Archives for posts with tag: Upstream News

Washington Post: Lead may be leaching into thousands of D.C. homes.

The water in almost 15,000 D.C. homes that received repairs during a massive effort to remove lead pipes may still be contaminated by dangerous levels of the metal, according to a report released Wednesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If those residences are home to small children, pregnant women or anyone with a compromised immune system, the water should be tested, said George Hawkins, general manager of D.C. Water.

The CDC concluded that homeowners who had pipes only partially replaced may have made the problem worse. The center also confirmed that children living in the District were exposed to an increased risk of lead poisoning from 2000 to 2006 as an inadvertent result of efforts to disinfect the water supply that caused lead pipes to corrode and leach into the water that flowed through them. More . . .

Discovery Channel: 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.

That process, accumulating evidence suggests, might lead to all sorts of negative health consequences, including some cancers, behavioral issues, and developmental problems. More . . .

Agence France-Presse: Working with pesticides linked to dementia, study shows.

Long-term exposure to pesticides may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, according to a study released Thursday.

Workers “directly exposed” to bug and weed killers while toiling in the prestigious vineyards of Bordeaux, France were five times more likely to score less well on a battery of neurological tests than those with minimal or no exposure, the study found.

As revealing, this high-exposure group was twice as likely to register a significantly sharp drop in a key test — frequently used to diagnose dementia — repeated four years after the initial examination.

The drop “is particularly striking in view of the short duration of follow up and the relatively young age of the participants,” mostly in their late 40s or 50s, the authors said. More . . .

Agence France-Presse: Europe may soon enforce a ban on baby bottles with bisphenol A.

Europe is likely to enforce a ban on baby bottles which contain the chemical Bisphenol-A,owing to its adverse effects on child health, the European Commission said.  European Union health commissioner John Dalli wants to pull such bottles off shop shelves across the 27-nation bloc because of the “uncertainties” about its effects on infants, his spokesman Frederic Vincent told AFP. More . . .

Yale Environment 360: A warning by key researcher on risks of BPA in our lives.

The chemical Bisphenol A, or BPA, has been much in the news lately. BPA is the building block for polycarbonate plastic — the sort of hard, clear plastic often used in water bottles — and it is found in everything from linings of metal cans, to the thermal paper used for cash register receipts, to the dental sealants applied to children’s teeth. The chemical mimics estrogen, and in studies involving lab animals, exposure to BPA, even at very low doses, has been linked to a wide variety of health problems, from an increased risk of prostate cancer, to heart disease, to damage to the reproductive system.

Frederick vom Saal, a biologist at the University of Missouri’s Endocrine Disruptors Group, is one of the world’s leading researchers on the ill health effects of BPA in humans and animals. He is also one of the most outspoken critics of U.S. businesses and regulators for glossing over, or concealing, the major impact that BPA exposure is increasingly having on human health. Vom Staal is irate that even though BPA is quite similar to another synthetic hormone — DES, or Diethylstilbesterol — that caused myriad health problems in thousands of women in the 1940s and 1950s, federal regulators are only now beginning to take seriously the threat from BPA. In an interview with Yale Environment 360 contributor Elizabeth Kolbert, vom Saal excoriated the U.S. chemical industry for attempting to quash research showing the dangers of BPA and for threatening him and other researchers. More . . .

AOL News: Asbestos dangers known centuries ago, but battle continues.

Early on, the EPA saw the need to ban asbestos in this country, and 21 years ago the agency did just that.  But the ban was short-lived. The powerful Canadian asbestos industry — which remains one of the world’s largest producers of the killer mineral — sued the EPA almost immediately. Within months, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned it on technical reasons. So, as it had almost a century before, the use of the fireproof mineral flourished, as did the number of people felled by asbestos-related disease. Granite chronicles of the deadliness of asbestos can be seen in workers’ graveyards near the vermiculite mine at Libby, Mont., in tiny towns along the string of taconite mines in upper Minnesota, and near Michigan’s auto plants, Boeing’s aircraft factories in Washington, talc mines in New York and shipyards on all coasts.

What can only be guessed at is the unknown number of asbestos-caused diseases like mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis in people exposed to asbestos from vermiculite insulation in their attics or walls or other consumer products they handle daily. More . . .

CBS News: Living off toxic trash in the Philippines.

For decades, “Smokey Mountain,” a towering heap of trash billowing smoke in Manila, was the symbol of poverty in the Philippines. Images of women and children picking through the garbage for any salvageable scraps will remain burned into the minds of the nation for a generation. In 1990, the Philippine government closed the infamous landfill, which once held 2 million tons of trash. Low-cost government housing sprung up on the site in the following years, and residents were given some community-based employment. It should have been a new beginning — fresh hope for the nation’s poorest. Just across the road, however, in an area called Pier 18, a new landfill has taken Smokey Mountain’s place.  The area is home to a large and growing community of slum dwellers, and Cheryl Dalisay, 30, and her son, 10-year old Chervin Enoc, are among them. Like most who live here, Chervin and his mother earn a living by picking salvageable scraps of garbage off the mound of castaway junk.  More . . .

Cary News: A plant, a well and a wish for trustworthy water.

The Bradfords don’t trust their tap. Neither do many of their neighbors in Northgate, an unincorporated subdivision here that draws its water from a public well. In 2008, they discovered what the state had known for several years: Groundwater near their neighborhood had been contaminated with trichloroethylene, a chemical compound often used as an industrial solvent and suspected to cause cancer. The tainted water is likely the result of chemicals dumped decades ago at a now-vacant textile plant that borders the neighborhood. Avoiding groundwater pollutants – and easing Northgate residents’ worries about what they’re drinking – could be relatively simple. Getting clean water would require a few connectors to link to a town water line that frames the neighborhood. But Fuquay-Varina has not agreed to provide water, and will likely not do so unless all Northgate residents agree to be annexed by the town. More . . .

Barstow Desert Dispatch: Pregnant women, children most likely to be impacted by perchlorates.

The risk of adverse health effects of perchlorate water contamination at levels recently found in Barstow is not certain, but public health officials and experts agree that pregnant women and young children are most at risk. Dr. Maxwell Ohikhuare, Health Officer for the San Bernardino Department of Public Health, said that levels of perchlorate detected in Barstow’s water on Friday are not likely to affect anyone’s health — with the possible exception of pregnant women or those who suffer from hypothyroidism. High levels of perchlorate are known to affect fetal brain development and the neurological development of young children, but dangerous levels of exposure and specific impacts of the chemical are somewhat unknown due to a lack of studies. More . . .


Columbia State:
Drinking water poisoned near sewage disposal site.

Folks in Pelion complained bitterly 21 years ago about human waste and grease that would be dumped on fields in their community. But state regulators approved plans for a sewage disposal site anyway — publicly assuring residents the waste wouldn’t stink up the countryside or hurt the environment. Now, the same agency that approved the sewage dump site is scrambling to stop dangerously high levels of toxic pollutants from spreading in groundwater. More . . .

Associated Press: New USGS study finds mercury widespread in Indiana.

One in eight fish taken from Indiana waterways and analyzed over a five-year period was tainted with the toxic metal mercury, according to federal scientists who last year reported that precipitation that falls near southeastern Indiana’s coal-fired power plants harbors some of the nation’s highest concentrations of atmospheric mercury. The study led by U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist Martin Risch also showed that mercury contamination in both surface waters and fish across Indiana routinely exceeds levels recommended to protect humans and animals. Risch said the front cover of the mercury report includes photographs of an eagle and a boy holding a big fish. More . . .

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