about suffocating odors from an old battery recycling plant in the working-class borough of Laureldale, a northern suburb of this city. Scott, a Republican, reacts to these calls in a way that might seem blasphemous to GOP hard-liners. As he sees it, regulators aren't doing enough. ...


The revolution will be regulated.

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Tue, Nov 15, 2011
from Canadian Press, via Huffington Post:
Estrogen In Drinking Water: Prostate Cancer Deaths Linked In New Study
Researchers suggest there may be a link between estrogen from oral contraceptives that has found its way into the environment and rising rates of prostate cancer among men around the world. In a study in the online publication BMJ Open, researchers at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto looked at the percentage of women using the pill, intrauterine devices, condoms and vaginal barrier contraceptives in 87 countries, then examined the incidence and deaths from prostate cancer. "Looking at these percentages, we find a strong correlation between female use of oral contraceptives at a population level and both new cases of prostate cancer and mortality from prostate cancer," said lead author Dr. David Margel, a urologist and fellow in uro-oncology. ...


Sometimes the water makes me feel so verklempt.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Nov 14, 2011
from Science News:
Dirty air fosters precipitation extremes
Even clouds can suffer from inhaling air pollution, a new study finds, resulting in extreme rainfall patterns that appear to be altering climate across the globe. Farmers, municipal water authorities and others who depend on rainfall prefer moderate, dependable precipitation. But as soot and other minute airborne particles -- a class of pollutants known as aerosols -- get sucked into clouds, the pollution can dramatically alter when clouds deposit rain. The discovery emerged from analyzing every one of thousands of clouds passing over federal monitoring instruments at a site in the western United States over a 10-year period.... The study also reveals unprecedented magnitudes of impacts, says coauthor Daniel Rosenfeld of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. ...


Somebody get those poor clouds some protection!

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Tue, Nov 8, 2011
from Truthout:
Annie Leonard's The Story of Broke
...Wait a minute. Broke? I'm sending in my share of hard-earned cash every month and so are you! Now, what we've got to work with shrinks a lot thanks to corporate tax loopholes and unprecedented tax breaks for the richest 1 percent. But even after those, we've still got over a trillion dollars. So if we're broke, what's happening to all that money? I decided to look into it and it turns out this whole "broke" story hides a much bigger story -- a story of some really dumb choices being made for us -- but that actually work against us. The good news is that these are choices, and we can make different ones. ...


The revolution will be animated.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Nov 7, 2011
from San Francisco Chronicle:
PG&E pipe ruptures, causing I-280 landslide
A Pacific Gas and Electric Co. natural gas pipeline ruptured Sunday afternoon during a high-pressure water test that ripped a hole in a Peninsula hillside, sending a deluge of mud and rocks onto Interstate 280 and partially closing the freeway for four hours. The pipeline is the same one that exploded in San Bruno last year, killing eight people and destroying 38 homes. ...


Thank goodness the Keystone XL Pipeline will be indestructible!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Nov 1, 2011
from New York Times:
Turkey: Sandblasting Jeans for "Distressed" Look Proved Harmful for Textile Workers
Sandblasting new blue jeans to make them look "distressed" killed a number of young Turkish textile workers before the practice was outlawed, a new study has found. The study, published in Chest, a medical journal for lung specialists, was done by doctors at a hospital for thoracic diseases in Istanbul. They followed 32 male textile workers who came to their hospital with breathing problems between 2001 and 2009. That year, after news reports of a "silicosis epidemic,” Turkish health authorities banned sandblasting denim. ...


Does my guilt make my butt look big?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Nov 1, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
Beijing air pollution 'hazardous': US embassy
Air pollution in Beijing reached "hazardous" levels on Monday, the US embassy said, as thick smog blanketed the city for the third day running, forcing the closure of highways and cancellation of flights. The Chinese capital is one of the most polluted cities in the world, mainly due to its growing energy consumption -- much of which is still fuelled by coal-fired power stations -- and the high number of cars on the road. A "hazardous" rating by the US embassy, whose evaluation of the city's air quality often differs markedly from the official Chinese rating, is the worst on a six-point scale and indicates the whole population is likely to be affected....By contrast, China's environment ministry said Beijing's air was just "slightly polluted"... ...


I like to think of it as "deliciously viscous."

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Oct 27, 2011
from Palm Beach Post News:
Wetlands restoration panel worries over loss of money for monitoring
The monitoring programs that reveal how Everglades restoration plans are working -- or not -- have been slashed by 60 percent overall -- leaving gaping holes in programs that predict algal blooms, monitor pollution, provide real-time water level data and assess the survival rates of endangered species. Gone altogether are programs that monitor the well-being of alligators, crocodiles and pink shrimp, indicator species that reveal the health of the entire ecosystem. Cuts to wading bird monitoring in Lake Okeechobee will leave scientists unable to accurately predict the start, peak and end of the nesting season -- benchmarks needed to establish a cause-and-effect relationship between restoration efforts and wildlife. "Basically, the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee are like patients in an emergency room," said Paul Gray, science coordinator for Lake Okeechobee watershed programs at Audubon of Florida. "If you have a patient in the emergency room, the last thing you want to do is shut off all the monitoring equipment." ...


Can't they, like, divine the answers?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Oct 26, 2011
from Nature News:
Fallout forensics hike radiation toll
The disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March released far more radiation than the Japanese government has claimed. So concludes a study1 that combines radioactivity data from across the globe to estimate the scale and fate of emissions from the shattered plant. The study also suggests that, contrary to government claims, pools used to store spent nuclear fuel played a significant part in the release of the long-lived environmental contaminant caesium-137, which could have been prevented by prompt action. ...


Only in America... I mean Russia! Wait, I mean Japan!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Oct 26, 2011
from Environmental Health News:
Farmed salmon diet fattens mice
A study with mice provides more evidence that a diet high in farmed salmon contaminated by persistent organic pollutants - POPs - contributes to weight gain and increases the risk of diabetes. The results are consistent with a growing body of research on people, linking POPs exposure to type 2 diabetes... Like all fish, farmed salmon contain environmental contaminants. Among these are persistent organic pollutants (POPs). POPs are a large and varied group of chemical compounds that share certain traits, including persistence, toxicity to health and an ability to accumulate in tissues and fat. POPs were made and used in a variety of industrial and consumer applications. They are also byproducts of industrial processes. ...


POPs: Promoting Our 'Pocalypse

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Wed, Oct 26, 2011
from The Daily Climate:
Yukon delivers a plug of mercury in response to a changing climate
The Yukon River is delivering upwards of five tons of mercury a year to the Arctic environment, likely in response to a warming climate, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey announced Tuesday... Permafrost in the Yukon basin has been absorbing naturally occurring mercury - chiefly from volcanoes - since the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago. Now those soils, as a result of changing climate conditions, are thawing at increased rates. That could be releasing a substantial reservoir of the metal into the marshes and streams feeding the Yukon River, the world's 19th largest river. More recently, industrial pollution has coated the basin. Prevailing winds from Europe and Asia funnel industrial pollution, including mercury, directly to interior Alaska and the Yukon River drainage, [USGS hydrologist Paul] Schuster said. "If we had funding, we could prove this. We could determine whether this comes from coal or volcanoes. But that's very expensive," he said. ...


Maybe they can raise the money by selling the mercury.

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Tue, Oct 18, 2011
from Fox Business:
US House Votes 267-144 To Block EPA Coal-Ash Regulation
WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday voted to block the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating the waste from coal-fired power plants as a hazardous material, taking a swipe at a long-running movement to establish stricter protections against the toxin-laden waste from leaching into the water. "This is a very scary prospect for communities living near coal-ash dumps--it's a huge step backwards," said Lisa Evans, an attorney with Earthjustice who has spent years pushing for federal regulation of coal-waste sites. Republicans, who have pushed all year to rein in the EPA, have singled out the agency's proposed coal-ash regulations as an example of regulatory overreach. ...


Buncha ashholes.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Oct 13, 2011
from Mobile Press-Register:
4 dead dolphins wash up on Gulf Coast beaches in 5 days; deaths part of 'unusual mortality event'
DAUPHIN ISLAND, Alabama -- A dolphin carcass, bloated and violet in the morning sun, was found on Fort Morgan early Saturday, bringing the number lost since the BP oil spill to more than 400. Three other dolphins have washed up in Alabama in the past week, including a pregnant female on Dauphin Island and a mother and calf pair on Hollingers Island in Mobile Bay. "We should be seeing one (death) a month at this time of year," said Ruth Carmichael, a Dauphin Island Sea Lab scientist tasked with responding to reports of dead dolphins. "We're getting one or more a week. It's just never slowed down." An examination of the Gulfwide death toll, broken down by month, reveals that dolphins continue to die at rates four to 10 times higher than normal. ...


Are those darn dolphins eating cantaloupe again?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Oct 10, 2011
from Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Factory farms rarely cited for polluting
Acting on a tip, state environmental inspectors in February paid a surprise visit to a dairy farm in Eatonton. They found the owner pumping gallon upon gallon of liquefied cow manure into a freshwater pond. From there the toxic brew leached into neighboring streams, the inspectors said. Seven months later, the farmer signed a consent order agreeing to bring his farm up to regulations, update some equipment and take classes on managing the huge amounts of manure his cows generate. (A single dairy cow may produce an astonishing 140 pounds of manure a day.) The Georgia Environmental Protection Division chose not to fine the Eatonton farmer. ...


140 pounds of manure per day? Holy shit!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Oct 7, 2011
from Stuart Smith:
Coming up Empty: Shrimp Catches Are Down 99 Percent in Areas Hard Hit by Gulf Oil Spill
This year's white shrimp season off the coast of Louisiana looks like a bust, despite the fact that state fishery experts had predicted a bumper crop. But that was before the BP oil spill hit last April - just as the white shrimp were beginning to spawn. The timing couldn't have been worse. Today, the reality out on the water, according to Louisiana Shrimp Association President Clint Guidry, is that catches are down some 80 percent across the board. Areas hardest hit by last year's 200-million-gallon spill are yielding next to nothing. Many shrimpers, who have trawled the waters off Grand Isle for many years, are now being forced to move to more fertile grounds.... The low harvest is impacting businesses farther inland, too, such as Doran Seafood, a shrimp processing plant in Independence. "We have done zero this year," said Randy Pearce, the plant's owner-operator. "We have not peeled one Louisiana white shrimp." ...


But I bet the 1 percent are as fat and happy as Wall Street bankers!

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Wed, Oct 5, 2011
from Reuters:
Great Lakes face stresses from run-off, invaders
Great Lakes shorelines are becoming clogged by algae blooms fed by agricultural run-off, while invasive mussels decimate the food chain in deeper waters, an environmental group said on Tuesday. The five lakes, which contain one-fifth of the world's fresh water and supply tens of millions of people, may be "veering close to ecosystem collapse," the report by the National Wildlife Federation said. "Too much food is causing massive algal blooms in Lake Erie and other coastal systems, while too little food is making fish starve in Lake Huron's offshore waters," said the group's Great Lakes director, Andy Buchsbaum. ...


Those poor Great Lakes are ate up lakes now.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Oct 5, 2011
from Epoch Times:
Birth Defects in China Jump 70 Percent in 15 Years
In China the birth defect rate has jumped from 8.77 per 1,000 in 1996, to 15 per 1,000 in 2010, according to Report on Women and Children's Health Development published on Sept. 21. Experts attributed the 70.9 percent surge to environmental pollution. According to the Jinghua Times, the top five inborn defects in hospital tests in 2010 were congenital heart disease, extra toes or fingers, cleft lip, congenital hydrocephalus ("water in the brain"), and neural tube defect (exposure of the brain or spinal cord at birth); congenital heart disease was ranked number one. ...


At least they're not just poisoning our children!

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Wed, Sep 28, 2011
from Washington Post:
No regs are good regs: Single senator blocks pipeline safety bill on principle
A senator who opposes federal regulation on philosophical grounds is single-handedly blocking legislation that would strengthen safety rules for oil and gas pipelines, a bill that even the pipeline industry and companies in his own state support. Republican Sen. Rand Paul's opposition to the bill hasn't wavered even after a gas pipeline rupture last week shook people awake in three counties in his home state of Kentucky. Paul, a tea party ally who shares with his father, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, a desire to shrink the role of the federal government, won't discuss his role in stymieing the bill. But industry lobbyists, safety advocates and Senate aides said he is the only senator who is refusing to agree to procedures that would permit swift passage of the measure. ...


This is appaulling!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Sep 20, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
China closes solar-panel plant after protests
Authorities ordered a solar-panel manufacturing plant in eastern China to close after four days of protests by hundreds of villagers who have accused the facility of causing air and water pollution, Chinese media reported Monday. The decision is an indication of the growing power of environmental protesters to sway government policy in China. As many as 500 villagers participated in the protests near Haining, an industrial city of 640,000 in coastal Zhejiang province. The plant's operator, JinkoSolar, a New York Stock Exchange-listed company, issued a public apology Monday. ...


Iconoclastic renegade Americans could learn a thing or two from the docile Chinese.

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Tue, Sep 20, 2011
from Environmental Health News:
Gender-bent fish found downstream of pharmaceutical plants.
A French study finds that more than three-quarters of wild gudgeon fish examined had a mix of male and female traits in their sex organs if they lived directly downstream to a plant that manufactures pharmaceutical drugs. Exposure to the chemical mix discharged from the nearby drug plant may contribute to the abnormalities, the researchers report in the journal Environmental International. The study is important because it is the first to link discharge from a drug manufacturing plant -- rather than a sewage treatment plant -- with physical and chemical changes in fish living downstream. The researchers found that up to 80 percent of the fish they tested were intersex -- that is, the fish had both male and female characteristics in their ovaries or testis. Intersex indicates endocrine disruption in fish that can foreshadow larger effects on fish populations because of reductions in breeding abilities. ...


These fish are mainlining the good shit!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Sep 14, 2011
from The Denver Post:
Four oil and gas companies responsible for 350 spills named "outstanding operators" by regulators
As gas and oil drilling accelerates along Colorado's heavily-populated Front Range, state regulators named four companies to be "Outstanding Operators" and lauded them for environmental excellence. But the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission regulators' records show that those companies are responsible for more than 350 spills since January 2010. One of them, Andarko subsidiary Kerr-McGee, released cancer-causing benzene and other chemicals three times last month in Weld County -- contaminating land and water. The awards given by the COGCC exemplified a collaborative regulatory approach that Colorado relies on to protect its environment with a record-high 45,793 wells and companies drilling about eight more a day. A Denver Post analysis in progress has found that spills are happening at the rate of seven a week - releasing more than 2 million gallons this year of diesel, oil, drilling wastewater and chemicals. ...


If these are the "outstanding operators" I'd hate to run into the "offending operators."

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Sep 14, 2011
from Chemical & Engineering News:
Chemicals Of Concern
The White House is under pressure from two democratic senators to release a list of chemicals the Environmental Protection Agency says could endanger human health or the environment. This so-called chemicals of concern list would include eight phthalates, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, and bisphenol A. The chemical industry has attempted to block release of EPA's proposed list over the past year. Congress granted EPA the authority to create such a list in the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which was signed into law in 1976. But EPA hasn't attempted to use this authority until now. ...


If it endangers human health it endangers the environment -- and vice versa!

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Tue, Sep 13, 2011
from London Guardian:
Sheffield highlights 'clean jeans' which zap pollutants round their wearers
Jeans which clean up the air around them are being highlighted in Sheffield, as the UK's textile industry continues to show that it is far from dead. Using Lilliput-like nanotechnology, the familiar blue material breaks down pollutants from industry and road traffic with photocatalysts added to the cloth. The system, devised by Sheffield university and the London College of Fashion, follows similar 'smart' applications at Bolton University, which generate electricity through minute solar and movement cells in fabric. Its potential for reducing other more obvious odours, or even overcoming the long-standing aversion of golf clubs to denim clothing, has yet to be explored. ...


The most important thing, however, is its impact on the perceived capaciousness of my derriere.

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Mon, Sep 5, 2011
from Environmental Health News:
Common plasticizer alters an important memory system in male rat brains.
An ingredient widely-used to soften plastic containers and toys changed brain development in growing male rats when exposure occurs during a sensitive phase. The same exposure did not affect female rats, report researchers in the journal Neuroscience. The animal study shows that the phthalate DEHP can disrupt the normal development of the hippocampus in young male rats by reducing the number of cells and nerve connections that form. The hippocampus is important to learning as it is involved in the formation of long-term memories. The rat hippocampus matures in the first few weeks after birth while in people, the hippocampus largely develops before birth during the third trimester. This is the first research to connect phthalate exposure at a critical time of development with these cell and nerve effects in the hippocampus. ...


this explains plenty/
regarding disputes between/
me and my sweetheart

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Aug 31, 2011
from California Watch:
State officials ignored scientists in approving pesticide
California's former top pesticide regulatory official dismissed safety guidelines suggested by her own staff scientists on the grounds that they were "excessive" and too onerous for the pesticide manufacturer, recently released internal documents show... In one of the documents, Mary-Ann Warmerdam, who led the state's Department of Pesticide Regulation until this year, weighs a recommendation from her staff that farm workers be exposed to no more than a trace amount of methyl iodide per day. The recommendation -- intended to protect farm workers from cancer and miscarriage -- is "excessive and difficult to enforce," Warmerdam wrote in April 2010, about two weeks before the department made its recommendation that California approve methyl iodide. If the restrictions on methyl iodide were approved, she wrote, the pesticide manufacturer might find the recommendations "unacceptable, due to economic viability." ...


Scientists should be neither seen nor heard.

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Tue, Aug 30, 2011
from Desmogblog:
Infographic Shows how Keystone Pipelines are 'Built to Spill'
Since commencing operation in June of 2010, the Keystone I pipeline has suffered more spills than any other 1st year pipeline in U.S. history. In addition to a nasty spill record, the proposed Keystone XL will cross one of the largest aquifers in the world - the Ogallala - which supplies drinking water to millions and provides 30 percent of the nation's groundwater used for irrigation. Pipeline construction will also disrupt 20,782 acres, including 11,485 acres of native and modified grassland, rangeland and pastureland, and pipeline construction will threaten sensitive wildlife and aquatic species habitats. According to the EPA, carbon emissions from tar sands crude are approximately 82 percent higher than the average crude refined in the U.S. Given the extremely toxic nature of tar sands bitumen and the fact that Keystone is TransCanada's first wholly owned pipeline in the U.S., it seems reasonable to look to TransCanada's performance with Keystone I for clues on how it would manage Keystone XL. And the clues are telling. ...


I'm confident they'll self-regulate!

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Tue, Aug 23, 2011
from Mother Jones:
USDA Scientist: Monsanto's Roundup Herbicide Damages Soil
The problem goes beyond the "superweed" phenomenon that I've written about recently: the fact that farmers are using so much Roundup, on so much acreage, that weeds are developing resistance to it, forcing farmers to resort to highly toxic "pesticide cocktails." What Roundup is doing aboveground may be a stroll through the meadow compared to its effect below. According to USDA scientist Robert Kremer, who spoke at a conference last week, Roundup may also be damaging soil--a sobering thought, given that it's applied to hundreds of millions of acres of prime farmland in the United States and South America. Here's a Reuters account of Kremer's presentation: The heavy use of Monsanto's Roundup herbicide appears to be causing harmful changes in soil and potentially hindering yields of the genetically modified crops that farmers are cultivating, a US government scientist said on Friday. Repeated use of the chemical glyphosate, the key ingredient in Roundup herbicide, impacts the root structure of plants, and 15 years of research indicates that the chemical could be causing fungal root disease, said Bob Kremer, a microbiologist with the US Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service.... McNeill explains that glyphosate is a chelating agent, which means it clamps onto molecules that are valuable to a plant, like iron, calcium, manganese, and zinc.... The farmers' increased use of Roundup is actually harming their crops, according to McNeill, because it is killing micronutrients in the soil that they need, a development that has been documented in several scientific papers by the nation's leading experts in the field. ...


100,000,000 acres here, 100,000,000 acres there... pretty soon we're talking about real damage!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 23, 2011
from Muncie Star Press:
Selma woman says crop duster soaked her
Sheri Stewart didn't know what to do when a crop duster soaked her and her home with pesticide recently. "What she should have done was call us immediately," said Dave Scott, manager of the pesticide program at the state chemist's office. "If they get sprayed, they should take their clothing off, stick it in a clean garbage bag, take a shower and call us. The bottom line is, it's OK for crop dusters to be out there, but every product says you can't spray people or drift onto people. If you get sprayed, that's the greatest likelihood of absorbing the stuff." Scott's office, which received a record 24 complaints of aerial agricultural pesticide applications drifting onto Indiana residences last year, didn't investigate Stewart's complaint because she didn't call. ...


Those pesticide people sound a little perverted.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Aug 20, 2011
from Greenwire:
Presidential Candidate Perry Championed Pesticides, Torpedoed Regs as Texas Ag Chief
As the harvest season approached in 1995, Texas cotton farmers had a boll weevil problem... Then-Agriculture Commissioner Rick Perry had a solution. The Republican urged the cotton farmers to buy into a program to eradicate the pests using 250,000 gallons of the pesticide malathion. It didn't go as planned. Malathion may have gotten rid of the boll weevils, but it also killed beneficial insects that helped keep the crop free of cotton-eating beet armyworms that invaded. As a result, the valley yielded 54,000 bales of cotton -- a far cry from the projected 450,000 bales. According to some estimates, malathion cost cotton growers $140 million in crop losses and put them $9 million in debt to the eradication program. ...


Sounds like the perfect leader for the most profligate nation on earth!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Aug 19, 2011
from Environmental Health News:
Scientific proof: Money is dirty.
Paper money from countries all around the world carry a chemical hitchhiker -- the hormone-active substance known as bisphenol A (BPA). Paper bills are the latest addition to a growing list of items tainted with the ubiquitous chemical that has been linked to adverse reproductive, metabolic and behavioral effects. The study identifies cash as another source of human exposure to BPA, report the researchers who found that BPA can transfer to the bills from thermal cash receipts stored next to them in wallets. The levels measured in the 50 bills from different governments varied widely -- from almost nothing to considerably high amounts. Still, more research is needed to understand human exposures and possible health effects. ...


Give me the cash and I'll be your guinea pig!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Aug 18, 2011
from Wired:
Science Zapping bugs with microwaves could replace pesticides
Researchers at the National Physical Laboratory are investigating whether microwaves can be used to kill insects and other pests, such as slugs and snails, instead of chemical pesticides. The right wave frequency can cause damage to the insect's structure, causing it to explode, or can simply interfere with its communication or reproductive system. Microwaves of up to 100 gigahertz are being tested to see whether they can be used as a more energy efficient and environmentally friendly way of exterminating certain pests. Whereas chemical pesticides don't discriminate between species, microwaves could be tailored to target insects of a certain size and structure. Finding the right resonant frequency to cause the damage to the bugs is a bit of trial and error. ...


What could go wrong?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Aug 17, 2011
from Scientific American:
Human Sewage Identified as Coral Killer
A Florida biologist has linked a vicious coral-killing pathogen in the Caribbean and Florida Keys to human sewage that leaks into the ocean from improperly treated wastewater. The Caribbean Elkhorn coral was at one time the most common coral in the Caribbean, but has declined by 90 percent over the last 15 years and is now an endangered species. Among the many factors contributing to its decline is a disease known as white pox, caused by Serratio marcescens, a common fecal intestinal bacteria found in the guts of many humans and other animals, including seagulls, Key deer and cats. But whether it came from humans or another source has been a mystery.... To determine the source of the pathogen, the team tested human sewage, along with that of several other organisms, including seabirds, fireworms, snails and deer. A genetic analysis showed that only the strain found in human sewage and snails matched the strain in the coral.... The result: only coral inoculated with the human strain of the bacteria got sick. ...


Same sh*t, different day.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 16, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
Shell silent on North Sea oil pipeline leak
Royal Dutch Shell Plc was silent yesterday on the status of an oil leak of unspecified size in the North Sea and authorities said they had no information on whether the leak had been stemmed, provoking anger from environmentalists. The Anglo Dutch oil major said on Friday that it had discovered the leak from a flow line at its Gannet Alpha Platform and said then it was working to stem the flow. The company declined to comment yesterday. ...


Playing a little shell game, eh?

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Aug 13, 2011
from The Detroit News:
Algae blooms foul Great Lakes
...Bay City State Recreation Area features a one-mile beach that runs south from its visitors center along Lake Huron's western shore. In reality, you can enjoy about 500 feet of it. Just south of the park's volleyball courts, the white sands turn into what locals call "beach muck" -- a thick layer of washed-up algal growth and detritus that sucks at visitors' feet and makes the area close to impassable... Bay City is hardly the only place where algae has become part of summer life. But it does lie in one of the Great Lakes' hot spots for algal growth -- the Saginaw Bay. There, as well as in western Lake Erie and the Green Bay area of Lake Michigan, the green stuff has gone from being an occasional nuisance to an annual problem over the past decade. In each of these areas, the trigger is phosphorus. It gets carried off the region's yards, farms and golf courses by storm runoff and moves via streams and rivers to the lakes. It settles on the bottom of the lake bed and, in shallow waters, reacts to penetrating sunlight by generating algae. ...


This phosphorus is sooooo phucking up our phlora and phauna.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Aug 12, 2011
from The Coast, Nova Scotia:
The fracking truth
Here's a rundown of the process, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council: First, clear a couple of hectares of land for each natural gas well. Drill down a few hundred (or thousand) metres and slice around underneath the shale, blast in at least nine million litres of water, plenty of sand and a variety of chemicals (many of which are known or possible human carcinogens, air pollutants or cause other chronic health problems) in order to access the gas. Bonuses include heavy metals, volatile organic compounds and radioactive elements. Score for the environment! Life might just be that easy if it wasn't for annoying Cornell professors like Robert Howarth, who likes to pee on clean-air parades by looking at the "big picture," the impacts of natural gas beyond just how it burns. Howarth found that the harvesting, transport, processing and use of natural gas leaks so much methane (which fudges the climate 72 times worse than carbon dioxide) that you can't really call it significantly greener than coal, and it's worse than oil. That's going only on reported leakages. The reality is worse, "big picture" wise. ...


And your concern is...? I mean really, isn't this normal?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Aug 10, 2011
from Huffington Post:
Colorado Officials Investigating Hydrogen Sulfide Reports At Oil And Gas Drilling Sites
When it comes to oil and gas news, it's hard to beat 'fracking' for a more buzz-worthy topic. Add 'hydrogen sulfide gas' to the headline, though, and and expect eyebrows to rise. A Sunday report in the Glenwood Springs Post Independent presented evidence the toxic gas, which can cause severe respiratory distress and death, has been documented in various concentrations at oil and gas drilling sites in Colorado. Exposure to the gas at low concentrations can cause headache, dizziness, and upset stomach. At higher concentrations, gas inhalation triggers unconsciousness and death through respiratory paralysis. A 2006 study titled 'Hydrogen Sulfide, Oil and Gas, and People's Health,' notes hydrogen sulfide develops naturally in conjunction with crude oil and natural gas, with 15 to 25 percent of U.S. gas wells likely 'soured.'... A report published in July tested nine of the samples and found 22 toxic chemicals, including four carcinogens at levels ranging from 3 to 3,000 times higher than established safety limits. A sample by the Bucket Brigade contained hydrogen sulfide gas at levels 185 times higher than a threshold set by the EPA as posing long-term health risks to humans. ...


Good jobs! The economy! Shareholder value! Charlie Sheen! Pay no attention to the corporation behind the screen.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 9, 2011
from Politico:
New York Times vs. natural gas industry
The fight between The New York Times and the natural gas industry is going nuclear. A series of critical articles in the paper of record has the natural gas industry fuming as it struggles to persuade the public that hydraulic fracturing is a safe, clean, inexpensive and reliable way of securing the nation's energy supply for decades to come. The stories from reporter Ian Urbina have spurred federal investigators and caused falling stock prices. They've questioned the environmental impacts of gas drilling on drinking water as well as the economic health of the industry, casting doubt on rosy federal projections of gas's future and using anonymous quotes to compare the shale gas boom to Enron and the dot-com stock bubble. ...


Fracking sounds like a WMD to me.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Aug 5, 2011
from London Daily Telegraph:
Was pollution responsible for mass stranding of pilot whales?
Scientists are probing whether pollution may have caused 70 pilot whales to strand in north west Scotland last month. The whales may have been poisoned by years of toxic waste. Experts have now asked the UK government for 20,000 to carry out the first such major diagnostic tests on a super pod in Scotland - which could show the legacy of decades of pouring toxic chemicals into the sea. No such link between strandings and pollution has ever been proved before - but scientists say they are now finding killer whales with toxic readings "hundreds" of times over the limit. There are growing fears that Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB's) - which are now banned - are so prevalent in the marine environment that over a period of time they have entered the food chain widely. ...


Turns out those so-called killer whales are softies.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jul 26, 2011
from Rolling Stone:
The Plastic Bag Wars
American shoppers use an estimated 102 billion plastic shopping bags each year -- more than 500 per consumer. Named by Guinness World Records as "the most ubiquitous consumer item in the world," the ultrathin bags have become a leading source of pollution worldwide. They litter the world's beaches, clog city sewers, contribute to floods in developing countries and fuel a massive flow of plastic waste that is killing wildlife from sea turtles to camels... "There is simply zero justification for manufacturing them anymore, anywhere," the United Nations Environment Programme recently declared. But in the United States, the plastics industry has launched a concerted campaign to derail and defeat anti-bag measures nationwide. The effort includes well-placed political donations, intensive lobbying at both the state and national levels, and a pervasive PR campaign designed to shift the focus away from plastic bags to the supposed threat of canvas and paper bags -- including misleading claims that reusable bags "could" contain bacteria and unsafe levels of lead. ...


Beware the eeevil canvas and paper bags!

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Tue, Jul 26, 2011
from Solve Climate News:
Climate Change Forcing Buried Toxics Back Into Atmosphere, Scientists Say
During the industrial boom of the mid-twentieth century thousands of man-made chemicals were created to make chemical processes and products stronger and more durable. The substances became useful in pest control and crop production, but it wasn't long before they also proved deadly, causing cancers, birth defects and other health problems. Known as persistent organic pollutants (or POPs), this group of the world's most toxic compounds takes decades to degrade as they circulate through Earth's oceans and the atmosphere, gradually accumulating in the fatty tissues of humans and wildlife.... Climatologists at Environment Canada, the Canadian environmental agency, found that as climate change heats up oceans and melts sea ice and snow, the buried pollutants, known as legacy POPs, are being re-released back into the atmosphere. ...


What goes around comes around... and kills us.

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Tue, Jul 26, 2011
from The Tennessean:
Coal ash taints groundwater at TVA sites, report finds
A new report says groundwater contamination from coal ash has been found at Gallatin and eight of the nine other Tennessee Valley Authority fossil power plant sites where testing is being done. Levels of toxic substances found at the Gallatin plant site in Sumner County and at the Cumberland site, 50 miles northwest of Nashville, are high enough that they could create a health hazard, the report says. Beryllium, cadmium and nickel levels are above drinking water standards at Gallatin, as are arsenic, selenium and vanadium at Cumberland. One major surprise also showed up in the review by TVA's Office of Inspector General: For more than a decade, the TVA had been finding substances in groundwater at its Allen coal-fired plant in Memphis that indicated toxic metals could be leaking from a coal ash pond there. ...


How shocking that a toxic pollutant would taint groundwater!

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Tue, Jul 26, 2011
from Washington Post:
Alarming "dead zone" grows in the Chesapeake
A giant underwater "dead zone" in the Chesapeake Bay is growing at an alarming rate because of unusually high nutrient pollution levels this year, according to Virginia and Maryland officials. They said the expanding area of oxygen-starved water is on track to become the bay's largest ever. This year's Chesapeake Bay dead zone covers a third of the bay, stretching from the Baltimore Harbor to the bay's mid-channel region in the Potomac River, about 83 miles, when it was last measured in late June. It has since expanded beyond the Potomac into Virginia, officials said. Especially heavy flows of tainted water from the Susquehanna River brought as much nutrient pollution into the bay by May as normally comes in an entire average year... ...


I'm cul-de-sad about dead zones.

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Tue, Jul 26, 2011
from Bloomberg News:
Threat to Japanese Food Chain Multiplies as Cesium Contamination Spreads
Radiation fallout from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant poses a growing threat to Japan's food chain as unsafe levels of cesium found in beef on supermarket shelves were also detected in more vegetables and the ocean. More than 2,600 cattle have been contaminated, Kyodo News reported July 23, after the Miyagi local government said 1,183 cattle at 58 farms were fed hay containing radioactive cesium before being shipped to meat markets. Agriculture Minister Michihiko Kano has said officials didn't foresee that farmers might ship contaminated hay to cattle ranchers. That highlights the government's inability to think ahead and to act, said Mariko Sano, secretary general for Shufuren, a housewives organization in Tokyo. ...


I sure wouldn't want to take a roll in that hay!

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Thu, Jul 21, 2011
from Huffington Post:
Yellowstone Oil Spill Reveals Gaps In Pipeline Oversight
The spill into the Montana river amid historic flooding this month drew attention to what had long been an overlooked part of the nation's energy infrastructure: the presence of pipelines underneath rivers coursing throughout the country. The spill raised concern that other underwater pipelines may have been exposed to debris by high and fast-moving waters that swept much of the U.S. in recent months.... As regulators scramble to gauge what other lines might be at risk, lawmakers from both parties are raising alarms that another spill could be imminent unless the government steps up oversight of the largely self-regulated pipeline industry.... Pipeline safety officials on Wednesday gave The Associated Press a preliminary estimate of 35,000 river, stream and lake crossings within the country's half-million-mile network of natural gas and hazardous liquid transmission pipelines.... Federal regulations require that pipelines crossing rivers be buried at least four feet underneath most riverbeds. They can be placed at shallower depths if the soil is rocky. There is no requirement for companies to periodically re-evaluate the original depth. ...


Michael: Everything was normal when we put those pipelines in!
Jim: Who could have predicted that normal wasn't forever?

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Wed, Jul 20, 2011
from Texas A&M University via ScienceDaily:
2011 Gulf of Mexico 'Dead Zone' Could Be Biggest Ever
Researchers from Texas A&M University have returned from a trip to examine the scope and size of this year's "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico and have measured it currently to be about 3,300 square miles, or roughly the size of Delaware and Rhode Island combined, but some researchers anticipate it becoming much larger...During the past five years, the dead zone has averaged about 5,800 square miles and has been predicted to exceed 9,400 square miles this year, which would make it one of the largest ever recorded, according to the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium. Hypoxia occurs when oxygen levels in seawater drop to dangerously low levels, and severe hypoxia can potentially result in fish kills and harm marine life, thereby creating a "dead zone" of life in that particular area. ...


If I eva have another child I'm gonna name her Hypoxia.

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Tue, Jul 19, 2011
from Reuters:
BP pipeline leaks oily mixture onto Alaskan tundra
BP reported yet another pipeline leak at its Alaskan oilfields, frustrating the oil giant's attempts to rebuild its reputation after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. BP said on Monday that a pipeline at its 30,000 barrel per day Lisburne field, which is currently closed for maintenance, ruptured during testing and spilled a mixture of methanol and oily water onto the tundra. The London-based company has a long history of oil spills at its Alaskan pipelines - accidents which have hurt its public image in the U.S., where around 40 percent of its assets are based. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation said the spill occurred on Saturday and amounted to 2,100 to 4,200 gallons. ...


Aw hell, no worries, we're used to it, now!

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Tue, Jul 12, 2011
from VietNamNet:
Pollution threatens HCM City water supply
The pollution on Sai Gon River has become worse over the years as increasing industrialisation along the river bank threatens the main water source of HCM City. The river flows through 40 industrial parks in Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc and Tay Ninh provinces and HCM City. Only 21 of them have an industrial waste treatment system. Most of the treated water released from facilities does not meet the quality required by environmental authorities. The Sai Gon River also is polluted by industrial and agricultural waste water from small-sized enterprises operating along the river, amounting to 65,000 cubic metres a day. In addition, every day the river receives over 748,000 cubic metres of waste water, discharged from residential areas in localities, with more than 90 per cent of the waste water coming from HCM City...An expert said that with the limited number of waste water treatment plants, less than 20 per cent of household waste water was collected and treated, with the rest discharged directly into the river. ...


These poor folks are deep in shit!

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Sun, Jul 10, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
Is ocean garbage killing whales?
Millions of tonnes of plastic debris dumped each year in the world's oceans could pose a lethal threat to whales, according to a scientific assessment to be presented at a key international whaling forum this week. A review of research literature from the last two decades reveals hundreds of cases in which cetaceans -- an order including 80-odd species of whales, dolphins and porpoises -- have been sickened or killed by marine litter. Entanglement in plastic bags and fishing gear have long been identified as a threat to sea birds, turtles and smaller cetaceans. For large ocean-dwelling mammals, however, ingestion of such refuse is also emerging as a serious cause of disability and death, experts say. ...


We just need to invent an edible plastic!

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Fri, Jul 8, 2011
from London Daily Mail:
Could scented candles kill you?
...They're many women's favourite indulgence - but their fumes are as toxic as cigarettes... Since they are often lit in poorly ventilated rooms, such as bathrooms, or during the evening when windows are likely to be closed, the release of chemicals can cause indoor pollution that is potent enough to raise the risk of asthma, eczema and skin complaints. Sales of scented candles have soared in recent years as they have come to represent the ultimate fulfilment of "me" time. More expensive varieties made from beeswax and soy rarely cause problems, but the majority of those sold in the UK are cheap imports made from paraffin wax, a by-product of the petroleum industry. These have been shown to release an alarming range of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), substances that can be problematic to health. ...


Some things are worth the risk.

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Fri, Jul 8, 2011
from Toronto Sun:
Study downplaying cellphone risks funded by manufacturers
OTTAWA - An international study which debunks research linking cellphones to cancer risks received major funding from wireless manufacturers. The World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer classified radio frequency emitted by wireless devices as possibly carcinogenic, but a panel of international scientists recently published a study challenging these findings. The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection - composed of scientists from Britain, the United States and Sweden - said evidence is mounting against the hypothesis cellphones may cause cancer despite the findings of IARC. But in the study's conflict of interest disclaimer, the panel acknowledged it received support from the wireless industry to conduct the research. ...


Investigative journalism is a luxury we can not afford.

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Wed, Jul 6, 2011
from Environmental Health News:
Scientists warn that chemicals may be altering breast development
Exposure to chemicals early in life may alter how breast tissue develops and raise the risks of breast cancer and lactation problems later in life, scientists concluded in a set of reports published Wednesday. The scientists are urging federal officials to add new tests for industrial chemicals and pesticides to identify ones that might disrupt breast development. In some cases, they said, mammary glands are more sensitive to effects of hormone-disrupting chemicals than any other part of the body, so low levels of exposure may be causing breast changes. ...


Just so they're getting bigger.

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Wed, Jul 6, 2011
from San Francisco Chronicle:
UCSF, Stanford autism study shows surprises
Environmental factors play a more important role in causing autism than previously assumed and, surprisingly, an even larger role than genetics, according to a new study out of UCSF and Stanford that could force a dramatic swing in the focus of research into the developmental disorder. The study, published in Monday's issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry, looked at 192 pairs of twins in California and, using a mathematical model, found that genetics account for about 38 percent of the risk of autism, and environmental factors account for about 62 percent. ...


Mother nurture... is a bitch.

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Tue, Jun 28, 2011
from SolveClimate:
U.S. Climate Protests Shift to Blocking Keystone XL Pipeline Approval
Climate activists don't have much to rally around now that Congress is shunning global warming legislation. Energy legislation is stalled and stymied in a Senate where a Democratic caucus has a slim 53-47 advantage. And a GOP majority in the House is unveiling any and every tactic to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to deploy the Clean Air Act. McKibben and his allies figure the $7 billion Keystone XL -- which was barely on their environmental radar screen a year ago -- could be a galvanizer because the 1,702-mile underground pipeline would be a "fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet." "If the tar sands are thrown into the mix it is essentially game over," Hansen, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration climatologist, explained about reclaiming a stable climate. "The principal requirement is that coal emissions must be phased out by 2030 and unconventional fossil fuels, such as tar sands, must be left in the ground."... "We don't expect or demand miracles out of politicians. That's not part of the contract," he continued. "But once in a while they get to make a straight-up decision and Keystone XL is one of those. This one is more like tee ball. It's sitting on the stand and Obama can choose to hit it or not."... "Twenty years of patiently explaining the climate crisis to our leaders hasn't worked," states the letter he co-authored. "Maybe moral witness will help." One prerequisite is that the demonstrators ditch Birkenstocks, torn jeans and tie-dyed T-shirts for button-down, business attire. "We need to be able to get across to people who the conservatives are and who the radicals are," McKibben said. "People need to understand how radical it is to change the composition of the atmosphere."... "It's incumbent on those who have spent our whole lives spewing carbon into the atmosphere to do something about it," McKibben concluded. "Most had interesting first acts in their lives that involved the civil rights and anti-war movements. That was before becoming preoccupied with other activities, mainly consuming things. ...


You're asking me to confirm that a ten-year or twenty-year time horizon is more important than a next-quarter horizon. How crazy is that?

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Sun, Jun 26, 2011
from New York Times:
Insiders Sound an Alarm Amid a Natural Gas Rush
Natural gas companies have been placing enormous bets on the wells they are drilling, saying they will deliver big profits and provide a vast new source of energy for the United States. But the gas may not be as easy and cheap to extract from shale formations deep underground as the companies are saying, according to hundreds of industry e-mails and internal documents and an analysis of data from thousands of wells. In the e-mails, energy executives, industry lawyers, state geologists and market analysts voice skepticism about lofty forecasts and question whether companies are intentionally, and even illegally, overstating the productivity of their wells and the size of their reserves.... "Money is pouring in" from investors even though shale gas is "inherently unprofitable," an analyst from PNC Wealth Management, an investment company, wrote to a contractor in a February e-mail. "Reminds you of dot-coms." "The word in the world of independents is that the shale plays are just giant Ponzi schemes and the economics just do not work," an analyst from IHS Drilling Data, an energy research company, wrote in an e-mail on Aug. 28, 2009. ...


Madoff... Enron... Disaster Capitalism... Inverse Credit Default Swaps... what is the best comparator?

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Sun, Jun 26, 2011
from AP, via PhysOrg:
Sportsmen monitor gas drilling in Marcellus Shale
A new coalition of outdoors groups is emerging as a potent force in the debate over natural gas drilling. The Sportsmen Alliance for Marcellus Conservation isn't against the process of fracking for gas, but its members want to make sure the rush to cash in on the valuable resource doesn't damage streams, forests, and the various creatures that call those places home. The movement grew out of grass-roots anger as passionate outdoorsmen found their questions about drilling and wildlife brought few answers from local or state officials. "Either we didn't get a response or the answer we got didn't seem feasible or acceptable. It didn't seem like the people who were in charge had their pulse on what was actually happening," said Ken Dufalla of Clarksville, Pa.... Already, preliminary water testing by sportsmen is showing consistently high levels of bromides and total dissolved solids in some streams near fracking operations, Dufalla said. Bromide is a salt that reacts with the chlorine disinfectants used by drinking water systems and creates trihalomethanes.... Dufalla stands alongside Whiteley Creek, a little mountain stream in Greene County. But something is wrong. The grass is lush and the woods are green, but the water is cloudy and dead-looking. "It used to be a nice stream," teeming with minnows, crawfish and other aquatic life, he told The Associated Press. No more, said Dufalla, a former deputy game and fish warden for Pennsylvania. He's worried that nearby gas drilling has damaged the creek, either from improper discharges of waters used in fracking, or from extensive withdrawals of water. ...


Fracking makes strange Earthfellows.

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Fri, Jun 24, 2011
from The Indypendent:
What Happened to Media Coverage of Fukushima?
While the U.S. media has been occupied with Anthony Weiner, the Republican presidential candidates and Bristol Palin's memoir, coverage of Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster has practially fallen off the map. Poor mainstream media coverage of Japan's now months-long struggle to gain control over the Fukushima disaster has deprived Americans of crucial information about the risks of nuclear power following natural disasters.... Months of spraying seawater on the plant's three melted-down fuel cores -- and the spent fuel stored on site -- to try and cool them has produced 26 million of gallons of radioactive wastewater, and no place to put it. After a struggle, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), finally managed to put in place a system to filter radioactive particles out of the wastewater, but it broke down soon after it started operating. A filter that was supposed to last a month plugged up with radioactive material after just five hours, indicating there is more radioactive material in the water than previously believed. Meanwhile, TEPCO is running out of space to store the radioactive water, and may be forced to again dump contaminated water into the Pacific Ocean. ...


I think the media has been distracted by covering the ocean scientists who can't believe what they're seeing. "Shocking" declines that they didn't expect for another century or two. They fear it is the ocean's death sentence. You heard about that, right?

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Wed, Jun 15, 2011
from Associated Press:
Government lists formaldehyde as cancer causer
The strong-smelling chemical formaldehyde causes cancer, while styrene, a second industrial chemical that's used worldwide in the manufacture of fiberglass and food containers, may cause cancer, the National Institutes of Health says. The NIH said Friday that people with higher measures of exposure to formaldehyde are at increased risk for certain types of rare cancers, including those affecting the upper part of the throat behind the nose. The chemical is widely used to make resins for household items, including paper product coatings, plastics and textile finishes. It also is commonly used as a preservative in medical laboratories, mortuaries and consumer products including some hair straightening products. ...


Why on earth would people want to straighten their hair?

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Wed, Jun 15, 2011
from Reuters:
U.S. EPA delays rollout of CO2 rule on power plants
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, under pressure from Republicans and big utilities, said on Monday it had extended a deadline by two months on draft rules that would for the first time limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The EPA said it had moved the date for proposing the rule from July 26 to Sept. 30 after listening to businesses and states that will have to implement the regulation. The rule, known as a performance standard, would limit the amount of carbon dioxide that U.S. power plants may emit. ...


Sounds like the EPA is having performance anxiety.

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Tue, Jun 14, 2011
from USA Today:
Apples top most pesticide-contaminated list
Apples are at the top of the list of produce most contaminated with pesticides in a report published today by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a public health advocacy group. Its seventh annual report analyzed government data on 53 fruits and vegetables, identifying which have the most and least pesticides after washing and peeling. For produce found to be highest in pesticides, the group recommends buying organic. Apples moved up three spots from last year, replacing celery at the top of the most-contaminated list; 92 percent of apples contained two or more pesticides. ...


Living up to its tradition as the forbidden fruit!

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Thu, Jun 9, 2011
from Taipei Times:
Banned chemical found in antibiotic
Major hospitals yesterday temporarily suspended use of the prescription antibiotic Augmentin, which is manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline PLC, following reports that tests had confirmed the presence of a banned chemical. The news came after a TV news station recently sent samples of the antibiotic, which is produced and packaged in the UK, for laboratory testing, where it was discovered that the medicine tested positive for diisodecyl phthalate, or DIDP, at levels of between 14.8 parts per million (ppm) and 18.1ppm. ...


Guess the Augmentin was too augmented.

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Thu, Jun 9, 2011
from Associated Press:
EPA plans to ban some rodent poisons
The government is moving to ban the sale of some popular rat and mouse poisons such as D-Con and Hot Shot in an effort to protect children and pets. The Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday it is taking the step to reduce the thousands of accidental exposures of children that occur every year from rodent-control products. ...


That hissing sound you hear is celebrating rats.

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Thu, Jun 9, 2011
from TIME:
The Bacterium That Ate a Continent: What E. Coli Is Doing to the E.U.
No one yet knows what vegetable or fruit is the ultimate source of the outbreak of a deadly form of E. coli in Europe. Nor do officials know at what point the contamination occurred: on the farm, as agricultural workers handled the produce, as a result of packaging, in the midst of transport or at some other point in the chain of supply? What is clear is that, even after the health hazards are contained, questions will have to be asked about how well the E.U.'s food-safety system works. ...


It's sorta nice to know the U.S. isn't the only food fuck-up.

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Wed, Jun 8, 2011
from Associated Press:
China Acid Spill Knocks Out Water to Half Million
A toxic chemical spilled into a river that supplies drinking water to the scenic city of Hangzhou in eastern China, knocking out supplies to more than half a million people and creating a run on bottled water. A tanker truck carrying 20 tons of carbolic acid overturned late Saturday night. The chemical, also known as phenol, was washed by rain into the Xin'an River about 150 kilometers (90 miles) southwest of Hangzhou, the city said in a report on its website. ...


Think if the tanker had run into a truck full of chickens, too!

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Wed, Jun 8, 2011
from New York Times:
In Update on Sperm, Data Show No Decline
It is one of the most fraught topics in environmental health. Are men becoming less fertile, with declining sperm counts and diminishing sperm quality? If they are, then sperm might be an early warning sign of environmental dangers. And the prime suspects have been substances like plastics and pesticides that can have weak estrogenlike effects on cells. But now 15 years of data from 18-year-old Danish men taking their military physicals show no decline in sperm counts, after all. ...


Danes? They studied Danes?? Danes' sperm is indestructible!

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Thu, Jun 2, 2011
from Chicago Tribune:
USDA testing finds 30-plus unapproved pesticides on the herb cilantro
Just in time for cookout season, some unsettling news arrives for guacamole and salsa lovers: Federal testing turned up a wide array of unapproved pesticides on the herb cilantro -- to an extent that surprises and concerns government scientists. At least 34 unapproved pesticides showed up on cilantro samples analyzed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as part of the agency's routine testing of a rotating selection of produce. Cilantro was the first fresh herb to be tested in the 20-year-old program. "We are not really sure why the cilantro came up with these residues," said Chris Pappas, a chemist who oversees the Virginia-based USDA pesticide testing. ...


Somehow it's a comfort to know there are approved pesticides.

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Wed, Jun 1, 2011
from Associated Press:
Sturgeon's death highlights threat to ancient fish
...Sturgeon have thrived in the Danube for 200 million years, migrating from feeding grounds in the Black Sea to Germany 2,000 kms (1,200 miles) upstream... Fishermen, unrestrained after the collapse of order in eastern Europe in 1989, caught them in huge numbers as they began their migration, trapping them before they could reproduce. Pollution from agricultural run-off and expanding cities put them under further pressure, although the construction of water treatment plants in the last decade has lessened the flow of filth. Now environmentalists are trying to head off the latest threat: a European Union plan to deepen shipping channels in the Danube that they fear could eliminate the last shallows where the sturgeon deposit their eggs, which would doom the fish to vanish in its last stronghold in Europe. ...


What God hath fashioned, man can fucketh up pretty fast.

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Tue, May 24, 2011
from Fair Warning:
'Gender-Bending' Chemicals Found in Toys in China
Toy manufacturers are exposing children in China to high levels of industrial chemicals known as phthalates that the U.S. and European Union have banned from children's products, the environmental organization Greenpeace says. Phthalates, the best-known of which is DEHP, are used to soften plastic children's toys. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified them as probable human carcinogens. They have also been linked to "gender-bending." A 2005 study, for instance, suggested that phthalates could affect the genital development of boys, and other research has associated the chemicals with the early onset of puberty in girls. Congress passed a ban in 2008 after concluding that the chemicals posed a risk to children who chew on their toys. But there is no such ban in China and, according to Greenpeace, testing by an independent laboratory found phthalates in 21 out of 30 samples of children's products purchased in four Chinese cities. ...


That's one way to limit population growth in your country.

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Fri, May 20, 2011
from Hartford Advocate:
You Have No Idea What Mowing Your Lawn Is Doing To The Planet
Imagine a scenario where tens of millions of Americans are condemned by their own illusions to hours of hot, sweaty, grueling unpaid labor every week involving expensive and potentially dangerous chemicals, ear-shattering machines and fuels that pollute the air and water. This isn't some nightmarish dystopian science-fiction plot. It's happening right now as this nation's suburban homeowners renew their unending and damaging war against nature to preserve, protect and pamper the foreign organisms that make up the American lawn. ...


But if I don't make my lawn... just so... the gnomes get angry.

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Wed, May 18, 2011
from Environmental Health News:
Commuters less able to take a deep breath
Breathing traffic air pollution while commuting during rush hour affects airway function in drivers and bus riders but not bikers, report researchers in the journal Epidemiology. Even though the bikers inhaled more air - and more particulates - during their two-hour commutes, they didn't experience the airflow declines seen in the bus and car riders. Researchers found the vehicle commuters who inhaled more particulates did worse on the breathing tests: they exhaled less volume of air with higher levels of nitrogen oxide. These measures indicate restricted and inflamed airways. The breathing effects were associated with the short-term exposure to particulate matter (PM10) and soot. ...


Still, it's worth it, driving, I mean... isn't it?

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Wed, May 18, 2011
from Associated Press:
Chemical-infused watermelons explode in China
Watermelons have been bursting by the score in eastern China after farmers gave them overdoses of growth chemicals during wet weather, creating what state media called fields of "land mines." About 20 farmers around Danyang city in Jiangsu province were affected, losing up to 115 acres of melon, China Central Television said in an investigative report. Prices over the past year prompted many farmers to jump into the watermelon market. All of those with exploding melons apparently were first-time users of the growth accelerator forchlorfenuron, though it has been widely available for some time, CCTV said. Chinese regulations don't forbid the drug, and it is allowed in the U.S. on kiwi fruit and grapes. But the report underscores how farmers in China are abusing both legal and illegal chemicals, with many farms misusing pesticides and fertilizers. ...


Destruction cometh by the smite of exploding melons.

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Thu, May 12, 2011
from Toronto Globe and Mail:
Fraser River sockeye face chemical soup of 200 contaminants
Sockeye salmon are exposed to a soup of chemicals in the Fraser River, and some of the ingredients are accumulating to potentially lethal levels in eggs, while others may be disrupting the sexual function of fish, according to a scientific review conducted for the Cohen Commission... While it is unlikely that contaminants are "the sole cause" of sockeye population declines, the report says there is "a strong possibility that exposure to contaminants of concern, endocrine disrupting chemicals, and/or contaminants of emerging concern has contributed to the decline of sockeye salmon." ...


Coldcocking the sockeye!

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Thu, May 12, 2011
from Science News:
Idling jets pollute more than thought
Airports can pose a far bigger threat to local air than previously recognized, thanks to the transformative power of sunlight. In the first on-tarmac measurements of their kind, researchers have shown that oil droplets spewed by idling jet engines can turn into particles tiny enough to readily penetrate the lungs and brain. Allen Robinson of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and his team collected the pollution spewed from a plane powered by one of the most common types of commercial jet engines as it operated at different loads... Sunlight's oxidation of the exhaust emitted at idling can generate 35 times more particles than the engine originally emitted and 10 times what computer models have typically predicted, the researchers report online May 5 in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. Robinson says he found these new data "unbelievable. It sort of blew our minds." ...


Apparently, it blows one's mind AND one's brain (and lungs).

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Thu, May 12, 2011
from ABC Good Morning America:
Mississippi River Flooding: Pollution, Fertilizers, Sewage in the Flood Waters; ABC News Does its Own Testing
The great Mississippi River flood of 2011, cresting south of Memphis today, carries a mix of fertilizer, oil, pesticides, trash and farm runoff as it flows toward the Gulf of Mexico, say public health officials. Some of it is nasty stuff, and officials say people are wise to be careful. They urge people not to touch the water unless they're wearing rubber boots and gloves, and wash thoroughly if they get wet. "There could be a lot of untreated sewage coming downstream," said Wilma Subra, an environmental scientist and activist in Louisiana who has tangled with oil and chemical companies. "People need to be aware." ...


All that shit is going to kill the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Wed, May 11, 2011
from Postmedia News:
Pollutants taking toll on polar bears: researchers
Persistent organic pollutants used in industry are changing the genitals and bones of polar bears in East Greenland, says a Danish wildlife veterinarian and toxicologist. "Shrinking balls and degraded bones," linked to the presence of pesticides and flame retardants in the Arctic, are likely to affect the animals' fertility and reproductive success, said Christian Sonne at last week's conference on Arctic climate change and pollution in Copenhagen. These impacts are "not just" affecting polar bears, said Sonne who works at the National Environmental Research Institute of Denmark. People, as well as other animals, in Canada's Arctic may also be at risk of similar effects from these pollutants... ...


Just slip 'em some calcium supplements and viagra and they'll be fine.

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Wed, May 11, 2011
from Philadelphia Inquirer:
Duke study finds methane in well water near gas drilling sites
A Duke University study has found that methane levels in private water wells are, on average, 17 times higher when within 1,000 yards of a natural gas drilling site. Of 60 wells that the researchers tested for methane in northeastern Pennsylvania and New York, they found the gas in 85 percent. When they fingerprinted the methane - comparing the chemistry of the methane in the wells with that from natural gas wells in the region - "the signatures matched," said Robert Jackson, a professor at Duke and a study author. "At least some homeowners who claim that their wells were contaminated by shale gas extraction appear to be right," he said. ...


Methinks methane is metoxic.

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Tue, May 10, 2011
from New York Times:
Barring Cars to Clear the Air
Cruising through cities in cars has been a part of urban life for decades. But for some European drivers, that pastime could be coming to an end where the authorities want to bar the most polluting vehicles. "The future in city centers belongs to small cars and electric vehicles," Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, the French minister for ecology and transport, told a French newspaper, Le Parisien, last month. Ms. Kosciusko-Morizet was announcing plans for eight of the largest French cities, including Paris and Nice, to restrict or bar access by passenger cars made before 1997, when stricter emissions standards took effect in Europe. ...


Friggin' French always fouling up our fun.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, May 10, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
Ecologists raise alarm over Russia's Olympics
With just over 1,000 days left before the Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia is pulling out all the stops to get ready in a drive activists say is leaving a devastating toll on the environment... "In general, environmental damage in Sochi is much worse than what we expected in the early stages of construction planning," said Suren Gazaryan of the Environmental Watch on North Caucasus....A mudslide from an illegal dump up the hill tore through the park and filled the river's banks with debris from tunnel construction and other waste in January. "Clearly leaving thousands of tons of waste on a steep hillside is not a good idea, but its convenient, and it can't be stopped," Gazaryan said as he picked off a chunk of the black substance for testing. ...


Maybe they ought to hold the ApocOlympics instead.

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Fri, May 6, 2011
from Center for Public Integrity:
Four years after oil company's criminal conviction for pollution, still no sentencing
Almost four years ago, a federal jury convicted Citgo Petroleum Corp. of two criminal violations of the Clean Air Act, having found that the company's refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas, afflicted a nearby community with toxic air pollution. For nearly a decade, the jury found, emissions of benzene and other hazardous chemicals -- from two hulking, uncovered tanks -- regularly swept into a mostly poor, minority neighborhood known as Hillcrest. That was in June 2007. To the dismay of the refinery's neighbors, Citgo still hasn't been sentenced -- a delay legal scholars say is unusual. ...


Ya gotta figure the guilt is eating away at them.

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Fri, May 6, 2011
from Chicago Tribune:
Aging Indiana power plant to shut down, cutting Chicago-area air pollution
One of the nation's dirtiest power plants is shutting down, a move that will scrap a major source of lung- and heart-damaging air pollution in the Chicago area. Facing a federal complaint, more stringent pollution limits and smaller profit margins, Virginia-based Dominion Resources is writing off the State Line Power Station, an aging coal-fired generator sandwiched between Lake Michigan and the Chicago Skyway at the Illinois-Indiana border. In a recent conference call with financial analysts, Dominion executives announced they had decided it isn't worth upgrading the plant to comply with the federal Clean Air Act. ...


Farewell old faithful and foul friend.

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Thu, May 5, 2011
from Greenwire:
'Anti-Environmental' House Freshman Leads Charge Against Obama's Clean Water Agenda
Just months into his first term, Rep. Bob Gibbs admits he has much to learn. But the Ohio Republican holds strong reservations about environmental regulation in general... Republicans across the United States capitalized in the last election on a similar business-now, environment-later message, stoking an anti-incumbent mood among voters still smarting from the recession with hopeful promises of business-friendly, job-creating policies. Few in the GOP capitalized as much as this 56-year-old political unknown from rural southeastern Ohio. This white-haired Midwestern farmer has since emerged as critic-in-chief of a top Obama administration priority: strengthening clean water protections. ...


Because who needs clean water when we can be making some dirty money?

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Wed, May 4, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
China pays price for world's rare earths addiction
Peasant farmer Wang Tao used to grow corn, potatoes and wheat within a stone's throw of a dumping ground for rare earths waste until toxic chemicals leaked into the water supply and poisoned his land. Farmers living near the 10-square-kilometre expanse in northern China say they have lost teeth and their hair has turned white while tests show the soil and water contain high levels of cancer-causing radioactive materials. "We are victims. The tailings dam has contaminated us," Wang, 60, told AFP at his home near Baotou city in Inner Mongolia, home to the world's largest deposits of rare earths, which are vital in making many high-tech products... China produces more than 95 percent of the world's rare earths -- 17 elements used in the manufacture of products ranging from iPods to flat-screen televisions and electric cars. ...


iPoisoned

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Wed, Apr 27, 2011
from London Guardian:
Forest fires around Chernobyl could release radiation, scientists warn
A consortium of Ukrainian and international scientists is making an urgent call for a $13.5m (£8.28m) programme to prevent potentially catastrophic wildfires inside the exclusion zone surrounding Chernobyl's ruined nuclear power plant. The fear is that fires in the zone could release clouds of radioactive particles that are, at the moment, locked up in trees, held mainly in the needles and bark of Scots pines....If there is a catastrophic or "crown" fire (a high-intensity wildfire affecting a large part of the CEZ) radionuclides could be dispersed over a wide area; a big fire could send radioactivity as far as Britain. ...


Smokey the Russian Bear says Only YOU can prevent nuclear radiation.

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Tue, Apr 26, 2011
from Indiana University:
IU study finds flame retardants at high levels in pet dogs
Indiana University scientists have found chemical flame retardants in the blood of pet dogs at concentrations five to 10 times higher than in humans, but lower than levels found in a previous study of cats. Their study, "Flame Retardants in the Serum of Pet Dogs and in their Food," appears this month in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. Authors are Marta Venier, an assistant research scientist in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and Ronald Hites, a Distinguished Professor in SPEA. Venier and Hites explore whether pets could serve as "biosentinels" for monitoring human exposure to compounds present in the households that they share. Dogs may be better proxies than cats, they say, because a dog's metabolism is better equipped to break down the chemicals. ...


It always comes down to cats vs. dogs, doesn't it?

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Sat, Apr 23, 2011
from Nature:
Puzzle persists for 'degradeable' plastics
Eco-friendly plastics disintegrate, but might just linger in the environment. The environmentally friendly version of polythene might not be so friendly after all. Polyethylene is one of the most widely used materials in the world, and the discarded plastic bag has become one of the most potent symbols of human impact on the environment. As worries over the vast scale of waste from this plastic has grown, so has the use of purportedly 'degradable' forms of it... Although it is clear that 'degradable' plastic bags, for example, will fall apart in the environment, the resulting fragments can persist for a long time, and there are no long-term studies on these pieces. A key issue is that products can be described as biodegradable without reference to the timescale it takes them to fully biodegrade. ...


In terms of how long it takes to biodegrade, are we talking Newtonian or relativistic timescapes?

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Fri, Apr 22, 2011
from Wall Street Journal:
Drilling fluid gushes from northern Pa. gas well
A blowout at a natural gas well in rural northern Pennsylvania spilled thousands of gallons of chemical-laced water Wednesday, contaminating a stream and leading officials to ask seven families who live nearby to evacuate as crews struggled to stop the gusher. Chesapeake Energy Corp. lost control of the well site near Canton, in Bradford County, around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday, officials said. Tainted water flowed from the site all day Wednesday, though by the mid-afternoon, workers had managed to divert the extremely salty water away from the stream. ...


Sounds like that gas well... had gas.

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Wed, Apr 20, 2011
from Environmental Health News:
California's poor, Mexican American kids have among world's highest levels of flame retardants
Mexican American school children in California are contaminated with seven times more flame retardants than children in Mexico and three times more than their own mothers, according to a new study. The 7-year-olds in the Salinas Valley had more of the chemicals in their bodies than almost all other people tested worldwide. University of California scientists warn that the levels they found in the children "present a major public health challenge." Low income, rather than race or ethnicity, is probably the major factor in determining who is highly exposed to these chemicals. Household dust is likely the major source. ...


These kids may be poor but at least they won't catch on fire easily.

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Thu, Apr 14, 2011
from Chemical & Engineering News:
EPA Targets Diisocyanates
Diisocyantes, which are ingredients in polyurethane plastics, face Environmental Protection Agency regulation due to concerns about health effects, the agency announced on April 13. The main focus of EPA's efforts is do-it-yourself consumer products such as spray foam insulation, concrete sealers, adhesives, and floor finishes. These polyurethane products may contain uncured diisocyanates, according to the agency. This contrasts with cured products, such as polyurethane foam in mattresses, which are not of concern, EPA says. Diisocyantes can cause breathing and skin problems, the agency says. The Occupational Safety & Health Administration limits exposure to diisocyanates in the workplace. These chemicals are the leading cause of work-related asthma. Consumer exposure to the substances, however, is unregulated. ...


Don't you diis my diisocyanates!

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Wed, Apr 13, 2011
from Bloomberg Businessweek:
Graves of Diseased Animals Spur Shift to Evian in S. Korea
More than 1,000 kilometers from Tokyo, Seoul is having its very own crisis of faith in tap water, and radiation isn't to blame. In South Korea, the carcasses of 9.7 million cattle, pigs and poultry were buried in mass graves across the frozen countryside after outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease and bird- flu last winter. That's raised concerns that pollutants may enter groundwater now that the soil has thawed, said Jun Kwan Soo, a professor of environmental engineering at Yeungnam University. ...


Ten million buried cattle, pigs and poultry? What could go wrong?

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Wed, Apr 13, 2011
from Wall Street Journal:
Japanese Declare Crisis at Level of Chernobyl
The Japanese government raised its assessment of the monthlong crisis at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to the highest severity level by international standards -- a rating only conferred so far upon the Chernobyl accident. Japan's nuclear regulators said the plant has likely released so much radiation into the environment that it must boost the accident's severity rating on the International Nuclear Event scale to a 7 from 5 currently. That is the same level reached by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in the former Soviet Union, which struck almost exactly 25 years ago, on April 26, 1986. ...


To commemorate this horrid milestone, Fukushima's name will be changed to Fukushimad.

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Sat, Apr 9, 2011
from Sydney Morning Herald:
Backyards disguise toxic dumps
TONNES of hazardous waste have been secretly buried on private properties, hidden by layers of spray-on grass in Wollondilly, an important Sydney water-catchment area. Residents have revealed that organised illegal dumping has been big business in the area for years, with some property owners filling unwanted gullies and dams with waste and being paid about $100 a truckload to take it. The residents also said the dumps were often quickly disguised with a layer of top soil and spray-on lawn. ...


NIMTBY: Not in MY Toxic Backyard!

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Wed, Mar 30, 2011
from Life Science News, via EurekAlert:
Whale and dolphin death toll during Deepwater disaster may have been greatly underestimated
The team focused their research on 14 species of cetacean, an order of mammals including whales and dolphins. While the number of recovered carcasses has been assumed to equal the number of deaths, the team argues that marine conditions and the fact that many deaths will have occurred far from shore mean recovered carcasses will only account for a small proportion of deaths.... The team's analysis suggests that only 2 percent of cetacean carcasses were ever historically recovered after their [natural] deaths in this region, meaning that the true death toll from the Deepwater Horizon disaster could be 50 times higher than the number of deaths currently estimated.... "While we did not conduct a study to estimate the actual number of deaths from the oil spill, our research reveals that the accepted figures are a grave underestimation," concluded Dr. Williams. "We now urge methodological development to develop appropriate multipliers so that we discover the true cost of this tragedy." ...


If you'll forgive the expression.

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Thu, Mar 24, 2011
from The Spokesman-Review:
Flooding spiked lead levels in Lake Coeur d'Alene
An estimated 352,000 pounds of lead washed into Lake Coeur d'Alene on Jan. 18 after flooding related to a rain-on-snow event. That's the weight equivalent of 70 Dodge Ram 1500 pickups - and the highest volume of lead recorded in a 24-hour period since major flooding in February 1996. Greg Clark, a U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist, attributed high lead concentrations to a rapid rise in the Coeur d'Alene River caused by pounding rains and melting snow. ...


Could you please translate that into how many Mini Coopers?

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Wed, Mar 23, 2011
from London Independent:
Shipwreck threatens island penguins
A wrecked ship is threatening to cause an environmental disaster on an island which is home to endangered penguins, conservationists warned today. The vessel has grounded on Nightingale Island, part of the Tristan da Cunha UK overseas territory in the South Atlantic, causing an oil slick around the island which is home to nearly half the world's population of northern rockhopper penguins. ...


Sticky Feet

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Wed, Mar 23, 2011
from New York Times:
Japan Extended Reactor's Life, Despite Warning
Just a month before a powerful earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi plant at the center of Japan's nuclear crisis, government regulators approved a 10-year extension for the oldest of the six reactors at the power station despite warnings about its safety. ...


What a relief! I thought this kind of stupidity only happened in the US.

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Sat, Mar 19, 2011
from The Vancouver Sun:
Ocean garbage: Floating landmines
No matter where you travel on the B.C. coast, no matter how remote or seemingly untrammelled and pristine the fiord or inlet, a piece of plastic, Styrofoam or other garbage has been there before you. God knows how it got there: Dumped recklessly off a vessel, swept down a river or through a storm drain, blown by the wind off the land, or brought in by the ocean currents flowing across the vast North Pacific - including debris from the Japanese tsunami, which could start arriving on our coast in two years. What we do know is that marine garbage is ubiquitous and wreaking havoc at every level of the marine environment. A new B.C. study estimates there are 36,000 pieces of "synthetic marine debris" -garbage the size of fists to fridges -floating around the coastline, from remote inland fiords to 150 kilometres offshore. ...


We are the only species that shits where it sleeps and pisses into the wind.

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Fri, Mar 18, 2011
from Twin Falls Times-News:
Dairy industry pushes CAFO secrecy bill
BOISE -- An Idaho House committee supported Wednesday a move to seal off more data related to confined-animal feeding operations from the public eye, making it harder for the public to tell if state regulations are enforced. A bill proposed by Rep. Judy Boyle, R-Midvale, would put all dairy nutrient management plans -- and related proprietary business information -- out of the public's eye. The plans essentially detail what becomes of animal waste produced at the dairies, which if not properly disposed of can pollute groundwater and soils. ...


I'd prefer they hide their shit... so it doesn't get in my eye.

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Tue, Mar 15, 2011
from TEDX:
What you need to know about natural gas exploration
An astonishing 48 minutes of Dr. Theo Colborn, on the mechanics, engineering, resource use, health impacts, and environmental impacts of fracking and the natural-gas process. Wordy, nerdy, factual, but utterly straightforward. A natural-gas version of "An Inconvenient Truth." Scarier, in many ways, than GasLand, the Oscar-nominated documentary. ...


Toxic from top to bottom, side to side, inside and out. What's left?

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Tue, Mar 15, 2011
from Science News:
Better by Design
...Many of today's chemicals -- in packaging, cleaning products, furniture and elsewhere -- go where they should not go and do more than they were designed to do. Bisphenol A, a common ingredient in polycarbonate plastics, has made headlines for getting into the body and interfering with tissue development and function (SN: 7/18/09, p. 5). Flame retardants new and old persist in the environment, contaminating soil, waterways and wildlife (SN: 4/24/10, p. 12). And a new analysis, reported online January 14 in Environmental Health Perspectives, finds that the blood and urine of 99 percent of pregnant American women tested contain a laundry list of chemical interlopers, including various PCBs, pesticides, PFCs, PBDEs, phthalates and the rocket-fuel ingredient perchlorate. Unless there is a fundamental shift in the way that chemicals are created from the outset, the next generation of compounds will probably be just as meddlesome... Currently more than 30 million metric tons of chemicals are produced in or imported to the United States each day, a quantity that would fill a line of tanker trucks 10,000 miles long. And industrial chemical production is expected to double in the next quarter century, outpacing population growth. ...


This is why my wife and I are gonna buy an android child!

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Sun, Mar 13, 2011
from New York Times:
Spilled Milk Regulations a Myth, E.P.A. Says
To Representative Morgan Griffith, a freshman Republican from Virginia, nothing illustrates the Environmental Protection Agency's overreach more clearly than a new rule applying the same regulations that govern spilled oil to milk spilled on dairy farms. In the midst of a heated debate over the E.P.A.'s authority to regulate heat-trapping emissions like carbon dioxide, the charge makes for great political theater. But according to the agency, it is pure fiction.... Politifact, the Pulitzer Prize-winning fact-checking organization run by The St. Petersburg Times, also examined the Republican claims on the spilled milk regulations and rated them false. ...


Why let facts get in the way when you're dedicated to ruining the habitat!

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Sun, Mar 13, 2011
from Japan Times:
Basic nuclear policy questioned
OSAKA -- Severe damage to the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant had the central government and local authorities in neighboring towns racing Saturday to evacuate residents and implement previously agreed upon emergency response measures. But the unprecedented scale of Friday's earthquake and tsunami left questions about not only the adequacy of the measures but the basic policy of pursuing nuclear power in a country as earthquake-prone as Japan....antinuclear activists say there is a glaring flaw to the nuclear emergency response system. "In this seismically active country, the government refuses to draw up emergency plans taking into account nuclear accidents due to earthquakes. There is no emergency plan to protect the public when there is both an earthquake and a nuclear accident," said Green Action head Aileen Mioko Smith. ...


No matter what category of enviro-devastation, survivors of our climate apocollapse will be asking: What were they thinking?

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Sat, Mar 12, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Toxin found in dead sardines
Sardines that suffocated and died en masse this week in King Harbor have tested positive for a powerful neurotoxin that scientists believe may have distressed 1 million or more fish off the Los Angeles coastline and caused them to swim chaotically into the Redondo Beach marina. Researchers still believe critically low oxygen levels, not the toxin or an algae bloom, caused the fish to suddenly die Monday night in the Redondo Beach marina. But the discovery of domoic acid in dead fish -- reported Friday by USC biologists -- could help explain why millions of sardines swam into the harbor in the first place... Domoic acid is often found in the stomachs of fish that have been feeding on plankton on the ocean's surface during toxic algae blooms. The toxin has been linked to neurological disorders, illnesses and deaths of seabirds, sea lions, sea otters and whales. When it accumulates in edible fish and shellfish, it can sicken humans. ...


Arrrrr! We made these sardines walk the plankton.

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Fri, Mar 11, 2011
from Minnesota Public Radio News:
Study: Pharmaceutical chemicals widespread in Minn. streams
Potentially harmful chemicals and pharmaceuticals are widespread in Minnesota streams, state scientists found in a new study. The study by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency also shows fish have genetic changes when exposed to the mix of chemicals.... Among the substances scientists most often found are the antibiotic sulfamethoxazole and carbamazepine, a drug used to treat atentionl deficit hyperactivity disorder, agency scientist Mark Ferrey said. They also found the antibiotic trimethoprim and anti-depressant compounds. Other commonly found chemicals include components of detergent, bisphenol A, which is found in plastics, and contraceptive hormones. ...


Public radio did this report? What do you wanna bet they only studied liberal fish and streams.

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Fri, Mar 11, 2011
from ABC News:
Residents near nuclear plant told to evacuate
Authorities have urged 2,000 residents living near a nuclear power plant in Fukushima to evacuate after the biggest earthquake in Japan's history hit the region. The prefectural government issued the evacuation advice for residents in a two-kilometre radius of the No. 2 reactor of the Fukushima No. 1 plant operated by Tokyo Electric Power Co. Kyodo News reported earlier that an emergency core-cooling unit had been activated at the plant after a power failure. ...


Something tells me they probably don't need to be urged.

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Fri, Mar 11, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Small fish are ingesting plastic in Pacific garbage gyre
Southern California researchers have found evidence of widespread ingestion of plastic among small fish in the northern Pacific Ocean in a study they say shows the widespread impact of floating litter on the food chain. About 35 percent of the fish collected on a 2008 research expedition off the U.S. West Coast had plastic in their stomachs, according to a study to be presented Friday by the Long Beach-based Algalita Marine Research Foundation and the Southern California Coastal Water Research Project. The fish, on average, ingested two pieces of plastic, but scientists who dissected hundreds of plankton-eating lantern fish found as many as 83 plastic fragments in a single fish. ...


Ingesting plastic gives me such a satisfying feeling a fullness.

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Thu, Mar 10, 2011
from CBC:
Monitoring of oilsands impact inadequate: panel
The province must do a better job of monitoring the impact of oilsands mining on water quality in northeastern Alberta, concludes a scientific panel. Environment Minister Rob Renner appointed the six-member panel in September 2010 after a University of Alberta study concluded industry was responsible for increased levels of toxins in the Athabasca River, a claim contradicted by government scientists.... It found industry and government monitoring is inadequate in determining the amount of toxins entering the environment.... "It's not just that we have to have more monitoring, but we have to have a more coordinated system for monitoring." NDP critic Rachel Notley said Renner has known for years that the current system was lacking but did nothing about it. "The minister can try to rewrite history, but the record shows that while the Tories barged ahead on development, their commitment to environmental protection was in spin only," said Notley. ...


So get 'em some more flatscreens! Jeez, problem solved!

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Thu, Mar 10, 2011
from CBC:
Great Lakes phosphorus levels rising, report warns
A mysterious resurgence of phosphorus in the Great Lakes is endangering the aquatic food chain and human health, says a binational agency that advises Canada and the U.S. Fifteen years after the last programs to control phosphorus runoff ended, the International Joint Commission urged on Wednesday a renewed effort to get the oxygen-depleting chemical out of the water.... "We don't know where the phosphorous is coming from," Bill Bowerman, chair of the IJC's science advisory board and a wildlife ecologist at South Carolina's Clemson University, said during Wednesday's IJC news conference. "Some of our monitoring programs that would allow us to understand this either are under threat or have disappeared over the past 15 years."... The report suggests key factors likely include inadequate municipal wastewater and residential septic systems, agricultural runoff, industrial livestock operations and the impacts of climate change, which causes more frequent and intense rainstorms.... [M]uch of the lake is back to being coated with slimy green algal blooms in the summer, as it was in the 1960s and early '70s. "They said, 'Well, we have this one fixed.' Well, we don't have this one fixed," she said. ...


Why monitor what you don't want to know?

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Mon, Mar 7, 2011
from DesdemonaDespair:
Depression, anxiety, despair flow in wake of BP Gulf oil spill: Study finds widespread trauma
According to Scott Coffey, PhD, professor and director of the Division of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Mississippi, Jackson, there is a clear upswing in stress. "The oil spill occurred in a population that was already struggling with the effects of Katrina. They were severely impacted. Add to that the negative economy that is stressing everyone, the national issues, the global issues, and these folks are getting hit hard."... Very little of the money that BP is said to have paid out to help people affected by the spill is actually reaching those who really need it. Or so it seems to the people whose claims have been denied.... "They make it such a maze that it gets to be an impossible task to follow through. We serve some people who maybe have filed a claim or they want to file a claim, but they're being told they have to do additional paper work and it has to be filed online and they don't have a computer. So they go to the library, where there's only 1 computer. Or the librarian has to show them how to fill out the forms." ...


Poor people's misery is only about three-fifths as important as mine.

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Sun, Mar 6, 2011
from The Vancouver Sun:
Researchers find more plastic in the guts of Arctic seabirds
When biologist Jennifer Provencher headed to the Arctic, she signed on to help assess how seabird diets are changing as temperatures climb in the North. She never expected to find plastics on the menu. But she and her colleagues at the Canadian Wildlife Service are pulling remarkable amounts of trash from birds in some of the remotest spots on Earth. Fulmars are strong flyers that skim the surface swallowing tasty tidbits, and 84 per cent of the ones the researchers examined from two Arctic colonies had plastics in their guts. One had swallowed the mangled remains of a red bottle lid, with a striking resemblance to a Coke cap, along with 20 other bits of plastic. "It's hard to believe a bird could have that much plastic," said Provencher, who has been combing through the stomach contents for her graduate work at the University of Victoria. "That's the equivalent of a human being having a baseball-sized chunk of plastic in your stomach." ...


If these birds enjoy ingesting plastic, there's an entire planet to feast on.

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Fri, Mar 4, 2011
from Huffington Post:
Natural Gas Industry Dumping More Wastewater Into Rivers Than A Year Ago
Pennsylvania's natural gas drillers are still flushing vast quantities of contaminated wastewater into rivers that supply drinking water, despite major progress by the industry over the past year in curtailing the practice. Under pressure from environmentalists and state officials, energy companies that have been drilling thousands of gas wells in the state's countryside spent part of 2010 overhauling the way they handle the chemically tainted and sometimes radioactive water that gushes from the ground after a drilling technique known as high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.... But drilling in the vast, gas-rich rock formation known as the Marcellus Shale is growing so explosively that some of those gains are being erased by operators that still send their waste to plants that discharge into rivers.... By comparison, some 3.6 million barrels were sent to those same plants during the 12-month period that ended on June 30. That means that even with the recycling effort ramping up tremendously, more tainted wastewater is being dumped into rivers now than was the case a year ago. A total of 1,386 new gas wells were drilled in the state last year, up from 768 a year earlier. Thousands more well permits have been approved. ...


Is there any evidence that contaminants have been making us smarter?

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Wed, Mar 2, 2011
from New York Times:
Distilled fracking wastewater residue can be sold as road salt without regulations
Under federal law, hydrofracking enjoys a number of important regulatory exemptions or exclusions that are not applicable to most other heavy industries. While it is not exempt from all federal environmental statutes, some of the rules in these laws do not apply to the industry. For example, the waste produced by hydrofracking is not categorized as hazardous material under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (R.C.R.A.), the law governing hazardous waste. This series of e-mails, sent between September 2009 and February 2010, concern this point. Industry representatives ask state regulators whether their waste would still be exempt if they distilled it and sold the resulting salts for road application. State and federal regulators confirm that, no matter how it is handled, waste from the oil and gas industry cannot be classified as hazardous material. Asked about this e-mail exchange, a spokesman for the E.P.A. said in an e-mail, "Yes, gas brine road salts are exempt under R.C.R.A., which was passed by Congress in the 1980s. Currently, wastewaters associated from exploration and production of natural gas are exempt from federal hazardous waste regulatory requirements under R.C.R.A. These wastewaters are regulated under state waste management programs. The federal exemption extends to salts derived from these wastewaters." Asked about the R.C.R.A. exemption, Jamie Legenos, a spokeswoman for Pennsylvania's Department of Environmental Protection, declined to comment. ...


Just think of the possibilities!

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Wed, Mar 2, 2011
from The Independent:
Oil spill link suspected as dead dolphins wash ashore
The dead dolphins began appearing in mid-January along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama in the United States. Although none of the carcasses appeared to show outward signs of oil contamination, all were being examined as possible casualties of the petrochemicals that fouled the sea water and sea bed after BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling platform exploded last April.... nearly five billion barrels of crude oil before it was capped in July.... The remains of 77 animals - nearly all bottlenose dolphins - have been discovered on islands, in marshes and on beaches along 200 miles of coastline. This figure is more than 10 times the number normally found washed up around this time of year, which is calving season for some 2,000 to 5,000 dolphins in the region.... One of the more disturbing aspects of the deaths is that nearly half - 36 animals so far - have been newborn or stillborn dolphin calves. In January 2009 and 2010, there were no reports of stranded calves, and because this is the first calving season since the BP disaster, scientists are concerned that the spill may be a cause. ...


Maybe it's everything Mom ate.

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Tue, Mar 1, 2011
from Center for Public Integrity:
Equipment Failure at Refinery Leads to Toxic HF Release
A hydrofluoric acid leak from an oil refinery in Ohio last week sent a worker to the hospital and required the use of a "water cannon" to disperse the poisonous gas, underscoring the potentially perilous nature of a chemical used at 50 refineries across the country. The Marathon Oil Corp. refinery in Canton, Ohio, has estimated in a report to the U.S. Coast Guard's National Response Center that 145 pounds of the acid, known as HF, escaped during the Feb. 23 incident. The company blamed equipment failure. Workers were evacuated....The refining industry is experiencing a rash of fires, explosions and mechanical breakdowns, putting workers at risk. Such incidents may signify weaknesses that could lead to a calamity. Over the last five years, the Ohio refinery has been cited more often than all but three other refineries using HF for failing to manage hazardous processes. ...


The more we deregulate, the more our equipment will magically cease to fail.

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Mon, Feb 28, 2011
from The Bay View Compass:
Female mice disabled by parents'pesticide intake
A white mouse is placed in the center of a maze. She is hungry because she hasn't eaten all night. As soon as the gate is raised she takes off in search of her breakfast, scurrying down the channels. She quickly realizes that turning left at every point in the maze gets her food. A few minutes later, a second mouse is set down in the center of the maze. She looks the same as the first mouse, but when the gate is raised she just sits there and seems afraid to move. Slowly and hesitantly she starts moving and eventually finds a piece of food. She continues slowly down the maze but doesn't seem to have learned or remember that taking left turns leads to food. You might call her a slow learner.... Why is it hard for the second mouse to learn? Three months earlier when she was growing in her mother's womb, her mother was exposed to a pesticide called chlorpyrifos at levels comparable to what humans encounter in the environment. ...


Is this why I can't find my way out of my garage most mornings?

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Sun, Feb 27, 2011
from New York Times:
Regulation Lax as Gas Wells' Tainted Water Hits Rivers
The American landscape is dotted with hundreds of thousands of new wells and drilling rigs, as the country scrambles to tap into this century's gold rush -- for natural gas.... energy companies are clamoring to drill. And they are getting rare support from their usual sparring partners. Environmentalists say using natural gas will help slow climate change because it burns more cleanly than coal and oil. Lawmakers hail the gas as a source of jobs. They also see it as a way to wean the United States from its dependency on other countries for oil.... thousands of internal documents obtained by The New York Times from the Environmental Protection Agency, state regulators and drillers show that the dangers to the environment and health are greater than previously understood. ...


Seems we've been bio-fooled again.

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Tue, Feb 22, 2011
from Ghana Business News:
Indoor air pollutants cause 50 percent of illnesses globally
Mr Ebenezer Fiahagbe, a Senior Programme Officer of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has said indoor pollution has been as among the top five environmental risks to public health which also contributes to an annual 8.5 million deaths globally. He said this at a seminar organized by the Environmental Science Student's Association (ENSSA) of the University of Cape Coast, as part of its annual week celebration on the theme "Our Environment, Our Life, Our Responsibility". Mr. Fiahagbe said some indoor pollutants like carpets, detergent, asbestos ceiling, lead paints, stoves, disinfectants, dust and mites causes lung related illnesses like asthma, bronchitis, coughing, respiratory infections and cancer. ...


Are there any other options besides the pollutants of indoors and the toxins of outdoors?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Feb 21, 2011
from Charleston Daily Mail:
W.Va. Marcellus gas legislation ready for review
West Virginia lawmakers hope to focus this week on a single, catchall bill for developing the Marcellus shale natural gas field. The legislation up for review seeks to address industry needs, environmental concerns, and the rights of mineral and surface owners. The proposal would cover everything from applying for needed permits and drawing boundaries for drill sites to storing the large volumes of water needed to extract the gas. Operators face $10,000 permit fees in the bill, along with paying $100 annually for the water storage impoundments. The measure also increases potential civil penalties, from a maximum of $2,500 to one of $10,000. ...


Gee, I wonder whose needs will come first?

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Mon, Feb 21, 2011
from Donga:
Schools nervous over burial sites for culled animals
A tomb-like object was seen Friday afternoon behind Yangshin Elementary School at the village of Buncheon-ri in Yesan County, South Chungcheong Province. It turned out to be a burial site for livestock culled due to foot-and-mouth disease. Spotted around the burial site was fluid that appeared to be leachate from the site, measuring around 10 meters wide by 10 meters long. Gas emission pipes were erected atop the burial site, which was protruding and covered with vinyl. It was only about 70 meters from the school's fence. On the school grounds was a piped well for pumping underground water. Since tap water is not supplied to this school, underground water was used as drinking water. The underground water well and the burial site were only 150 meters apart. ...


Sounds like a great science project for the kids!

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Wed, Feb 16, 2011
from Mongabay News:
Cambodia approves titanium mine in world's 'most threatened forest'
The Cambodian government has approved a mine that environmentalists and locals fear will harm wildlife, pollute rivers, and put an end to a burgeoning ecotourism in one of the last pristine areas of what Conservation International (CI) recently dubbed 'the world's most threatened forest'. Prime Minister, Hun Sen, approved the mine concession to the United Khmer Group, granting them 20,400 hectares for strip mining in Cambodia's Cardamom Mountains. The biodiverse, relatively intact forests of the Cardamom Mountains are a part of the Indo-Burma forest hotspot of Southeast Asia, which CI put at the top of their list of the world's most threatened forests. With only 5 percent of habitat remaining, the forest was found to be more imperiled than the Amazon, the Congo, and even the forests of Indonesia and Malaysia. ...


Like I always say: If you're heading for the cliff might as well accelerate!

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Wed, Feb 16, 2011
from Politico:
Greens sour on natural gas
Whatever happened to the romance between the environmental lobby and natural gas? After years of basking in a green glow as the cleanest fossil fuel and a favorite short-term choice to replace cheap-but-dirty coal, gas now finds itself under attack from environmentalists, filmmakers and congressional Democrats -- and even from some scientists who raise doubts about whether its total emissions are as climate-friendly as commonly believed. Case in point: the Sierra Club, whose former executive director, Carl Pope, has spoken warmly in recent years about gas as an alternative to coal in power plants. Now, the group is considering calling for natural gas to be phased out by 2050 -- about 20 years after it wants coal eliminated. ...


No coal... no natural gas... How will we fuel our lifestyle, with farts?

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Mon, Feb 14, 2011
from The Columbus Dispatch:
Ohio EPA tries to limit brine dumps in rivers
Fast-growing interest in natural-gas drilling could create a flood of cash for Ohio cities eager to treat wastewater used to coax the gas from deep inside Utica and Marcellus shale. But what's good for the cities might be bad for the state. The process could pollute Ohio streams and rivers, environmental officials say.... With the new drilling technique, called hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," drillers shoot millions of gallons of water laced with industrial chemicals down the wells to break the shale and release the gas. About 15 percent of the water shot down the well comes back up, tainted with salt and hazardous metals that can include barium, cadmium and chromium. After the initial surge of "flow back" water, wells continue to produce brine that contains even higher concentrations of salt, metals and minerals. ...


Brine sounds like a goldmine.

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Mon, Feb 14, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Support for fast-tracked bio-cremation bill dissolves under scientific scrutiny, but a revival is brewing
Assemblyman Jeff Miller needed one more vote last spring on his bill to legalize "bio-cremation," a chemical process that he called a water-based alternative to incineration... As it turns out, dissolving corpses in chemicals may not be so green. According to one analysis, the process can warp plumbing and singe crematorium workers....The process was developed in Europe in the 1990s as a method of disposing of cows infected with mad-cow disease. Funeral homes would place corpses in a pressurized chamber filled with water and lye and heat the chamber to 370 degrees. After about three hours, all that remains is bone in a soup of salt and amino acids. The fragments can be ground into ash and the thick, coffee-colored liquid poured down the drain. "There are no recognizable body parts in the discharged effluent," an executive from Matthews International, a leading manufacturer of cremation equipment, assured lawmakers in an informational packet. ...


Ashes to ashes.... effluent to effluent.

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Thu, Feb 10, 2011
from Associated Press:
New drilling method opens vast oil fields in US
new drilling technique is opening up vast fields of previously out-of-reach oil in the western United States, helping reverse a two-decade decline in domestic production of crude. Companies are investing billions of dollars to get at oil deposits scattered across North Dakota, Colorado, Texas and California. By 2015, oil executives and analysts say, the new fields could yield as much as 2 million barrels of oil a day -- more than the entire Gulf of Mexico produces now.... Environmentalists fear that fluids or wastewater from the process, called hydraulic fracturing, could pollute drinking water supplies. ...


Whew! We can remain addicted to oil after all!

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Wed, Feb 9, 2011
from Reuters:
Buffalo, NY bans hydraulic fracturing
The city of Buffalo, New York, banned the natural gas drilling technique of hydraulic fracturing on Tuesday, a largely symbolic vote that demonstrates concern about potential harm to groundwater from mining an abundant energy source. The city council voted 9-0 to prohibit natural gas extraction including the process known as "fracking" in which chemicals, sand and water are blasted deep into the earth to fracture shale formations and allow gas to escape. The ordinance also bans storing, transferring, treating or disposing of fracking waste within the city. ...


Frack you, natural gas industry!

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Tue, Feb 8, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Bill would exempt municipal fireworks displays from Coastal Act regulation
Describing seaside fireworks displays as wholesome and patriotic, an Orange County legislator wants to prevent the California Coastal Commission from snuffing them out. State Assemblywoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) introduced a bill last month that would exempt municipal fireworks displays from regulation under the state Coastal Act by declaring they do not constitute "development." The bill comes in response to increasing pressure from environmental groups to clamp down on fireworks. Environmentalists say the noise and explosive debris generated by the displays threatens wildlife and degrades water quality. ...


But it's patriotic to threaten wildlife and degrade the environment!

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Wed, Feb 2, 2011
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Chevron files RICO suit in Ecuador case
Using a law written to prosecute the Mafia, Chevron Corp. on Tuesday filed a racketeering lawsuit against a team of lawyers who have been fighting the company over oil field pollution in Ecuador. Chevron accused the lawyers - as well as their clients and their spokeswoman - of conspiring to extort up to $113 billion from the oil company, based in San Ramon.... As a verdict in the marathon lawsuit nears, Chevron has tried to prove corruption among the lawyers and Ecuadoran officials involved in the case. Last year, Chevron persuaded judges in the United States to grant the company access to many of the lawyers' private documents, arguing that they could provide evidence of fraud. Chevron also won access to outtakes from a documentary film about the lawsuit, despite the objections of the filmmaker and many media companies (including Hearst Corp., which owns The Chronicle). ...


In a case like this it's hard to tell who's Mafia and who's not.

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Mon, Jan 31, 2011
from San Francisco Chronicle:
San Bruno pipeline called 'tip of the iceberg'
Federal investigators' findings in the San Bruno pipeline explosion probe suggest that thousands of miles of long-buried and untested natural gas pipelines across the United States are at far greater risk of failure than the industry and government regulators have long maintained, experts say... In a detailed report released Jan. 21, the safety board identified a "progressive" crack on a seam running several feet along the San Bruno line as the point where the 30-inch transmission pipe ruptured, causing a fireball that killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes. The crack began at a shoddy weld that extended only halfway through the pipe wall, investigators said. ...


Coincidentally, I know of an iceberg that has a crack in its pipe.

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Sun, Jan 30, 2011
from London Independent:
Shoppers' green fatigue hits refill revolution
Green fatigue among shoppers has set back Britain's long-awaited refillable bottle revolution, with the latest attempts to persuade supermarket customers to reuse containers ending in failure. Twelve years after one supermarket chain first began testing ways to encourage shoppers to refill detergent bottles rather than buy new ones, the group is no nearer to launching a national scheme across its stores. Julian Walker-Palin, Asda's head of corporate sustainability, called its latest trial - which ran in five stores across the UK and offered customers the chance to save money while cutting their carbon footprint, by reusing specially designed fabric conditioner pouches - "disappointing". ...


The customer is always right even when they're messing up the planet.

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Sat, Jan 29, 2011
from The Economist:
Burning ambitions
IN RICH countries, where people worry about air quality and debate ways of pricing carbon emissions, coal is deeply unfashionable. Elsewhere demand for the dirty rocks has never been stronger. The International Energy Agency (IEA) reckons world consumption will increase by a fifth over the next 25 years, assuming governments stick to their current climate-change policies. A new age of coal is upon us.... the coal boom blows yet another hole in the effort to restrain greenhouse-gas emissions. The Kyoto protocol makes countries responsible only for their own direct emissions. As environmentalists point out, rich countries that spurn coal-fired power while exporting the rocks to countries with less ambitious emissions targets are merely shifting the problem around the globe. ...


Does this coal plant make my butt look big???

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Wed, Jan 26, 2011
from New York Times:
Industry Group's Self-Depiction Raises Eyebrows
At first glance, the Waters Advocacy Coalition could be mistaken for a typical environmental group. The home page of its Web site, protectmywater.org, features a banner reading "Protect the Clean Water Act" across a photo slide show of flowing streams and clear mountain lakes. On Facebook and Twitter, where the group's handle is @ProtectCWA, its bio reads: "Our coalition is made up of diverse organizations that have an interest in and actively protect our nation's waters and wetlands resources." ...As it turns out... the Waters Advocacy Council is not an environmental organization, but a lobbying outfit for some of the nation's largest industrial and agricultural concerns, including the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the National Industrial Sand Association and the National Mining Association. ...


Protect is the new destroy.

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Tue, Jan 25, 2011
from Frederick News-Post:
American Farm Bureau files suit to stop Chesapeake Bay cleanup efforts
The American Farm Bureau Federation has filed a lawsuit in federal court to halt the Environmental Protection Agency's plan to regulate pollution in the Chesapeake Bay. American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman announced the lawsuit Jan. 10 at the AFBF's 92nd annual meeting in Atlanta. "We all want a clean and healthy Chesapeake Bay," Stallman said in a recent news release. "This lawsuit is about how we get there. Farm Bureau believes EPA's 'diet' for the Chesapeake is dangerous and unlawful." ...


Bob Stall-man... now THERE'S an aptly-named impediment to environmental restoration.

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Sun, Jan 23, 2011
from London Independent:
Home fires: The world's most lethal pollution
The world's deadliest pollution does not come from factories billowing smoke, industries tainting water supplies or chemicals seeping into farm land. It comes from within people's own homes. Smoke from domestic fires kills nearly two million people each year and sickens millions more, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). A new UN project has now been set up to try to reduce this appalling toll. It aims, over the next nine years, to put 100 million clean cooking stoves into homes in the developing world. The WHO ranks the problem as one of the worst health risks facing the poor. In low-income countries, such as those in Africa and Asia, indoor smoke from cooking has become the sixth biggest killer. Globally, it kills more people than malaria, and nearly as many as Aids -- and far more insidiously than either. ...


We have met the enemy ... and he is poverty.

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Fri, Jan 21, 2011
from The Australian:
Engineer's emails reveal Wivenhoe Dam releases too little, too late
LEAKED email communications from a Wivenhoe Dam engineering officer underline concerns that the Brisbane River flood was mostly caused by massive releases from the dam after it had held on to water too long over a crucial 72 hours before the severe rainfall that hit the region last week. The emails, which become increasingly urgent in tone as the situation became critical as the dam's levels rise rapidly, were provided to The Australian by a source who said the stream of data had convinced him the river flood of Brisbane could have been largely avoided if the dam's operators had taken action much earlier....According to figures from Wivenhoe's operator, SEQWater, the dam's capacity went from 106 per cent full on the morning of Friday, January 7, to 148 per cent full on the morning of Monday, January 10, due to the limited weekend releases. ...


I know when my weekend releases are limited, I tend to burst!

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Fri, Jan 21, 2011
from Chicago Tribune:
Seeking permission to pollute
A monitor at George Washington High School on the Southeast Side shows that air in the neighborhood has the distinction of containing the state's highest levels of toxic heavy metals, chromium and cadmium, as well as sulfates, which can trigger asthma attacks and increase the risk of heart disease. The school sits across from a long-shuttered industrial site where Leucadia National Corp. plans to build a $3 billion coal-to-gas plant that would add even more pollution to one of the nation's most polluted areas. Two hurdles remain for the plant to become reality. Gov. Pat Quinn only needs to sign a bill that muscled its way through the General Assembly during the recent lame-duck session. And the state Pollution Control Board must decide whether the owners of the industrial site can sell their permission to pollute to New York-based Leucadia. ...


You certainly have my permission to let rich people get richer while ruining the environment.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jan 19, 2011
from Politico:
More mountaintop mining decisions loom
The Obama administration is facing a string of politically difficult decisions over one of the country's most contentious environmental issues: mountaintop removal coal mining. Few issues can generate equivalent outrage among the administration's environmentalist allies as does mountaintop removal, a mining technique common in West Virginia and other Appalachian states where operators use explosives to open mountaintops and access coal seams, and then dump the resulting waste in adjacent streams. Green groups say the practice is among the worst abuses of the fossil fuel industry, saying it is ruining Appalachia's ecosystems and poisoning its drinking water supplies. But Appalachia's mining industry calls itself the economic lifeline to one of the country's poorest regions. ...


Perhaps we can agree to call it an economic deathline.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jan 19, 2011
from MSNBC:
Weight loss may send pollutants into bloodstream
Weight loss may have an unwanted side effect, according to a new study in the journal Nature: It may send a flood of environmental pollutants into the bloodstream. Body fat stores certain pollutants, including such pesticides as DDT and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). If a person loses weight and significant amounts of body fat are broken down, these chemical compounds, known as persistent organic pollutants, are released and can lead to disease, said researchers from Kyungpook National University in Daegu, South Korea. ...


We have painted ourselves into a fat corner.

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Tue, Jan 18, 2011
from Michigan Messenger:
EPA proposes landscaping as dioxin solution
A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposal to reduce dioxin exposure for people who live downstream from Dow Chemical by spreading gravel on contaminated yards and building raised garden beds is being called "insulting" by some residents. Dioxin, a highly toxic and cancer-causing chemical that was a byproduct of chemical manufacturing at Dow Chemical's Midland complex, has spread 52 miles down the Tittabawassee and Saginaw Rivers and into Lake Huron's Saginaw Bay. Clean up of the immense contaminated zone is expected to take a decade. In June 2009 the EPA promised to take swift action to reduce exposure to dioxin at areas within the floodplain that are both highly contaminated and frequently used. In a document released by the agency last week EPA is asking the public to comment on three options for actions that could be undertaken by Dow Chemical -- do nothing, apply control barriers, or move land features such as fire pits or garden beds. ...


How is this not bio-terrorism?

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Fri, Jan 14, 2011
from HuyffingtonPost:
Sylvia Earle Talks Gulf Oil Spill Effects In Exclusive Interview
It's hard to get a straight answer on the effects of the Gulf oil spill amid all of the headlines, hearsay, and word of mouth tidbits from a friend of a friend of a friend. But we managed to track down an expert who gave us not just one answer, but four detailed, honest responses to questions that we have all been wondering for nearly nine months now.... Q. Have the cleanup efforts been adequate, and if not, who should be considered responsible -- BP or the government? A. There is no way to "adequately clean up" the consequences of the blowout any more than you can uncook an egg. Most of the efforts succeeded in magnifying, not diminishing the impacts. In some ways, we are all responsible for this catastrophe. Our insatiable appetite for fossil fuels and the corporate mandate to maximize shareholder value encourages drilling without taking into account the costs to the ocean, even without major spills. Nonetheless, the thousands of individuals who have done their best to protect areas that escaped oiling and have attempted to clean up areas damaged by the blowout of the Deepwater Horizon well deserve recognition. However, we need to hold accountable those who authorized massive applications of toxic dispersants, especially at 5,000 ft depth, as well as those who allowed beaches to be upended, scraped, bulldozed and otherwise altered to give the appearance that the oil magically disappeared. Deployment of hundreds of miles of booms did little to contain the oil but did succeed in creating hundreds of miles of oily trash now contaminating landfills. ...


Does that mean we can't uncook our goose, either?

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Jan 8, 2011
from GOOD:
Gulf Oil Spill Redux: Gelatinized Beef Fat in the Houston Ship Canal
Early Tuesday evening, approximately 250,000 gallons of beef fat spilled out of a shore-based storage tank owned by Jacob Stern & Sons, an agri-products company specializing in the resale of "value-added oleochemicals." Fifteen thousand gallons of the fat then found its way into the Houston Ship Channel through a storm drain. The fat, or tallow, as it's called in industrial circles, is rendered-down slaughterhouse waste destined to be used in soaps, pharmaceuticals, and even as a lubricant in the steel rolling industry. On contact with water, it apparently thickens to form the creamy yellow "patties" (that's the technical term) you see in the photo above. In response to the spill, the U.S. Coast Guard closed nearly a mile of the channel, and sent out six boats full of workers to deploy booms and then fish out the foot-long chunks. According to their press release, "the environmental impact is expected to be minimal, and the cause of the incident is currently under investigation." ...


Like 250,000 gallons of anything means much, in the grand scheme of things.

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Fri, Jan 7, 2011
from BBC:
Dioxin animal feed scare shuts German farms
More than 4,700 German farms have been closed after large amounts of animal feed were found to be contaminated with dioxin, a poisonous chemical.... Meanwhile, the EU has warned that eggs from farms affected by dioxin have entered the UK in processed products destined for human food.... The origin of the contamination has been traced to a distributor in the northern state of Schleswig Holstein, where oils intended for use in bio-fuels were accidentally distributed for animal feed.... Dioxins are toxins formed by industrial processes and waste burning. They have been shown to contribute to higher cancer rates and to affect pregnant women. ...


Dioxin-laced oils INTENDED FOR USE IN BIOFUELS?!?!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jan 6, 2011
from The Daily Green:
EPA: 19 Potentially Toxic Chemicals Down (Watchdogs: 83,981 to Go)
President Obama's Environmental Protection Agency administrator has made good on something she calls a top priority: Testing chemicals used widely in the U.S. that have never been assessed for the risks they might pose to human health or the environment. It's the same priority, in essence, that Congress set in 1976 when it passed the Toxic Substances Control Act, but 35 years later that act is "widely considered a failure" by watchdogs who note that the law exempted 62,000 chemicals already on the market in 1976, and another 22,000 have since been introduced without first undergoing rigorous testing for health and environmental risks... Which is why those watchdogs are expressing only reserved praise for Jackson's announcement this week that the EPA would require companies to test 19 "high production volume" chemicals... ...


Don't look a toxic fight horse in its poisonous mouth.

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Thu, Dec 30, 2010
from Reuters:
Italy To Ban Plastic Shopping Bags
Italy, one of the top users of plastic shopping bags in Europe, is banning them starting January 1, with retailers warning of chaos and many stores braced for the switch. Italian critics say polyethylene bags use too much oil to produce, take too long to break down, clog drains and easily spread to become eye sores and environmental hazards. Italians use about 20 billion bags a year -- more than 330 per person -- or about one-fifth of the total used in Europe, according to Italian environmentalist lobby Legambiente. Starting on Saturday, retailers are banned from providing shoppers polyethylene bags. They can use bags made of such material as biodegradable plastic, cloth or paper. ...


We need more of this amore for the earth.

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Tue, Dec 28, 2010
from Associated Press:
Farmers, pecan growers say coal plant kills plants
Along a stretch of Highway 21, in Texas' pastoral Hill Country, is a vegetative wasteland. Trees are barren, or covered in gray, dying foliage and peeling bark. Fallen, dead limbs litter the ground where pecan growers and ranchers have watched trees die slow, agonizing deaths. Visible above the horizon is what many plant specialists, environmentalists and scientists believe to be the culprit: the Fayette Power Project - a coal-fired power plant for nearly 30 years has operated mostly without equipment designed to decrease emissions of sulfur dioxide, a component of acid rain. ...


Coal plant creates good firewood. Sounds like a win-win!

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Thu, Dec 23, 2010
from Wall Street Journal:
Bunnies Are in Deep Doo-Doo When They 'Go Nuclear' at Hanford
The little pellets that government contractors found near a building here in October looked like any other pile of rabbit droppings. A Geiger counter told a different story. The scat was radioactive, and that could only mean one thing: There was a cottontail on the loose with access to sensitive nuclear material...Sleuthing for atomic flora and fauna is serious work at Hanford, which once had nine nuclear reactors and produced plutonium for the Fat Man bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945. Since 1989, Hanford has been the site of a cleanup that's cost over $30 billion. Most of that work is decommissioning reactors, demolishing tainted buildings and burying waste. But animals tend to root around contaminated areas at the 586-square-mile site, so federal contractors closely monitor plants and critters to curb the spread of radiation. ...


Isn't radioactive bunny poop one of the Seven Signs of the Apocalypse?

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Dec 23, 2010
from Politics Daily:
Salinas, California: The Salad Bowl of Pesticides
Locals call this place the world's salad bowl. Dole, Naturipe and Fresh Express are here, where much of the global fruit and vegetable trade emerges in neat green fields just over the hills from the Pacific Coast... It is here that University of California, Berkeley public health professor Brenda Eskenazi and her colleagues have spent the past 12 years studying mothers and children who are exposed to pesticides used in the fields... Investigators tracked the women throughout their pregnancies, waiting at hospitals as babies were born to collect the umbilical cord blood. As the children grew, Eskenazi and her team also charted their growth, mental development and general health. This group is now 10 and a half years old, and Eskenazi's work has set off alarms among public health officials. She and her colleagues have found that at age 2, the children of mothers who had the highest levels of organophosphate pesticide metabolites in their blood had the worst mental development in the group. They also had the most cases of pervasive developmental disorder. ...


These are not the salad days, anymore.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Dec 22, 2010
from AolNews:
Risky Business: EPA Builds List of Potentially Dangerous Chemicals
As the rates of learning disabilities, autism and related conditions rise, the Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to release a roster of the pollutants likely to contribute to these or other neurological disorders. In an ongoing, three-year effort, an EPA team has determined which developmental neurotoxicants -- chemicals that damage a fetal and infant brain -- may pose the biggest risk to the American public. Some compounds on the EPA's list are ubiquitous in household products, drinking water, medicine, and within the environment. They range from cadmium, used to etch colorful cartoons onto children's glasses, to flame retardants used to fireproof upholstered furniture. ...


I'd rather not know!

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Tue, Dec 21, 2010
from Deutsche Welle:
Campaigners target sandblasted jeans on health grounds
Consumers looking for a pair of jeans with that special worn look might want to check the label, according to campaigners. The group Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) is calling for a global ban on the practice of sandblasting, in which denim is sprayed with sand at high pressure to give the material a distressed look. Sandblasting is associated with the disease silicosis - a lung disease caused by fine particles of sand thrown into the air during the process. Turkey was a major producer of sandblasted garments before a ban on the process was implemented in 2009. ...


Then I'll just have to sandblast 'em myself!

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Mon, Dec 20, 2010
from Knoxville News Sentinel:
Rules for coal ash unclear: Enforcement will depend on whether EPA classifies waste as hazardous
Two years after the disastrous coal ash spill in Kingston, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is on the verge of enacting the first federal standards for the disposal of ash from coal-fired power plants. But after eight public hearings on the proposed regulations, the last of which was in Knoxville in October, and more than 200,000 comments from interested parties across the country, one key question remains unanswered: Will coal ash be treated as a hazardous waste under the new federal rules? Environmental activists who have been urging the EPA to regulate coal ash as a hazardous waste say they have been unable to glean any insight into which direction the new rules might take. The EPA itself has offered no clues about its intentions or even when the new rules might be finalized. ...


It's hazardous [to] waste [time].

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Mon, Dec 20, 2010
from ProPublica:
Med Schools Flunk at Keeping Faculty Off Pharma Speaking Circuit
As medical schools wrestle with how to keep drug companies from corrupting their faculties, Stanford University is often lauded for its tough stance. The school was one of the first to stop sales representatives from roaming its halls in 2006 [1]. It cut off the flow of free lunches and trinkets emblazoned with drug names. And last year, in a blow to its physicians' wallets, Stanford banned them from giving paid promotional talks for pharmaceutical companies. One thing it didn't do was make sure its faculty followed that rule. A ProPublica investigation found that more than a dozen of the school's doctors were paid speakers in apparent violation of its policy--two of them earning six figures since last year. ...


Money... is the sweetest drug of all.

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Sun, Dec 19, 2010
from Washington Post:
Probable carcinogen hexavalent chromium found in drinking water of 31 U.S. cities
An environmental group that analyzed the drinking water in 35 cities across the United States, including Bethesda and Washington, found that most contained hexavalent chromium, a probable carcinogen that was made famous by the film "Erin Brockovich." The study, which will be released Monday by the Environmental Working Group, is the first nationwide analysis of hexavalent chromium in drinking water to be made public. It comes as the Environmental Protection Agency is considering whether to set a limit for hexavalent chromium in tap water. The agency is reviewing the chemical after the National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, deemed it a "probable carcinogen" in 2008. ...


The EPA should review the film as well.

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Tue, Dec 14, 2010
from BBC:
City lighting 'boosts pollution'
Bright city lights exacerbate air pollution, according to a study by US scientists. Their research indicates that the glare thrown up into the sky interferes with chemical reactions. These reactions would normally help clean the air during the night of the fumes emitted by motor cars and factories during the day. The study was presented at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. All those people going about their business in a city put a complex cocktail of chemicals into the air. From the tailpipes of cars to the chimneys of factories, it makes for a heady mix of molecules that nature then has to try to clean up. It uses a special form of nitrogen oxide, called the nitrate radical, to break down chemicals that would otherwise go on to form the smog and ozone that can make city air such an irritant on the chest. This cleansing normally occurs in the hours of darkness because the radical is destroyed by sunlight; it only shows up at night. ...


Bright lights, big city... noxious air.

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Tue, Dec 14, 2010
from Edmunton Journal:
Mystery under our feet troubling
...one of Shell Canada's open pit mines in the oilsands...has sprung a leak at the bottom -- but instead of water running out, it's running in. Ever since October, brackish water from an underground source has been pouring into the bottom of the open mine like water filling a bathtub up through the drain hole. Shell initially dumped dirt into the leak as a sort of stopper but the water kept coming. And it's still coming, gradually filling up the pit that at its mouth is 400 metres by 400 metres. Shell officials have built a higher earthen wall around the pit and expect that in the coming months the water pressure will equalize and the leak will stop before it overflows...what's troubling here -- and why you should care about a watery mine pit in a remote part of northeastern Alberta -- is that experts don't know where the water came from, how much has flowed into the pit or how they can stop it.That's troubling because it demonstrates how little we know about the water under our feet. We don't know much about underground sources of drinking water and we know even less about the vast underground aquifers of salt water where we hope one day to dump vast amounts of carbon dioxide via carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). ...


Why, this sounds like a cute little BP blowout!

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Tue, Dec 14, 2010
from London Guardian:
Chernobyl: now open to tourists
...the heavily contaminated area around the Chernobyl power plant will be officially open to tourists with an interest in post-apocalyptic vistas, late-period Soviet history, or both. Ukraine's emergency situations ministry said today that visitors would be offered tours inside the 30-mile exclusion zone set up after reactor four at the plant exploded on 26 April 1986, showering northern Europe in radioactive fallout. The disaster killed an unknown number of people - estimates for deaths from radiation exposure range from dozens to thousands - and forced around 350,000 people to leave their homes forever. While the area remains heavily contaminated, a ministry spokeswoman said, tourism routes had been drawn up which would cover the main sights while steering clear of the dangerous spots. ...


I'm only going if they serve hot pretzels on site.

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Mon, Dec 13, 2010
from Pittsburg Post-Gazette:
'Clusters' of death
In many places around Western Pennsylvania residents see clusters of death and clusters of people sickened by cancer or heart and lung diseases. And, like Lee Lasich, a Clairton resident, they're frustrated that government health and environmental agencies don't see them too, don't do something about the problems and don't take a tougher stance on enforcement of air pollution regulations. Ms. Lasich, whose husband worked in U.S. Steel Corp.'s Clairton Coke Works and died after suffering from lung, prostate and throat cancers in 2004 when he was 53, is typical. She uses all the fingers of her right hand to tick off the names of friends who have died from brain cancer in her Constitution Circle neighborhood. She uses her left hand to count "a whole family that's got pancreatic cancers." ...


Maybe death is just a new trend.

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Sat, Dec 11, 2010
from Associated Press:
Feds dismiss need to recall lead drinking glasses
A federal agency reversed itself Friday and said lead-laced Wizard of Oz and superhero drinking glasses are, in fact, for adults -- not children's products subject to a previously announced recall. The stunning about-face came after the Consumer Product Safety Commission said last month the glasses were children's products and thus subject to strict federal lead limits. Lab testing by The Associated Press found lead in the colored decorations up to 1,000 times the federal maximum for children's products. The CPSC has no limits on lead content on the outside of adult drinking glasses. "A premature statement was made regarding two sets of glasses identified in (AP's) story that has now been determined to be inaccurate," said agency spokesman Scott Wolfson. It was Wolfson who said the day after the AP published its investigation Nov. 21 that the two sets of four glasses each -- one featuring characters including Superman and Wonder Woman, the other Dorothy and other characters from the classic Oz movie -- were children's products and that the agency would investigate them. ...


I can't get through a day without a stiff drink in my Wonder Woman glass.

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Tue, Dec 7, 2010
from Columbia Missourian:
Columbia researchers study intersex sturgeon in Missouri River
COLUMBIA -- Donald Tillitt was in his office at the Columbia Environmental Research Center when he received a call. "You need to come back here and look at these," Tillitt recalls biologist and colleague Diana Papoulias saying. The year was 2000 and the U.S. Geological Survey research center on New Haven Road was dissecting shovelnose sturgeon from a site south of Columbia in the Missouri River. By studying the reproduction of the species, scientists hoped they could shed light on decreasing populations of a similar but endangered species -- the pallid sturgeon. When Tillitt looked inside the fish before him he saw ovarian tissue -- black eggs -- growing around white testicular tissue. It had the fully developed sex organs of both a male and a female sturgeon. ...


This must be soooo embarrassing for the fish!

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Tue, Dec 7, 2010
from Environmental Health News:
Study: Flame retardant found in small butter sample
A stick of butter purchased at a Dallas grocery story contained high levels of a flame retardant used in electronics, according to environmental scientists at the University of Texas School of Public Health. The butter was contaminated with a chemical called polybrominated diphenyl ether, or PBDE. "To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of U.S. butter contaminated with PBDEs," said lead research Arnold Schecter, whose study was published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. The butter was purchased last year as part of a small research project to test for contaminates. The butter stick's wrapper contained even higher amounts of PBDEs. The source of the contamination remains a mystery. ...


Maybe it's the first time anyone's looked.

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Tue, Dec 7, 2010
from McClatchy Newspapers:
American urban lake pollution traced to parking lot seal coat
A black sealant sprayed on parking lots, driveways and playgrounds turns out to be the largest contributor to the rise of a toxic pollutant in urban lakes and reservoirs across America, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study. Scientists saw concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) going up rapidly in the 1990s in areas of urban sprawl. PAHs have been known as a probable human carcinogen since the 19th century, when cancer struck chimney sweeps, said Peter Van Metre, a USGS scientist and a principal author of the report. PAHs also are toxic to fish and other aquatic plant and animal life. ...


PAH, humbug!

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Thu, Dec 2, 2010
from Discovery News:
BPA May Inhibit Pregnancy
Even as women choose to have babies later in life, more are having trouble conceiving, and the chemical BPA might be partly to blame, suggests a new study. Mice that were exposed to tiny amounts of the common chemical in the womb and shortly after birth had no problems getting pregnant early in their reproductive lives, the study found. But the animals were less likely to get pregnant as they aged compared to animals that had not been exposed to BPA, and they gave birth to smaller litters as time wore on. People come in contact with BPA, also known as bisphenol A, through cash register receipts, canned foods and beverages, hard plastic bottles, kitchenware, DVDs and many other sources. Just about all of us have BPA in our bodies, where it can interfere with the action of estrogen and other hormones. ...


Actually smaller litters of humans might not be such a bad thing.

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Thu, Dec 2, 2010
from Agence France-Press:
Quarter of HK people 'want to move over bad air'
About 25 percent of Hong Kong's population wants to leave the city to escape its notoriously polluted air, which has been described as a health crisis, said a survey released Monday. The report by public policy think tank Civic Exchange found that one in four people living in the teeming financial hub are considering emigrating over fears that its bad air could affect their health. That was an increase from the one in five people who wanted to leave Hong Kong in a similar survey two years ago, the study said. ...


Only problem is: where to go?

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Thu, Dec 2, 2010
from Politico:
GOP plans strategy to stymie EPA
...GOP lawmakers say they want to upend a host of Environmental Protection Agency rules by whatever means possible, including the Congressional Review Act, a rarely used legislative tool that allows Congress to essentially veto recently completed agency regulations. The law lets sponsors skip Senate filibusters, meaning Republicans don't have to negotiate with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for a floor vote or secure the tricky 60 votes typically needed to do anything in the Senate...A spate of contentious EPA rules that are soon to be finalized could be prime targets, including the national air quality standard for ozone, toxic emission limits for industrial boilers and a pending decision about whether to regulate coal ash as hazardous waste. ...


The GOP must be suffering from Nature Deficit Disorder.

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Tue, Nov 30, 2010
from Environmental Health News:
Feminized male fish less likely to be fathers
Male fish feminized by exposure to environmental estrogens do not father as many offspring as their normal counterparts, suggesting the changes may alter wild fish populations. Male fish with a high degree of intersex produce fewer offspring when competing with normal males, according to a laboratory study that examined reproduction in intersex male fish - those with both male and female attributes. Although much is known about intersex fish, little is understood about how the condition affects the number of fish in the wild. This is an important question because the consequences of intersex become even greater if it leads to declines in fish population size. ...


You'd think these more sensitive male fish would get the girl MORE often.

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Mon, Nov 29, 2010
from Center for Public Integrity:
Big Polluters Freed from Environmental Oversight by Stimulus
In the name of job creation and clean energy, the Obama administration has doled out billions of dollars in stimulus money to some of the nation's biggest polluters and granted them sweeping exemptions from the most basic form of environmental oversight, a Center for Public Integrity investigation has found. The administration has awarded more than 179,000 "categorical exclusions" to stimulus projects funded by federal agencies, freeing those projects from review under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA. Coal-burning utilities like Westar Energy and Duke Energy, chemical manufacturer DuPont, and ethanol maker Didion Milling are among the firms with histories of serious environmental violations that have won blanket NEPA exemptions...Agency officials who granted the exemptions told the Center that they do not have time in most cases to review the environmental compliance records of stimulus recipients, and do not believe past violations should affect polluters' chances of winning stimulus money or the NEPA exclusions. ...


Unfortunately, we DO have time to breathe... drink... eat...

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Fri, Nov 26, 2010
from Louisville Courier-Journal:
City pollution reports eyed
All but the largest sources of Louisville air pollution would get a break on reporting their emissions under a rewrite of the city's toxic air reduction program. And that sounds good to Charlie Miller, owner of Miller Oil, a petroleum distribution company. He said he'd welcome any red-tape relief officials can offer. With its variety of regulations, the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District has "made it difficult for the small-business person," Miller said....District officials say they want to make life easier on businesses, as well as their staff, while retaining the core requirements of the 2005 program that was adopted after studies confirmed excessive levels of certain chemicals in the city's air. ...


To hell with those of us who breathe.

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Thu, Nov 25, 2010
from Associated Press:
Groups sue EPA over lead ammo, tackle
Three environmental groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday to force it to prevent lead poisoning of wildlife from spent ammunition and lost fishing tackle. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court by the Center for Biological Diversity, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility and the hunters group Project Gutpile. It comes after the EPA denied their petition to ban lead ammunition and lead fishing tackle, which the groups say kills 10 million to 20 million birds and other animals a year by lead poisoning...The groups' original petition cited nearly 500 peer-reviewed scientific articles that they said document the toxic effects of lead on wildlife, and the lawsuit argues that large amounts of lead continue to be deposited into the environment. According to the lawsuit, animals often mistake lead shotgun pellets and fishing tackle for food, grit or bone fragments, and avian scavengers are particularly vulnerable to lead in carcasses, gut piles and wounded prey species. ...


It might be easier to teach animals to stop eating lead than getting government to act.

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Thu, Nov 25, 2010
from Scripps Howard:
Rural residents say natural gas drilling has tainted their drinking water
Wetzel County, W. Va. -- When the horses stopped drinking, residents here became convinced of their worst suspicions. The water had gone bad. Bonnie Hall's eight horses take a lot of water. Fifteen gallons a day, each. Hall was puzzled the November 2008 day the horses left their water bucket untouched... the horses' drinking water -- drawn from a 300-foot well -- smells like an industrial-strength cleaning solvent... At the center of their grievance is a natural gas-drilling process called hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." It uses millions of gallons of water, mixed with sand and toxic chemicals, to blast open underground rock formations that contain natural gas. Drilling companies insist that the fluids they use stay securely underground or are captured cleanly when they come back up through the well. But Hall and her neighbors are convinced otherwise. ...


You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink it if it's fracked up!

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Mon, Nov 22, 2010
from Associated Press:
AP IMPACT: Cadmium, lead found in drinking glasses
Drinking glasses depicting comic book and movie characters such as Superman, Wonder Woman and the Tin Man from "The Wizard of Oz" exceed federal limits for lead in children's products by up to 1,000 times, according to laboratory testing commissioned by The Associated Press. The decorative enamel on the superhero and Oz sets -- made in China and purchased at a Warner Brothers Studios store in Burbank -- contained between 16 percent and 30.2 percent lead. The federal limit on children's products is 0.03 percent. The same glasses also contained relatively high levels of the even-more-dangerous cadmium, though there are no federal limits on that toxic metal in design surfaces. ...


Everybody knows lead protects you from Kryptonite.

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Thu, Nov 18, 2010
from Environmental Health News:
Wind whisks lead across the Pacific Ocean to California
A new study finds lead from Asia in California air samples, providing evidence that wind can transport airborne pollutants across continents and oceans. This new research is further proof that air pollution is a global issue and needs international cooperation to reduce environmental and health impacts. Approximately one-third of the lead found in the air samples taken from sites in the San Francisco Bay area originated in Asia, but the fraction varied by season and weather patterns. It is likely that other contaminants originating in Asia may reach the U.S. in the same way. ...


Beware ... the whisking wind.

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Wed, Nov 17, 2010
from Inter Press Service:
Melting glaciers threaten wildlife
Kyrgyzstan's glaciers are receding at what scientists say is an alarming rate, fuelled by global warming. And while experts warn of a subsequent catastrophe for energy and water security for Kyrgyzstan and neighbour states downstream reliant on its water flows, devastation to local ecosystems and the effects on plant and wildlife could be just as severe. "Animals and vegetation will not be unaffected and the risks for some species will be great," Ilia Domashov, deputy head of the BIOM Environmental NGO in Bishkek, said. More than four percent - 8,400 square kilometres - of Kyrgyzstan's territory consists of glaciers. A natural process of water release from summer melting of the glaciers, which freeze again during the winter, feeds many of the country's rivers and lakes. Up to 90 per cent of water in Kyrgyzstan rivers comes from glaciers, local experts claim. ...


So... wildlife and civilizedlife will BOTH be impacted?!?!?

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Wed, Nov 17, 2010
from Viet Nam News:
Doctors see rise in second-birth infertility
The number of women diagnosed with secondary infertility has risen by 15-20 per cent, according to the director of the National Hospital for Obstetrics and Gynecology,Nguyen Viet Tien. Secondary infertility is the inability to conceive after already giving birth and, according to Tien, 50 per cent of couples seeking infertility treatments already have one or more children... about 40 per cent of infertility cases were due to male factors and another 40 per cent to female factors. The remaining cases were either due to factors from both partners or from unknown causes. About 90 per cent of male issues were sperm abnormalities, the remaining 5 per cent were to do with sexual dysfunction, including sexual desire disorders, erectile dysfunction, or dyspareunia, Tien said. Tuong explained that sperm abnormalities occurred because male sperm are highly sensitive to their environment, particularly to temperature and chemicals, and citizens in urban areas suffer from heavy pollution and food poisoning. ...


Somehow I knew our overpopulation problems would magically solve themselves.

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Tue, Nov 16, 2010
from WTHR 13 - Indianapolis:
Dumped in Indiana
...This summer, just over the border in Ohio, Grand Lake St Marys was devastated by blue-green algae that killed fish, birds, and tourism. The iridescent algae is blamed for millions of dollars in lost revenue for businesses surrounding Ohio's largest inland lake. State officials say the algae crisis was a direct result of manure runoff that drained into the shallow lake from area farm fields. To curb the problem - and hopefully save the lake - state officials developed a detailed action plan to improve water quality at Grand Lake St Marys. The plan calls for Ohio to "promote manure hauling" away from the lake's watershed, and it includes using federal funds from the Environmental Quality Incentive Program to help Ohio farmers transport their manure to Indiana. ...


Here in Indiana we don't mind being shat upon.

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Tue, Nov 16, 2010
from Associated Press:
EPA announces Fla. water pollution rules
The federal Environmental Protection Agency for the first time Monday in Florida set numeric water pollution standards for a state although 13 others already have adopted such rules on their own. The federal standards are required by the settlement of a lawsuit last year. They replace Florida's vague descriptive regulations for determining when rivers, lakes and other inland waters are polluted with such contaminants as fertilizer and animal and human waste. Those pollutants are blamed for toxic algae blooms that have clogged Florida's waterways. "The EPA has stepped in to rescue Florida from a powerful gang of polluters who for decades have used campaign contributions and intimidation to stop state government in Tallahassee from taking this action," said Frank Jackalone, Florida staff director for the Sierra Club. His is one of five environmental groups that sued EPA for failing to enforce the Clean Water Act of 1972, charging Florida was allowed to get away without adopting numeric standards. ...


This is especially important in a state that will have so much more water once sea levels rise.

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Mon, Nov 15, 2010
from London Independent:
None flew over the cuckoo's nest: A world without birds
...It is nearly 50 years since Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, the book that warned of environmental damage the pesticide DDT was causing. Today, DDT use is banned except in exceptional circumstances, yet we still don't seem to have taken on board Carson's fundamental message. According to Henk Tennekes, a researcher at the Experimental Toxicology Services in Zutphen, the Netherlands, the threat of DDT has been superseded by a relatively new class of insecticide, known as the neonicotinoids. In his book The Systemic Insecticides: A Disaster in the Making, published this month, Tennekes draws all the evidence together, to make the case that neonicotinoids are causing a catastrophe in the insect world, which is having a knock-on effect for many of our birds. Already, in many areas, the skies are much quieter than they used to be. All over Europe, many species of bird have suffered a population crash. Spotting a house sparrow, common swift or a flock of starlings used to be unremarkable, but today they are a more of an unusual sight. Since 1977, Britain's house-sparrow population has shrunk by 68 per cent. ...


And the worms shall inherit the earth.

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Sun, Nov 14, 2010
from The Tampa Tribune:
Investigation shows elevated levels of lead in grocery bags
Publix officials will revamp their lineup of re-usable grocery bags sold in their stores after a Tampa Tribune investigation found elevated levels of lead in material of some bags. Tribune tests showed certain bags from Winn-Dixie and Publix stores had levels of lead that concerned health officials. And some bags had enough lead that they could be considered hazardous waste if residents put them in their household trash. This follows a similar issue that led the Northern grocer Wegmans to voluntarily exchange thousands of their bags. Publix officials stress that their bags comply with current federal laws regarding lead content. But given the Tribune findings, and lower thresholds due next year, Publix is asking bag suppliers to find ways to make bags with less lead...over time lab experts note the bags wear down and paint can flake off, and eventually re-usable bags would accumulate in landfills, presenting another ecological issue.. ...


Worst of all the lead makes the bags a lot heavier!

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Fri, Nov 12, 2010
from Annie Leonard, YouTube:
Annie Leonard: The Story of Electronics
...


Hey, when I throw something away, it goes away.

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Fri, Nov 12, 2010
from Our Amazing Planet:
Study: Common Flame Retardant Polluting Globally
A widely used flame retardant taints the air and water between Greenland and Antarctica, a new study reveals. The chemical, Dechlorane Plus, joins a list of chemicals that are detected far from the factories where they were originally created. Scientists are unsure how Dechlorane Plus travelled so far, or even how dangerous it is in these environments. But now that they've found it, the next step is to figure out what it will do to marine ecosystems. "The facts on how bad [Dechlorane Plus] is to the environment has really yet to be worked out," said Ed Sverko of Environment Canada. Sverko also studies Dechlorane Plus, but was not involved with the study. ...


Something tells me Dechlorane Plus will be a minus.

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Fri, Nov 12, 2010
from Environmental Health News:
Antimicrobials murderous in nature
When released into waterways from wastewater treatment plants, the antimicrobial triclosan continues to do what it was designed to do -- kill bacteria -- and starts doing what it was not designed to do -- interfere with photosynthesis in algae. The results from a study in Spain suggest that triclosan carries a high environmental risk and warrants concern about its presence in waterways. The findings agree with prior studies that find the antimicrobial is toxic to bacteria at levels measured in water. However, this is one of just a few published studies to report that triclosan can reduce photosynthesis in a type of algae known as diatoms. Through photosynthesis, diatoms produce oxygen and food that other aquatic organisms rely upon. It is estimated that 80 percent of the oxygen in our atmosphere comes from diatoms, making these microscopic organisms essential for life on earth. Triclosan is an anti-microbial chemical widely used in personal care products, like toothpaste and anti-bacterial hand soap. It is added to cleaning products and is applied to many items, including clothing, toys, shower curtains and kitchenware. ...


Die, diatoms, die!

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Fri, Nov 12, 2010
from Baltimore Sun:
Intersex fish found in Delmarva lakes
Scientists have found more intersex fish in Maryland, this time on the Eastern Shore, and their research suggests one possible source of the gender-bending condition could be the poultry manure that is widely used there to fertilize croplands. Six lakes and ponds on the Delmarva Peninsula sampled over the past two years have yielded male largemouth bass carrying eggs, according to University of Maryland scientists. Those are the first intersex fish reported there, though researchers found the condition several years ago in smallmouth bass in the Potomac and its tributaries, and recently found it in smallmouth bass in the Susquehanna. Intersex fish are a concern, scientists say, because they could be indicators of contaminants in the water, affecting their growth and reproduction. ...


But intersex fish taste ... I dunno, so much more complex.

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Mon, Nov 8, 2010
from Environmental Health Perspectives:
Chemicals in cosmetics, moisturizers linked to DNA damage in human sperm.
One type of paraben preservative -- butyl paraben (BP) -- was linked to DNA damage in men's sperm, according to a study that compared the levels of this compound to several reproductive measures in men. DNA damage in sperm cells can have negative effects on men's reproductive potential. The findings indicate that the higher the BP levels, the more DNA damage the sperm had. The relationship was even stronger when BP and bisphenol-A (BPA) levels were considered together. This is the first study to look at the relationship between paraben levels in men and sperm health. A prior study found that the late stages of sperm production were affected in mice fed BP. The results warrant further investigation into effects of parabens on men's sperm health as well as their effects on female reproductive systems and pregnancy and birth measures, given that women typically have higher levels of parabens than men. Parabens are a group of antimicrobial chemicals often used to preserve cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and sometimes food. They are added to numerous personal care products -- including make-up, shaving gels, lotions and creams -- and some food and drinks. ...


That my shaving gel may make me less manly just flies in the face reason!

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Sun, Nov 7, 2010
from Pittsburg KDKA TV:
Obesogens May Cause Weight Gain
If you try to lose weight and it just doesn't work, could chemicals in your food be to blame? Some people believe chemical compounds called obesogens could be a major factor in making people fat. "Obesogens are chemicals that occur in nature or artificially that mess with our metabolism and basically cause unnatural weight gain," said Stephen Perrine, author of "The New American Diet." Obesogens include agricultural pesticides, hormones used in the meat industry, and chemicals used in plastics. Perrine says regular fruits and vegetables are a problem because studies show a link between pesticide exposure and waist measurements. ...


If we start calling obesogens slimogens, would that help?

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Mon, Nov 1, 2010
from Cape Cod Times:
Report links mercury on Cape Cod to global pollution
Unlike many other states, Massachusetts significantly reduced mercury emissions coming from electric power plants and incinerators in recent years. According to a study by the Environmental Integrity Project, mercury emissions in the state dropped from 292 pounds in 2000 to 97 pounds in 2008. Now, Massachusetts is about to embark on a second phase to bring mercury emissions down by 95 percent from 1999 levels by 2012, but it could have little impact on the Cape and Islands. A combination of low-mercury coal, technological improvements that remove mercury from the smokestack and use of other fuels, has had an immediate effect lowering mercury levels in fish in the northeast portion of the state, said Michael Hutcheson, head of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection long-term mercury monitoring program. But there is evidence that the mercury affecting ponds here on the Cape could come from as far away as China, said John Colman, a water quality scientist with the United States Geological Survey in Northboro. ...


It's a small world after all!

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Sun, Oct 31, 2010
from The Missoulian:
Milltown sediment spread near Opportunity won't grow grass
OPPORTUNITY - Milltown Reservoir's exiled dirt won't behave in its new home. The 2.5 million cubic yards of fine-grained sediment dredged from the former reservoir east of Missoula has been spread 2 feet thick over more than 600 acres of wasteland between Anaconda and its satellite community of Opportunity. But it won't grow grass. "This would have been the first year we wanted to see vegetation everywhere," said Charlie Coleman, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Anaconda site project manager. "But the vegetation never took off." ...


How will we geo-engineer our way out of global warming if we can't even grow grass in dirt?

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Wed, Oct 27, 2010
from CNN:
Everyday chemicals may be harming kids, panel told
Of the 84,000 chemicals on the market today -- many of which are in objects that people come into contact with every day -- only about 1 percent of them have been studied for safety, Sen. Frank Lautenberg said Tuesday. Lautenberg, D-New Jersey, told a hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health that such little oversight means that children in the United States are virtual "guinea pigs in an uncontrolled experiment."... Lautenberg has introduced legislation that would require chemical manufacturers to prove the safety of their products before they're released into the market. He said the current law -- the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 -- is too lax, resulting in the banning of five chemicals in the past 34 years. ...


I'm gonna name my next kid, Petri.

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Tue, Oct 26, 2010
from New York Times:
When Hormone Creams Expose Others to Risks
Veterinarians around the country are reporting a strange phenomenon: spayed dogs and cats, even some puppies and kittens, are suddenly becoming hormonal. In female pets, the symptoms resemble heat: swollen genitals, bloody discharge and behavioral problems. Male animals are showing up with swollen breast tissue and hair loss. Standard treatments and even repeated operations have had no effect. Now vets have identified the culprit. The pets were all owned by women who used hormone creams on their hands, arms and legs to counter symptoms of menopause. Animals who licked or cuddled their owners, or rubbed up against their legs, were being inadvertently exposed to doses of hormone drugs. ...


I call that second-hand hormones.

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Tue, Oct 26, 2010
from BBC:
Heavy smokers 'at increased risk of dementia'
Heavy smokers with a 40-a-day habit face a much higher risk of two common forms of dementia, a large study shows. The risk of Alzheimer's is more than doubled in people smoking at least two packs of cigarettes a day in their mid-life. The risk of vascular dementia, linked to problems in blood vessels supplying the brain, also rose significantly. The US study, looking at over 21,000 people's records, is published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine. ...


You have to be pretty demented to smoke that much anyway.

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Tue, Oct 26, 2010
from Greenwire:
Slide in EPA Clean Water Criminal Enforcement Continues Under Obama
Criminal enforcement of federal water-pollution laws has continued a more than decadelong slide under the Obama administration, despite pledged improvements, according to U.S. EPA data. The government reported 32 new Clean Water Act convictions during the fiscal year that ended in September, down from 42 in 2009. The number of criminal water pollution cases initiated by the agency fell from 28 last year to 21 this year... The numbers indicate that the Obama administration so far has been unable to reverse a trend that started under President George W. Bush... ...


Where's the water police when you need 'em!

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Mon, Oct 25, 2010
from USA Today:
Research teams find oil on bottom of Gulf
Scientists who were aboard two research vessels studying the Gulf of Mexico oil spill's impact on sea life have found substantial amounts of oil on the seafloor, contradicting statements by federal officials that the oil had largely disappeared. Scientists on the research ship Cape Hatteras found oil in samples dug up from the seafloor in a 140-mile radius around the site of the Macondo well, said Kevin Yeager, a University of Southern Mississippi assistant professor of marine sciences. He was the chief scientist on the research trip, which ended last week. Oil found in samples ranged from light degraded oil to thick raw crude, Yeager said. ...


Out of sight out of mind.

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Tue, Oct 12, 2010
from Philadelphia Inquirer:
Philly academy study finds gas drilling threatens streams
A preliminary study by Academy of Natural Sciences researchers suggests that even without spills or other accidents, drilling for natural gas in Pennsylvania's rich Marcellus Shale formation could degrade nearby streams. The researchers compared watersheds where there was no or little drilling to watersheds where there was a high density of drilling, and found significant changes. Water conductivity, an indicator of contamination by salts that are a component of drilling wastewater, was almost twice as high in streams with high-density drilling. Populations of salamanders and aquatic insects, animals sensitive to pollution, were 25 percent lower in streams with the most drilling activity. ...


Streams are nothing but wannabe rivers.

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Tue, Oct 12, 2010
from Associated Press:
A toxic legacy: Eastern Europe dotted with disasters in waiting
Abandoned mines in Romania leach waters contaminated by heavy metals into rivers. A Hungarian chemical plant produces more than 100,000 tons of toxic substances a year. Soil in eastern Slovakia is contaminated with cancer-producing PCBs. The flood of toxic sludge in Hungary is but one of the ecological horrors that lurk in Eastern Europe 20 years after the collapse of the Iron Curtain, serving as a reminder that the region is dotted with disasters waiting to happen. ...


Sounds JUST like my body.

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Sat, Oct 9, 2010
from Washington Post:
Hungary sludge reservoir at risk of collapse
The cracking wall of an industrial plant reservoir could collapse at any moment and send a new wave of caustic red sludge into towns devastated by a deluge this week, Hungary's prime minister said Saturday. A crack in the concrete wall widened by 2.76 inches (7 centimeters) overnight, Prime Minister Viktor Orban told reporters gathered at a fire station near the alumina plant that dumped up to 184 million gallons (700,000 cubic meters) of highly polluted water and mud onto three villages in about an hour Monday, burning people and animals. At least seven people were killed and hundreds injured. ...


Another slow motion ecological disaster ... for your viewing pleasure.

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Sat, Oct 9, 2010
from CNN:
What a scientist didn't tell the New York Times about his study on bee deaths
Few ecological disasters have been as confounding as the massive and devastating die-off of the world's honeybees. The phenomenon of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) -- in which disoriented honeybees die far from their hives -- has kept scientists, beekeepers, and regulators desperately seeking the cause.... The long list of possible suspects has included pests, viruses, fungi, and also pesticides, particularly so-called neonicotinoids, a class of neurotoxins that kills insects by attacking their nervous systems. For years, their leading manufacturer, Bayer Crop Science, a subsidiary of the German pharmaceutical giant Bayer AG (BAYRY), has tangled with regulators and fended off lawsuits from angry beekeepers who allege that the pesticides have disoriented and ultimately killed their bees... A cheer must have gone up at Bayer on Thursday when a front-page New York Times article, under the headline "Scientists and Soldiers Solve a Bee Mystery," described how a newly released study pinpoints a different cause for the die-off: "a fungus tag-teaming with a virus."...What the Times article did not explore -- nor did the study disclose -- was the relationship between the study's lead author, Montana bee researcher Dr. Jerry Bromenshenk, and Bayer Crop Science. ...


Neonicotinoids... Take out the "neo" and the "oids" and you have nicotin... sound familiar? The bees are dying from smoking, not pesticides.

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Fri, Oct 8, 2010
from Reuters:
Prenatal arsenic exposure quintuples infant death risk
Babies born to mothers with high levels of arsenic exposure are five times more likely to die before their first birthday than infants whose mothers had the least exposure to the toxic mineral, new research shows. "We observed clear evidence of an association between arsenic exposure and infant mortality," Dr. Anisur Rahman of Uppsala University Hospital in Sweden and colleagues state in the November issue of Epidemiology. And the fact that death risk increased as exposure rose, they add, "is supportive of a causal relationship."... To address these issues, the researchers followed 2,924 pregnant women who provided urine samples for arsenic testing, all when they were eight weeks pregnant, and some later in pregnancy. ...


This takes stalking to a whole new level.

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Fri, Oct 8, 2010
from Louisville Courier-Journal:
Environmentalists claim Kentucky coal mines faked water data
Robert Kennedy Jr. and other environmentalists claim three surface coal mining operations in Eastern Kentucky falsified pollution data, failed to submit reports or exceeded permit limits on more than 20,000 occasions in the last two years. The groups have taken the first step towards filing suit under the Clean Water Act regarding operations of ICG Knott County, ICG Hazard, and Frasure Creek Mining in seven Kentucky counties: Leslie, Perry, Knott, Breathitt, Floyd, Pike and Magoffin. The groups want the companies to be fined as much as $740 million and criminal prosecution of anyone who might have falsified the reports. International Coal Group called the allegations "scurrilous," while officials identified in public records as representing Frasure Creek Mining did not return phone calls. ...


I'll bet all that pollution is hard on the poor scurrils.

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Thu, Oct 7, 2010
from Associated Press:
Hungary: Toxic red sludge has reached the Danube
The toxic red sludge that burst out of a Hungarian factory's reservoir reached the mighty Danube on Thursday after wreaking havoc on smaller rivers and creeks, and downstream nations rushed to test their waters. The European Union and environmental officials fear an environmental catastrophe affecting half a dozen nations if the red sludge, a waste product of making aluminum, contaminates the Danube, Europe's second-longest river. ...


I just lost my appetite.

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Thu, Oct 7, 2010
from Science News:
Pesticide in womb may promote obesity, study finds
One-quarter of babies born to women who had relatively high concentrations of a DDT-breakdown product in their blood grew unusually fast for at least the first year of life, a study finds. Not only is this prevalence of accelerated growth unusually high, but it's also a worrisome trend since such rapid growth during early infancy has -- in other studies -- put children on track to become obese. Affected babies in the new study weighed no more than normal at birth, so growth in the womb was unaffected. Their moms were also normal weight -- which is significant because babies born to overweight and obese women sometimes undergo rapid growth. ...


They may be obese, but at least they're pest-free.

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Tue, Sep 28, 2010
from London Independent:
GM maize 'has polluted rivers across the United States'
An insecticide used in genetically modified (GM) crops grown extensively in the United States and other parts of the world has leached into the water of the surrounding environment. The insecticide is the product of a bacterial gene inserted into GM maize and other cereal crops to protect them against insects such as the European corn borer beetle. Scientists have detected the insecticide in a significant number of streams draining the great corn belt of the American mid-West. The researchers detected the bacterial protein in the plant detritus that was washed off the corn fields into streams up to 500 metres away. They are not yet able to determine how significant this is in terms of the risk to either human health or the wider environment. ...


We will never find a way out of our polluted labyrinth.

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Mon, Sep 27, 2010
from AolNews:
Diesel Dangers: Mining Companies Get First Look at Government Cancer Study
A long-delayed government epidemiological study of possible ties between diesel exhaust and lung cancer in miners may finally be published this fall -- but only after a mining industry group, represented by the Washington lobbying powerhouse Patton Boggs, finishes a pre-publication review of the study's drafts. Eighteen years in the making and eagerly awaited by public health officials, the cancer study evaluates more than 12,000 current and former workers from eight mines that produce commodities other than coal. Its goal is to determine whether ultrafine diesel particulate matter -- a component of exhaust from diesel-powered machinery -- poses a serious hazard to miners in confined spaces. ...


They just want to dot a few "i" and cross a few "t"s!

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Mon, Sep 13, 2010
from Moscow News:
Radiation scare for Moscow parks
Levels of radiation on Moscow's streets have reached a level so high that the authorities are about to spend 4.7 billion roubles to get rid of it. The $153 million clean-up will run from 2011-2013 amid reports of no fewer than 18 dangerous radioactive objects within the capital. And they can be found in heavily built-up areas like Kuzminki, or on slopes vulnerable to landslips close to the Moskva river... During the intensive work with nuclear energy in 1950s a lot of radioactive material was moved beyond the city borders. "The used minerals and radioactive materials were simply taken out in cars and dumped into ravines outside the city," the head of radiation control laboratory of the institute of city ecology Gennady Akulkin said. "It was acceptable then. But Moscow grew, and the ravines outside the city limits became part of it. Now the radioactive waste needs to be removed." ...


Let's hope they at least washed their hands afterward!

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Thu, Sep 9, 2010
from ProPublica:
Do "Environmental Extremists" Pose Criminal Threat to Gas Drilling?
As debate over natural gas drilling [1] in the Marcellus shale reaches a fever pitch, state and federal authorities are warning Pennsylvania law enforcement that "environmental extremists" pose an increasing threat to security and to the energy sector. A confidential intelligence bulletin [2] sent from the Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security to law enforcement professionals in late August says drilling opponents have been targeting the energy industry with increasing frequency and that the severity of crimes has increased. ...


"Environmental extremists" = people who give a shit about the planet.

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Wed, Sep 8, 2010
from Canadian Press:
Birds dying in oilsands at 30 times the rate reported, says study
A new study says birds are likely dying in oilsands tailings ponds at least 30 times the rate suggested by industry and government. The results add weight to arguments that depending on industry to monitor its own environmental impact isn't working, said study author Kevin Timoney, an ecologist whose paper was published Tuesday in the Wilson Journal of Ornithology. "We need to have credible scientific monitoring," Timoney said. Bird deaths are currently tracked through industry employees reporting carcasses. The eight-year annual average of such reports, from 2000 to 2007, is 65.... The 14-year median, including raptors, songbirds, shorebirds and gulls, is 1,973 deaths every year. ...


I'll just bet the idea of industry monitoring itself ... came from industry.

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Tue, Sep 7, 2010
from Jakarta Globe:
Feces, Arsenic Pervade Water Supply, Sickening Half a Nation
Water contaminated by feces and harmful chemicals may be responsible for making almost half of all Indonesians sick, health experts say. World Bank data shows that in 2006, 42 percent of Indonesians suffered from diarrhea caused by waterborne diseases, up from 28 percent in 1996. A study two years ago by the Ministry of Health showed that in addition to bacteria that cause the more common infectious diseases, many of Indonesia's sources of water also contained unacceptably high levels of toxic chemicals that could lead to more serious illnesses such as cancer and anemia. ...


Water contaminated by feces that creates diarrhea sounds like a vicious, shitty cycle.

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Tue, Sep 7, 2010
from New Scientist:
Why wartime wrecks are slicking time bombs
Thousands of ships sunk in the second world war are seeping oil - and with their rusty tanks disintegrating, "peak leak" is only a few years away... The second world war saw the greatest-ever loss of shipping: more than three-quarters of the oil-containing wrecks around the globe date from the six years of this war. Sunken merchant ships are scattered around trade routes, the victims of attack by U-boats and other craft aiming to disrupt enemy nations' supply lines. Then there are the naval ships sunk during great engagements such as the attack on Pearl Harbor and the battle of Chuuk Lagoon, the Japanese base in the Pacific where the US sank over 50 Japanese ships. In some locations these hulks are already leaking oil, threatening pristine shorelines, popular beaches and breeding grounds for fish. This year, for example, oil has begun to leak from the Darkdale, a British naval tanker that sank in 1941 near the island of St Helena in the south Atlantic Ocean. It was carrying more than 4000 tonnes of oil when it went down. ...


War is (sometimes delayed) hell.

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Mon, Sep 6, 2010
from Miller-McCune:
Viewing Poisons at Our National Parks
America's national parks are heralded as pristine pockets of natural beauty, but that news hasn't stopped airborne pollutants from accumulating at alarmingly high rates in parks in the West. Eight years ago, spurred by reports of contaminants found in alpine and polar ecosystems far from where the pollutants originated, National Park Service leaders assembled an interdisciplinary team of researchers drawn from experts at several universities, government agencies and research groups.... The news wasn't good: • Of the 100 or more toxic substances tested for, 70 were found...• Many fish in parks have reached or exceeded the threshold level of contaminants for consumption by humans or other animals that eat them. ...


How do we know they aren't just tourist airborne pollutants?

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Sun, Sep 5, 2010
from New Orleans Times-Picayune:
5 key human errors, colossal mechanical failure led to fatal Gulf oil rig blowout
A string of mistakes, first by people, then by a supposedly fail-safe machine, sealed the fates of 11 rig workers and led to the fouling of the Gulf of Mexico and hundreds of miles of its coastline. More than 100 hours of testimony before a federal investigative panel, two dozen congressional hearings and several internal company reports have brought the genesis of the spill into sharp focus. The record shows there was no single fatal mistake or cut corner. Rather, five key human errors and a colossal mechanical failure combined to form a recipe for unprecedented disaster. The rig's malfunctioning blowout preventer ultimately failed, but it was needed only because of human errors. Those errors originated with a team of BP engineers in Houston who knew they had an especially tough well, one rig workers called "the well from hell." ...


The "well from hell" turned out to be the "rig you don't dig."

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Sat, Sep 4, 2010
from Chemical and Engineering News:
Accumulating Contaminants Kick Off Concerns
Certain members of a class of compounds used in personal-care and cleaning products have been steadily growing in the waters around Manhattan, delivered through shower drains and passing relatively unscathed through wastewater treatment plants into the environment. Now researchers report that levels of at least one of these contaminants have increased exponentially over the past decade... Rarely studied, these quaternary ammonium compounds--known as QACs or "quacks"--are cationic surfactants used in household cleaners, fabric softeners, shampoos, and other personal care products. Various compounds from this chemical family have been reported in watery sediments in Europe and the U.S., at concentrations sometimes as high as micrograms per gram. But long-term trends have remained unreported. ...


Hey, Cationic Surfactants is the name of my surf rock band, dude! How weird!

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Sat, Sep 4, 2010
from San Diego Union-Tribune:
Dead zones a coastal threat
Dead zones increased dramatically in U.S. waters over the past 50 years, threatening ecosystems and fisheries nationwide, according to a sweeping report Friday by the federal Office of Science and Technology Policy. The multiagency assessment said that incidents of hypoxia -- a condition in which oxygen levels drop so low that fish and other animals are stressed or killed -- have risen nearly 30-fold since 1960 due in part to man-made pollutants...."If current practices are continued, the expansion of hypoxia in coastal waters will continue and increase in severity, leading to further impacts on marine habitats, living resources, economies, and coastal communities,” the report's authors said. ...


"Zombie zones" may be a more accurate term!

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Thu, Sep 2, 2010
from Associated Press:
Calif. rejects ban on plastic shopping bags
California lawmakers have rejected a bill seeking to ban plastic shopping bags after a contentious debate over whether the state was going too far in trying to regulate personal choice. The Democratic bill, which failed late Tuesday, would have been the first statewide ban, although a few California cities already prohibit their use. The measure offered California an opportunity to emerge at the forefront of a global trend... Republicans and some Democrats opposed it, saying it would add an extra burden on consumers and businesses at a time when many already are struggling financially. "If we pass this piece of legislation, we will be sending a message to the people of California that we care more about banning plastic bags than helping them put food on their table," said Sen. Mimi Walters, R-Lake Forest. ...


And what would I use to pick up my dog's shit?

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Mon, Aug 30, 2010
from Center for Investigative Reporting:
Under fire from industry, scientific panel is 'gutted'
Five out of nine members of a scientific panel that advises the state on toxic chemicals have been fired in recent weeks, following disputes with the chemical industry and a conservative group that targets environmental laws... Among the dismissed members is panel chairman John Froines, who also heads the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at UCLA's School of Public Health. Froines has served on the panel since it was founded and has been its chairman since 1998. Froines says he learned of his dismissal July 22 in a two-sentence letter from Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, D-Los Angeles. Panel members, including Froines, have come under fire over the years when their designation of certain substances as toxic came at a cost to industry. ...


Given the toxic relationship between business and science, I'd suggest purchasing one of these.

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Wed, Aug 25, 2010
from New York Times:
Egg Industry Faces New Scrutiny After Outbreak
As it reeled from the recall of half a billion eggs for possible salmonella infection, the American egg industry was already battling a movement to outlaw its methods as cruel and unsafe, and adapting to the Obama administration's drive to bolster health rules and inspections. The cause of the infections at two giant farms in Iowa has not been pinpointed, Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said Monday in a television interview. But "there is no question that these farms that are involved in the recall were not operating with the standards of practice that we consider responsible," Ms. Hamburg said in the strongest official indication yet that lax procedures may be to blame. ...


Um, something tells me someone named "Hamburg" ... might have some expertise in corporate farming.

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Thu, Aug 19, 2010
from AolNews:
EPA May Give 1st Approval of Nanosilver for Fabrics
A Swiss chemical producer may soon be the first company to receive approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to use nanosilver to make clothing smell better, stay cleaner and destroy germs. However, health scientists say the nanoparticles will wash out with the rinse water and could cause unknown environmental and health problems downstream. The EPA said that it may issue "conditional approval" to HeiQ Materials AG, a producer of nanosized additives, for the use of a nanosilver pesticide as a new active ingredient in fabrics. ...


Me, I like to look good while I'm dying from environmental contamination.

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Sun, Aug 15, 2010
from InvestigateWest:
States struggle to curb pollution by cruise ships
In a single day, the federal Environmental Protection Agency estimates, passengers aboard a typical cruise ship will generate: * 21,000 gallons of sewage * One ton of garbage * 170,000 gallons of wastewater from sinks, showers and laundry * More than 25 pounds of batteries, fluorescent lights, medical wastes and expired chemicals * Up to 6,400 gallons of oily bilge water from engines * Four plastic bottles per passenger - about 8,500 bottles per day for the Carnival Spirit Cruise ships incinerate between 75 and 85 percent of their garbage, according to the EPA in its 2008 study, contributing to smog in coastal communities and on the ocean. They also release incinerator ash and sewage sludge into the ocean. They contribute nutrients, metals, ammonia, pharmaceutical waste, chemical cleaners and detergent to deep marine environments from sewage treatment systems that either don't work as planned or aren't able to remove such substances, according to tests in Washington and Alaska, interviews with state officials, the EPA study, and information provided by the Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. It's legal to discharge untreated sewage in most areas of the United States farther than three miles from shore. ...


You cruise... you lose.

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Sun, Aug 15, 2010
from Miami Herald:
Tiny toxic town takes on a corporate Goliath
A Florida hamlet where parts for nuclear weapons were made is fighting both an environmental calamity and a major defense contractor... Environmental contamination threatens to destroy this historic black town and its heritage. In one of the nation's most emotional environmental divides, the residents find themselves pitted against giant defense contractor Lockheed Martin, Manatee County, and the state of Florida. The divide takes root at the former American Beryllium Company plant, anchoring five acres at 1600 Tallevast Road across from a community church. Opened in 1961 and shuttered in 1996, the plant manufactured machine parts for nuclear weapons using beryllium-containing metals. Workers inhaled hazardous dust and handled a toxic degreaser that cleaned machine parts. ...


They better have some bad-ass slingshots.

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Wed, Aug 11, 2010
from New York Times:
Russian Fires Raise Fears of Radioactivity
As if things in Russia were not looking sufficiently apocalyptic already, with 100-degree temperatures and noxious fumes rolling in from burning peat bogs and forests, there is growing alarm here that fires in regions coated with fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster 24 years ago could now be emitting plumes of radioactive smoke. Several fires have been documented in the contaminated areas of western Russia, including three heavily irradiated sites in the Bryansk region, the environmental group Greenpeace Russia said in a statement released Tuesday. Bryansk borders Belarus and Ukraine. ...


Where there's radioactive smoke there's radioactive fire!

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Tue, Aug 10, 2010
from New Dehli NDTV:
Oil leak off Mumbai coast has stopped: Coast Guard sources
In a big relief, two days after two ships collided off the coast of Mumbai, Coast Guard authorities have said the oil leak from the MSC Chitra has now been plugged. But the oil already in the sea along the Mumbai coast line will take a month to clear, according to environmental authorities and is still a serious worry... in a double whammy, there is an oil slick that is spreading fast with about three to four tones of oil spilling every hour and drums filled with pesticide have detached from the MSC Chitra - one of the ships that collided and is tilting precariously - and are now floating dangerously in the sea, also becoming a navigation hazard. ...


Oil leak... pesticides...what a delicious elixir!

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Tue, Aug 10, 2010
from New Orleans Times-Picayune:
Oil spill plugged, but more oiled birds than ever are being found
More than three weeks after BP capped its gushing oil well, skimming operations have all but stopped and federal scientists say just a quarter of the oil remains in the Gulf of Mexico. But wildlife officials are rounding up more oiled birds than ever as fledgling birds get stuck in the residual goo and rescuers make initial visits to rookeries they had avoided disturbing during nesting season. 19 0 997Share Before BP plugged the well with a temporary cap on July 15, an average of 37 oiled birds were being collected dead or alive each day. Since then, the figure has nearly doubled to 71 per day, according to a Times-Picayune review of daily wildlife rescue reports. ...


Apparently, the birds aren't keeping up with all the good news!

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Tue, Aug 10, 2010
from Shanghai Daily News:
Baby milk in new scare
PARENTS are facing a new baby formula scare which will bring back memories of the Sanlu scandal in 2008 when 300,000 babies were affected by melamine-tainted milk. Shanghai industrial and commercial watchdogs said yesterday they were paying close attention to the local market after China-produced Synitra baby formula was reported as causing unusually early sexual development in infants in several provinces on the Chinese mainland. Synitra baby formula is not on the shelf at local major supermarkets but is available on e-commerce websites... Last month at Wuhan Children's Hospital, a 15-month-old girl was found to have the estrogen levels of a grown woman. Doctors suggested the parents stop feeding her Synitra formula immediately. ...


My understanding is Synitra translates to "puts hair on one's chest."

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Wed, Jul 28, 2010
from International Business Times:
Common Herbicide Suspected in Frog Sex Changes
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will present findings in September on the safety of atrazine, one of the most commonly used herbicides in the U.S. But some studies seem to show that the chemical affects the sexual development of amphibians, raising concerns about its effect on people. Two studies earlier this year, one from the University of California at Berkeley and the other at Canada's University of Ottawa, say exposure to atrazine at concentrations below the EPA limit can cause abnormalities. Syngenta, atrazine's largest producer, maintains that atrazine has demonstrated its safety.... When the EPA presents its evaluation in September, it will seek peer review, but many groups representing farmers and the chemical industry are worried that the agency could ban it. ...


Apparently, farmers and chemical industry people don't mind a little hermaphroditism.

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Wed, Jul 28, 2010
from Bloomberg:
China's Environment Accidents Double as Growth Takes Toll
China, the world's largest polluter, said the number of environmental accidents rose 98 percent in the first six months of the year, as demand for energy and minerals lead to poisoned rivers and oil spills. "Fast economic development is leading to increasing conflicts with the capacity of the environment to absorb" demands, the environmental protection ministry said in a faxed statement in response to Bloomberg questions. ...


But... but... growth is good isn't it?

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Wed, Jul 28, 2010
from The Detroit News:
Crews rush to contain massive oil spill in Kalamazoo River
At least 16 miles of the Kalamazoo River system have been touched by crude oil in what could rank as the Midwest's worst spill. An unexplained rupture of an underground pipe south of Marshall has released more than 800,000 gallons of oil that has made its way to the river via Talmadge Creek. Gov. Jennifer Granholm activated the Michigan's Emergency Operations Center in Lansing to help coordinate state resources. ...


When it rains... it pours... oil.

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Tue, Jul 27, 2010
from Detroit News:
Report: Children's exposure to toxic chemicals costs Michigan billions
Michigan could save billions annually by protecting children from exposure to environmental hazards, according to a study released today. The report released by an Ann Arbor-based coalition of health and environmental groups examined direct and indirect costs of four childhood diseases linked to environmental toxicants: lead poisoning, asthma, pediatric cancer and neurodevelopmental disorders. The study found treating those disorders costs Michigan an average of $5.85 billion each year. If all diseases with an environmental link were included, the number would be higher. ...


Well... I guess to save money ... we can help out the little brats.

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Sun, Jul 25, 2010
from Washington Post:
As federal panel probes oil spill, picture emerges of a series of iffy decisions
After months of oil-spill misery and endless recriminations about what happened and why, it is increasingly clear that the complex operation of drilling an exploratory well in the deep water of the Gulf of Mexico failed in a complex way. No single decision or misstep in isolation could have caused the blowout, but any number of decisions might have prevented it had they gone the other way. The calamity, the evidence now suggests, was not an accident in the sense of a single unlucky or freak event, but rather an engineered catastrophe -- one that followed naturally from decisions of BP managers and other oil company workers on the now-sunken rig. ...


"...a series of iffy decisions" pretty much describes all of human history.

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Sat, Jul 24, 2010
from London Independent:
Toxic legacy of US assault on Fallujah 'worse than Hiroshima'
Dramatic increases in infant mortality, cancer and leukaemia in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which was bombarded by US Marines in 2004, exceed those reported by survivors of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, according to a new study. Iraqi doctors in Fallujah have complained since 2005 of being overwhelmed by the number of babies with serious birth defects, ranging from a girl born with two heads to paralysis of the lower limbs. They said they were also seeing far more cancers than they did before the battle for Fallujah between US troops and insurgents. Their claims have been supported by a survey showing a four-fold increase in all cancers and a 12-fold increase in childhood cancer in under-14s. Infant mortality in the city is more than four times higher than in neighbouring Jordan and eight times higher than in Kuwait. ...


Other than relieving the planet's population burden war is just awful on the environment.

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Fri, Jul 23, 2010
from Washington Post:
In China, an oil spill and a low-tech cleanup
Hundreds of firefighters and civilian volunteers used bare hands, chopsticks and plastic garbage bags Thursday to wage a low-tech battle against a giant oil slick spreading off China's northeastern coast. The slick, near the oil port of Dalian, in Liaoning province, was caused when two pipelines exploded last Friday as crude was being unloaded from a Libyan tanker. Government officials said the accident released about 1,500 tons -- or 400,000 gallons -- of oil into the Yellow Sea, where the slick now covers up to 170 square miles, according to news reports, making it China's largest recorded spill. ...


Ya gotta love the can-do spirit of using chopsticks to clean up an oil spill.

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Fri, Jul 23, 2010
from Christian Science Monitor:
As Iraq war winds down, US military cleans up hazardous waste
American commanders in Iraq are working to demonstrate that they are clearing the country of tens of millions of pounds of US-made hazardous waste, rebutting claims that they are leaving behind a toxic legacy as US troops withdraw. Hundreds of barrels of all types and all colors -- filled with everything from discarded lithium batteries and oil filters to powerful chemicals like hydrochloric acid -- are stacked in a dusty purpose-built compound on a US base at Tikrit, north of Baghdad. This and a sister facility on another base have so far processed 32 million pounds of "regulated" waste -- more than half of that soil contaminated with petroleum products. The material has been decontaminated, crushed or shredded, and then sold as scrap in Iraq, or recycled and shipped abroad. ...


War may be hell, but at least parts of it are recyclable!

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Tue, Jul 20, 2010
from Wall Street Journal:
Fresh Water Aimed at Oil Kills Oysters
Oysters are dying in their beds in the brackish marshes of southern Louisiana, but the culprit isn't oil spilling from the Gulf. It is, at least in part, fresh water. In April, soon after the oil spill started, Louisiana officials started opening gates along the levees of the Mississippi River, letting massive amounts of river water pour through man-made channels and into coastal marshes. It was a gambit--similar to opening a fire hose--to keep the encroaching oil at bay. By most accounts, the strategy succeeded in minimizing the amount of oil that entered the fertile and lucrative estuaries. But oyster farmers and scientists say it appears to have had one major side effect: the deaths of large numbers of oysters, water-filterers whose simplicity and sensitivity makes them early indicators of environmental influences that ultimately could hit other marsh dwellers too. ...


I know we're trying our best but some days it seems we can't we do ANYTHING right.

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Mon, Jul 19, 2010
from Christian Science Monitor:
Gulf oil spill: Fouling air as well as water?
Questions about air pollution related to the BP oil spill may get some clearer answers this coming week, as university researchers and a Louisiana environmental group release initial findings of their independent analysis of the Gulf region's air quality. Last week, the EPA said that residents of two hard hit coastal communities in Louisiana -- Grand Isle and Venice -- face a "moderate health risk” due to hydrocarbon fumes. In Terrebonne Parish, residents of the town of Cocodrie and the surrounding area are also reporting strong odors of petroleum. For months since BP's Deepwater Horizon oil well blew, residents along the Gulf Coast, including many in New Orleans and other metro regions miles away from the shore, have said they smell fumes from the oil spill. Some have reported symptoms ranging from red eyes and runny noses to sinus infections and flu-like symptoms. ...


Water and air...somehow interconnected?Inexplicable!

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Sat, Jul 17, 2010
from China Daily:
Contaminated waters that kill
Fishermen, residents reel from toxic waste that leaked into river. Wei Tian, Hu Meidong and Zhu Xingxin in Fujian, and He Na in Beijing report. Qiu Yonglu knew something was wrong when his fish refused to eat and kept circling their pool. Ten days later, they began dying. On July 12, almost a month later, he finally discovered what had poisoned his fishery when environmental authorities in Fujian province confirmed that toxic waste from Zijinshan Copper Mine had leaked into the Tingjiang River. By that time, Qiu and his neighboring farmers in Shanghang county lost at least 1,890 tons of fish. ...


Bet heads will roll on this one.

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Thu, Jul 15, 2010
from Associated Press:
BP chokes off the oil leak; now begins the wait
BP finally choked off the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday -- 85 days and up to 184 million gallons after the crisis unfolded -- then began a tense 48 hours of watching to see whether the capped-off well would hold or blow a new leak. To the relief of millions of people along the Gulf Coast, the big, billowing brown cloud of crude at the bottom of the sea disappeared from the underwater video feed for the first time since the disaster began in April, as BP closed the last of three openings in the 75-ton cap lowered onto the well earlier this week...Now begins a waiting period during which engineers will monitor pressure gauges and watch for signs of leaks elsewhere in the well. The biggest risk: Pressure from the oil gushing out of the ground could fracture the well and make the leak even worse, causing oil to spill from other spots on the sea floor. ...


I am not normally a prayin' man, but....

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jul 15, 2010
from Wall Street Journal:
A Pesticide Plan to Prevent Suicide
In the wake of a spate of suicide cases, Chinese health-care professionals are pushing a nationwide "pesticide control" plan to reduce the public's access to the deadly chemicals. While the series of employee suicides at Hon Hai (a.k.a. Foxconn) dominated the news recently, several other unusual incidents have also drawn attention to the issue of suicide in China. Early this month, five students in Shaanxi province made a death pact to drink a poisonous herbicide together in a local temple one morning. A passerby spotted them in time and none died... Pesticides are used by 58 percent of the roughly 287,000 Chinese who take their lives each year, according to statistics from the Beijing Suicide Research and Prevention Center cited in a recent China Daily article. ...


Sounds to me like they're just taking a short cut.

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Thu, Jul 15, 2010
from New York Times:
Animal Autopsies in Gulf Yield a Mystery
The Kemp's ridley sea turtle lay belly-up on the metal autopsy table, as pallid as split-pea soup but for the bright orange X spray-painted on its shell, proof that it had been counted as part of the Gulf of Mexico's continuing "unusual mortality event."... Despite an obvious suspect, oil, the answer is far from clear. The vast majority of the dead animals that have been found -- 1,866 birds, 463 turtles, 59 dolphins and one sperm whale -- show no visible signs of oil contamination. Much of the evidence in the turtle cases points, in fact, to shrimping or other commercial fishing, but other suspects include oil fumes, oiled food, the dispersants used to break up the oil or even disease. ...


Perhaps they are dying of sadness.

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Wed, Jul 14, 2010
from Associated Press:
Another cadmium jewelry recall _ 137K Tween pieces
About 137,000 pieces of imported children's jewelry sold at two stores popular with preteen girls -- Justice and Limited Too -- were recalled Tuesday for high levels of cadmium, the latest in a series of recalls involving the toxic metal. The voluntary recall, announced by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, was the sixth callback since The Associated Press first released findings of an investigation into cadmium in children's jewelry. The recalls, which started in January with children's jewelry sold at Walmart stores, have included about 12 million "Shrek" movie-themed drinking glasses distributed by McDonald's restaurants. The other recalls targeted at least 200,000 pieces of jewelry, mostly for children. ...


Yet another ding for the bling.

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Wed, Jul 14, 2010
from New York Times:
Hydrocarbons in Cereal Stoke New Debate Over Food Safety
When Kellogg Co. pulled about 28 million cereal boxes from store shelves last month, the company said only that an "off-flavor and smell" coming from the packaging could cause nausea and diarrhea. But the culprit behind the recall is a class of chemicals now making news in the Gulf of Mexico: hydrocarbons, a byproduct of oil. The nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) reported yesterday that the hydrocarbon methylnaphthalene, which the government has yet to evaluate for human carcinogenicity, was behind the recall. For EWG and other public-health advocacy groups, the appearance of a chemical missing consistent risk data in popular products such as Apple Jacks strengthens the case for food safety reform -- an issue that remains stalled in the Senate. ...


"Methylnaphthalene Loops" or "Methylnaphthalene Jacks" just doesn't sound very appetizing to me.

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Tue, Jul 13, 2010
from Monterey County Herald:
Condors: The next generation
When biologists first spied captive-bred California condors eating a dead sea lion that had washed up on the Big Sur coast, they were thrilled. "They were foraging on their own, which was a big step in the right direction for recovery of this species," said Joe Burnett, senior wildlife biologist with Ventana Wildlife Society.... what they didn't count on was that, along with nutrients and energy, condors would ingest harmful levels of marine contaminants. Now, preliminary reports suggest that these contaminants -- including residues from the banned insecticide DDT -- are affecting the already tenuous reproductive success of the flock. ...


Sheesh.. they'd be better off eating Big Macs!

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Mon, Jul 12, 2010
from Washington Post:
Historic oil spill fails to produce gains for U.S. environmentalists
For environmentalists, the BP oil spill may be disproving the maxim that great tragedies produce great change. Traditionally, American environmentalism wins its biggest victories after some important piece of American environment is poisoned, exterminated or set on fire. An oil spill and a burning river in 1969 led to new anti-pollution laws in the 1970s. The Exxon Valdez disaster helped create an Earth Day revival in 1990 and sparked a landmark clean-air law. But this year, the worst oil spill in U.S. history -- and, before that, the worst coal-mining disaster in 40 years -- haven't put the same kind of drive into the debate over climate change and fossil-fuel energy. The Senate is still gridlocked. Opinion polls haven't budged much. Gasoline demand is going up, not down. ...


Too bad we can't turn selfishness and apathy into a renewal energy source.

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Sun, Jul 11, 2010
from Associated Press:
BP claims progress on new cap as oil spews freely
Oil was spewing freely into the Gulf of Mexico as BP crews claimed progress Sunday in the first stages of replacing a leaky cap with a new containment system they hope will finally catch all the crude from the busted well. There's no guarantee for such a delicate operation nearly a mile below the water's surface, officials said, and the permanent fix of plugging the well from the bottom remains slated for mid-August. "It's not just going to be, you put the cap on, it's done. It's not like putting a cap on a tube of toothpaste," Coast Guard spokesman Capt. James McPherson said. ...


Hell, I can't even get my kids to do that at home.

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Fri, Jul 9, 2010
from New Scientist:
Prawns on Prozac, whatever next? Crabs on cocaine?
Second-hand Prozac in waste water could be sending shrimps' swimming patterns haywire, making them easy targets for predators. Alex Ford and Yasmin Guler at the University of Portsmouth in the UK collected local shrimp, Echinogammarus marinus, and observed their behaviour in the lab. The shrimp were exposed to different levels of the antidepressant fluoextine - or Prozac - to test whether the presence of the drug would affect the way the shrimp respond to light. In humans, Prozac acts as a mood enhancer by prolonging the effect of serotonin at nerve terminals. The shrimp, on the other hand, responded to increased serotonin levels by swimming towards the light (Aquatic Toxicology DOI:10.1016/j/aquatox.2010.05.019). The pair found that shrimps exposed to the same Prozac levels present in waste water that flows to rivers and estuaries are five times more likely to swim toward the light instead of away from it. ...


Whatever you do... don't... go... to... the light!

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Thu, Jul 8, 2010
from London Guardian:
China launches armada to head off algae plume
Chinese authorities have dispatched a flotilla of more than 60 ships to head off a massive tide of algae that is approaching the coast of Qingdao. The outbreak is thought to be caused by high ocean temperatures and excess nitrogen runoff from agriculture and fish farms. Scientists involved in the operation say the seaweed known as enteromorpha needs to be cleaned up before it decomposes on beaches and releases noxious gases. According to the domestic media, the green tide covers an area of 400 sq km. Newspapers ran pictures of coastguard officials raking up the gunk as soon as it reached the shore. As well as the 66 vessels sent to intercept the approaching algae, a net has been stretched offshore as an extra defence. Ten forklift trucks, seven lorries and 168 people were clearing up the many tonnes of seaweed that still got through. ...


Sounds blooming gross to me!

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Wed, Jul 7, 2010
from Associated Press:
AP IMPACT: Gulf awash in 27,000 abandoned wells
More than 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells lurk in the hard rock beneath the Gulf of Mexico, an environmental minefield that has been ignored for decades. No one -- not industry, not government -- is checking to see if they are leaking, an Associated Press investigation shows. The oldest of these wells were abandoned in the late 1940s, raising the prospect that many deteriorating sealing jobs are already failing. The AP investigation uncovered particular concern with 3,500 of the neglected wells -- those characterized in federal government records as "temporarily abandoned." ...


We have perforated the earth with our neglect.

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Tue, Jul 6, 2010
from Agence France-Press:
More bad news for BP as arsenic levels rise around Gulf of Mexico
British scientists warned that the oil spill is increasing the level of arsenic in the ocean, and could further add to the devastating impact on the already sensitive environment. BP's Deepwater Horizon rig has been spilling between 3,681,500 litres and 911,454,000 litres of oil into the sea per day since it exploded on April 22. The spill is already being labeled as America's worst environmental disaster and has turned into a economic and PR nightmare for the British company. Seventy-five days into the spill, the oil has fouled some 715km of shoreline in four southeastern US states, killed wildlife and put a massive dent in the region's multi-billion-dollar fishing industry. ...


Poor BP... How dare we blame the victim so!

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Sun, Jul 4, 2010
from New York Times:
As Oil Industry Fights a Tax, It Reaps Billions From Subsidies
an examination of the American tax code indicates that oil production is among the most heavily subsidized businesses, with tax breaks available at virtually every stage of the exploration and extraction process. According to the most recent study by the Congressional Budget Office, released in 2005, capital investments like oil field leases and drilling equipment are taxed at an effective rate of 9 percent, significantly lower than the overall rate of 25 percent for businesses in general and lower than virtually any other industry. And for many small and midsize oil companies, the tax on capital investments is so low that it is more than eliminated by various credits. These companies' returns on those investments are often higher after taxes than before. ...


Seems we are both addicts AND enablers.

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Sat, Jul 3, 2010
from McClatchy:
Oil found in Gulf crabs raises new food chain fears
University scientists have spotted the first indications oil is entering the Gulf seafood chain -- in crab larvae -- and one expert warns the effect on fisheries could last "years, probably not a matter of months" and affect many species. Scientists with the University of Southern Mississippi and Tulane University in New Orleans have found droplets of oil in the larvae of blue crabs and fiddler crabs sampled from Louisiana to Pensacola, Fla. "I think we will see this enter the food chain in a lot of ways -- for plankton feeders, like menhaden, they are going to just actively take it in," said Harriet Perry, director of the Center for Fisheries Research and Development at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory. "Fish are going to feed on (crab larvae). We have also just started seeing it on the fins of small, larval fish -- their fins were encased in oil. That limits their mobility, so that makes them easy prey for other species. The oil's going to get into the food chain in a lot of ways."... "I had a sort of breakdown last week," Perry said. "I've driven down the same road on East Beach in Ocean Springs for 42 years. As I was going to work, I saw the shrimp fleet going out, all going to try to work on the oil, and I realized the utter futility of that, and I just lost it for a minute and had to gather myself." ...


I guess we'll soon find out who's the weakest link!

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Fri, Jul 2, 2010
from EPOnline:
Dispersant Testing Finds No Significant Endocrine Disruption, EPA Says
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on June 30 released peer-reviewed results from the first round of its own independent toxicity testing on eight oil dispersants, which indicated that none of the eight dispersants tested, including the product in use in the Gulf of Mexico, displayed biologically significant endocrine disrupting activity. While the dispersant products alone - not mixed with oil - have roughly the same impact on aquatic life, JD-2000 and Corexit 9500 were generally less toxic to small fish and JD-2000 and SAF-RON GOLD were least toxic to mysid shrimp. While this is important information to have, additional testing is needed to further inform the use of dispersants. "We will continue to conduct additional research before providing a final recommendation," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "We want to ensure that every tool is available to mitigate the impact of the BP spill and protect our fragile wetlands. But we continue to direct BP to use dispersants responsibly and in as limited an amount as possible." ...


That's what BP said... last night.

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Fri, Jun 18, 2010
from Associated Press:
Gulf oil full of methane, adding new concerns
It is an overlooked danger in the oil spill crisis: The crude gushing from the well contains vast amounts of natural gas that could pose a serious threat to the Gulf of Mexico's fragile ecosystem. The oil emanating from the seafloor contains about 40 percent methane, compared with about 5 percent found in typical oil deposits, said John Kessler, a Texas A&M University oceanographer who is studying the impact of methane from the spill. That means huge quantities of methane have entered the Gulf, scientists say, potentially suffocating marine life and creating "dead zones" where oxygen is so depleted that nothing lives. "This is the most vigorous methane eruption in modern human history," Kessler said. ...


In other words this is the most massive fart ever!

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Thu, Jun 17, 2010
from Los Angeles Times:
Death by fire in the gulf
...When the weather is calm and the sea is placid, ships trailing fireproof booms corral the black oil, the coated seaweed and whatever may be caught in it, and torch it into hundred-foot flames, sending plumes of smoke skyward in ebony mushrooms. This patch of unmarked ocean gets designated over the radio as "the burn box." Wildlife researchers operating here, in the regions closest to the spill, are witnesses to a disquieting choice: Protecting shorebirds, delicate marshes and prime tourist beaches along the coast by stopping the oil before it moves ashore has meant the largely unseen sacrifice of some wildlife out at sea, poisoned with chemical dispersants and sometimes boiled by the burning of spilled oil on the water's surface. "It reflects the conventional wisdom of oil spills: If they just keep the oil out at sea, the harm will be minimal. And I disagree with that completely," said Blair Witherington, a research scientist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission who has been part of the sea turtle rescue mission. ...


But the fires are so dramatic and pretty!

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Wed, Jun 16, 2010
from CanWest News Service:
Arctic bird poop loaded with environmental poisons, biologists say
High Arctic seabirds carry a "cocktail" of contaminants, confirms new research, which analyzed the excrement of Arctic terns and eiders nesting on a small island north of Resolute Bay. The seabirds' cocktail is not a particularly healthy mix for the birds or the land they nest on, a team of biologists from the Canadian Wildlife Service and Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., determined. That's because, in addition to pesticides, the seabirds are loaded with heavy metals such as cadmium and lead, which they pick up from the foods they eat. ...


The sky (crap) is falling!

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Wed, Jun 16, 2010
from Christian Science Monitor:
Oil spill could be Gulf's biggest ever, new flow estimate suggests
BP's Deepwater Horizon blowout is spewing between 35,000 and 60,000 barrels a day, with up to 18,000 barrels currently being captured, according to a fresh estimate released this afternoon by the National Incident Command's flow-rate technical group. The new number is a revision -- and a significant increase -- of the estimate released last week, which pegged the flow rate at 20,000 to 40,000 barrels (840,000 to 1.68 million gallons) a day...By these new figures, the Deepwater Horizon blowout might have pumped as much as 2.7 million barrels into the Gulf. ...


There's probably some algorithm for taking these under-estimates and turning them into truth.

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Sun, Jun 13, 2010
from Scientific American:
The Full Price of Oil
While it is the worst oil spill in U.S. history--it's just a piece of the devastation around the globe. Nigeria, for example, experiences more than 300 such oil spills every year. At least 450 million gallons of oil have fouled the Nigerian Delta over the last 50 years. There are other similar recent disasters from Australia to Venezuela. The environmental impact is only one cost of our oil addiction. Like all addictions, the greatest toll is on human health . Whether that be the 11 workers killed in the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion, the more than 70 cleaners sickened by the aftermath, or the thousands of Nigerians killed directly or indirectly by our unquenchable thirst for petroleum. And don't forget coal and natural gas. They also pollute, sicken and kill. Cleaning up our energy habits is indeed the moral equivalent of war. ...


C'mon, if it didn't happen in the US, with CNN and FOX coverage, it's just imaginary.

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Thu, Jun 10, 2010
from BBC:
Oil extraction increasingly risky
Future oil extraction could create new environmental, social and technological challenges, says the UK's former chief scientist. Sir David King said that, as global oil demand started to outstrip supply, oil companies would be forced to drill in unconventional places.... The scientist has called on governments to "de-fossilise" their economies and accelerate the development of alternative energy sources, such as biofuels, to reduce the world's dependence on oil. He added that global oil resorces might in fact be drying up faster that many - including governments - have been led to believe.... "As early as 2015, oil production capacity is going to begin to be challenged in terms of meeting rising demand, particularly from continuing growth of the economies of China and India," Sir David commented at the press conference.... He concluded that, together with an effect on climate change, these two "highly pressing" reasons should be enough to persuade world leaders to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, something that will become "a very significant issue as we move into the next decade". ...


Bravo, Sir David. Could you, perchance, depict the depth of human misery those "significant issues" will produce?

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Tue, Jun 8, 2010
from BBC:
Banned GM maize sown in Germany
A genetically modified (GM) variety of maize banned in the EU has been sown accidentally across Germany. The NK603 variety has been planted in seven states. The seed supplier, US firm Pioneer Hi-Bred, called the level of contamination "minute". It is not clear how the mistake occurred, but it could cost farmers millions of euros, as crops will now have to be destroyed.... "In the past when they found trace amounts we removed the seed from the market. In this case they told us after it had been planted." Stefanie Becker, spokeswoman for Lower Saxony's Environment Ministry, said that "fields will have to be ploughed up before the maize blooms - it is still possible to halt the uncontrolled spread [of the GM variety]". ...


We're just trying to enhance genetic diversity.

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Mon, Jun 7, 2010
from AP, first person interviews:
'Nothing can survive this.' Oil in Plaquemines Parish
Sargassian Grasses covered in thick, gluey oil: nursery for the small baby fish, now a tarry mass. ...


Why do they give these hippie enviro-crazies any air time?

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Sun, Jun 6, 2010
from BBC:
BP cap captures '10,000 barrels' a day in US Gulf
A containment cap on a ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico is now funnelling off 10,000 barrels of oil a day, BP's chief executive Tony Hayward says. The amount has risen since Saturday, and implies more than half the estimated 12,000 to 19,000 barrels leaking each day is now being captured. The spill has been described as the biggest environmental disaster in US history. Mr Hayward told the BBC that BP would restore the Gulf to its original state. ...


Clearly, BP has secret time machine technology.

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Sat, Jun 5, 2010
from NOLA.com:
Formaldehyde causes cancer, EPA declares
The EPA has concluded that formaldehyde is carcinogenic when inhaled by humans, a finding that could lead to stringent new regulations of the widely used chemical. Used in the production of countless consumer products, formaldehyde attained a degree of national infamy after Hurricane Katrina when some of those living in the 120,000 trailers provided by FEMA as temporary housing for storm victims reported respiratory and other health problems after prolonged exposure to the chemical, which is contained in wood products in the trailers.... "There is sufficient evidence of a causal relationship between formaldehyde exposure and cancers of the upper respiratory tracts, with the strongest evidence for nasopharyngeal and sino-nasal cancers," the 1,043-page draft assessment concludes. "There is also sufficient evidence of a causal association between formaldehyde exposure and lymphohematopoietic cancers, with the strongest evidence of Hodgkin lymphoma and leukemia, particularly myleloid leukemia." ...


That's probably why zombies are so pissed.

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Fri, Jun 4, 2010
from Associated Press:
McDonald's pulls cadmium-tainted 'Shrek' glasses
Cadmium has been discovered in the painted design on "Shrek"-themed drinking glasses being sold nationwide at McDonald's, forcing the burger giant to recall 12 million of the cheap U.S.-made collectibles while dramatically expanding contamination concerns about the toxic metal beyond imported children's jewelry. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which announced the voluntary recall early Friday, warned consumers to immediately stop using the glasses; McDonald's said it would post instructions on its website next week regarding refunds.... The CPSC noted in its recall notice that "long-term exposure to cadmium can cause adverse health effects." Cadmium is a known carcinogen that research shows also can cause bone softening and severe kidney problems. ...


Gee, I hope my Iron Man 2 endocrine-disrupting deodorant is safe.

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Fri, Jun 4, 2010
from Greenwire:
Federal Funding Cuts Leave Oceanographers, Spill Responders in Dark
...For more than a decade, scientists have called for federal funding of a network of radar, buoys and other sensors that would provide the equivalent of a weather forecast system for the Gulf of Mexico. Yet despite what seemed like promising support in Washington, funding for these programs has dropped by half or more in recent years, leaving oceanographers to use satellite snapshots and imperfect models to guess where the oil will travel, dragged by unwatched currents. ...


But think of the money we temporarily saved!

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Fri, Jun 4, 2010
from Boulder Daily Camera:
Oil from Gulf spill likely to reach Atlantic, travel up coast
The oil that has been gushing out of a broken well in the Gulf of Mexico for more than a month will likely reach the Atlantic Ocean and then travel up the coast to North Carolina with the Gulf Stream, according to a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder....The model focused on the Loop Current, which connects the Gulf to the Atlantic. ...


It's only right everyone's in the Loop.

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Thu, Jun 3, 2010
from CNN:
Toxic chemicals finding their way into the womb
A growing number of studies are finding hundreds of toxic chemicals in mothers' and, subsequently, their babies' bodies when they are born. While there is no science yet that demonstrates conclusive cause and effect between this mix of toxic chemicals children are born with and particular health problems, a range of studies are finding associations between elevated levels of chemicals in a baby's body and their development. ...


That's why I call my youngest Li'l Guinea Pig.

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Thu, Jun 3, 2010
from USA Today:
There's no place like home for babies to pick up toxins
...Infants may take in two to five times as much household dust as adults, even though they weigh only one-eighth as much, says Alan Greene, a pediatrician at Stanford University's Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. Because of that dust, babies are more likely to be exposed to pesticides and other potentially harmful chemicals inside the home than outside, he says. Children younger than 2 are also more vulnerable to toxins than adults because they're still developing, Greene says. On average, children that age who are exposed to a carcinogen are 10 times more likely than an adult to develop cancer, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. ...


That's why I call my youngest Li'l Dust Bunny.

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Wed, Jun 2, 2010
from Bloomberg News:
BP Oil Leak May Last Until Christmas in Worst Case Scenario
..."The worst-case scenario is Christmas time," Dan Pickering, the head of research at energy investor Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. in Houston, said... Ending the year with a still-gushing well would mean about 4 million barrels of oil spilled into the Gulf, based on the government's current estimate of 12,000 to 19,000 barrels leaking a day. That would wipe out marine life deep at sea near the leak and elsewhere in the Gulf, and along hundreds of miles of coastline, said Harry Roberts, a professor of Coastal Studies at Louisiana State University. So much crude pouring into the ocean may alter the chemistry of the sea, with unforeseeable results, said Mak Saito, an Associate Scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. ...


Instead of coal, Santa will be pouring oil into our Christmas stockings.

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Tue, Jun 1, 2010
from CNN:
'Dirty dozen' produce carries more pesticide residue, group says
If you're eating non-organic celery today, you may be ingesting 67 pesticides with it, according to a new report from the Environmental Working Group. The group, a nonprofit focused on public health, scoured nearly 100,000 produce pesticide reports from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to determine what fruits and vegetables we eat have the highest, and lowest, amounts of chemical residue. Most alarming are the fruits and vegetables dubbed the "Dirty Dozen," which contain 47 to 67 pesticides per serving. These foods are believed to be most susceptible because they have soft skin that tends to absorb more pesticides. ...


Ya gotta wonder if we're better off eating the pests.

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Tue, Jun 1, 2010
from Scientific American:
Green Chemistry: Scientists Devise New "Benign by Design" Drugs, Paints, Pesticides and More
...The harmful side effects of industrialization--smoggy air, Superfund sites, mercury-tainted fish, and on and on--have often seemed a necessary trade-off. But in the early 1990s a small group of scientists began to think differently. Why, they asked, do we rely on hazardous substances for so many manufacturing processes? After all, chemical reactions happen continuously in nature, thousands of them within our own bodies, without any nasty by-products. Maybe, these scientists concluded, the problem was that chemists are not trained to think about the impacts of their inventions. Perhaps chemistry was toxic simply because no one had tried to make it otherwise. They called this new philosophy "green chemistry." ...


Dude, I've been dabbling in green chemistry for quite some time.

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Mon, May 31, 2010
from Canadian Press, via CBC:
Sewage, jet fuel spilled in Arctic
Millions of litres of harmful contaminants -- including sewage and jet fuel -- have been spilled across great swaths of Canada's pristine Arctic in recent years, an analysis by The Canadian Press has found. A classified government database reveals the alarming extent to which Canada's North has been an accidental dumping ground for dangerous liquids. This never-before released information comes to light as the Harper government reviews its Arctic environmental-protection rules in the wake of a catastrophic oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.... The analysis found 260 spills in the North over five years. There were 137 spills in the Northwest Territories, 82 in Nunavut and 41 in the Yukon. Some spills took weeks or even months to clean up, while others were dealt with in a day or less. In one case, an unspecified amount of diesel seeped from a container in the Yukon for 2,013 days -- more than five years -- before someone finally plugged the leak. "It begs the question of whether we've got a chronic problem of oversight related to toxic spills in the North," said Craig Stewart, director of the World Wildlife Fund's Arctic program. "If there are so many repeat occurrences, what are the cumulative effects of these spills and why haven't we heard more about them up until now?" ...


Is that all? Good thing nothing lives up there!

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Sun, May 30, 2010
from Palm Beach Post:
Scientists: Subsurface oil from Gulf gusher may be heading toward Florida coast
University of South Florida researchers have discovered a huge plume of subsurface oil they say is heading from the Deepwater Horizon spill toward an underwater canyon whose currents would ferry it straight to Florida's West Coast. The plume - 22 miles long and more than 6 miles wide - is invisible, and can only be detected with special equipment and chemical tests. But if it enters the DeSoto Canyon, it might spread droplets of oil throughout the ecosystem of West Florida's waters, potentially washing the tiny plants and animals that feed larger organisms in a stew of toxic chemicals. The plume, discovered by researchers on the University of South Florida College of Marine Science's Weatherbird II vessel, may be a result of BP's unprecedented - and controversial - use of chemical dispersants to break up oil directly at the site of the leak. It is the second such plume found so far, though the other was headed out to sea. ...


If I can't see it, how can it be toxic?

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Sat, May 29, 2010
from CBC News:
Disposable diapers: Are they dangerous?
...diaper manufacturers are not obligated by law to disclose the component parts of their diapers -- via documents such as material safety data sheets -- even though in many cases they share the same ingredients as cosmetics and personal-care products, which do list their ingredients... In the study conducted on mice, scientists found that "diaper emissions were found to include several chemicals with documented respiratory toxicity," according to lead author Rosalind Anderson, a physiologist. She found that the mice suffered asthma-like symptoms when exposed to a variety of diaper brands. It was noted that xylene and ethyl benzene were emitted by the diapers, chemicals that are suspected endocrine, neurological and respiratory toxins; along with styrene, a chemical linked to cancer and isopropylene, a neurotoxin. Diapers contain a variety of plastics, adhesives, glues, elastics and lubricants, some of which can cause irritation. ...


Whatcha gonna do? Let 'em poop and pee on the floor?!?

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Sat, May 29, 2010
from McClatchy, via Miami Herald:
As oil spill damages Gulf, will U.S. change energy use?
Are the worst spill in U.S. history and images of dead birds and toxic syrup lapping at Gulf shores shocking enough to be a tipping point for energy policy and consumer behavior, however? Will Americans rush to smaller cars or spend more to buy hybrids? Will politicians embrace gas taxes and charges on large carbon polluters or adopt other measures to punish fossil fuel-burning and encourage alternative energy use? ... For now, many experts say Americans aren't ready to change. "I don't think it's a game-changer," said Antoine Halff, the head of commodities research at Newedge, a New York-based brokerage firm. "It drives home the risky nature of meeting the demand for oil," but he predicted that perspective largely would be offset by a more powerful reflex: "People like to have their cake and eat it too."... The searing images of the spill already are having some impact. In a USA Today/Gallup poll released this week, 55 percent of those polled said environmental protection should be prioritized, even if it meant limiting U.S. energy production. In the same poll, however, 50 percent said they still supported increased offshore drilling.... ...


Maybe "having your cheap and hating it too."

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Fri, May 28, 2010
from Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
Texas agency gave inaccurate air pollution test results to Fort Worth
The state agency in charge of testing for air pollution gave inaccurate test results to the city of Fort Worth about toxic emissions from gas wells in January, and when it realized what it had done, it failed to notify the city or the public for weeks, according to an audit made public this week....At issue is a series of tests that the agency conducted in December in Fort Worth after activists raised questions about the amounts of benzene and other toxic compounds released from natural gas wells. Sadlier presented the results to the Fort Worth City Council on Jan. 12, saying, "Based on this study, the air is safe." Sadlier said the samples showed that none of the sites exceeded either the long-term or short-term screening levels for 22 airborne toxic compounds. However, state officials later discovered that the tests had been done with equipment that wasn't sensitive enough to measure some of the compounds at the long-term levels. ...


We are s'oh! sorry we bullshitted you!

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Thu, May 27, 2010
from Associated Press:
Gulf spill surpasses Valdez; plug try going well
An untested procedure to plug the blown-out oil well in the Gulf of Mexico seemed to be working, officials said Thursday, but new estimates showed the spill has already surpassed the Exxon Valdez as the worst in U.S. history. A team of scientists trying to determine how much oil has been flowing since the offshore rig Deepwater Horizon exploded April 20 and sank two days later found the rate was more than twice and possibly up to five times as high as previously thought. The fallout from the spill has stretched all the way to Washington, where the head of the federal agency that oversees offshore drilling resigned Thursday and President Barack Obama insisted his administration, not BP, was calling the shots. ...


Clean out of ideas, BP tries out the butt plug approach.

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Wed, May 26, 2010
from PBS:
PBS's Oil-Volume-O-Matic.
...


I can't help but slide it up to the "experts' worst case."

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Tue, May 25, 2010
from Kansas City Star:
Cancer panel warning: Babies born pre-polluted
Toxic chemicals - some known to cause cancer - are in our bodies and in our newborns as well. Researchers have found some 300 contaminants - industrial chemicals, consumer product ingredients, pesticides and pollutants from burning fossil fuels - in umbilical cord blood of newborn babies, rendering our babies 'pre-polluted' according to the esteemed scientists and medical experts of the President's Cancer Panel... Some 80,000 chemicals are produced and used in the U.S. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been able to require testing on just 200 and only five have been regulated under the Toxics Substances Control Act. Even asbestos, known to cause lung cancer, has not been entirely banned from use in commercial products because of flaws in the law. ...


They need my new product: Foetal respirators!

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Mon, May 24, 2010
from Philadelphia Inquirer:
Trade center crews now suffering loss of smell
At first, Mike Greene thought it might just be a bad allergy. But when his sense of smell didn't come back for months, the paramedic suspected it was caused by polluted air he'd breathed at the most harrowing job site of his career: the wreckage of the World Trade Center. Turns out he is not alone. A significant portion of those on duty at the twin towers suffered long-term damage to their sense of smell and their ability to detect harmful irritants through the nose, Philadelphia researchers reported in a new study last week. Far from being just an inconvenience, this chronic condition represents a breakdown in the body's defense against toxic substances, said lead author Pamela Dalton, an experimental psychologist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center. In a sample of 102 workers in construction, emergency services, and other fields, 22 percent had an impaired sense of smell more than two years after exposure at the twin towers site, and 74 percent had a reduced ability to detect irritants. ...


Sometimes the nose just doesn't want to know.

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Sat, May 22, 2010
from New York Times:
Expert Head-Scratching on the Plumes
The discovery that the oil from the Deepwater Horizon blowout may be spreading beneath the sea in plumes of fine droplets came as dismal news early this week. If that observation holds up to further scientific scrutiny, it would mean that the true dimensions of the problem are still invisible, and sea life is being exposed to a heavy load of toxins. But the discovery, bad as it could prove to be for the ocean, has also created a fascinating problem for big brains of a certain kind. People who spend their time thinking about subjects like fluid dynamics, and turbulent plumes, and supercritical fluids, have gone into overdrive trying to figure out what might be going on a mile beneath the surface of the ocean. The usual expectation is that oil of any kind floats on water. But anybody who has ever shaken a vinegar-and-oil salad dressing knows it is not quite so simple. In the right conditions, oil droplets can get suspended in water. What's happening in the Gulf of Mexico right now might turn out to be the mother of all salad dressings. ...


"BP Salad Dressing" may have some brand issues.

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Fri, May 21, 2010
from Rep. Ed Markey, bless him.:
Live Video Feed of Gulf Gusher
Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), Chair of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, has been a vocal advocate of transparency, and vocal critic of the BP and governmental response to the Gulf Gusher. May 19 he insisted on video; on May 20 it was purportedly available, and by May 21 was handling the staggering Web traffic to the house.gov "spillcam" (note: use MS Internet Explorer). Thank goodness we have politicians who use their positions for the public good, rather than to attain and retain power. Now, we can watch the source of multi-level biosphere death gushing from a mile beneath sea level. Now there can be at least a few better independent estimates (though high-res video is required for accurate assessment) of the outflow (kinda handy when you're doing, y'know, engineering and problem-solving). And because of this, BP had no choice but to admit that the always-know-to-be-bogus 5,000 barrel-a-day number was a dramatic underestimate. What you see gushing *already* has 5,000 barrels a day being extracted up to the surface, from BP's one small pipe, inserted a few days ago. Marvelous video of Markey and Waxman also worth watching. ...


That spillcam video looks 'Doctored to me!

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Mon, May 17, 2010
from HuffingtonPost:
Deep sea oil plumes, dispersants endanger reefs
The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has already spewed plumes over ecologically sensitive reefs, part of a stalled marine sanctuary proposal that would have restrict drilling in a large swath of the northern part of the vital waterway. Marine scientists fear that two powerful Gulf currents will carry the oil to other reefs. The eastward flowing loop current could spread it about 450 miles to the Florida Keys, while the Louisiana coastal current could move the oil as far west as central Texas. The depth of the gushing leaks and the use of more than 560,000 gallons of chemicals to disperse the oil, including unprecedented injections deep in the sea, have helped keep the crude beneath the sea surface. Marine scientists say diffusing and sinking the oil helps protect the surface species and the Gulf Coast shoreline but increases the chance of harming deep-sea reefs, which are seen as bellwethers for sea health.... These plumes are being eaten by microbes thousands of feet deep, which removes oxygen from the water.... Studies published in a 2005 National Academy of Sciences report show that oil mixed with dispersants damaged certain corals' reproduction and deformed their larvae. The study concluded the federal government needed to study more before using massive amounts of dispersants. ...


Guess we'll get to "study" it in the field.

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Sun, May 16, 2010
from Associated Press:
Huge oil plumes found under Gulf as BP struggles
Oil from a blown-out well is forming huge underwater plumes as much as 10 miles long below the visible slick in the Gulf of Mexico, scientists said as BP wrestled for a third day Sunday with its latest contraption for slowing the nearly month-old gusher. BP, the largest oil and gas producer in the U.S., has been unable to thread a tube into the leak to siphon the crude to a tanker, its third approach to stopping or reducing the spill on the ocean floor. Engineers remotely steering robot submersibles were trying again Sunday to fit the tube into a breach nearly a mile below the surface, BP said. ...


I no like it when stuff is going on beneath the surface.

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Sat, May 15, 2010
from PhysOrg.com:
Rivers closest to Toronto have highest concentrations of PCBs, other chemicals: study
A University of Toronto study of the concentrations of PCBs and other chemicals in the rivers running into Lake Ontario reveals significantly higher concentrations in areas closest to the centre of Toronto, an indication of the profound effects the city has on water quality.... The team looked specifically at concentrations of chemicals that have been strongly associated with human health problems: polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), a banned industrial chemical from the 1970s; polycyclic musks, a common fragrance compound used in a range of personal care products; polybrominated diphenyl ethers, a recently banned flame retardant; and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, a toxic byproduct of fossil fuel combustion in the rivers. They also measured the concentration of these chemicals in air, soil and rain. "In the Humber River watershed we saw an almost 100-fold increase in concentrations of polycyclic musks in the river water in the downtown area around Old Mill compared with parts of the river north of the city," said Matthew Robson, a research fellow in the Department of Geography and Program in Planning. "We saw similar increases in concentrations for all of the other chemicals in air, rain and soil...." ...


I'm sure Milwaukee is different. And Des Moines. Or LA. Or Houston. Or Nairobi! Those silly Canadians.

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Thu, May 13, 2010
from Reuters:
China scientists find use for cigarette butts
Chemical extracts from cigarette butts -- so toxic they kill fish -- can be used to protect steel pipes from rusting, a study in China has found. In a paper published in the American Chemical Society's bi-weekly journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, the scientists in China said they identified nine chemicals after immersing cigarette butts in water. They applied the extracts to N80, a type of steel used in oil pipes, and found that they protected the steel from rusting. ...


I'll smoke to that!

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Thu, May 13, 2010
from Post-Tribune:
Feds: State pollution regulations too soft
MERRILLVILLE -- The state of Indiana is too lax in its proposed rules for when polluters can discharge more pollution into Lake Michigan and other lakes and rivers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says. In some circumstances, revamped state rules would allow up to 2.5 times more pollution than federal law allows, the EPA says. By request from environmentalists, the agency has intervened to require the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to change the rules to make them acceptable. ...


Hoosiers tend to be 2.5 times more resilient than average Americans.

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Thu, May 13, 2010
from Financial Times:
BP's Hayward in 'battle' for hearts and minds
One man sits in a room surrounded by eight empty bottles of water as if he has not moved in hours. On a table in another room, name cards from Halliburton, Oceaneering and others who have offered assistance are scattered across a table spread with papers.... Yet, Tony Hayward, BP's chief executive, appears to be taking it all in his stride. He began at 6am on Wednesday in discussions with the US secretaries of energy and the interior, Steven Chu and Ken Salazar, as well as top scientists and engineers on BP's efforts to cap and contain the leak. That ended close to noon, when he had a conference call with BP's board - something he has been doing every week to 10 days to update them on progress.... "We will only win this if we can win the hearts and minds of the local community," he said. "It's a big challenge."... "Apollo 13 did not stop the space programme. The Air France airplane that fell out of the sky off of Brazil did not stop the aviation industry,'' he said.... "I've actually got some good friends through this," he said, noting he had been dealing with people he would not ordinarily. "We are fighting a battle." ...


My heart is black with toxic oil. My mind reels. This is not a war.

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Thu, May 13, 2010
from New Scientist:
Baby vaccine contaminated with pig virus
Swine viruses are back - but this time they don't seem to be making anyone sick. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has reported that stocks of Merck's Rotateq vaccine against rotavirus are contaminated with the pig viruses PCV1 and PCV2. But the agency has not advised doctors to stop using it as the pig viruses aren't known to cause disease in humans, and rotavirus kills roughly half a million infants worldwide each year. An FDA advisory panel said the vaccine's benefits still outweigh its risks. The FDA plans to monitor recipients for pig virus-related illness. "There will be quite careful monitoring of the people that have received the vaccine and I think that's entirely appropriate," says virologist Stephen Hughes, who advised the FDA on the issue. Rotavirus vaccines are mainly given to infants in the developing world, where the virus is most likely to kill. ...


That way, when the pig virus mutates, these infants will be pre-vaccinated!

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Mon, May 10, 2010
from London Times:
BP to try golf long shot to stop Gulf of Mexico oil leak
BP was last night considering a new plan of attack in its attempts to stop a massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico - blocking the ruptured well with golf balls and rubber tyres. Forced back to the drawing board following the failure of a salvage effort on Saturday - when a 120-tonne steel box was lowered to the seabed to cover the leak, only to become blocked by icy sludge - it was looking into changing tack with an operation that its chief executive, Doug Suttles, likened to "stopping up a toilet." Thad Allen, commandant of the US Coast Guard, explained: "The next tactic is going to be something they call a 'junk shot'. They're actually going to take a bunch of debris - shredded up tyres, golf balls and things like that - and under very high pressure shoot it in...and see if they can clog it up and stop the leak." ...


Gosh, if that doesn't work, how about a giant piece of bubblegum?

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Sat, May 8, 2010
from New York Times:
EPA Backed Off 'Hazardous' Label for Coal Ash After White House Review
U.S. EPA's proposed regulation of coal ash as a hazardous waste was changed at the White House to give equal standing to an alternative favored by the coal industry and coal-burning electric utilities. The Obama administration is now considering two competing rules for regulating the ash that contains toxins that include arsenic, lead and mercury. The first would set binding federal disposal requirements for the ash, and the second would label the ash nonhazardous and leave enforcement to the states (E&ENews PM, May 4). EPA released the two-headed proposal Tuesday for public comments.... What changed in the six months that the proposal was in OMB's hands? Says EPA: Its administrator, Lisa Jackson, changed her mind about the hazardous-waste designation. "After extensive discussions, the Administrator decided that both the [hazardous and nonhazardous] options merited consideration for addressing the formidable challenge of safely managing coal ash disposal," EPA said in a statement. ...


I had no idea Obama's middle initial was "W."

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Thu, May 6, 2010
from Environmental Health News:
President's Cancer Panel: Environmentally caused cancers are 'grossly underestimated' and 'needlessly devastate American lives.'
The President's Cancer Panel on Thursday reported that "the true burden of environmentally induced cancers has been grossly underestimated" and strongly urged action to reduce people's widespread exposure to carcinogens. The panel advised President Obama "to use the power of your office to remove the carcinogens and other toxins from our food, water, and air that needlessly increase health care costs, cripple our nation's productivity, and devastate American lives." The 240-page report by the President's Cancer Panel is the first to focus on environmental causes of cancer. The panel, created by an act of Congress in 1971, is charged with monitoring the multi-billion-dollar National Cancer Program and reports directly to the President every year. ...


Another report from the Department of Duh.

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Tue, May 4, 2010
from NOAA, via DesdemonaDespair:
Graph of the Day: Projected Gulf Loop Current, Today + 144 Hours
This is a map of the magnitude of the horizontal velocity of the seawater at the indicated depth. Units are meters per second. RTOFS (Atlantic) is a basin-scale ocean forecast system based on the HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM). RTOFS (Atlantic) is described in the following paper (PDF): "A Real Time Ocean Forecast System for the North Atlantic Ocean" by Mehra and Riven, Terr. Atmos. Ocean. Sci., Vol. 21, No. 1, 211-228, February 2010 The model is run once a day, completing at about 1400Z. Each run starts with a 24 hour assimiliation hindcast and produces ocean surface forecasts every hour and full volume forecasts every 24 hours from the 0000Z nowcast out to 120 hours. ...


Is there any way to "hindcast" the Gulf oil back into its bottle?

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Sun, May 2, 2010
from Hindustan Times:
India's wastelands endanger 5m poor
At sunset, the sky above Ram Ganga river in Moradabad, 200 km from Delhi, turns black with smog. Tiny chimneys belch smoke, the result of hundreds of small waste processing plants that residents have opened in their homes. A huge waste processing accident in Delhi, where one person died and seven were taken ill after radiation exposure, has caught the media's attention. But far from the media glare, five million of the country's poorest are exposed to hazardous waste -- including radioactive -- every day as India turns into the wasteland of the world. In the last three years, India's hazardous waste import spiked 48 per cent. Last year, the developed world dumped 64 lakh tonnes of waste in India, adding to the 59 lakh tonnes produced domestically. ...


Maybe they can take on all this leaking oil from the Gulf!

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Sun, May 2, 2010
from Mobile Press-Register:
Gulf of Mexico oil spill 2010: The worst-case scenario
The worst-case scenario for the broken and leaking well gushing oil into the Gulf of Mexico would be the loss of the wellhead currently restricting the flow to 5,000 barrels -- or 210,000 gallons per day. If the wellhead is lost, oil could leave the well at a much greater rate, perhaps up to 150,000 barrels -- or more than 6 million gallons per day -- based on government data showing daily production at another deepwater Gulf well. By comparison, the Exxon Valdez spill was 11 million gallons total. The Gulf spill could end up dumping the equivalent of 4 Exxon Valdez spills per week. ...


If you like shrimp, eat your last today.

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Fri, Apr 30, 2010
from CBC:
Massive oil spill reaches Louisiana shore
A massive and growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has reached the coast of Louisiana, which is in a state of emergency to help prevent catastrophic environmental damage. Faint fingers of oil sheen began lapping at the state's shoreline on Thursday night while thicker oil hovered about eight kilometres offshore. Oil is expected to wash ashore in Mississippi on Saturday before reaching Alabama on Sunday and Florida on Monday.... "I am frightened," said David Kennedy, the acting assistant administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Ocean Service. "This is a very, very big thing," Kennedy said. "And the efforts that are going to be required to do anything about it, especially if it continues on, are just mind-boggling."... About 34,000 birds have been counted in the national refuges most at risk, McKenzie said. Gulls, pelicans, roseate spoonbills, egrets, shore birds, terns and blue herons are in the path of the spill. ...


We can't even learn Blue-heronese fast enough, much less Spoonbillese, to tell them to RUN!!!

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Thu, Apr 29, 2010
from BBC:
Gulf of Mexico oil slick said to be five times bigger
The US Coast Guard says five times as much oil as previously thought could be leaking from a well beneath where a rig sank in the Gulf of Mexico last week. Rear Admiral Mary Landry said 5,000 barrels (210,000 gallons) a day were now thought to be gushing into the sea 50 miles (80km) off Louisiana's coast. A third leak had also been discovered at the site, Adm Landry said. One fire-fighting expert told the BBC the disaster might become the "biggest oil spill in the world". "The Exxon Valdez [tanker disaster off Alaska in 1989] is going to pale [into insignificance] in comparison to this as it goes on." If US Coast Guard estimates are correct, the slick could match the 11m gallons spilt from the Exxon Valdez within less than two months.... With the spill moving towards Louisiana's coast, which contains some 40 percent of the nation's wetlands and spawning grounds for countless fish and birds, she said a "controlled burn" of oil contained by special booms could limit the impact. Environmental experts say animals nearby might be affected by toxic fumes, but perhaps not as much as if they were coated in oil. ...


This British Petroleum-based catastrophe is Becoming a Possible Bottomless Pit of Bad Planning.

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Sun, Apr 25, 2010
from Minnesota Public Radio:
Study finds levels of pharmaceuticals in wastewater widespread
In the most comprehensive study of a variety of chemical compounds coming from municipal sewage plants, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency confirmed widespread, but low concentrations of water contamination from human medications and antibiotics... The study reinforced what earlier researchers learned, that pharmaceutical compounds used by people are very common in rivers and lakes across the state. Researchers also found another class of chemical compounds in their water samples -- endocrine disruptors proven to alter fish reproduction. The compounds researchers found most often include carbamazapine, a drug used to treat attention deficit disorder. They also found various antibiotics and diphenhydramine, a common antihistamine. ...


Dude. We are all so on drugs.

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Sun, Apr 25, 2010
from Sacramento Bee:
Bee exclusive: Livestock waste found to foul Sierra waters
...parts of the high Sierra are not nearly as pristine as they look. Nowhere is the water dirtier, [Robert Derlet] discovered, than on U.S. Forest Service land, including wilderness areas, where beef cattle and commercial pack stock - horses and mules - graze during the summer months. There, bacterial contamination was easily high enough to sicken hikers with Giardia, E. coli and other diseases. In places, slimy, pea-green algae also blossomed in the bacteria-laden water. That contrast has prompted Derlet and Charles Goldman, director of the UC Davis Tahoe Research Center, to mount a publicity campaign calling for dramatic management change in the Sierra. Cattle, they say, should be moved to lower elevations. And Forest Service areas where they now graze should be turned into national parks. "At one time, cattle were important for developing civilization here," said Derlet. "But now, with 40 million people in California, the Sierra is not for cattle. It's for water. We need water more than Big Macs." ...


I call that... McWisdom.

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Fri, Apr 23, 2010
from Los Angeles Times:
Flaming oil rig sinks in Gulf of Mexico
As the odds of survival for 11 missing workers diminished Thursday, officials warned that the dramatic explosion and fire that sank an oil rig off the Louisiana coast may pose a serious environmental threat if oil is leaking thousands of feet below the surface. "It certainly has the potential to be a major spill," said Dave Rainey, vice president of Gulf of Mexico exploration for the oil company BP, which leased the Deepwater Horizon, the $600-million mobile offshore rig that vanished underwater Thursday morning. ...


Spill, baby, spill!

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Thu, Apr 22, 2010
from London Guardian:
'Toxic stew' of chemicals causing male fish to carry eggs in testes
More than 80 percent of the male bass fish in Washington's major river are now exhibiting female traits such as egg production because of a "toxic stew" of pollutants, scientists and campaigners reported yesterday. Intersex fish probably result from drugs, such as the contraceptive pill, and other chemicals being flushed into the water and have been found right across the US. The Potomac Conservancy, which focuses on Washington DC's river, called for new research to determine what was causing male smallmouth bass to carry immature eggs in their testes. "We have not been able to identify one particular chemical or one particular source," said Vicki Blazer, a fish biologist with the US geological survey. "We are still trying to get a handle on what chemicals are important." But she said early evidence pointed to a mix of chemicals -- commonly used at home as well as those used in large-scale farming operations -- causing the deformities. The suspect chemicals mimic natural hormones and disrupt the endocrine system, with young fish being particularly susceptible. ...


These days it seems men have to do everything!

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Thu, Apr 22, 2010
from The Charleston Gazette:
Study links stream pollution to higher cancer rates
West Virginians who live near streams polluted by coal mining are more likely to die of cancer, according to a first-of-its kind study published by researchers at West Virginia University and Virginia Tech. The study provides the first peer-reviewed look at the relationship between the biological health of Appalachian streams and public health of coalfield residents. Published in the scientific journal EcoHealth, the paper compares cancer death rates to population figures, coal production figures and a new index of how far people live to various types of coal-mining operations. "We've known for years that stream organisms can be sentinels of environmental quality," said study co-author Nathaniel Hitt, a Virginia Tech stream ecologist who now works for the U.S. Geological Survey. "What we have now shown is that these organisms are also indicators of public health." ...


Aren't our lives secondary to our livelihoods?

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Wed, Apr 21, 2010
from Associated Press:
Oil rig explodes off Louisiana coast; 11 missing
Rescuers in helicopters and boats searched the Gulf of Mexico for 11 missing workers Wednesday after a thunderous explosion rocked a huge oil drilling platform and lit up the night sky with a pillar of flame. Seventeen people were injured, four critically. The blast Tuesday night aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig 50 miles off the Louisiana coast could prove to be one of the nation's deadliest offshore drilling accidents of the past half-century...The rig was tilting as much as 10 degrees after the blast, but earlier fears that it might topple over appeared unfounded. Coast Guard environmental teams were on standby, though officials said the damage to the environment appeared minimal so far. ...


Apparently, the air itself isn't part of the environment.

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Sun, Apr 18, 2010
from Chicago Tribune:
Growing concern in the water
Despite growing health concerns about atrazine, an agricultural weedkiller sprayed on farm fields across the Midwest, most drinking water is tested for the chemical only four times a year -- so rarely that worrisome spikes of the chemical likely go undetected. High levels of the herbicide can linger in tap water during the growing season, according to more frequent tests in some agricultural communities. Spread heaviest on cornfields, atrazine is one of the most commonly detected contaminants in drinking water. Studies have found that exposure to small amounts of the chemical can turn male frogs into females and might be more harmful to humans than once thought. Manufacturers say their own research proves the chemical is safe. But alarmed by other studies, the Obama administration is conducting a broad review that could lead to tighter restrictions. It is also mulling changes in laws that require water utilities to test for atrazine just once a quarter or, in some cases, once a year. ...


Like I always say, trust the self-interested!

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Sat, Apr 17, 2010
from Science:
Mercury surprise: Rice can be risky
Ask toxicologists how best to avoid mercury poisoning and they'll almost certainly advise against eating too much of the wrong types of fish. (Never mind that there's considerable confusion about what the wrong types are.) But a new study out of China shows that for millions of people at risk of eating toxic amounts of mercury-laced food, fish isn't the problem. Rice is. And that's bad news because in their part of the world rice is the dietary staple... the researchers report that although mercury exposures for these communities varied dramatically, in every one of them -- rice accounted for 94 to 96 percent of the probable daily intake of methylmercury -- the most neurotoxic and readily absorbed form of mercury. ...


And here we thought rice was nice.

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Sat, Apr 17, 2010
from TIME:
Regulation of Toxic Chemicals Faces Tightening
But the [Toxic Substances Control Act] has remained stuck in the 1970s, an aging throwback that never gave Washington any real power to protect people from potentially toxic chemicals. It may finally be time to bring chemical regulation out of the polyester era. On April 15, New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg introduced new legislation that would overhaul the regulatory system, requiring manufacturers to prove the safety of chemicals before they could be sold. That represents a much needed change from the current system, in which the burden of proof falls on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to show that a chemical is dangerous to human health or the environment before the agency can regulate it. "America's system for regulating industrial chemicals is broken," said Lautenberg in a statement. "My Safe Chemicals Act will breathe new life into a long dead statute by empowering the EPA to get tough on toxic chemicals." ...


But ignorance of risk is much more profitable! Think of the economy!

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Thu, Apr 15, 2010
from BBC:
China ship 'seriously damaged' Great Barrier Reef
The Australian authorities have said a Chinese bulk carrier which ran aground off Queensland has caused widespread damage to the famed Great Barrier Reef. The cleanup is likely to be the biggest operation ever undertaken there...The authorities are particularly worried about toxic paint that has been scraped off the hull - because it has immediately started killing off corals in the vicinity. ...


More reef grief.

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Wed, Apr 14, 2010
from Wall Street Journal:
Bushmeat Presents Latest Food Scare
Researchers testing bushmeat smuggled into the U.S. have found strains of a virus in the same family as HIV, according to preliminary findings to be released Wednesday... In 2008, the Wildlife Conservation Society, a nonprofit which runs many of New York City's zoos, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention joined forces to test illegally imported meat entering the New York City area from West Africa for dangerous diseases such as monkey pox, the virus that causes SARS and retroviruses such as HIV... Scientists found two strains of simian foamy virus, commonly found in nonhuman primates, from three species -- two mangabeys and a chimpanzee -- in bushmeat....Bushmeat, often cured or smoked, has entered the U.S. through the mail and in shipping containers. Smugglers also resort to packing smoked monkey or cane rat in personal suitcases. ...


Simian foamy virus is gonna be the name of my new band...

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Tue, Apr 13, 2010
from USA Today:
'Growing concern' over marketing tainted beef
Beef containing harmful pesticides, veterinary antibiotics and heavy metals is being sold to the public because federal agencies have failed to set limits for the contaminants or adequately test for them, a federal audit finds. A program set up to test beef for chemical residues "is not accomplishing its mission of monitoring the food supply for ... dangerous substances, which has resulted in meat with these substances being distributed in commerce," says the audit by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Inspector General. The health effects on people who eat such meat are a "growing concern," the audit adds. ...


A "growing concern" in more ways than one!

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Mon, Apr 12, 2010
from The Times of India:
Burnt e-waste raises health alarm for locals
The plastic scrap market in Mundka which caught fire early morning on Sunday was a big dumping ground for electronic waste items. Several tonnes of hazardous e-waste -- discarded television sets, computers, photocopying machines and inverter batteries -- were burnt in the fire, posing a serious health concern for people living in the vicinity. "Toxic metals like mercury, lead and cadmium -- which are present in electronic items -- are dangerous for health. Large scale burning of these materials can cause heavy damage to the lungs. It can precipitate respiratory problems like bronchitis and asthma," said Dr Bir Singh, head of the community medicine department of AIIMS. When e-waste burns in open air, said experts, highly toxic elements are emitted and these can cause respiratory problems and skin diseases not just among the workers but also residents who live close to the scrap yard. ...


We call that a good ol' fashioned conflagration.

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Sat, Apr 10, 2010
from University of Southern California/Keck School of Medicine via ScienceDaily:
Traffic-Related Pollution Near Schools Linked to Development of Asthma in Pupils, Study Suggests
Living near major highways has been linked to childhood asthma, but a new study led by researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) suggests that traffic-related pollution near schools is also contributing to the development of asthma in kids. The researchers found that the risk of developing asthma due to exposure at school was comparable to that of children whose exposure occurred primarily at home, even though time spent at school only accounted for about one third of waking hours. Children in schools located in high-traffic environments had a 45 percent increased risk of developing asthma. The study appears in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives and is now available online. ...


This is what we call the school of hard knocks.

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Thu, Apr 8, 2010
from Bloomberg:
Kalamazoo Cleanup Delayed After Lyondell Bankruptcy
Environmentalist Jeff Spoelstra says an 80-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River that runs through toxin-laced land in southwestern Michigan was on its way to becoming safe again. The area, once home to Potawatomi Indians and Dutch celery farmers, was finally on the verge of getting cleaned up. Then, in January 2009, Lyondell Chemical Co. filed for bankruptcy protection. The Houston-based petrochemical giant argued in court that as it reorganized, it could avoid what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said were about $2.5 billion in cleanup costs for the river, which flows into Lake Michigan, and another $2.5 billion in liabilities at 10 other polluted spots across the country.... If a company has to pay the billions the U.S. seeks for cleanups, its debt investors can end up getting pennies on the dollar. If the decision goes the other way, the costs can fall on taxpayers. "It's a no-win situation," says Evan D. Flaschen, a bankruptcy lawyer at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP, who isn't involved in cases mentioned in this story. "If the debtor can walk, the toxins keep boiling, often getting worse with time. If the debtor has to pay billions for a cleanup, they might go out of business, losing thousands of jobs. Pick your poison."... Companies in bankruptcy can argue that environmental liabilities are just like other claims -- and that they can ditch them to get a fresh start.... "It's the most-maddening thing," McKinney says. "It's the community that's going to lose." ...


That smell of toxic bullshit? Lyondell says it "smells like money."

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Wed, Apr 7, 2010
from American Chemical Society, via EurekAlert:
Household detergents, shampoos may form harmful substance in waste water
Scientists are reporting evidence that certain ingredients in shampoo, detergents and other household cleaning agents may be a source of precursor materials for formation of a suspected cancer-causing contaminant in water supplies that receive water from sewage treatment plants. The study sheds new light on possible environmental sources of this poorly understood water contaminant, called NDMA, which is of ongoing concern to health officials.... Although nitrosamines are found in a wide variety of sources -- including processed meats and tobacco smoke -- scientists know little about their precursors in water. Past studies with cosmetics have found that substances called quaternary amines, which are also ingredients in household cleaning agents, may play a role in the formation of nitrosamines. Their laboratory research showed that when mixed with chloramine, some household cleaning products -- including shampoo, dishwashing detergent and laundry detergent - formed NDMA. The report notes that sewage treatment plants may remove some of quaternary amines that form NDMA. ...


I suppose you'll say that elbow grease is dangerous too.

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Wed, Apr 7, 2010
from London Guardian:
Salvage experts work to stabilise Chinese ship aground on Great Barrier Reef
Salvage workers and tugboats were today attempting to stabilise a coal-carrying ship that ran aground on Australia's Great Barrier Reef in order to prevent it breaking up and further damaging the world's largest coral structure. The Chinese-registered Shen Neng 1 was off course and travelling at full speed when it hit the Douglas Shoals - an area in which shipping is restricted - late on Saturday. Environmentalists warned that the effects could be devastating if the vessel broke up. "We would potentially be looking at an environmental disaster," Gilly Llewellyn, the director of conservation for the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Australia, told Reuters. "It would be an extremely large spill." Around two of the 950 tonnes of fuel on board the ship have leaked, creating a slick stretching for two miles (3km). ...


This stranded ship, my friends, is starting to sound more and more like a metaphor for the whole planet.

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Mon, Apr 5, 2010
from Post-Tribune:
IDEM shuts down mercury monitors
In its latest cost-cutting move, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management has shut down mercury monitors across the state, including at the Indiana Dunes. The cut would save the agency about $285,000 annually. But critics say it would impact the state's ability to assess whether regulation to reduce mercury pollution is working. The Indiana Dunes monitoring station has periodically registered one of the 10 highest mercury concentrations in the nation, said Martin Risch, a hydrologist and project chief with the U.S. Geological Survey in Indianapolis. Kim Ferraro, an attorney with the Legal Environmental Aid Foundation of Indiana, called removal of the mercury monitoring stations "devastating" to the state's ability to track mercury deposition. ...


How will I know if I can use a fish as a thermometer or not?

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Mon, Apr 5, 2010
from Environmental Health News:
Study identifies hundreds of obscure - yet persistent - chemicals.
A new study suggests that hundreds of chemicals used commercially could persist and bioaccumulate, yet next to nothing is known about their actions and levels in the environment. Predicting exposures and if and how chemicals may pose a health threat is incredibly difficult. Now, researchers propose a unique way to screen and identify chemicals that may need further evaluation and monitoring...Maybe equally important is that researchers identified 13 silicone-based compounds. Presently, there is no reliable method to detect them in environmental samples, so there is no way to know if the chemicals are contaminating soil, air, water or organisms. There are significant concerns related to how chemicals are regulated under the existing Toxic Substances Control Act (TOSCA) implemented by the U.S. EPA. Concerns over the use of proprietary chemicals in consumer products -- that is, the identity of the chemical is unknown to the public -- has prompted some advocacy groups to challenge the efficacy of the TOSCA program. In addition, many argue that TOSCA does not fully evaluate a large enough spectrum of potential health effects as part of its testing program. ...


Maybe ingesting this cocktail of chemicals will make us sooooo smart, we'll figure everything out!

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Mon, Apr 5, 2010
from Guardian:
BP fights to limit controls on shale gas drilling
BP is lobbying on Capitol Hill against a federal US environmental agency being given jurisdiction over the use of a controversial method of extracting gas from shale deposits, ahead of an important meeting this week. The London-based oil company wants decisions on drilling techniques such as hydraulic fracturing - which uses high-pressure liquids to force fissures - to be taken at state level, rather than being left to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), whose specialist committee meets on Wednesday to discuss its concerns. BP is also opposed to the public disclosure of the chemicals used in fracturing, on the basis that the information is commercially sensitive - something that will anger environmentalists, who are highly suspicious of the process. ...


This is no frackin' surprise.

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Sun, Apr 4, 2010
from Los Angeles Times:
Great Barrier Reef rammed by Chinese coal ship
Australians on Sunday scrambled to ensure that a Chinese-owned bulk coal carrier that rammed into the Great Barrier Reef would not break apart and seriously damage the planet's largest coral reef. Peter Garrett, the nation's environment protection minister, told reporters that the federal government is concerned about the impact an oil spill could have on the environmentally sensitive reef, which was selected as a World Heritage site in 1981. Environmentalists said they were "horrified" at the possible damage the mishap might cause to the ecosystem, which is 1,800 miles long and comprised of more than 3,000 individual reefs, cays and islands -- providing a habitat for countless sea species. Video taken late Sunday showed the 755-foot vessel stranded about nine miles outside the shipping lane, leaking what seemed to be a streak of oil into the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park near Great Keppel Island off the west coast of Queensland state.... The Shen Neng 1, hauling more than 65,000 tons of coal, hit the reef at full speed late Saturday in a restricted zone of the marine park. The impact ruptured the vessel's fuel tanks, prompting Australian officials to activate a national oil spill response plan. ...


Whoops! Sorry officer, I must've taken a wrong turn back there!

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Sun, Apr 4, 2010
from The Charleston Gazette:
EPA study confirms damage from strip mining
Federal government scientists say a "growing body of evidence" shows that mountaintop removal coal mining is destroying Appalachian forests and dangerously polluting vital headwater streams...While EPA scientists focused on direct damage to streams that are buried and on pollution downstream from valley fills, the 119-page report also warns that damage to ecologically important forests is greater than some routinely cited statistics suggest. Last week, EPA published the study by the agency's Office of Research and Development in conjunction with the issuance of new water quality guidance intended to reduce mining's adverse impacts on aquatic life. ...


This study, courtesy of the Duh!partment of the Obvious.

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Fri, Apr 2, 2010
from London Daily Telegraph:
Drinking a litre of cola a day could reduce male fertility
Men who drink about a litre or more of cola every day could be causing harm to their sperm, a study claims. On average, these men's sperm counts were almost 30 per cent lower than in men who didn't drink cola. While most of the sperm counts would still be considered normal by the World Health Organization, men with fewer sperm generally have a higher risk of being infertile. The link is unlikely to be due to caffeine, the researchers say, because coffee did not have the same effect, even though its caffeine content is higher. More than 2,500 young men were included in their study. Those who didn't drink cola had better sperm quality -- averaging 50 million sperm per millilitre semen -- and tended to have a healthier lifestyle. In contrast, the 93 men who drank more than one litre (about 34 ounces) a day had only 35 million sperm per millilitre. They also ate more fast foods, and less fruit and vegetables. ...


As a population-reduction advocate, I say bring on the cola AND the junkfood!

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Fri, Apr 2, 2010
from Toronto Globe and Mail:
BPA widespread in ocean water and sand
Japanese scientists testing ocean water and sea sand have found widespread contamination with high levels of bisphenol A, a chemical used to make plastic that's able to mimic the female hormone estrogen in living things. Its presence in sea water comes from the breakdown of the plastic trash being dumped into the sea and from the use of the compound in anti-rusting paints applied to the hulls of ships. BPA is man-made and does not occur naturally in the environment. The researchers took samples at more than 200 sites, mainly on the coasts around North America and Southeast Asia. They detected the chemical along the shorelines of 20 countries and in every batch of water or sand tested. ...


If this results in more babes on the beach then I'm all for it!

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Fri, Apr 2, 2010
from Reuters:
Ecologists fear for Baikal as Putin saves factory
On the shores of Lake Baikal, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is held up as a saviour and cursed as a scourge after allowing a Soviet-era paper mill to reopen beside the world's largest freshwater lake. Ecologists have branded Russia's most powerful man as the killer of Baikal, a 25-million-year-old lake believed by local tribes to be sacred, and have mustered thousands of people at protests calling for his resignation. Putin's opponents say he has misjudged the public mood and is risking Baikal to save 1,470 jobs at the Baikalsk Pulp and Paper Mill, which was mothballed in late 2008 amid a pollution row. ...


How could a lake that old be fresh?

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Thu, Apr 1, 2010
from NUVO Newsweekly:
Waste in our water: The coal ash problem
For the past thirty years Jeff Stant has gained a reputation around Indiana as a relentless and tenacious environmental defender. "I grew up in the woods in Zionville, springing animals from traps before trappers got them, I was in love with nature," he says. His current battle is to get coal ash, the by product of burning coal for power, deemed as a hazardous waste by the federal government, "It could be an epic move," says Stant. The push to regulate coal ash comes from those like Stant, who believe it to be harmful. Because coal contains traces of heavy metals, so will the ash that is left behind after coal is burned to produce electricity. Arsenic, lead, copper, mercury, nickel, selenium, zinc and many other metals are commonly left behind in coal ash....The EPA has waffled on the subject for 30 years, meandering through missed deadlines and lawsuits. But the coal ash problem is one that has lingered, refusing to go away. The EPA is now poised to make another ruling on the byproduct of burning coal. ...


Environmental Poised Agency

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Wed, Mar 31, 2010
from Environmental Health News:
Farm pesticides linked to deadly skin cancer
Workers who apply certain pesticides to farm fields are twice as likely to contract melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, according to a new scientific study. The researchers identified six pesticides that, with repeated exposure, doubled the risk of skin cancer among farmers and other workers who applied them to crops. The findings add to evidence suggesting that frequent use of pesticides could raise the risk of melanoma. Rates of the disease have tripled in the United States in the last 30 years, with sun exposure identified as the major cause. Four of the chemicals - maneb, mancozeb, methyl-parathion and carbaryl - are used in the United States on a variety of crops, including nuts, vegetables and fruits. Two others, benomyl and ethyl-parathion, were voluntarily cancelled by their manufacturers in 2008. ...


I am led to the inevitable conclusion that humans are pests.

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Tue, Mar 30, 2010
from New Scientist:
A killer in the bat cave
CORPSE upon corpse they lie, a carpet of emaciated, fungus-ridden carcasses. Where once healthy animals hung in slumber from the cave roof, now there is a mass grave on the floor. It is a scene that is repeated throughout the eastern US, from Vermont to West Virginia. America's bats are in crisis, under threat from a mysterious killer. The first sign that something was up emerged in February 2006, when a caver photographed hibernating bats with white muzzles at Howe's Cave in Albany, New York state. Soon afterwards bats were observed behaving strangely - waking from hibernation early and in a state of serious starvation. Some even ventured out of their roosts during daylight to search for food. Inside the caverns, the floors were littered with bodies, most with the characteristic fuzzy white mould growing on their noses, ears and wings... The fungus has recently been identified as Geomyces destructans.... It is the prime suspect and the focus of an intense research effort. Even so, there remains the possibility that it is not actually the killer but just an opportunistic pathogen hitching a ride on the back of some other deadly foe.... "It terrifies everybody in the bat community," says Emma Teeling at University College Dublin, Ireland.... The most promising candidate kills the fungal spores on culture plates and does not harm healthy bats, but it does not seem to cure sick ones. "[It has] very strange results on the pathology of WNS bats," is all Barton will say. ...


I'm sure ubiquitous pesticides wouldn't weaken bat immune systems. After all, they're birds.

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Sun, Mar 28, 2010
from Pottstown Mercury:
Toxic plumes spreading into groundwater
Twin underground plumes of potentially carcinogenic chemicals from two industrial sites are merging and mingling with the groundwater beneath 47 homes, fouling their wells and posing health hazards for the residents there, state officials have confirmed. The source of the contamination is believed to be the Teleflex Inc. plant on South Limerick Road and the former Stanley Tool Works, on Lewis Road, said Lynda Rebarchak, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection... The chemicals found in the well water samples are familiar to those familiar with headlines in the region in recent years -- trichloroethylene, more commonly known by its call letters TCE; tetrachloroethylene, or PCE; 1,1-dichloroethylene, or DCE; 1,2 dichloroethene or Cis, as well as 1,4-dioxane. ...


Sounds like these folks are toastioxethylened.

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Sat, Mar 27, 2010
from London Guardian:
Beijing to sweeten stench of rubbish crisis with giant deodorant guns
Beijing is to install 100 deodorant guns at a stinking landfill site on the edge of the city in a bid to dampen complaints about the capital's rubbish crisis. The giant fragrance sprays will be put in place by May at the Asuwei dump site, one of several hundred tips that are the focus of growing public concerns about sanitation, environmental health and a runaway consumer culture. Municipal authorities say they will also apply more plastic layers to cover the site in response to furious protests by local residents who have to put up with the stench when the wind blows in their direction. The high-pressure guns, which can spray dozens of litres of fragrance per minute over a distance of up to 50m, are produced by several Chinese firms and based on German and Italian technology. They are already in use at several landfill sites, but they are merely a temporary fix. ...


I think we need one of these guns big enough for the entire planet!

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Sat, Mar 27, 2010
from Science News:
Alternative flame retardants leach into the environment
Two chemicals that are becoming widely used replacements for potentially toxic flame retardants in household products such as televisions and furniture have shown up in peregrine falcon eggs in California. The discovery, part of a larger study monitoring contaminants in wildlife, adds to evidence that these new flame retardants escape into and persist in the environment, as the original ones do....While the replacement compounds were found in much smaller quantities than the flame retardants that have been on the market for years, their presence in bird eggs is cause for concern, said June-Soo Park of the California Environmental Protection Agency in Berkeley. Little is known about the toxicity of the replacement compounds and their potential to accumulate in people and wildlife, said Park, who presented the new research March 25 at the spring meeting of the American Chemical Society. ...


I'm waiting for the TV show on this I can watch while sitting in my furniture.

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Fri, Mar 26, 2010
from Bloomberg News:
Sickness Stalks Indian Farmers Using Chemical Banned in Europe
Seven-year-old Yeshaswini Gowda lies on the floor of her home in southern India unable to talk or walk. Her mother blames the severe disability on endosulfan, an insecticide banned in 60 countries... While a 2007 European Union report tied endosulfan to physical and mental illnesses and deaths, India's federal government says there's no evidence that long-term exposure carries health risks. Indian companies led by Hindustan Insecticides Ltd. are the world's biggest producers and the government has vowed to vote against including the pesticide on a United Nations list of dangerous chemicals at a conference in Geneva from Oct. 11. The dispute underscores the dilemma India faces in balancing health concerns while feeding the world's second-most populous nation after the weakest monsoon since 1972 propelled food-price inflation to among the highest in Asia. ...


I wonder what would happen if the cows were getting sick from the chemical?

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Fri, Mar 26, 2010
from London Guardian:
Blighted beaches: Britain's shores are drowning in litter
From the mundane debris of food wrappers and cigarette butts, to a laboratory incubator and a dead goat, Britain's beaches are strewn with litter, according to the Marine Conservation Society. The volunteers who conducted the survey, the UK's biggest, found one piece for each step along the shore. The results showed litter levels along the coasts have increased dramatically since 1994, from 1,000 items per kilometre to over 1,800 items. It also found that plastic litter was at its highest level ever. In 2009, the overall number of items on beaches declined - falling 16 percent from last year's record high to 342,000. But the percentage of plastic litter reached an unprecedented 64 percent. Emma Snowden, litter projects coordinator at MCS, said: "It's a lot of these single throwaway items." ...


For humans, it seems, earth itself is a throwaway item.

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Thu, Mar 25, 2010
from Discovery News:
Taking Showers Could Contaminate Drinking Water
With every shower you take, you may be unwittingly polluting the environment. As you scrub off dirt, you also wipe off medicines from your skin and pharmaceuticals excreted in sweat, according to a new study. Those chemicals pass through the sewage system and might even end up in our drinking water... Their research revealed that human skin fails to absorb much of the medicine that is applied topically, such as antibiotic ointments and steroid creams. Showers, baths and laundry wash those drugs directly into the sewage system. Chemically, these compounds often remain whole, unlike the broken-down versions in feces and urine. ...


We could just lick each other clean, like cats.

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Thu, Mar 25, 2010
from Reuters:
Higher birth-defect rate seen in Chernobyl aread
Rates of certain birth defects appear higher than normal in one of the Ukraine regions most affected by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster, according to a new study. The findings, reported in the journal Pediatrics, stand in contrast to a 2005 U.N. report stating that there is no evidence of an increased risk of birth defects or other reproductive effects in areas contaminated by radiation from the Chernobyl accident....The 2005 position statement from the International Atomic Energy Agency and other U.N. bodies may have had a "chilling effect" on research into congenital defects in Chernobyl-affected areas, Wertelecki notes in his report. The current findings, he said, "suggest that we should re-evaluate that position." ...


Position statements are so much sexier than actual science.

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Mon, Mar 22, 2010
from Reuters:
Waste water kills mlns of children, pollutes sea
Human beings are flushing millions of tonnes of solid waste into rivers and oceans every day, poisoning marine life and spreading diseases that kill millions of children annually, the U.N. said on Monday. "The sheer scale of dirty water means more people now die from contaminated and polluted water than from all forms of violence including wars," the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said. In a report entitled "Sick Water" for World Water Day, UNEP said the two million tonnes of waste, which contaminates over two billion tonnes of water daily, had left huge "dead zones" that choke coral reefs and fish. It consists mostly of sewage, industrial pollution, pesticides from agriculture and animal waste ...


This is where scatology meets eschatology.

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Tue, Mar 16, 2010
from NUVO Newsweekly:
Lucky animals get a whole week!
Governor Daniels proclaimed March 15-21 as National Wildlife Week in Indiana. To celebrate, animals throughout Indiana will experience a pause in the relentless destruction of their habitat. Indiana animals will enjoy a pristine environment for seven days, as coal-fired plants will suspend operations. Therefore the mercury, arsenic and other damaging pollutants will temporarily cease to contaminate the air, water and soil. Indiana CAFO operators won't dump hog, chicken and cow manure and Indiana farmers won't pour fertilizer into nearby streams and waters, so the fish and amphibians and other aquatic beings won't have to ingest phosphorus and other dangerous toxic substances -- or have the oxygen in the water robbed by algal blooms. ...


This bit o' satire is by yours truly.

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Sun, Mar 14, 2010
from Chicago Tribune:
Saving face
We turn to cosmetics to look our very best, but sometimes all that lathering, slathering, powdering and painting can do more harm than good. * Certain ingredients in personal care products can cause redness, itching, swelling, acne and other reactions in people who are sensitive to them. Preservatives, fragrances and dyes are common culprits. *Some people are allergic to specific ingredients, but more commonly the problem is irritation, which can happen to anyone. Either way, it's wise to keep an eye on the ingredients you're smearing on your skin. "The bottom line is that if you get a rash, you just have to stop using that product, and when you go to the store to buy another lotion, compare the ingredients and make sure they're not exactly the same," said Dr. Ella L. Toombs, a Washington, D.C.-based dermatologist... ...


And if your face falls off, you can always get a mask.

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Sun, Mar 14, 2010
from Post-Tribune:
Toxicity of pile remains undetermined at site
More than a year and a half after ArcelorMittal first applied for a landfill in Burns Harbor, the company has not disclosed the toxics in all the waste to be landfilled. The waste -- also known as Easterly's Pile -- has been dumped in piles up to three stories tall on open ground a couple hundred feet from Lake Michigan and the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore for more than a decade. What is certain is that some of the waste destined for the landfill is more toxic than ArcelorMittal first indicated. New test results obtained by the Post-Tribune show the waste is one step short of being considered hazardous because of high contents of lead and cadmium. ...


This pile is looking more and more like a pile of crap!

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Fri, Mar 12, 2010
from Associated Press:
Feds recall more children jewelry in cadmium probe
Federal safety regulators recalled a line of Christmas-themed bracelets Thursday, expanding their effort to purge children's jewelry boxes and store shelves of items containing high levels of the toxic metal cadmium. The latest action by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission targeted "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" charm bracelets that released alarmingly high levels of cadmium in government lab tests, suggesting children could be exposed to a carcinogen that also can damage kidneys and bones. The chain-link bracelets were sold at dollar-type stores between 2006 and March 2009 and feature characters from the classic holiday movie, including Rudolph... ...


Turns out Rudolph shoulda been been left out of the reindeer games, after all.

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Fri, Mar 12, 2010
from Chicago Tribune:
Exelon to pay $1 million to settle suits over leaks at power plants
Exelon agreed Thursday to pay more than $1 million to settle lawsuits filed by Attorney General Lisa Madigan after the company allowed radioactive tritium to leak outside three of its nuclear power plants... "It is imperative that Illinois' nuclear power plants are operated in a manner that does not endanger public health or the environment," Madigan said in a statement. Tritium, the radioactive form of hydrogen, is found naturally in groundwater but is also one of the byproducts of nuclear energy production. Exposure can increase the risk of cancer, though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency considers it one of the least dangerous radioactive substances, in part because it leaves the body quickly. ...


Just a little EXtra EXposure from EXelon.

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Tue, Mar 9, 2010
from AP, via PhysOrg.com:
GE: Limit PCB contamination during Hudson dredging
General Electric Co. on Monday proposed a halting further dredging of the Hudson River if PCBs churned up by the work spread too much pollution downriver during the second phase of an ongoing cleanup. GE made the proposal as the company and the federal Environmental Protection Agency were set to release separate reports assessing the dredging in 2009 of PCB "hot spots" north of Albany. The EPA had yet to release its report Monday afternoon, but the agency has been much more upbeat in its assessments of the dredging than GE, which is paying for the cleanup.... Crews working the river last summer found contamination of the river bed was deeper than expected and the work took longer. GE said PCBs kicked up into the water during dredging presented a serious problem. So the company proposed setting a "hard cap" on the amount of PCBs that would be allowed to flow downstream during Phase 2. Crews would start by targeting the contaminated areas that otherwise would be most likely to pollute fish downriver. "(T)o send more PCBs downriver than would happen without dredging eliminates the benefits of the remedy identified by EPA," the GE report said.... PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, are considered probable carcinogens. GE plants in Fort Edward and neighboring Hudson Falls discharged wastewater containing PCBs for decades before the lubricant and coolant was banned in 1977. ...


PCBs -- our favorite "forever" toxin.

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Sun, Mar 7, 2010
from Charleston Gazette:
EPA delays action on mountaintop removal plan
The Obama administration has delayed action on a set of broad-ranging and specific measures to reduce the environmental impacts of mountaintop removal, after details of the plan were leaked to coal-state mining regulators...Agency officials are pushing for more stringent water pollution standards, tougher permit requirements and more extensive monitoring downstream from mining operations. Among the initiatives are initial steps toward tighter mining discharge limits on the toxic pollutant selenium and on electrical conductivity, which serves as a measure of harmful salts and metals and has been identified by scientists as an indicator of coal-mining water damage. An announcement had been planned for Wednesday, but has been delayed for at least several weeks. ...


If you've been to the mountaintop, then you know there is no more time to waste.

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Sat, Mar 6, 2010
from Associated Press:
Disposal of spilled coal ash a long, winding trip
More than a year after a Tennessee coal ash spill created one of the worst environmental disasters of its kind in U.S. history, the problem is seeping into several other states...After the spill, the TVA started sending as many as 17,000 rail carloads of ash almost 350 miles south to the landfill in Uniontown, Ala. At least 160 rail shipments have gone out from the cleanup site... The landfill operators first sent it to wastewater treatment plants -- a common way that landfills deal with excess liquid -- in two nearby Alabama cities, Marion and Demopolis. After what the EPA calls unrelated problems with ammonia in Marion, the landfill in January started using a commercial wastewater treatment plant in Mobile, Ala., 500 miles from the original spill. ...


Spreadin' the love...

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Wed, Mar 3, 2010
from Gatehouse News Service, via Winchester Star:
Markey issues statement on safe drinking water
U.S. Rep. Edward J. Markey, D-Mass., the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Energy and Environment Subcommittee and the author of a bill to establish a federal ban on the chemical Bisphenol A in all food and beverage containers, issued the following statement recently at a hearing titled "Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in Drinking Water: Risks to Human Health and the Environment."... "Lately, not a day goes by where the public is not reminded of the presence of toxic chemicals in the air we breathe and the water we drink, and the potential harmful effects that these chemicals can have on public health and the environment. "Just last week a local newspaper warned that the Potomac River and other mid-Atlantic rivers are laced with toxins that may be responsible for bizarre deformities in fish, frogs and other wildlife that come in contact with the contaminated water. This includes male fish that have begun growing female sexual organs, and female fish that can no longer reproduce. "W.C. Fields once said, 'I never drink water because of the disgusting things fish do in it.'..." ...


A deformed little chickadee told me.

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Tue, Mar 2, 2010
from Greenwich Time:
For frogs, and perhaps humans, there's something strange in the water
Medications leaking into groundwater are producing strange effects on the frogs of Connecticut, effects that could be a harbinger of safety concerns for humans, too, researchers say. A team led by David Skelly, professor of ecology and associate dean for research at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University, has found that male frogs are developing eggs in their reproductive tracts... Skelly's team found that deformities were concentrated in suburban and urban areas, which was something of a surprise for the scientists because it was previously thought that chemicals used on the farm were mostly to blame, particularly the widely used cornfield herbicide atrazine. "But in agricultural areas, only 7 percent of the frogs show these deformities," he said. "In urban and suburban areas, it's about 20 percent." ...


These urban and suburban frogs are already metrosexual.

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Tue, Mar 2, 2010
from Washington Post:
Manure becomes pollutant as its volume grows unmanageable
...Animal manure, a byproduct as old as agriculture, has become an unlikely modern pollution problem, scientists and environmentalists say. The country simply has more dung than it can handle: Crowded together at a new breed of megafarms, livestock produce three times as much waste as people, more than can be recycled as fertilizer for nearby fields. That excess manure gives off air pollutants, and it is the country's fastest-growing large source of methane, a greenhouse gas. And it washes down with the rain, helping to cause the 230 oxygen-deprived "dead zones" that have proliferated along the U.S. coast. In the Chesapeake Bay, about one-fourth of the pollution that leads to dead zones can be traced to the back ends of cows, pigs, chickens and turkeys. ...


That is just a shitload of shit!

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Sun, Feb 28, 2010
from Madison Wisconsin State Journal:
Tracking a rising tide of waste
Wisconsin is churning out permits for industrial-scale farms to spread millions of gallons of manure on state fields but provides little oversight after that, inspecting them only once or twice every five years, a Wisconsin State Journal investigation has found. At stake is the health of thousands of homeowners who draw their drinking water from wells near the giant farms or the fields where the manure is spread... But a review of the state's oversight of the huge farms turned up weaknesses and missteps, including farms operating without permits, a dearth of on-site inspections and a monitoring system that consists largely of inspectors filling out paperwork at their desks. ...


Who wants to look at shit more often than that!

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Sun, Feb 28, 2010
from US News and World Report:
Air Pollution: It's Not Just Your Lungs That Suffer
...research has revealed more about how far air pollution's harms go beyond the respiratory system. "People thought that when we inhale pollutants the lung is the main target, but the lung is surprisingly resilient. It turns out the cardiovascular effects are predominant," says Aruni Bhatnagar, an environmental cardiology researcher at the University of Louisville. One major study, which followed subjects for 16 years, found that people living in cities with higher levels of fine particulates were at greater risk of cardiovascular death. A difference of 10 micrograms per cubic meter increased the risk of dying from ischemic heart disease (narrowed arteries) by 18 percent, arrhythmia by 13 percent, and cardiac arrest by 21 percent, the study revealed. It seems air pollutants incite processes that lead to high blood pressure, blood clotting, and electrical instability in the heart, which can translate into heart attack, stroke, and sudden cardiac death. Even short-term exposure can be hazardous. Research shows spikes in cardiac deaths, emergency room visits, and hospital admissions in the hours and days that follow a spike in cities' levels of particulate matter. ...


But... but ... the sunsets are so beautiful...

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Sat, Feb 27, 2010
from Shanghai Daily News:
Country's infertility rate 'on the rise': Shanghai
The country appears to be suffering from rising infertility levels, with a number of regional surveys showing up to 10 percent of couples who have regular sex being unable to conceive within a year, reproduction experts have said. No nationwide epidemiology surveys on infertility have been conducted yet, but experts have estimated that the infertility rate stood at 3 percent in the early 1980s. For women, childbirth after 35 years of age and previous abortions were often to blame for increasing infertility, said Zhou Canquan, director of the department of obstetrics and gynecology under the First Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University. Male infertility was on the rise as well, with sperm counts decreasing from 100 million per ml on average in the 1970s to 40 million per ml currently, Zhou said on Friday. ...


It's a dweam come twue.

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Fri, Feb 26, 2010
from Oregon Environmental News:
Warning: Fish from Columbia Slough tainted with PCBs, heavy metals
A swarm of fish inhabit the body of water from the mouth of Fairview Lake to the Willamette River and many of them are tainted with toxins, said Ken Kauffman, an environmental health specialist. Tests have turned up pesticide residuals, chlordane, mercury and heavy metals in the fish that live in the slough, including carp, black crappie, bluegill, largemouth bass and sunfish. But the biggest threat comes from polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, which are long-lasting chemicals that can harm a babys brain or nervous system. Health officials are most concerned about children and infants, along with pregnant women and women who could become pregnant. ...


I love that special "chlordane tang" flavor.

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Wed, Feb 24, 2010
from Haaretz:
Bomb plant seepage creating Israel's worst-ever water pollution
Rocket fuel and remains of explosives that seeped into the aquifer from the Israel Military Industries Ramat Hasharon plant are continuing to spread, according to data presented yesterday for the first time by the Water Authority and obtained by Haaretz. The materials, which are now present in a 16 square-kilometer area, were detected at levels thousands of times greater than allowable U.S. standards, constituting the worst instance of water pollution in Israel's history. Ten water wells have been closed so far as a result... One toxic material discovered in the ground water is an explosive known as RDX, detected at 1,300 times recommended safe levels for drinking water in the United States. ...


That is one furry aquifer.

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Tue, Feb 23, 2010
from TIME Magazine:
What's in Household Dust? You Don't Want to Know
...The specific dust mix in any household differs according to climate, age of the house and the number of people who live in it — not to mention the occupants' cooking, cleaning and smoking habits. But nearly everywhere, dust consists of some combination of shed bits of human skin, animal fur, decomposing insects, food debris, lint and organic fibers from clothes, bedding and other fabrics, tracked-in soil, soot, particulate matter from smoking and cooking, and, disturbingly, lead, arsenic and even DDT... There's not much to fret about in simple particles of dirt or organic materials such as pollen (although they can trigger allergies), but lead, arsenic and DDT can be a more serious matter. ...


Plus, all we ARE is... dust in the wind...

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Tue, Feb 23, 2010
from ScienceDaily:
Hazardous E-Waste Surging in Developing Countries
Sales of electronic products in countries like China and India and across continents such as Africa and Latin America are set to rise sharply in the next 10 years. And, unless action is stepped up to properly collect and recycle materials, many developing countries face the spectre of hazardous e-waste mountains with serious consequences for the environment and public health, according to UN experts in a landmark report released February 22 by UNEP.... Moreover, most e-waste in China is improperly handled, much of it incinerated by backyard recyclers to recover valuable metals like gold -- practices that release steady plumes of far-reaching toxic pollution and yield very low metal recovery rates compared to state-of-the-art industrial facilities. ...


I love the smell of toxics in the morning.

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Mon, Feb 22, 2010
from The Australian:
Toxic water linked to forestry trees
RESEARCH has linked toxicity in a Tasmanian river used for drinking water to the leaves of genetically improved plantation eucalypt trees, prompting calls for a wider inquiry. The woman behind the work, local GP Alison Bleaney, yesterday told The Australian the findings, featured on ABC TV's Australian Story tonight, warranted a full and thorough inquiry. "We need to get to the bottom of this so that forestry can go on growing their trees and we can continue to drink our water," Dr Bleaney said. A long investigation by Dr Bleaney and Sydney scientist Marcus Scammell -- involving the testing of water at independent laboratories interstate -- concluded a toxin found in the George River on Tasmania's east coast was from the leaves of the eucalyptus nitens. ...


This is a devil of a problem

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Sun, Feb 21, 2010
from AFP, via PhysOrg:
Chemicals suspected in breast cancer, US experts want tests
"We're currently not identifying chemicals that could be contributing to the risk of breast cancer," said Megan Schwarzman, a physician and environmental health researcher at the University of California, Berkeley. According to Schwarzman, only a handful of the more than 200 chemicals in the environment linked to mammary tumors in lab animals have been regulated by the US authorities "on the basis of their ability to cause breast cancer."... As the incidence of the most common invasive cancer in women has skyrocketed in a generation, a flurry of studies have looked into the role of chemicals in breast cancer.... Only around a quarter of more than 186,000 women diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005 were genetically predisposed to the disease, and other breast cancer risk factors, including the early onset puberty in girls, have been linked to chemicals. ...


Government oversight and regulation is a drag on the economy, right?

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Sat, Feb 20, 2010
from San Jose Mercury News:
Shipping firm sentenced to pay $10 million for causing Cosco Busan oil spill
With a sharp warning to the maritime industry, justice officials on Friday ordered a Chinese shipping firm to pay $10 million for its role in a spill that dumped 53,000 gallons of thick bunker fuel into the San Francisco Bay. Fleet Management, a Hong Kong-based firm, pleaded guilty last year to criminally violating federal pollution laws and felony obstruction of justice. The company admitted that it caused the spill and acted negligently after the Cosco Busan, which it owned, struck the Bay Bridge on a foggy morning Nov. 7, 2007, leading to the biggest Bay Area spill in 20 years. In addition, the firm was convicted of creating false and forged documents at the direction of shore-based supervisors with an intent to deceive the U.S. Coast Guard... After the Cosco Busan struck one of the support towers of the Bay Bridge, tearing a huge gash in the hull and causing the massive spill, at least 2,000 migratory birds died, including birds listed on the federal endangered species list. ...


Ten million dollars sounds like a kiss on the wrist to me.

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Fri, Feb 19, 2010
from Charleston Gazette:
Dow leak went undetected for nearly 2 weeks
A leak of more than 3,500 pounds of toxic ammonia gas from the Dow Chemical Co. facility in Institute went undetected for nearly two weeks, company officials disclosed Wednesday. An average of 270 pounds of ammonia leaked every day between Feb. 4 and Feb. 16, according to a Kanawha County Metro 911 Center summary of a phone call from Freddie Sizemore, a Dow employee who reported the incident to local authorities. It is not clear when Dow officials first discovered the leak, but the Metro 911 report indicates it was not fixed until sometime on Wednesday. Dow reported the incident to Metro 911 shortly before 2 p.m. Wednesday. ...


D'ow!

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Thu, Feb 18, 2010
from New York Daily News:
Probers unearth toxin shock in Greenpoint groundwater
Investigators probing a toxic underground chemical plume in Greenpoint have discovered groundwater with levels of a cancer-causing cleaning solvent more than 14 million times the state standard. "We got hit in the face with it before we got our gear on," said state Department of Environmental Conservation project manager David Harrington, adding that water contaminated with PCE splashed out while his crew was doing repair work. "It smelled like White-Out times a thousand with a lot of sugar thrown in for a couple seconds until my nasal lining burned out," he said. "That's pure product." The contamination hot spot at the corner of Norman and Kingsland Aves. was the site of the now-shuttered Spic and Span drycleaners, one of five businesses accused of dumping the solvents PCE and TCE.... A study released by the National Academy of Sciences last week found that PCE can cause cancer. It also has been linked to birth defects and infertility. The groundwater was 73 percent PCE - more than 14 million times the state standard of 5 parts per billion. ...


Fourteen million times the state standard must be a record.

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Wed, Feb 17, 2010
from CBC:
Fundy lobster deaths blamed on pesticide
Dead lobsters first appeared last November in Grand Manan's Seal Cove, and five days later a fisherman 50 kilometres away in Pocologan found more dead lobsters in his traps. Soon after that discovery, another 816 kilograms of weak or dead lobster were discovered in Deer Island's Fairhaven Harbour. "I've been around lobsters all my life. And I never seen lobsters in that state," said fisherman Reid Brown said. Environment Canada has launched two investigations into the lobster kills on Grand Manan and Deer Island. Tests found that the lobsters were exposed to Cypermethrin, a pesticide that's illegal to use in marine environments and toxic to lobsters. Environment Canada found no evidence about how the pesticide got into the Bay of Fundy. There are few if any farms near the Fundy coast that could be a source for the Cypermethrin found in the bay. ...


Look on the bright side: the lobsters will be pest-free!

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Mon, Feb 15, 2010
from Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Oil and gas drilling's threat to our drinking water is local, national debate
GRANGER TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Sandy Mangan draws a small glass of water from her kitchen faucet. It stinks and small bubbles slip up the side of the cup. She looks almost as if she is about to gulp down a nasty soft drink. But the Mangans don't drink their tainted tap water anymore. They haven't since Sept. 29, 2008 -- the day a Mahoning County company was drilling a gas well in a park near their State Road home. They say their well went temporarily dry, then returned at lower pressure five days later -- murky, salty, bubbly and smelly. ...


Sounds like their water's been fracked!

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Sat, Feb 13, 2010
from Science, via Mongabay:
Chinese farming practices are acidifying soils
A new study in Science shows that farming practices in China are acidifying the nation's soils and threatening long term productivity at a time when food concerns worldwide have never been higher. The culprit is the increasing use of nitrogen fertilizer. "Chinese agriculture has intensified greatly since the early 1980s on a limited land area with large inputs of chemical fertilizers and other resources," the authors note, pointing out that nitrogen fertilizer consumption in China reached 32.6 million tons in 2007, an increase of 191 percent over 1981 levels. "The rates of [nitrogen] applied in some regions are extraordinarily high as compared with those of North America and Europe. These have degraded soils and environmental quality in the North China Plain and in the Taihu Lake region in south China," the authors explain. ...


Can soil have flashbacks?

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Tue, Feb 9, 2010
from Bloomberg News:
Thirdhand Smoke Forms Cancer-Causing Residue Indoors That Lasts
Tobacco smoke contamination lingering on furniture, clothes and other surfaces, dubbed thirdhand smoke, may react with indoor air chemicals to form potential cancer-causing substances, a study found. After exposing a piece of paper to smoke, researchers found the sheet had levels of newly formed carcinogens that were 10 times higher after three hours in the presence of an indoor air chemical called nitrous acid commonly emitted by household appliances or cigarette smoke. That means people may face a risk from indoor tobacco smoke in a way that’s never been recognized before... ...


Fourthhand smoke's gotta be murder.

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Mon, Feb 8, 2010
from Chicago Tribune:
Chicago schools pile up lunch waste
...Every day, kids in the Chicago Public Schools district throw out nearly a quarter of a million lunch and breakfast trays made of polystyrene foam. That's more than 1 million a week, about 5 million a month. And those trays are just the start of a river of trash from school meals that ends up in landfills, including nacho-stained containers, half-empty milk cartons, plastic cookie wrappers and plastic tubs that will sit in thick polyethylene bags for centuries without biodegrading. The Prosser students, led by biology teacher Marnie Ware, found their Belmont-Cragin-area school created 1,500 pounds of cafeteria garbage a day over five periods, including breakfast. ...


Whatever happened to edible dishes.

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Mon, Feb 8, 2010
from Der Spiegel:
Global Ocean Protection Measures Have Failed
Thousands of tons of trash are thrown into the sea each year, endangering humans and wildlife. A classified German government report obtained by SPIEGEL ONLINE indicates that efforts by the United Nations and the European Union to clean up our oceans have failed entirely. Since the world's oceans are so massive, few people seem to have a problem with dumping waste into them. But plastics degrade at very a slow rate, and huge amounts of them are sloshing around in our oceans. Wildlife consumes small pieces causing many of them to die, since the plastics are full of poisons. And, as experts warn, we've reached a point where it's even getting dangerous for humans to consume seafood... Our oceans have devolved into vast garbage dumps. ...


That fills some need, doesn't it?

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Mon, Feb 8, 2010
from Los Angeles Times:
Industrial solvent linked to increased risk of Parkinson's disease
Exposure to the industrial solvent trichloroethylene increases a person's risk of developing Parkinson's disease nearly sixfold, California researchers said Sunday. Animal studies had suggested a potential problem with the solvent, but the new study by Dr. Samuel Goldman of the Parkinson's Institute in Sunnyvale is the first to quantify the risk. Parkinson's disease, caused by the death of cells in the brain that secrete the neurotransmitter dopamine, is characterized by severe tremors, rigidity in the limbs and other symptoms. It strikes an estimated 100,000 Americans each year and is ultimately fatal. Genetics play a role in susceptibility to Parkinson's, but it has also been linked to head trauma, pesticides and illicit drugs. Trichloroethylene, or TCE, is a solvent that was once widely used in dry cleaning and to clean grease off metal parts, and it was once used as an anesthetic, especially during childbirth. ...


Used "during childbirth"? So the newborns would be spankin' clean?

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Mon, Feb 8, 2010
from Associated Press:
Even if you're careful, drugs can end up in water
The federal government advises throwing most unused or expired medications into the trash instead of down the drain, but they can end up in the water anyway, a study from Maine suggests. Tiny amounts of discarded drugs have been found in water at three landfills in the state, confirming suspicions that pharmaceuticals thrown into household trash are ending up in water that drains through waste, according to a survey by the state's environmental agency that's one of only a handful to have looked at the presence of drugs in landfills. That landfill water - known as leachate - eventually ends up in rivers. Most of Maine doesn't draw its drinking water from rivers where the leachate ends up, but in other states that do, water supplies that come from rivers could potentially be contaminated. The results of the survey are being made known as lawmakers in Maine consider a bill, among the first of its kind in the nation, that would require drug manufacturers to develop and pay for a program to collect unused prescription and over-the-counter drugs from residents and dispose of them. ...


Seems the only right course is to consume the unused or expired meds and store them — permanently — in your fatty tissues.

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Mon, Feb 8, 2010
from Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine via ScienceDaily:
Link Between Birth Defect Gastroschisis and the Agricultural Chemical Atrazine Found
In a study to be presented at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's (SMFM) annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, in Chicago, researchers will unveil findings that demonstrate a link between the birth defect gastroschisis and the agricultural chemical atrazine. Gastroschisis is a type of inherited congenital abdominal wall defect in which the intestines, and sometimes other organs, develop outside the fetal abdomen through an opening in the abdominal wall. The incidence of gastroschisis is on the rise, increasing two to four times in the last 30 years....Of the 805 cases and 3616 controls in the study, gastroschisis occurred more frequently among infants whose mothers resided less than 25 km from the site of high surface water contamination with atrazine. ...


I wonder if you have to be pregnant to attend The Pregnancy Meeting?

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Sun, Feb 7, 2010
from NUVO Newsweekly:
The Ohio Valley's toxic kids
Robert Owen would rise up from his grave in righteous indignation if he knew what has happened to the kids in his adopted Indiana home of New Harmony. The 19th-century visionary established a utopian settlement there in 1825, to establish “a model community where education and social equality would flourish,” as the University of Southern Indiana’s Historic New Harmony Web page puts it. But the type of education that has blossomed on the banks of the Wabash can’t possibly be what Owen envisioned. At a disturbingly high rate, students categorized as needing special education services are directly downwind of mercury-emitting, major power plants that have gone essentially uncontrolled for decades. ...


Now it's more like a pew-topian settlement.

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Sun, Feb 7, 2010
from Chicago Daily Herald:
Traffic's the biggest contributor to the region's air pollution
Downtown Chicago has the highest peak levels of nitrogen dioxide in the country, and is the only site in violation of new stricter guidelines against the irritant, which inflames asthma and other lung conditions. That news raised the question of how bad is the Chicago area's overall air quality, 40 years after the Clean Air Act as we know it was created... Forbes magazine recently rated the Chicago metropolitan area as having the second-worst air quality of any big city in the nation, based on a federal 2007 report on the number of days with unhealthy air... Today, the number one cause of air pollution is traffic. ...


Isn't "car" the root word of "carcinogen"?

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Fri, Feb 5, 2010
from Associated Press:
Few remain as 1962 Pa. coal town fire still burns
...After years of delay, state officials are now trying to complete the demolition of Centralia, a borough in the mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania that all but ceased to exist in the 1980s after the mine fire spread beneath homes and businesses, threatening residents with poisonous gases and dangerous sinkholes. More than 1,000 people moved out, and 500 structures were razed under a $42 million federal relocation program. But dozens of holdouts ... refused to go - even after their houses were seized through eminent domain in the early 1990s...State officials say the fire continues to burn uncontrolled and could for hundreds of years, until it runs out of fuel. One of their biggest concerns is the danger to tourists who often cluster around steam vents on unstable ground. ...


This town should be turned into a museum, an utterly perfect example of coal's destructiveness.

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Fri, Feb 5, 2010
from Science News:
EPA reviews hints of weed killer's fetal risks
Last October, the Environmental Protection Agency announced it was reopening what the pesticide industry had hoped was a closed chapter on allegations of a popular herbicide’s toxicity. The agency will be convening meetings of its Science Advisory Panel on pesticides throughout 2010 to probe concerns about the safety of atrazine, a weed killer on which most American corn growers rely. The first meeting of these outside experts started Tuesday. And although a large number of studies have indicated that atrazine can perturb hormones in animals and human cells — and might even pose a possible risk of cancer amongst heavily exposed people, these outcomes were not the focus of EPA’s review Tuesday. Risks to babies were. During the SAP’s morning session, Aaron Niman, an EPA scientist, reviewed five recent studies linking atrazine to birth defects and other risks in newborns. ...


It's all about the babies...

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Wed, Feb 3, 2010
from Associated Press:
Gas drilling in Appalachia runs into resistance: What do you do with the wastewater?
A drilling technique that is beginning to unlock staggering quantities of natural gas underneath Appalachia also yields a troubling byproduct: powerfully briny wastewater that can kill fish and give tap water a foul taste and odor. With fortunes, water quality and cheap energy hanging in the balance, exploration companies, scientists and entrepreneurs are scrambling for an economical way to recycle the wastewater. ...


We could always bottle it.

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Tue, Feb 2, 2010
from Environmental Health News:
Human placenta cells die after BPA exposure.
Exposure to very low concentrations of the plasticizer bisphenol A (BPA) causes cellular damage and death in cultured human placenta cells, researchers report. The doses used for this study are similar to blood levels found in pregnant women. A particularly worrying finding is that effects were most pronounced at the lowest -- rather than the highest -- concentrations of BPA indicating that placental development could be particularly sensitive to BPA exposure. Damage to the placenta can induce a range of adverse pregnancy outcomes including premature birth, preeclampsia or even pregnancy loss. It is not known if exposure to BPA is associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes in humans. ...


Guess I won't be eating placentas anymore.

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Mon, Feb 1, 2010
from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration via ScienceDaily:
Emissions of Potent Greenhouse Gas Increase Despite Reduction Efforts
Despite a decade of efforts worldwide to curb its release into the atmosphere, NOAA and university scientists have measured increased emissions of a greenhouse gas that is thousands of times more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide and persists in the atmosphere for nearly 300 years. The substance HFC-23, or trifluoromethane, is a byproduct of chlorodifluoromethane, or HCFC-22, a refrigerant in air conditioners and refrigerators and a starting material for producing heat and chemical-resistant products, cables and coatings. ...


Maybe we should stop trying so hard.

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Mon, Feb 1, 2010
from Jacksonville Times-Union:
Jacksonville sealcoat raises home health concern
A material that's spread on parking lots and driveways in Jacksonville and nationally may be causing buildups of cancer-causing dust inside some homes, government researchers say. The finding by scientists who normally investigate water pollution raises questions about a potential health hazard, especially for children. The material, known as sealcoat, is a shiny, black substance made from coal tar, a byproduct of some industrial coal uses. As much as half of coal tar's weight can come from a family of chemical compounds called PAHs -- polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons -- that increase cancer risks for people.... The new study concludes that people walking across those lots are accidentally bringing home small amounts of PAHs. "We track in whatever is outdoors," said Barbara Mahler, a hydrologist who was the lead researcher on a study published last month in Environmental Science & Technology, a professional journal. "When we bring in little bits of that sealcoat inside our homes on the bottoms of our shoes, it ends up in our house dust." ...


Another reason to just stay home!

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Mon, Feb 1, 2010
from Chemical & Engineering News:
Fluorochemicals Go Short
Nearly all humans, and a large proportion of wildlife, are contaminated with environmentally persistent long-chain perfluoroalkyl compounds. That revelation, around for a decade now, has brought dramatic change to the fluorochemicals industry. Spurred on by academic researchers and concerns from environmental and consumer advocacy groups, chemical companies have worked with the Environmental Protection Agency to phase out perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and are in the process of phasing out perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). The companies are replacing PFOS, PFOA, and their associated compounds with shorter perfluoroalkyl chain compounds that impart the same functional properties as the longer chain compounds. Although the alternatives are just as persistent, they aren't as bioaccumulative and appear to have a better toxicity profile -- which is still being confirmed by testing -- and are thus considered sound replacements. ...


If there's no acronym, is this really an improvement?

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Mon, Feb 1, 2010
from Mongabay:
Russian police raid environmental group working to protect Lake Baikal
Russian police have raided the Baikal Environmental Wave organization reports the Moscow Times. Police seized several computers, citing the reason for the raid to uncover the use of unlicensed software. A member of the group, however, linked the raid to its public stance against reopening the Baikalsk Paper and Pulp Mills on Lake Baikal, which closed due to pollution concerns two years ago. "All of our programs are licensed. They confiscated the computers without checking the license documents, saying they didn't have experts to look at them," Galina Kulebyakina, a member of Baikal Environmental Wave, told The Moscow Times. The re-opening of the mills was recently announced by Vladimir Putin after he visited the bottom of Lake Baikal in a submarine, claiming he could see no sign of environmental damage. ...


Damage? What damage? It looks exactly the way it looks!

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Fri, Jan 29, 2010
from GQ:
Warning: Your Cell Phone May Be Hazardous to Your Health
Ever worry that that gadget you spend hours holding next to your head might be damaging your brain? Well, the evidence is starting to pour in, and it's not pretty. So why isn't anyone in America doing anything about it?... Though the scientific debate is heated and far from resolved, there are multiple reports, mostly out of Europe's premier research institutions, of cell-phone and PDA use being linked to "brain aging," brain damage, early-onset Alz­heimer's, senility, DNA damage, and even sperm die-offs (many men, after all, keep their cell phones in their pants pockets or attached at the hip). In September 2007, the European Union's environmental watchdog, the European Environment Agency, warned that cell-phone technology "could lead to a health crisis similar to those caused by asbestos, smoking, and lead in petrol." Perhaps most worrisome, though, are the preliminary results of the multinational Interphone study sponsored by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, in Lyon, France. (Scientists from thirteen countries took part in the study, the United States conspicuously not among them.) Interphone researchers reported in 2008 that after a decade of cell-phone use, the chance of getting a brain tumor -- specifically on the side of the head where you use the phone -- goes up as much as 40 percent for adults. ...


If I keep switching ears does it only go up 20 percent?

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Thu, Jan 28, 2010
from New York Times:
Radiation Levels Cloud Vermont Reactor's Fate
Levels of radioactive tritium have risen rapidly in recent weeks in the groundwater surrounding Vermont's sole nuclear power plant, leading both longtime supporters and foes of the reactor to question whether it will be allowed to keep operating... the rising radiation levels, an indication that reactor water is leaking into the soil, have stirred deep concern about the plant's safety and the credibility of its operators. So far no tritium has been found in any drinking water wells, nor have raised concentrations of radioactive material been found in the river, the source of the plant's cooling water. ...


Just the soil? Whew! Not like we use THAT for anything.

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Wed, Jan 27, 2010
from NUVO Newsweekly:
Remembering the White River fishkill
On Dec. 13, 1999, a white wall of foam came pouring out of the Anderson, Indiana, Wastewater Treatment Plant. A few days later, dead fish began to be discovered downriver, and by Christmas some 100,000 fish were estimated to be dead. Eventually, it was understood that aquatic life for 57 miles along the White River had been profoundly harmed, either completely killed or partially killed, including the death of 4.6 million fish. The source of the toxins: a discharge from Anderson-based Guide Corp., a factory that made automobile headlights.... Money was dispensed, remediation practices were put in place, and the White River was, ostensibly, restored. But it wasn't. I know because the White River is in my backyard. ...


This is my story, and you can read it.

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Tue, Jan 26, 2010
from Newport News Daily Press:
Virginia scraps its annual water pollution monitoring program
Tasteless, odorless and nearly as clear as water, polychlorinated biphenyls are among the most dangerous toxic chemicals in Virginia's waterways. Every year, state officials monitor the chemicals, known as PCBs, by testing fish from selected river basins. Fish advisories follow. Not this year. Facing a $5 million funding cut, the state Department of Environmental Quality last summer scrapped the $365,000 PCB monitoring program. "There won't be any new advisories in Virginia because there's no new data," said Rob Hale, a professor at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, which was under contract to do the work. ...


I've seen their state motto: "Virginia, where health comes last!"

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Tue, Jan 26, 2010
from Environmental Health News:
Scientists link flame retardants and reduced human fertility
Women exposed to high levels of flame retardants take substantially longer to get pregnant, indicating for the first time that the widespread chemicals may affect human fertility, according to a study published Tuesday. Furniture cushions, carpet padding and other household items contain hormone-disrupting flame retardants called polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs. Two of the most widely used compounds have been banned in the United States since 2004, but they remain ubiquitous in the environment, inside homes and in the food supply. Epidemiologists from the University of California at Berkeley studied 223 pregnant women in California’s Salinas Valley, an agricultural community with predominantly low-income, Mexican immigrants. More than 97 percent of the women had PBDEs in their blood, and those with high levels were half as likely to conceive in any given month as the women with low levels. ...


What if you're actually having sex ON these furniture cushions?

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Mon, Jan 25, 2010
from Washington Post:
Officials fear toxic ingredient in Botox could become terrorist tool
In early 2006, a mysterious cosmetics trader named Rakhman began showing up at salons in St. Petersburg, Russia, hawking a popular anti-aging drug at suspiciously low prices. He flashed a briefcase filled with vials and promised he could deliver more -- "as many as you want," he told buyers -- from a supplier somewhere in Chechnya. Rakhman's "Botox" was found to be a potent clone of the real thing, but investigators soon turned to a far bigger worry: the prospect of an illegal factory in Chechnya churning out raw botulinum toxin, the key ingredient in the beauty drug and one of world's deadliest poisons....Al-Qaeda is known to have sought botulinum toxin. The Lebanese Hezbollah movement, which the United States has designated a terrorist organization, and other groups have bought and sold counterfeit drugs to raise cash. Now, with the emergence of a global black market for fake Botox, terrorism experts see an opportunity for a deadly convergence. ...


But if I don't get rid of my crow's feet the terrorists will win!

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Mon, Jan 25, 2010
from Environmental Health News:
Younger mothers' breast milk has highest levels of flame retardants
A study of breast milk samples from more than 300 women in North Carolina finds flame retardants contaminate the milk from almost three-quarters of the woman in the study. Women older than 35 had the lowest levels of PBDEs in their milk. The highest levels were measured in breast milk from women aged 25 to 29, followed by women younger than 25 years old. The results suggest that younger mothers may have higher exposure to these flame retardant chemicals through their environment or lifestyles. PBDEs are chemicals used in electronics, furniture, carpeting and textiles to reduce the risk of fire. In rats, early life exposures to PBDE has been associated with altered thyroid hormone function, hyperactivity and poorer learning and memory. Human health effects are not so well understood. Most Americans have detectable levels of PBDEs in their blood. Dust and food may be the biggest sources for people. Breast fed babies are exposed through breast milk, however, experts agree that breastfeeding also provides important nutritional and immune benefits for the infant. ...


I can eat less food... but I don't think I can give up my beloved dust!

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Sun, Jan 24, 2010
from Agence France-Presse:
Indians keep faith with Ganges despite pollution
For India's devout Hindus, the sacred River Ganges is always clean and always pure -- even if its waters are a toxic stew of human sewage, discarded garbage and factory waste. The belief that the Ganges washes away sin entices millions of Hindus into the river each year, and huge crowds of pilgrims are currently passing through the town of Haridwar for the three-month Kumbh Mela bathing festival. But concern over pollution along the length of the 2,500 kilometre (1,500 mile) river is growing, and the city of Kanpur -- 800 kilometres downstream of Haridwar -- is the site of one of the worst stretches of all... Worshippers like Ram Sharma, who regularly wades in the water for an early morning bath with only a cloth tied around his waist, are proof that for many Indians faith outweighs science. "How can you call this water dirty?" asked Sharma incredulously. "For us it is holy water," he said as he dipped his cupped hands in the river and took a slurp. ...


Just like me in Indiana, breathing its sacred, coal-plant polluted air... every day.

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Sat, Jan 23, 2010
from Inter Press Service:
Plastic Bags: Convenience Costing the Earth
When Nairobi was founded in 1899, it took its name from what the Maasai called the place: Ewassi Nyirobi, "cool waters." A century later, the river has something stuck in its throat: millions of plastic bags threaten to choke it. According to Robert Orina, chief enforcement officer at Kenya's National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), only about 25 percent of the 1,500 tonnes of solid waste generated in Nairobi each day is collected. In slum areas, where 60 percent of Nairobi residents live, there is no formal garbage collection. "The result is there is garbage strewn all over the place and most of this is stuffed into plastic bags which remain in the environment for many years," Orina says. "The situation in Nairobi is not unique but rather is replicated across the country." ...


Replicated... just like plastic itself!

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Sat, Jan 23, 2010
from ABC News:
Lead Found in Women's Handbags
A landmark agreement involving two big retail chains establishes, for the first time, limits on lead in women's handbags and wallets. The Center for Environmental Health went to 100 of the nation's top retailers -- including Target, Macy's, Wal-Mart and Kohl's -- and bought purses. The group had the bags tested for lead at an independent lab. Two separate tests were conducted. Some bags were wiped to see how much, if any, lead would simply rub off the material. The bags also were tested for the total lead content of the products. The tests came back showing disturbingly high levels of lead, the Center for Environmental Health said. ...


So THAT'S why it's so heavy!

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Fri, Jan 22, 2010
from New Scientist:
Engineered maize toxicity claims and counterclaims
Monsanto, the giant of genetically modified crops, has for the first time been forced to release raw data from toxicology studies it carried out on three strains of its modified maize. An external analysis of the data claims it shows that eating the maize could result in damage to the liver and kidneys, but this has been dismissed as unsupportable by a government agency and independent toxicologists.... With each of the three strains of maize, researchers say they found unusual concentrations of hormones and other compounds in the blood and urine of the tested rats, suggesting each strain impaired kidney and liver function. By the end of the trials, the female rats that were fed MON 863 had elevated blood-sugar levels and raised concentrations of fatty substances called triglycerides. Both are potential precursors of diabetes, according to Seralini. And there were further signs that the kidneys of rats fed NK 603 were impaired, he says. "What we've shown is clearly not proof of toxicity, but signs of toxicity," says Seralini. "I'm sure there's no acute toxicity, but who's to say there are no chronic effects?" He wants longer studies on more species to check for such effects. ...


I don't mind rats getting liver problems.

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Thu, Jan 21, 2010
from Peninsula College, via EurekAlert:
Stain repellent chemical linked to thyroid disease in adults
A study by the University of Exeter and the Peninsula Medical School for the first time links thyroid disease with human exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). PFOA is a persistent organic chemical used in industrial and consumer goods including nonstick cookware and stain- and water-resistant coatings for carpets and fabrics.... PFOA is a very stable man-made chemical that excels at repelling heat, water, grease, and stains. It is used during the process of making common household and industrial items including nonstick pots and pans, flame-resistant and waterproof clothing, wire coatings, and chemical-resistant tubing. PFOA can also be formed by the break-down of certain other highly fluorinated chemicals used in oil and grease-resistant coatings on fast-food containers and wrappers and in stain-resistant carpets, fabrics, and paints. ...


That accusation will just slide right off the industry.

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Thu, Jan 21, 2010
from Bloomberg News:
Exxon Hid Radiation Risk to Workers, Witness Says
Exxon Mobil Corp., the largest U.S. energy company, "knew or should have known" that drilling pipes it sent to a Louisiana pipe yard were contaminated with dangerous radioactive material, a trial witness testified. Paul Templet, a former secretary of Louisiana's Department of Environmental Quality, told jurors yesterday in a lawsuit trial in state court in Gretna, Louisiana, that internal Exxon memos showed the company had information beginning in the 1930s about cancer-causing radium in the residue, or "scale," that built up inside its pipes. Templet was the first witness for 19 former pipe workers who are suing Exxon, claiming they were exposed to radiation and now fear they may get cancer. He said Exxon failed to report the contamination to his former agency until as late as 1988, endangering workers who cleaned the pipes at a Louisiana site. ...


Those double "x"s in Exxon always seemed suspicious to me.

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Wed, Jan 20, 2010
from CBC News (Canada):
Triffid seed threatens flax industry
Canadian flax seed has been shut out of its largest market after traces of Triffid -- a genetically modified form of the crop ordered destroyed 10 years ago -- was found in shipments. The European Union, which buys 70 per cent of Canada's flax, has a zero-tolerance policy regarding genetically modified organisms and has been turning away shipments. Officials say Canada's entire $320-million industry is threatened. But efforts to correct the situation are being thwarted because it's not clear where the genetically modified flax is coming from. An industry-wide scramble has been on to weed out the offending seed since the problem was discovered in September.... The flax was genetically engineered to contain genes from a weed added to it, allowing it to grow in soil contaminated by herbicides. ...


What's next, Midwich Cuckoos?

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Tue, Jan 19, 2010
from Associated Press:
What's in a cigarette? US to study ingredients
The Food and Drug Administration is working to lift the smokescreen clouding the ingredients used in cigarettes and other tobacco products. In June, tobacco companies must tell the FDA their formulas for the first time, just as drugmakers have for decades. Manufacturers also will have to turn over any studies they've done on the effects of the ingredients... Companies have long acknowledged using cocoa, coffee, menthol and other additives to make tobacco taste better. The new information will help the FDA determine which ingredients might also make tobacco more harmful or addictive. It will also use the data to develop standards for tobacco products and could ban some ingredients or combinations. ...


We've waited this long... can't we be ignorant a little while longer?

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Tue, Jan 19, 2010
from DC Bureau:
Dirty Waters: Cashing in on Ocean Pollution
...The cruise line industry relies on pristine oceans, beautiful coral reefs and marine life to draw millions of travelers on cruise vacations each year. But the same ships that advertise excursions to untouched ocean scenery are threatening these very same natural resources with their standard practice of flushing harmful toxins, mostly as sewage and food waste, into the ocean.... The average cruise ship serves between 10,000 and 12,000 meals per day. On a ship of 5,000 people eating four to five meals a day, the total is closer to 25,000 meals. Food waste is then ground up, put into a holding tank and discharged as food slurry. The putrefying food waste creates acid. In the ocean, it lowers oxygen and increases nutrients in the water, based on an EPA report in 2008 on cruise ship pollution discharge. ...


I'll just bet the giant jellyfish LOVE cruise ships.

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Sun, Jan 17, 2010
from The Tennessean:
NASA public relations flap follows official to TVA
TVA's new spokesman -- brought in to help rehab its credibility after the coal ash disaster -- was enmeshed at his previous job at NASA in a Bush administration controversy in which climate change scientists said they were censored. David Mould's name is sprinkled throughout a National Aeronautics and Space Administration inspector general's 2008 investigation report that says the agency's public affairs headquarters "managed the topic of climate change in a manner that reduced, marginalized, or mischaracterized climate change science." ...


Spokespeople who dissemble are a type of toxic waste.

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Sun, Jan 17, 2010
from The Columbus Dispatch:
Ohio lets power plants, factories ignore federal mercury limits
Since 2004, the state has allowed 42 treatment facilities, power plants and factories to ignore federal limits on dumping mercury into lakes, rivers and streams. This year, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is considering more than 30 new requests for variances from companies that argue that the cost of keeping mercury out of the water far exceeds any benefits to wildlife and human health. Some argue that the technology needed to meet the limits set in 1995 does not exist. "There is no treatment technology available to get to these low levels," said Pat Hemlepp, a spokesman for Columbus-based American Electric Power. But critics say governments are doing little, if anything, to make businesses develop cheap, reliable filters to remove mercury. ...


Government + business versus you + me.

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Sat, Jan 16, 2010
from NUVO Newsweekly:
CAFOs in court
Randolph County family farmers Judy and Allen Hutchison are finally getting their day in court. The couple's home is surrounded by more than 75,000 hogs and cows housed on what are called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), a.k.a. "factory farms." They can see the largest CAFO manure lagoon in the county from their driveway, a manmade, uncovered, 7.2-acre pond that holds roughly 20 million gallons of liquid animal waste. Their clothes frequently smell like manure when they come out of the dryer. The Hutchisons are among more than a dozen East-Central Indiana citizens who have sued several in- and out-of-state CAFO operators for more than just the daily indignities of life near factory farms, like the odors and the irrepressible flies. The lawsuits also allege the families have suffered from a number of physical maladies as a result, including skin irritations, nausea, headaches, breathing difficulties, tightness of the chest, sinus infection, stress and burning eyes, noses and throats. ...


That, my friends, is one whale of a pile of shit.

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Sat, Jan 16, 2010
from Environmental Health News:
FDA shifts stance on BPA, announces "some concern" about children's health
In a major shift, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced Friday that it has "some concern" about the effects of bisphenol A on children's health and is launching new research to answer key questions that may lead to regulation of the chemical. The announcement basically puts the federal government's regulatory agency in line with federal scientists when it comes to the controversial, estrogen-like chemical. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said that her agency has embraced the conclusion of the National Toxicology Program, which announced two years ago after a review of the science that there is "some concern" about developmental and reproductive problems in infants and children exposed to BPA. ...


Way to go, Fart-around and Delay Administration.

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Fri, Jan 15, 2010
from London Independent:
42 tons of poison to purge island of rats
Lord Howe, an idyllic island off the Australian mainland, carefully conserves its natural treasures. The World Heritage-listed chunk of rock has strict quarantine laws, and limits the number of tourists who may visit. But its unique birds, insects and plants are under threat from an implacable foe: the black rat. Accidentally introduced in 1918 when a ship ran aground, rats are blamed for the extinction of five endemic bird species. Wildlife experts warn that 13 other native birds, two reptiles, five plants and numerous invertebrates are at risk. Rats are also a threat to the vital tourism industry, which relies on the island's pristine image.... Stephen Wills, chief executive of the Lord Howe Board, which administers the island as part of New South Wales, agrees that the plan -- which involves dropping nearly 42 tons of poison-laced bait from helicopters -- is radical. But there is no other option, he believes. ...


What could possibly go wrong with this?

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Fri, Jan 15, 2010
from London Guardian:
50 years on, an apology to thalidomide scandal survivors
Fifty years after the one of the worst disasters in medical history, hundreds of survivors of the thalidomide scandal today got an apology from the government and a new 20 million pound compensation package. There are 466 thalidomiders, as they call themselves, all of them in middle-age, born between 1958 and 1961 to mothers who unwittingly took the drug Distaval for morning sickness in the early months of pregnancy. The babies suffered a variety of deformities, mostly to both arms, both legs, or all four limbs. Some also suffered damage to their internal organs. Today Mike O'Brien, minister of health, announced a new funding scheme that will help survivors cope with the changing needs of age. He also offered what campaigners said they wanted even more -- an apology. ...


And in another 50 years, the few survivors of climate collapse can apologize... to the giant jellyfish.

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Thu, Jan 14, 2010
from BBC (UK):
Arctic polar bears imperilled by man-made pollution
The long term survival of polar bears is being threatened by man-made pollution that is reaching the Arctic. This conclusion comes from a major review of research into how industrial chemicals such as mercury and organochlorines affect the bears. The review suggests that such chemicals have a range of subclinical effects. When added together, these can have a dramatic and potentially fatal impact on the bears' bones, organs and reproductive and immune systems. The review, an analysis of more than a decade's research into the effect of pollution on bears, is published in the journal Environment International.... These include toxic metals such as mercury, organohalogen contaminants (OHCs) including organochlorines, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and perflourinated compounds (PFCs), which are used industrially in insulating fluids, as coolants, in foams and electronics and as pest control agents. Such chemicals are often fat-soluble and accumulate in the fat of many animals, which are then eaten by top predators such as polar bears. ...


The invisible hand has a long, long reach.

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Thu, Jan 14, 2010
from EcoGeek:
Shipping Map Tracks Invasive Species Stowaways
Researchers at the Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg, Germany set out to crack the case of marine invasive species. Where are they coming from and how did they get there? They knew that many small species hitch a ride in the ballast water of cargo ships, so they plotted the course of 16,363 ships during 2007 to look for connections. Before now, it was assumed that invasive species were more likely coming from nearby ports, but researchers discovered that wasn't the case. They found that container ships follow regular routes, but oil tankers and dry bulk carriers often change routes. Container ships tend to travel quickly and don't spend long at port. On the other hand, oil tankers and dry bulk carriers travel more slowly, spend more time at port and exchange ballast water more often due to the fact that they spend a lot of time traveling without cargo, making them important to watch. From their analysis they were able to find the world's most connected ports which would be the most prone to the introduction of invasive species. They compiled a list of 20 with the top five being the Panama Canal, the Suez Canal, Shanghai, Singapore and Antwerp. ...


With this map, we now know where to put the "no hitchhiking" signs.

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Wed, Jan 13, 2010
from SciDev.net:
Safety ignored in nanotech rush, warn experts
Developing countries have embarked on a nanotechnology spree in the absence of health and safety guidelines, experts have cautioned. Countries including China, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam are intensively seeking to commercialise nanotechnology. But unlike the European Union, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States -- which have taken public concerns on board and developed preliminary guidance documents on the use of the technology -- developing countries are not engaging in public discourse, said experts at a workshop on nanotechnology governance and regulation held in Delhi, India, last week (8 January).... Advertisements promote shirts made from nanofibres and washing machines that use nanomaterial-coated components to better remove dirt and stains. "It turns out none of the companies has performed any toxicology tests," said Dhawan, because there is no stipulation that they should do so. ...


Of course I buy my grey goo from the lowest bidder.

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Wed, Jan 13, 2010
from PLoS ONE, via PhysOrg:
Analysis of new data confirms bisphenol A link to disease in adults
The new study uses data from NHANES 2006-2006 US population study. While the new study found that urinary BPA concentrations were one third lower than in 2003-2004, higher BPA concentrations in urine samples were still associated with heart disease in 2005-2006. Associations with some liver enzymes were also present. Their original paper in 2008 was the first to find evidence of associations between BPA and heart disease, and this new data confirms their earlier findings. In 2008 the team believed that higher urinary BPA concentrations might be associated with adverse health effects in adults, especially in relation to liver function, insulin, diabetes and obesity. By using data from the US government's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2004-2004, which for the first time measured urinary BPA concentrations, the research team found that a quarter of the population with the highest levels of BPA were more than twice as likely to report having heart disease or diabetes, compared to the quarter with the lowest BPA levels. They also found that higher BPA levels were associated with clinically abnormal liver enzyme concentrations. ...


BPA is DOA, though not to the EPA.

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Mon, Jan 11, 2010
from Indian Express:
Cities choking, only 8 treating 50 percent sewage: CPCB
Thirty five cities in India are pumping as much as 7,604 million litres of sewage daily straight into rivers, notably the Ganga, and the sea. A new report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) on water consumption and sewage disposal patterns shows that the biggest cities in India are only treating 50 per cent of the sewage they generate. Not only is the rest going back to rivers, the source of drinking water, but it is also polluting the sea.... While the current state of sewage disposal poses a massive health problem, it is also a waste of resources. "Sewage water has nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. The nutrient value of this water is between Rs 75 per hectare per annum to Rs 400 per hectare per annum. The only way out is to set up systems wherein this water is used for irrigation and fertilisation in fields and horticultural areas," said a senior scientist from CPCB. ...


We need to go all Rumpelstiltskin-like and turn that shit into gold!

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Sun, Jan 10, 2010
from London Independent:
Who will pay for Amazon's 'Chernobyl'?
A film released this week in Britain recounts the 16-year battle by Ecuadorians for damages against Chevron for oil pollution... the people of Lago Agrio and its surrounding area have been fighting back. Sixteen years ago, 30,000 Ecuadorians began legal action against the US oil company -- now owned by Chevron -- they hold responsible. Early this year, from the town's tiny courtroom, a lone judge will deliver a verdict on their class-action case. If the judge rules in favour of the Ecuadorians, Chevron could face damages of $27.3bn (£17bn), making it the biggest environmental lawsuit in history. This week, while both sides await the verdict, a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the case goes on release in Britain. Called Crude, it is directed by Joe Berlinger, whose movie Metallica: Some Kind of Monster charted the band's travails. ...


Now you 'mericans don't need worry your pretty little heads 'bout this.

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Sun, Jan 10, 2010
from Lincoln Journal Star:
Atrazine getting new scrutiny from EPA
Nebraska is corn country. It's also atrazine country. That means thousands of corn producers are keeping a watchful eye on a new round of EPA scrutiny of one of their cheapest and most effective weed-killing chemicals. News of what's described as a comprehensive evaluation emerged a few weeks ago. As soon as February, the federal environmental regulator expects to seek a scientific peer review of its proposed plan for adding new health studies into its atrazine risk assessment. Pulling the product off the market is always an option. Atrazine already is banned in Europe.... [Tyrone Hayes, a biologist at the University of California-Berkeley] has been studying mutating effects of atrazine on amphibians, which he said include male frogs developing female organs. He also cited EPA studies that show atrazine's impact as "an endocrine disrupter" that lowers fertility and inhibits puberty in lab rats. ...


By buying into this system, we essentially are screwing ourselves!

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Sat, Jan 9, 2010
from Agence France-Presse:
6 U.S. baby bottle firms agree to stop using BPA
The six major baby bottle makers in the United States have agreed to stop using the toxic chemical Bisphenol-A, suspected of harming human development, local officials said. "All six major baby bottle companies — Avent, Disney First Years, Gerber, Dr. Brown, Playtex and Evenflow — have agreed to voluntarily ban BPA from bottles in a major public health victory," Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said in a statement... Over 130 studies over the past decade have linked even low levels of BPA to serious health problems, breast cancer, obesity and the early onset of puberty, among other disorders. ...


Way to grow up, baby bottle makers!

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Sat, Jan 9, 2010
from Indianapolis Star:
State Fair to celebrate Indiana's hogs
This year's Indiana State Fair will celebrate the state's $3 billion hog industry by putting hogs and pork products center stage during the 17-day fair. A series of events, exhibits and displays will toast Indiana's 3,000 hog farming families during the fair's "Year of Pigs" tribute. Indiana Pork Producers executive director Mike Platt says the Aug. 6-22 fair will highlight the large role the hog industry plays in the state's economy. Last year, Indiana hog farmers raised some 8 million pigs. ...


Displays include a booth that emits manure and urine smells!

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Fri, Jan 8, 2010
from Discovery News:
Toxic Dust from Tar Travels into Homes
A widely used type of asphalt sealant derived from coal tar may be making its way into the house dust of homes, according to new research. Young children may actually be playing on coal-tar-sealed driveways and playgrounds, potentially raising their exposure to harmful chemicals. The findings, presented at a meeting of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, concern a group of compounds called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs. Toxic compounds appear in the sealants, which are used to create an even, deep black pavement surface. And coal tar contains a high proportion of PAHs, with levels about 1,000 times higher than in the alternative, asphalt-based sealant. ...


Not another acronym to memorize!

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Fri, Jan 8, 2010
from McClatchy Newspapers:
After review of mountaintop mining, scientists urge ending it
Scientific evidence that mountaintop-removal coal mining destroys streams and threatens human health is so strong the government should stop granting new permits for it, a group of 12 environmental scientists report in Friday's issue of the journal Science. The consequences of this mining in eastern Kentucky, West Virginia and southwestern Virginia are "pervasive and irreversible," the article finds. Companies are required by law to take steps to reduce the damages, but their efforts don't compensate for lost streams nor do they prevent lasting water pollution, it says... "The reason we're willing to make a policy recommendation is that the evidence is so clear-cut" said Margaret Palmer of the University of Maryland, the lead author of the Science study and a specialist on the ecology of streams. ...


So to speak...

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Fri, Jan 8, 2010
from Nature:
Oceans release DDT from decades ago
A computer simulation of the environmental fate of DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) has revealed that substantial quantities of the pesticide are still being released from the world's oceans, despite widespread restrictions on its use during the 1970s. The calculations show that although remaining DDT use today tends to be in the southern hemisphere, its concentrations are actually growing in the northern hemisphere as it moves through the world's oceans and atmosphere. An estimated 1.5 million tonnes of DDT were used worldwide between the 1940s and 1970s, both as an agricultural insecticide and to control disease-carrying insects such as mosquitoes – the chemical was a key weapon in the war against malaria, for example. But DDT is toxic to a wide range of aquatic life, and its eggshell-thinning effects also had a drastic impact on many bird species. ...


Dang oceans! Can't they just hold onto the stuff?

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Wed, Jan 6, 2010
from Science News:
FOR KIDS: Watching out for vultures
What's good for one may not be good for all, especially in the animal kingdom. Consider the case of ketoprofen. Ketoprofen is a drug that, like ibuprofen, provides pain relief and reduces swelling. In India, some farmers give ketoprofen to their cattle and other animals for pain relief. But giving ketoprofen to cattle may ultimately poison vultures, according to a recent study. Vultures are giant, flying scavengers that eat the carcasses of dead animals, including cattle. For farmers, vultures act like nature's janitors. The birds' feasts mean that farmers don't have to figure out how to dispose of the bodies of dead animals. And vultures eat fast: Dozens of birds could take care of a dead animal in 20 minutes. When a vulture eats a dead animal, however, it may also end up eating medications that were given to the animal. In the case of ketoprofen, this is a big problem, according to a study by Richard Cuthbert and his fellow researchers. Cuthbert is a zoologist, or a scientist who studies animals, in England. He recently led a team of scientists from around the world in a study of how ketoprofen affects vultures. He and his team found that even small amounts of the drug can kill a vulture. ...


Hey kids, the sooner you figure out how stupid adults can be, the better!

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Wed, Jan 6, 2010
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Vast protected area proposed for leatherbacks
The battle to save Pacific leatherback turtles from extinction prompted federal biologists Tuesday to propose designating 70,000 square miles of ocean along the West Coast as critical habitat for the giant reptiles. The designation by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration would mark the first time critical habitat has ever been established in the open ocean for the endangered leatherbacks, which swim 6,000 miles every year to eat jellyfish outside the Golden Gate. If approved, the regulations would restrict projects that harm the turtles or their food. The government would be required to review and, if necessary, regulate agricultural waste, pollution, oil spills, power plants, oil drilling, storm water runoff and liquid natural gas projects along the California coast between Long Beach and Mendocino County and off the Oregon and Washington coasts. ...


Yeah, if it weren't for the turtles why even worry about waste, pollution, oil spills, etc...

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Wed, Jan 6, 2010
from Washington Monthly:
The Environmental Consequences of War
...With the United States now pondering a postwar future in Iraq and Afghanistan, some policymakers will wind up examining whether -- or how --America might pay for any damage done to the Afghans' and Iraqis' environment and health. Already, for instance, doctors in Iraq are reporting higher-than-normal levels of cancer and birth defects in cities like Fallujah where the fighting was heaviest. So defense planners are looking to the legacy of Agent Orange in Vietnam for clues. Yet history shows that America's use of Agent Orange was hardly the first instance in which a country has ignored the environmental and health impacts of its wartime strategies. Indeed, almost without exception, countries do not pay for these legacies, for a number of reasons: the cost of cleanup is prohibitive; policymakers worry about the impact of paying on national security; and international law cannot hold a polluter accountable. ...


Seems our primary war is the one against the environment itself.

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Tue, Jan 5, 2010
from Toronto Globe and Mail:
U.S. car ownership shifts into reverse
Americans' infatuation with their cars has endured through booms and busts, but last year something rare happened in the United States: The number of automobiles actually fell. The size of the U.S. car fleet dropped by a hefty four million vehicles to 246 million, the only large decline since the U.S. Department of Transportation began modern recordkeeping in 1960. Americans bought only 10 million cars -- and sent 14 million to the scrapyard.... And the overall drop in car ownership has prompted speculation that the long American love affair with the car is fading. Analysts cite such diverse factors as high gas prices, the expansion of many municipal transit systems, and the popularity of networking websites among teenagers replacing cars as a way of socializing. ...


Meet me in the backseat of my tweet.

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Tue, Jan 5, 2010
from Agence France-Presse:
China river oil spill pollution 'serious': govt
Two tributaries of China's Yellow River have been "seriously polluted" by an oil spill, further contaminating badly tainted drinking water resources, the government said Tuesday. Up to 150,000 litres (40,000 gallons) of diesel spilled into the Chishui and Wei rivers on Wednesday last week after a pipeline operated by China's largest oil producer, China National Petroleum Corp., ruptured, state media said... The two rivers flow into the Yellow River, one of China's longest rivers and the source of drinking water for millions of people, including residents of eight cities that lie downstream from the oil spill, Xinhua news agency said. ...


New name for the Yellow River: Rainbow River.

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Mon, Jan 4, 2010
from London Independent:
Deadly animal diseases poised to infect humans
The world is facing a growing threat from new diseases that are jumping the human-animal species barrier as a result of environmental disruption, global warming and the progressive urbanisation of the planet, scientists have warned. At least 45 diseases that have passed from animals to humans have been reported to UN agencies in the last two decades, with the number expected to escalate in the coming years. Dramatic changes to the environment are triggering major alterations to human disease patterns on a scale last seen during the industrial revolution. ...


Let's kill all the animals... before they kill us!

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Mon, Jan 4, 2010
from Washington Post:
Use of potentially harmful chemicals kept secret under law
Of the 84,000 chemicals in commercial use in the United States -- from flame retardants in furniture to household cleaners -- nearly 20 percent are secret, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, their names and physical properties guarded from consumers and virtually all public officials under a little-known federal provision. The policy was designed 33 years ago to protect trade secrets in a highly competitive industry. But critics -- including the Obama administration -- say the secrecy has grown out of control, making it impossible for regulators to control potential dangers or for consumers to know which toxic substances they might be exposed to. ...


A little mystery so goes a long way.

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Sat, Jan 2, 2010
from China Daily:
China seizes 8,500 tons of smuggled waste tires from US
The Chinese customs authority said it had seized more than 8,500 tons of highly-polluting used tires smuggled from the United States, the biggest amount in recent years. Smugglers pretended they were importing rubber and shipped the pollutants to the coastal city of South China's Guangzhou via Hong Kong between December 2008 and February 2009, the General Administration of Customs said Thursday. The Huangpu Customs officials in Guangzhou found in late December 366 uncleared containers of the smuggled waste at the Dongjiangkou Port, which had lain there for almost a year, said Chen Wen, an inspection department official with the customs. The containers, if lined up, would stretch a length of 4.7 kilometers, according to customs officials. ...


Can't they turn all those tires into finger puzzles or firecrackers or something?

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Thu, Dec 31, 2009
from McClatchy Newspapers:
Dust: Tiny particles with a big impact
Dust, dust, dust. It's everywhere, burrowing under beds, piling up on windowsills, clogging guns and machinery, irritating eyes, noses and lungs. It soars thousands of miles over continents and oceans, sometimes obliterating the sky. Enormous masses of the stuff - fine grains of soil, sand, smoke, soot, sea salt and other tiny particles, both seen and unseen - pervade Earth's air, land and water. Now scientists are beginning to have new respect for the way dust alters the environment and affects the health of people, animals and plants. As global warming raises temperatures and forests are cleared for agriculture and other development, the amount of dust swirling through the Earth's atmosphere is expected to grow. The likely impact is unknown. ...


...all we are is dust in the wind....

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Thu, Dec 31, 2009
from London Guardian:
Shell must face Friends of the Earth Nigeria claim in Netherlands
A judge in the Netherlands has opened the door to a potential avalanche of legal cases against Shell over environmental degradation said to be caused by its oil operations in the Niger Delta. The oil group expressed "disappointment" tonight that a court in The Hague had agreed to allow Friends of the Earth Netherlands and four local Nigerian farmers to bring a compensation case in its backyard for the first time... Friends of the Earth claims the oil spills are not accidents but represent a pattern of systematic pollution and contempt for the rights of the local population that had been going on for decades, something denied by the oil group. Up until now compensation claims have been brought in Nigeria, but many have become bogged down in a congested court system. ...


Stay tuned... for the next couple of decades to see how this turns out.

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Wed, Dec 30, 2009
from Associated Press:
Scientists begin testing mussels for pollutants
SAN FRANCISCO -- California scientists hope studying 180 black mussels pried from algae-covered rocks in San Francisco Bay will provide clues into how many drugs and chemicals are polluting waters across the nation. Mussels filter water and store contaminants in their tissue, providing a record of pollution in the environment. The creatures are being culled from 80 sites in California as part of a pilot study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to see how pervasive the substances have become. "We haven't measured mussels for these compounds, so there's not a lot of data," Dominic Gregorio, a senior environmental scientist with the State Water Resources Control Board, said. "So this is really a first step to be proactive and get ahead of the curve on this." ...


What, pray tell, HAVE you scientists been doing???

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Mon, Dec 28, 2009
from Associated Press:
NY scientists to study affect of everyday toxins
New York scientists have been awarded a $5 million federal grant to study long-term human exposure to chemicals in the environment. Chemicals can pop up in plastic bottles, toys, medical equipment and pillows and upholstery. Scientists are looking to see if micro-amounts of environmental compounds that humans are exposed to will stay in the body, or have lasting effects. California and Washington state also have been awarded grants. Scientists will take samples of urine, blood and saliva, and even test the breath of subjects... They'll measure how much and what kinds of chemicals are flowing through blood and fat tissue. Some of those chemicals are metabolized and leave the body, while others hang around. ...


I feel like this would have been exciting news ... in the 1950s!

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Mon, Dec 28, 2009
from Agence France-Presse:
Need for power coal threatens Zimbabwe national park
Zimbabwe's already dim electricity supply faces a new threat, as the country's main power plant says it needs to dig for new coal reserves under a river inside a national park to keep running. Hwange Colliery says it only has enough coal to power its 940 megawatt plant for three more years. Shortages of coal and working capital, as well as ageing and broken equipment, have already forced the shutdown of three smaller power stations across Zimbabwe, causing daily blackouts that have plagued the country for years. The company says its only viable new deposits of coal suitable for power generation lie in the heart of the Hwange national park, under a river that supplies nearby towns -- including the world-famous Victoria Falls -- as well as thousands of endangered animals. Accessing the new coal would mean strip mining one of the environmentally delicate region's few water supplies. ...


Zimbab-we hardly knew ye.

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Sun, Dec 27, 2009
from Sarasota Herald Tribune:
Katrina survivors battle a new foe: drywall
It is fitting that the massive litigation moving forward on contaminated Chinese drywall should be heard in New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina and its associated flooding killed more than 1,800 people, destroyed tens of thousands of homes and businesses and inflicted upwards of $81 billion in damages. Now, potentially thousands who returned to New Orleans and surrounding communities to rebuild their homes after Katrina are faced with having to do so all over again. The crisis of contaminated drywall may have first come to light in Florida, but as the Herald-Tribune first reported, records show that at least 60 million pounds of Chinese drywall came into the Port of New Orleans beginning in January 2006, enough to build 6,500 average-sized homes. ...


New Orleans: America's favorite guinea pig in the coalmine!

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Sun, Dec 27, 2009
from ProPublica:
New gas wells leave more chemicals in ground
Three company spokesmen and a regulatory official said in separate interviews with ProPublica that as much as 85 percent of the fluids used during hydraulic fracturing is being left underground after wells are drilled in the Marcellus Shale, the massive gas deposit that stretches from New York to Tennessee.... for each modern gas well drilled ... more than three million gallons of chemically tainted wastewater could be left in the ground forever. Drilling companies say that chemicals make up less than 1 percent of that fluid. But by volume, those chemicals alone still amount to 34,000 gallons in a typical well. These disclosures raise new questions about why the Safe Drinking Water Act, the federal law that regulates fluids injected underground so they don't contaminate drinking water aquifers, should not apply to hydraulic fracturing, and whether the thinking behind Congress' 2005 vote to shield drilling from regulation is still valid. When lawmakers approved that exemption it was generally accepted that only about 30 percent of the fluids stayed in the ground... Ninety percent of the nation's wells now rely on the process, ...


Doesn't "aquifer" translate to "hairy water"?

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Sat, Dec 26, 2009
from Mumbai Daily News and Analysis:
Disaster is around the corner for Mumbai
Mumbai: Mumbai, beware! The list of most polluted industrial clusters in the country, which were announced on Thursday, figures five in and around the city. Domivli, Navi Mumbai, Tarapur, Chembur and Pimpri-Chinchwad are names that appear in the top 50 most polluted areas out of the 88 areas identified by the Union environment and forest ministry. The areas have reached their top level in terms of air, water and land pollution. And, the worst is that all the five clusters have reached critical levels of pollution, which has forced the Centre to put on hold expansion in these areas. ...


Pollution. The new terrorism.

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Thu, Dec 24, 2009
from Environmental Science and Technology:
Flame retardants are the suspected source of a new compound in the environment
Ed Sverko didn't set out to find a new compound bioaccumulating in fish when he and a group of Canadian colleagues began looking at a Lake Ontario sediment core sample to collect data on how the concentrations of the widely used Dechlorane Plus (DP) flame retardant changed over time... DP has been detected in the environment before, so Sverko and his colleagues expected to find it in the sediment core. However, during their analysis, the researchers also noted a number of the unknown mass spectra peaks that appeared to be from unknown compounds related to DP...the research team was able to identify plausible sources of all the new compounds. To the best of their knowledge, none have been previously reported in the environment. ...


Dude. Our crap is making up its own shit.

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Wed, Dec 23, 2009
from Muncie Star Press:
Lawyers target pig, dairy farms
WINCHESTER -- Neighbors who are fed up living next door to factory farms have found three high-powered trial lawyers who vow to make Randolph County "ground zero" in a courtroom food fight over how Indiana produces pork and milk. Highly aggressive flies, harmful odors, stacks of dead animals and mismanagement of millions of gallons of manure are among the complaints of neighbors suing pork and dairy producers. The trial lawyers are bringing multiple lawsuits challenging Indiana's industrial or factory model of producing milk and pork in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) promoted by Gov. Mitch Daniels' agriculture department. ...


"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

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Wed, Dec 23, 2009
from Newsweek:
The Great Pacific Cleanup
Since the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the world's biggest communal garbage dump, was discovered swirling about 1,000 miles north of Hawaii in 1997, scientists and environmentalists have dared to dream if a cleanup might be possible. Consisting of an estimated 3.5 million tons of trash and scattered over an area roughly the size of the continental United States, the garbage comes from countries all over the world, most of it flushed through waterways leading to the ocean.... Now an unlikely partnership between ocean scientists and the waste-management industry is working on ways to clean up the mess... There's no perfect way to fish it all out of the ocean, especially not without harming ocean creatures in the process. ...


As a species we have pissed in the wind, and shat where we sleep.

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Wed, Dec 23, 2009
from Environmental Health News:
EPA announces plan to require disclosure of secret pesticide ingredients
Reversing a decade-old decision, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Tuesday that it plans to require pesticide manufacturers to disclose to the public the inert ingredients in their products. An inert ingredient is anything added to a pesticide that does not kill or control a pest. In some cases, those ingredients are toxic compounds, but companies do not identify them on pesticide labels. Nearly 4,000 inerts - including several hundred that are considered hazardous under other federal rules - are used in agricultural and residential pesticides. ...


Oh jeez I don't think I wanna know!

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Tue, Dec 22, 2009
from Christian Science Monitor:
More herbicide use reported on genetically modified crops
DesA report released by the Organic Center found that the amount of herbicides used on genetically engineered crops has increased in the past 10 years, not decreased as might be expected. Since many genetically engineered crops were modified so that farmers could spray Roundup, or Glyphosate, to kill the weeds in their fields but not the crops themselves, the expectation was that less herbicide would be required. But the new report found that this is not what happened. The authors of the report, entitled "Impacts of Genetically Engineered Crops on Pesticide Use," used US Department of Agriculture data to look at America's three largest genetically engineered crops -- soybeans, corn, and cotton. They found that the amount of herbicides used on them has increased from 1996 to 2008 by approximately 7 or 8 percent, with a particularly sharp increase from 2005 on. ...


So... Roundup ain't so ready after all?

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Mon, Dec 21, 2009
from Environmental Health News:
Sharp rise in metals in Mount Everest ice mirrors growth in Central Asia.
Ice core samples from Mount Everest that represent 800 years of atmospheric history contain much higher levels of certain metals in the last three decades than in the previous seven centuries. The metals are linked to the rising use of fossil fuels in Asia during that same time period. Economic growth and more burning of fossil fuels by industries and cars in central Asia since the 1970s has resulted in higher levels of metals deposited in recent layers of ice collected from Mount Everest. Data from a recent study that examined the cores from the Himalayan Mountains are the first to show that levels of arsenic, molybdenum, tin and antimony in the ice samples have sharply increased during the last 30 years when compared to the previous 700 years. During those centuries, the metal levels varied but were fairly stable. ...


Magnetize those pitons and hooks for added stability!

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Tue, Dec 15, 2009
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Newsom backs radiation labels on cell phones
San Francisco would become the first city in the country to require that cell phone retailers label the devices with the level of radiation they emit under a controversial proposal being discussed at the Department of the Environment and endorsed by Mayor Gavin Newsom. There is no scientific consensus that cell phones pose health hazards, and the Federal Communications Commission is adamant that any cell phone legally sold in the United States is safe for consumer use. But Newsom - who said he'll keep on using his beloved iPhone - said customers have the right to the information. "The information exists, but not at the point of sale," he said. "If we prevail, and I believe we will prevail, other cities will follow suit." ...


The customer is ALWAYS right.

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Mon, Dec 14, 2009
from PhysOrg.com:
Decades-old dioxins pollute river, divide US community
If he catches a fish that swims here year round he tosses it back. But if he hooks a walleye -- only an occasional visitor to the river and has lower dioxin levels than the year-rounders -- then it's time for dinner. "I don't think it's as big a concern as what people are saying it is," said Mitchell, 51, as he sat on a pail on the muddy bank and cast his line out into the water. "I can remember when the rivers never froze in the winters and now they're freezing over, so the pollution in the rivers has got to be a lot less than it was." The Tittabawassee may be clean enough to freeze now, but it remains one of the most contaminated waterways in the United States and a key example of the nation's struggle to deal with its industrial past.... Dioxins are chemicals so toxic they get measured in trillionths of a gram. They linger for years in both the environment and the body and pose a host of health risks from cancer to birth defects. For most of the last century, Dow Chemical Company dumped waste from the sprawling complex near its Midland, Michigan headquarters right into the Tittabawassee and burned it in unfiltered incinerators. ...


Dioxins? I call those human nutrients that strengthen the species.

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Sun, Dec 13, 2009
from Than Nien News (Vietnam):
Pollution soon to render Dong Nai River unusable
The Dong Nai River supplies water to some 15 million people in southern Vietnam, but that has not stopped callous companies from dumping so much toxic sludge in the river that scientists say it will soon be too poisonous to use. "Tests since 2006 have found pollution near the Hoa An Pump Station has increased to serious levels with an especially high concentration of organic [toxic] substances," said Truong Khac Hoanh, vice director of Thu Duc Water Supply Company in Ho Chi Minh City. "With such an increase in pollution, this water supply will soon be unusable," he said. A top official at the Binh An Water Plant in HCMC also said the Dong Nai would soon be like its tributary the Thi Vai, where aquatic life can't survive due to the high levels of pollution. ...


Chwistmas Wish: widdle aqualungs for the widdle cweatures.

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Sat, Dec 12, 2009
from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
It's best to avoid BPA, federal official says
The head of the primary federal agency studying the safety of bisphenol A said Friday that people should avoid ingesting the chemical - especially pregnant women, infants and children. "There are plenty of reasonable alternatives," said Linda Birnbaum, director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program, in an interview with the Journal Sentinel. While stressing she is not a medical doctor, Birnbaum said she has seen enough studies on the chemical to be concerned about its effects on human health... Asked if consumers should be worried about BPA, Birnbaum said, "Absolutely." ...


Then what are we grown men? Chopped liver?

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Sat, Dec 12, 2009
from Alaska Journal of Commerce:
Climate change eroding coast at accelerating rate, scientists find
Coastal erosion isn't the only climate-related problem confronting rural communities. Health officials now are concerned about food and water safety in northern villages as warming temperatures thaw ice cellars and melting permafrost increases the organic content in rivers, creating problems in village water treatment plants. Increased erosion is presenting problems within the petroleum reserve. Erosion has the potential to expose old oil and gas drill sites and reserve pits, where contaminants are stored. ...


The Great Thaw is going to unearth a whole lotta old shit.

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Fri, Dec 11, 2009
from Christian Science Monitor:
Nuclear waste: Canada asks its towns if they'll give it a home
If they were to take out a classified ad, it would read something like this: "Wanted: safe, willing home for 40,000 metric tons of nuclear waste. Must be Canadian. Phone for details."... Canada, like the United States, is seeking a long-term solution for storing spent nuclear fuel, which will remain toxic for more than 10,000 years. But the Canadian approach to finding a central depository site has fundamental differences, most strikingly that potential host communities must volunteer. But, like the stalled US effort, its success or failure will bear on any decision to expand the country's nuclear power sector. ...


There goes the neighborhood.

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Wed, Dec 9, 2009
from Anchorage Daily News:
Spill is among worst ever on North Slope
Officials have found a 24-inch jagged rupture in a pipeline that began pouring oil and water Nov. 29, creating one of the biggest North Slope crude oil spills ever. The on-scene coordinator for the state Department of Environmental Conservation, Tom DeRuyter, said Tuesday that the breach on the bottom of the pipe was the biggest he had ever seen and indicative of the incredible pressure the pipeline was under when it split... Officials say massive ice plugs had formed inside the pipe, which caused BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. to stop operating it a few weeks ago. Pressure then built up until the pipeline ruptured, according to BP. ...


Arguably, Sarah Palin might be considered an even bigger spill.

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Wed, Dec 9, 2009
from Knoxville News Sentinel:
Report: Spill released huge load of heavy metals
Last year's Kingston fly ash spill dumped more heavy metals into the Emory River than all the power plants discharged into all the nation's waters the year before, an environmental group said in a report issued Tuesday. The Environmental Integrity Project report states the spill - at 5.4 million cubic yards - released roughly 4 1/2 times more lead and 2 1/2 times more arsenic than the entire power industry released in 2007. The project based its conclusions on data that industry supplied to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In all, the report states the Kingston spill discharged 2.66 million pounds worth of 10 heavy metals that are present in coal ash. In 2007, the power industry discharged 2.04 million pounds nationwide....The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency already has announced it would propose new standards this month for coal ash, possibly classifying it as hazardous waste. ...


Or... we could classify it as "sweet soup that spilleth out of its bowl."

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Wed, Dec 9, 2009
from University of Michigan, via EurekAlert:
Study reveals how Arctic food webs affect mercury in polar bears
Mercury is a naturally occurring element, but some 150 tons of it enter the environment each year from human-generated sources such as coal-burning power plants, incinerators and chlorine-producing plants. Deposited onto land or into water, mercury is picked up by microorganisms, which convert some of it to methylmercury, a highly toxic form that builds up in fish and the animals that eat them. As bigger animals eat smaller ones, the methylmercury is concentrated -- a process known as bioaccumulation. Sitting at the top of the food chain, polar bears amass high concentrations of the contaminant.... The study showed that polar bears that get most of their nutrition from phytoplankton-based food webs have greater mercury concentrations than those that participate primarily in ice algae-based webs. While it's tempting to speculate that declining sea ice, due to global warming, may force polar bears to depend more on phytoplankton-based webs, thus increasing their mercury exposure, the study doesn't directly address that issue. ...


Why, it's as if everything was interconnected!

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Tue, Dec 8, 2009
from Los Angeles Times:
China turns to Madison Avenue for an image makeover
Reporting from Beijing - Plagued by recalls of toxic toys, poison pet food and other products, and facing rising trade barriers for its exports, China is taking a page from the American corporate playbook. It has hired a Madison Avenue ad agency to help burnish its image. In what is believed to be Beijing's first global ad campaign, a television commercial now airing on CNN in the U.S., Asia and Europe portrays satisfied consumers enjoying Chinese-made goods. It also touts the notion that China's manufacturing prowess benefits nations around the globe. ...


Thank goodness the US still leads the world in bullshitting.

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Mon, Dec 7, 2009
from National Geographic News:
"Wired" Irish River Detects Pollution in Real Time
Nature has gone wireless in Ireland, where scientists have outfitted a major river with sensors that detect spikes in pollution in real time. Sensors recently placed at various points in the River Lee, near the city of Cork, send information on pollution levels back to a data center. Water managers can keep tabs on pollutants entering the river and, if need be, mount an immediate response. Called the DEPLOY project, the program was developed as a cheaper alternative to sending out scientists to collect water samples several times a day. In addition, the technology can identify a disastrous influx of pollution, such as toxic industrial-chemical spills, before fish go belly up. ...


Sweet! The Apocalypse will be monitored!

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Sun, Dec 6, 2009
from CBS News:
Zhu Zhu Hamsters May Pose Health Risk
A consumer group in California says one of the hottest-selling toys this holiday season may not be safe for youngsters, reports CBS Station KPIX correspondent Kiet Do. When it debuted, the Zhu Zhu pet hamster was one of the top 15 hottest toys of the holiday season. But the consumer watchdog group Good Guide, based in the Bay Area, says that if you have one, keep the receipt. In rating the product goodguide.com says it found a chemical called antimony, which is a metal with potential health hazards. ...


Only thing worse than antimony is antimoney.

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Sat, Dec 5, 2009
from Daily Times:
Mysterious disease strikes children in coastal areas of city
A strange disease has spread in the coastal belt of Karachi paralysing the lower limbs and some times the arms and other body parts of the victims, the majority of whom are children... the disease are first afflicted with fever for a few days and then their lower limbs and sometimes the arms and other body parts are completely paralysed. Though this disease remains unidentified, geologists contend that it is caused due to the consumption of fluoride-contaminated underground water. Experts have also expressed fear that the disease could engulf the entire coast of Sindh. ...


What are these "experts" expert in, panicking the populace?

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Thu, Dec 3, 2009
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Study: Chemicals, pollutants found in newborns
Chemicals from cosmetics, perfumes and other fragrances were detected along with dozens of other industrial compounds in the umbilical cords of African American, Asian and Latino infants in the United States, according to a national study released Wednesday. Laboratory tests paid for by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group and Rachel's Network found 232 chemicals and pollutants in the umbilical cords of the 10 babies tested in five states between December 2007 and June 2008...Seven of the 10 babies had in their umbilical cord blood synthetic musks known as Galaxolide and Tonalide, which are toxic to aquatic life and have been shown in preliminary studies to cause hormonal changes. ...


The sooner they get used to it, the better.

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Tue, Dec 1, 2009
from Environmental Health News:
Mixture more imposing on brain messenger than lone chemicals
Scientists demonstrate that the effects of different environmental contaminants can add together to have a greater effect on an important signaling chemical in the brain. A mixture of different environmental contaminants can add up to a have a bigger effect on an important brain chemical called glutamate than any one of them alone. ...


Coldcocktailed!

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Mon, Nov 30, 2009
from McClatchy Newspapers:
Effects of using ash remain unknown
Millions of pounds of Duke Energy's coal ash, a byproduct of power plants that can contaminate water, lies underground in the Charlotte region as regulators increase their scrutiny of the waste. Nobody knows whether it poses a threat. North Carolina requires no permits, protective liners or checks of groundwater when ash is used to fill gullies or prepare roadbeds and building foundations. Duke deposited 2.7 million tons of ash for those uses between 1992 and 2003... Duke's Belews Creek power plant in Stokes County proves the value of monitoring ash deposits. Duke had to shut down an ash landfill at the plant in 2008 after repeatedly exceeding state groundwater safety standards... Coal ash contains metals that can be toxic in high concentrations, and Duke Energy has recently detected tainted groundwater near its basins. ...


I'm gonna make a wild guess and say ... yes, it's a threat.

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Mon, Nov 30, 2009
from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
FDA likely to delay ruling on BPA
Despite months of additional study and a self-imposed timetable, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration likely will not release its ruling Monday on the safety of bisphenol A, a chemical used in thousands of household products that has been linked to developmental and behavioral problems. Sources told the Journal Sentinel the agency instead is likely to ask for more time as its scientists consider hundreds of new studies on the chemical's effects. Last year, relying on two studies paid for by BPA-makers, the FDA held the chemical was safe for all uses. But the FDA's own science board recommended that the agency had not considered enough of the other studies on the chemical. Earlier this year, the FDA said it would review its findings and set the Nov. 30 deadline. ...


Does the P in BPA stands for Procrastinate?

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Sun, Nov 29, 2009
from London Independent:
Bhopal: The victims are still being born
Bhopal is a calamity without end. On 3 December 1984, clouds of poison leaking from a Union Carbide pesticides plant brought death to thousands in this central Indian city. Today, fully a quarter of a century later, victims of this, the world's worst industrial disaster, are still being born. Here, in neighbourhoods where people depend on water contaminated by chemicals leaking from the abandoned factory and to mothers exposed to the toxic gas as children, brain damaged and malformed babies are 10 times more common than the national average. Doctors at Bhopal's Sambhavna Clinic say that as many as one in 25 babies are still born with defects and developmental problems such as a smaller head, webbed feet and low birth weight. ...


Presumably, the perpetrators continue to be born as well.

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Thu, Nov 26, 2009
from ENS, via DesdemonaDespair:
Azeri fishermen lament vanished shrimp
"It's been two years since the shrimps vanished from the Apsheron shore of the Caspian. And in these last few days, I have been returning home with almost nothing. Maybe 200-250 grams of small shrimps end up in my nets, but no one buys them. I give them to friends who fish to use as bait." From Pirallahi, which juts into the Caspian Sea from the Apsheron peninsula some 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of Baku, oil platforms are visible a kilometer offshore, and ecologists blame the pollution caused by the oil industry for the collapse in the shrimp population.... He says shrimps rely on minute water plants and animals for food, but the sea floor has become heavily polluted with oil recently, meaning the micro-organisms have died.... ...


The shrunken shrimp's shilent shriek.

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Wed, Nov 25, 2009
from Environmental Health News:
Inhaling Human Pathogens With Cigarette Smoke
Cigarettes contain hundreds of different strains of bacteria, including many human pathogens that may play a role in lung diseases and respiratory infections, new research shows. Most health research has focused on the impact of chemicals in cigarettes and the particulates that are produced when tobacco is burned. But a new study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, paints the most complete picture to date of the bacteria in tobacco, suggesting that the germs could be another potential source of infection and disease. The research -- which shows that smokers are inhaling live bacteria -- is the first time cigarettes have been implicated as a source of potentially pathogenic microbes.... Smoking cigarettes harms almost every organ system in the human body. The chemicals and heavy metals found in tobacco -- nearly 3,000 of them -- and the particulates get most of the blame for the harmful effects of cigarettes, such as lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, emerging research points to smoking as a risk factor for respiratory illnesses such as the common cold, influenza, asthma, bacterial pneumonia and interstitial lung disease. ...


Not to mention the 4.5 trillion butts discarded on the planet each year.

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Tue, Nov 24, 2009
from Washington Post:
Six years later, gender-bending fish in our water supply remain a mystery
What's the problem with the Potomac River -- and could whatever it is spell problems for those of us who drink its water? In 2003, scientists discovered something startling in the Potomac, from which at least 3 million Washington area residents get their drinking water: Male fish were growing eggs. But six years later, a government-led research effort still hasn't answered those two questions. Scientists say they still aren't sure which pollutants are altering the fish, or whether the discovery poses any threat to people's health. The job is not easy: Scientists are looking for wisps of hormone-mimicking pollutants in the Potomac's vast, moving soup. ...