When the West Coast wildfires are out, can mushrooms help with the cleanup?

When the worst wildfire season on record in the West finally subsides, it will give way to another potentially devastating environmental crisis: toxins from charred and melted plastics, electronics, and other household materials leaching into watersheds, endangering residents, agriculture, and ecosystems.(No paywall)

Algae blooms linked to agricultural runoff choke waterways nationwide, says report

A new analysis from the Environmental Working Group reveals that state and federal testing of lakes and other bodies of water has found toxins from algae blooms in waterways in 48 states. The toxins, which sometimes make their way into drinking water supplies, can cause negative health outcomes ranging from skin rashes to serious illness or death.

California limits pesticide spraying near schools and day-care centers

Effective Jan. 1, California farmers will be prohibited from spraying pesticides within a quarter-mile of public schools and licensed day-care centers from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on school days under a rule issued by the state Department of Pesticide Regulation. Regulators say the rule is among the strictest in the country, according to The Associated Press.

Illegal pot farms wreak havoc on national forests

Mexican drug cartels, operating illegal marijuana farms on public lands, are polluting forests and saddling the federal government with millions of dollars in clean-up costs. Trespass marijuana farms are thought to number in the hundreds of thousands in California alone. The sites “wreak havoc on the land, leaving behind hundreds of thousands of pounds of garbage, leaching caustic chemicals, polluting watersheds, and damaging the habitat of endangered and at-risk species,” reports High Country News.

Coho salmon die in ‘witch’s brew’ of stormwater runoff

Coho salmon face fatal levels of pollution in 40 percent of their range in the Puget Sound Basin, chiefly because of stormwater runoff, says a study published in the journal Ecological Applications.

China faces widespread soil pollution from plastic mulch

To boost food production, China has spread polyethylene film across 49 million acres — 12 percent of the country’s total farmland — despite warnings that the synthetic mulch is toxic and degrades the soil.

Montana ranchers worry new radioactive waste rule isn’t enough

Since 2013, nearly 233,000 tons of radioactive waste, much of it from the Bakken oilfields in North Dakota, has been disposed of at a site near Glendive, Montana. Now, after years of prodding, the state has finally proposed a rule for handling oilfield waste, but area ranchers and farmers think the plan leaves them deeply vulnerable.

High exposure to pesticides linked to higher risk of birth abnormalities

A UC-Santa Barbara study of 500,000 birth records in the San Joaquin Valley from 1977-2011 found that high exposure to pesticides as a result of living near farm fields appeared to increase the risk for women to give birth to a baby with “abnormalities” by 9 percent, said the Independent. The …

Study: Trump’s Justice Department easier on polluters than its predecessors

The Trump administration has allowed polluters to pay less than half the amount in civil penalties they were forced to pay under the three previous administrations, says a report by the Environmental Integrity Project.

Monsanto took active role in glyphosate safety review

Dozens of internal emails "reveal how Monsanto worked with an outside consulting firm to induce" a scientific journal "to publish a purported 'independent' review of Roundup's health effects that appears to be anything but," says Bloomberg Businessweek. The review, published as a supplement by Critical Reviews in Toxicology, rebutted the conclusion by the International Agency for Research on Cancer that glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup weedkiller, is probably carcinogenic to humans.