Be Safe

Unknown

DuPont’s toxic C8 chemical still unchecked, group says

Print

“When a toxic chemical used to make Teflon was discovered in the drinking water in parts of New York, Vermont and New Hampshire, federal and state officials made changes to protect residents.

Officials in New York installed filters, and Vermont’s health department set a new standard for the chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid, in drinking water, establishing one of the lowest allowable levels in the nation.

And the governors of all three states sent a letter this month to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, asking the agency to help with additional drinking water testing and analysis in communities exposed to to perfluorooctanoic acid, known as PFOA or C8, which DuPont used to make Teflon at a number of facilities, including its Washington Works plant, located on the Ohio River near Parkersburg, West Virginia.

The chemical has been linked to serious health problems including cancer, pregnancy complications and thyroid disease.

Yet in southeastern Ohio and near Parkersburg — considered by many the center of C8 contamination in the country — governments have remained largely silent. Neither the federal nor state governments require public drinking water systems in Ohio or West Virginia to filter out the chemical.

In 2005, the Ohio EPA sent letters to customers of the Little Hocking Water Association, advising residents that elevated C8 levels had been found in their water and noting that the agency would “continue its involvement in this issue.”

But in the decade since, Ohio largely has deferred to the U.S. EPA rather than push for additional testing of water or residents…”

Read more from The Columbus Dispatch

unknown

There’s a Cancer-Causing Chemical in My Drinking Water, But California Isn’t Regulating It

Print

“I have to admit, after the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, I’m a little freaked out about what’s in my tap water. So when I opened my water bill from the city of Fresno recently, I decided to actually read the “consumer confidence report” for drinking water. And I found this footnote in tiny print:

Consumer Confidence Report Footnote

123 Trichloropropane has been detected in 29 wells in Fresno…. Some people who use water containing it over many years may have an increased risk of getting cancer, based on studies in laboratory animals.

Wait…what? I have two little kids, and my family drinks the tap water. And it might cause cancer? I decided to fork out $200 to get mine tested. And to start digging into how 1,2,3-TCP got into the water.

Turns out, it’s not just Fresno. According to the State Water Resources Control Board, 1,2,3-TCP has been found in about a hundred public water systems across California, mostly in the Central Valley but also in counties like Santa Cruz, Monterey, Sacramento, and Los Angeles…”

Get the whole story from San Francisco Public Radio

unknown

EPA targeting pesticide used on strawberries, lettuce

Print

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has announced its intent to ban sales in the United States of commercial insecticides made with flubendiamide, used on wine grapes, strawberries and lettuce.

The pesticides are manufactured by Nichino America, Inc. and Bayer CropScience, LP.

Bayer lists the chemical on its website as an ingredient in its “Belt” pesticide brand as the “first representative of a new chemical insecticide class — the diamides,” which doesn’t attack insects’ nervous systems, as other pesticides do, but instead attacks receptors in insect muscles, causing immediate cessation of feeding, preventing them from inflicting further crop damage.

“Required studies showed flubendiamide breaks down into a more highly toxic material that is harmful to species that are an important part of aquatic food chains, especially for fish, and is persistent in the environment,” EPA officials state in a news release issued Tuesday…”

Read more from the Californian

Unknown

A New Study Suggests Even the Toughest Pesticide Regulations Aren’t Nearly Tough Enough

Print

“California officials have long touted their pesticide regulations as the toughest in the nation. But a new report from the University of California, Los Angeles, reveals a major flaw in the state’s approach to evaluating safety, one that has broad implications for the way pesticides are regulated nationally: Regulators assess pesticide safety one product at a time, but growers often apply pesticides as mixtures. That’s a serious problem, the authors argue, because pesticide interactions can ratchet up toxic effects, greatly enhancing the risk of cancer and other serious health conditions.

“The federal EPA and California Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) have not adequately dealt with interactive effects,” says John Froines, a report coauthor and a chemist with decades of experience assessing health risks of toxic chemicals as a scientist and regulator. “People are exposed to a large number of chemicals. You can’t simply look chemical by chemical to adequately address the toxicity of these compounds.”

Fumigants, used to combat a range of pests and diseases, are among the most toxic chemicals used in agriculture. They are a staple of high-value crops like tomatoes and strawberries. Studies in humans and animals have linked them to acute respiratory and skin damage and serious chronic health problems, including cancer and neurological and reproductive disorders.

To get around the state’s failure to collect data on cumulative exposures to these fumigants, Froines and his colleagues drew on what’s known about the chemical and biological properties of three of the most heavily used fumigants in California: chloropicrin, Telone (the trade name for 1,3-dichloropropene), and metam sodium.

Read more from the Nation


Unknown

Christie’s budget continues depletion of lead abatement fund

Print

“Gov. Chris Christie’s latest budget proposal honors a decade-old practice in New Jersey: It diverts millions of dollars intended for a lead exposure prevention program to the state’s general fund.

Christie’s Democratic predecessor made similar budget transfers. And administration officials say New Jersey is a success story for addressing lead contamination. But the Republican governor is drawing increasing criticism from lawmakers and community groups who claim he isn’t doing enough to reduce it.

They’ve focused their concern on the lack of money in Christie’s budget for the Lead Hazard Control Assistance Fund.

Created in 2004, the fund was designed to provide financial assistance to property owners who want to remove lead paint, which can peel and crumble, placing children at risk for developmental disabilities.

A tax on paint cans was supposed to pay for the fund, providing at least $7 million a year.

But starting with Gov. Jon Corzine, the state has diverted some or nearly all of that money to the general budget almost every year.

Christie’s proposed spending plan for fiscal year 2017, unveiled last week, allocates $180,000, the same as this year. New Jersey’s Department of Community Affairs said the program effectively ended in 2012…”

Read more from the Trentonian

EPAStLouis

Knock Knock Is Anyone Home at EPA?

Print

EPA has gone dark. McCarthy is awaiting the end of her term and no one is protecting the American citizens or our environment.

It is outrageous that Administrator Gina McCarthy refuses to acknowledge the citizens living near the Bridgeton/West Lake Superfund site. What is wrong with her? Just Moms STL wrote a letter requesting a meeting in May of 2015 and never even received an acknowledgement that they asked for a meeting. They traveled to Washington, DC anyway in hopes of seeing McCarthy after their federal delegation of senators and congress representatives sent a letter to encourage McCarthy to meet with them. The community received nothing from the office of the Administrator. Not a call, a letter or even an e-mail saying she had a prior commitment or was on travel.

A second letter was sent this past fall to say the community leaders are planning to travel to Washington, D.C. in February and would she please meet with them to discuss the Superfund site which has been mismanaged by her regional staff. Again there was silence. I personally called every day but one in the month of January and February leading up to the date that local people were traveling to D.C. On many occasions when I called, all I received was a voice mail message that asked me to leave a message and someone would get back to me. I left message after message and no one, not a single person from the agency returned my call.

On a few occasions I actually talked to a woman who answered the phone. She was courteous and respectful and always promised to deliver the message to scheduling department. “Someone will call you back soon.” But no one ever called. The citizens living around the site began a telephone campaign to McCarthy’s office. It was only a week until they travel to D.C. and no one provided an answer if McCarthy would meet or not. The community sold cupcakes, brownies, t-shirts, and worked hard to raise the funds to visit D.C. and meet with the Administrator to explain what was going on from their perspective.

With a slim chance of meeting with McCarthy, now two years since their first request for a meeting was made, they climbed on a plane and came to D.C. While there they met with their congressional delegation, allies in the field but never had a meeting with McCarthy. Also they were never denied a meeting; it was deafeningly silent. My goodness if the answer is “NO” then say so. To say nothing is irresponsible, inexcusable and further victomizing the victims.

I stood outside of McCarthy’s office at 9 a.m. the last day of the groups visit. From the sidewalk I called her office and explained that local leaders are downstairs and waiting for a response from McCarthy before they need to leave for the airport. The public relations office sent down a two young people to receive the letter the community had for McCarthy, outlining their concerns. They apologized that McCarthy wasn’t available to meet. She couldn’t have told the citizens before they left St. Louis that she couldn’t meet? It is not a big request to ask for a simple yes or no of availability.

My take away . . . fire McCarthy. My tax dollars should not be spent on someone who works in government and ignores the citizens of the United States. All she had to do on both occasions is say I’m sorry I’ve got a previous engagement. Common courtesy should be a requirement of feredal employment.

Unknown

Organic diet cuts pesticide exposure in children, UC Berkeley study finds

Print

“Organic food matters to Camila Torres, so grappling with its higher prices has made her resourceful.

When the Boulder Creek resident makes baby food for her 1-year-old, Liliana, she tosses prepackaged, frozen organic vegetables from Trader Joe’s into a blender, adds a little water, then purees and warms up the mush before “airplaning” a spoonful into her daughter’s mouth.

Torres wants her two girls to grow up on organic food — and frozen products help her afford it.

“I try to find any way within my means to keep potentially harmful things from entering their little bodies,” said Torres, 28, an independent contractor who works with a company that captions videos.

A new scientific study supports her instincts, documenting that organic food can substantially lower pesticide exposure in children from low-income families in both urban and rural areas.

But traces of pesticides were higher than in previous studies involving middle-income, suburban children, suggesting that kids from cities and farming communities may be getting exposed via their environments as well as their diets…”

Read more from San Jose Mercury News

Gas_pump_lead_warning

Regulatory Gaps Leave Unsafe Lead Levels in Water Nationwide

Print

“In Sebring, Ohio, routine laboratory tests last August found unsafe levels of lead in the town’s drinking water after workers stopped adding a chemical to keep lead water pipes from corroding. Five months passed before the city told pregnant women and children not to drink the water, and shut down taps and fountains in schools.

In 2001, after Washington, D.C., changed how it disinfected drinking water, lead in tap water at thousands of homes spiked as much as 20 times the federally approved level. Residents did not find out for three years. When they did, officials ripped out lead water pipes feeding 17,600 homes — and discovered three years later that many of therepairs had only prolonged the contamination.

The crisis in Flint, Mich., where as many as 8,000 children under age 6 were exposed to unsafe levels of lead after a budget-cutting decision to switch drinking-water sources, may be the most serious contamination threat facing the country’s water supplies. But it is hardly the only one.

Unsafe levels of lead have turned up in tap water in city after city — in Durham and Greenville, N.C., in 2006; in Columbia, S.C., in 2005; and last July in Jackson, Miss., where officials waited six months to disclose the contamination — as well as in scores of other places in recent years.

Federal officials and many scientists agree that most of the nation’s 53,000 community water systems provide safe drinking water. But such episodes are unsettling reminders of what experts say are holes in the safety net of rules and procedures intended to keep water not just lead-free, but free of all poisons…”

Read more from the New York Times

download

As Washington state decides on stronger toxics law, residents are breathing flame retardants

Print

“A new generation of chemicals added to furniture, building insulation and baby products like car seats to slow the spread of flames are escaping into air at higher levels than previously thought, according to a new study out of Washington state.

The findings come as Washington lawmakers decide on bolstering flame retardant bans. The state was one of the first to ban an earlier generation of retardants, known as PBDEs.

The new research found flame retardant chemicals used to replace polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) also escape, are ubiquitous in indoor air and suggest inhalation is a major route of exposure for people.

The compounds, called chlorinated organophosphate flame retardants, found in the study have been linked to cancer and reproductive problems, and some can alter hormones essential for development.

“We’ve been underestimating what total exposure is,” said Erika Schreder, staff scientist at the Washington Toxics Coalition and lead author of the study published this month in the scientific journal Chemosphere.

Researchers gave 10 people from Washington state an air sampler that simulates breathing to wear during a normal day: office work, commuting, hanging out at home. They tested for a suite of the new generation of chlorinated flame retardants and found all 10 were breathing some amount of them throughout the day…”

Read more from Environmental Health News

beaumont, TX

ExxonMobil Beaumont, TX Polyethylene Plant Plant-wide Failure

Print

Emergency dispatchers Thursday received numerous calls about flaring at The ExxonMobil Beaumont, TX Refinery & Chemical complex. Just as I was leaving a meeting in Houston, TX to work with leaders about chemical refineries and oil/gas pipelines this horrible situation happened.

The flaring is the result of power outages in the area.  Beaumont Fire Rescue told 12News it was notified by ExxonMobil that its Beaumont facility had 8 flares going to help maintain safety levels because of the outages.

Plant officials had this to say, “This is ExxonMobil Beaumont Polyethylene Plant on Highway 90 an EXXONMOBIL Beaumont Refinery & Chemical Complex. We can confirm that a plant-wide power failure resulted in significant flaring. We can confirm that non-essential personnel have been dismissed per protocol and are actively engaged at the complex with the goal of returning to normal operations.”

More.