Archives for the day of: January 8, 2011

Riverside Press-Enterprise: Low levels of perchlorate affect infants.

A new analysis by state scientists found that low levels of a rocket fuel chemical common in Inland drinking water supplies appear to be more harmful to newborn babies than previously believed, prompting calls for a tougher limit for tap water.

Scientists with the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment examined records of blood samples drawn from the heels of 497,458 newborns in 1998 as part of a California disease-screening program.

The researchers found that the babies born in areas where tap water was contaminated with perchlorate — including babies in Riverside and San Bernardino — had a 50 percent chance of having a poorly performing thyroid gland, said Dr. Craig Steinmaus, lead author of the study published in this month’s Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. More . . .

Economist: Pollution and race: In whose backyard?

ALABAMA’S Black Belt, a prairie region that spans the south-central part of the state between the Georgia and Mississippi borders, is flat, green and low. As a result, the large grey ash mound looming over a line of scraggly trees stands out all the more from the rural highway heading east out of Uniontown.

The mound is coal ash shipped from Kingston, Tennessee. On December 22nd 2008, a holding pond at a Tennessee Valley Authority coal-fired power plant ruptured, sending 978m gallons (3,702m litres) of ash into a nearby river, where it turned to sludge. That sludge was shipped to Arrowhead, a landfill site outside Uniontown. Some locals feel it stands out olfactorily as well as visibly: signs proclaiming “Coal Ash Stinks!” dot a few front gardens on the road across from the landfill, and a group of locals are suing Phill-Con, the landfill’s operator, in state and federal courts, claiming that dust and odours from the ash have made them ill. Phill-Con insists that its operation is in compliance with state, local and federal laws, but calls for stronger regulation have grown since the accident. Coal ash has a number of industrial uses—cement, concrete and highways among them. Businesses fear that regulation would hamper such use; environmental groups say coal ash is full of toxic metals and tends to leach into groundwater.  More . . .

Peggy Shepard

Peggy Shepard is executive director and co-founder of WE ACT for Environmental Justice. Founded in 1988, WE ACT was New York’s first environmental justice organization created to improve environmental health and quality of life in communities of color.

In this portion of my interview, she discusses her early career and responds to the prompts listed below.

(Duration 10:31)


  1. Please describe your career before you became involved in the environmental justice movement. 00:40
  2. How did you move from magazine editor to an activist in the political arena? 03:40
  3. Did working for the Jesse Jackson campaign alter your career goals? 05:50
  4. What factors led you to run for office? 07:15
  5. As a politician, how did you become interested in environmental problems? 08:25

Other Portions of Peggy Shepard Interview

Title Duration
Part 1 – Early Career 10:30
Part 2 – The Origins of WE ACT 8:24
Part 3 – The Work of WE ACT 11:02
Part 4 – Environmental Health & Justice 6:29
Part 5 – Collaborating with Scientists 7:51
Part 6 – Policy Reforms 10:15
Part 7 – Environmental Activism 14:22
Part 8 – Five Favorites 5:45
Full Interview 66:41

Go to expert’s main Upstream page.

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