Associated Press: A toxic legacy: Eastern Europe dotted with disasters in waiting.

Abandoned mines in Romania leech heavy-metal contaminated waters into rivers. A Hungarian chemical plant produces more than 100,000 tons of environmental toxins 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.   Read more here.

Ecologist: Poverty forces Roma people to scavenge toxic e-waste.

Roma communities in France, currently the subject of a controversial crackdown by the Sarkozy administration, are being forced to scavenge growing volumes of potentially dangerous e-waste in a bid to escape poverty, an Ecologist investigation has revealed.  Taking advantage of apparently ineffective waste recycling schemes, impoverished Roma people living in slums on the fringes of Paris – and elsewhere – are scouring the streets in search of discarded electrical and electronic goods in order to break the items down and extract key elements including aluminum, copper, iron and lead for sale to a network of scrap dealers.  Read more here.

Missoula Missoulian: Society of Environmental Journalists panel breaks down complex W.R. Grace case.

At every turn, the complex criminal case of W.R. Grace & Co. underscored the challenges of prosecuting environmental crimes, where perpetrators are rarely as overtly devious as in a homicide or robbery, experts said Wednesday. With each hotly disputed legal motion, appeal and judicial ruling, the public health tragedy in Libby and the government’s quest for justice magnified those difficulties, according to panelists who are intimately familiar with the case. The group convened Wednesday at the University of Montana for the 20th annual Society of Environmental Journalists conference, a five-day event hosted by UM to discuss environmental issues that shape the Rocky Mountain West. Read more here.