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)
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 …
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.
For years, scientists have warned that male sperm counts are dropping around the world, but critics — chemical companies included — have questioned the data. But now, the largest, most rigorous study to date shows sperm counts are down by nearly 59.3 percent in North America, Europe, New Zealand and Australia, while sperm concentration has dropped by 52 percent overall over almost 40 years. This time, even many skeptics are convinced.
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.
A group of Democratic Senators, led by Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, introduced a bill to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos over health concerns, after the EPA refused to take it off shelves earlier this spring. “Udall's bill calls for the EPA to conduct a broad review of the use of the pesticide to determine which groups are most vulnerable to its harmful effects,” says Reuters.
The attorneys general of 11 states have sued the EPA for delaying implementation of a chemical-spill rule at industrial sites, including fertilizer plants, by two years. “The set of regulations, called the Chemical Accident Safety Rule, would require industrial facilities to take new steps to prevent accidents and also to conduct more robust examinations of the causes of accidents that do occur,” says Reuters.
Due to a procedural error on Tuesday, the Arkansas state plant board will re-vote on Friday on whether to temporarily ban use of the weedkiller dicamba, suspected of drifting out of cotton and soybean fields to damage neighboring crops, reported DTN. Some 167 complaints alleging misuse of the herbicide, mostly along the eastern edge of Arkansas, were filed with the state board as of midday Wednesday.
Roughly 20 percent of baby food samples showed detectable levels of lead, says a report out by the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund.
A two-year, multi-state study, paid for by soybean check-off funds, found no yield benefit from planting soybean seeds coated with a neonicotinoid insecticide compared to untreated seeds. The study was a joint effort of seven universities in the Plains and Midwest and concluded that, as far as expenses and pest control were concerned, farmers were better off to scout their fields and apply insecticides as needed.
The former head of EPA's cancer assessment review committee, Jess Rowlands, advised European counterparts to disregard a study that linked cancer in mice to glyphosate, the most widely used weedkiller in the world, said The Guardian. It said court documents show that Rowlands "had previously told Monsanto he would try to block a U.S. inquiry into the issue."
The European Commission will propose granting glyphosate — the world’s most common weedkiller and the key ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup — a 10-year renewal of its license. The commission had held off on making the proposal over controversy that the chemical was carcinogenic.
In tests of 250 food cans, the Center for Environmental Health found that nearly 40 percent were lined with bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical linked to birth defects and cancer along with other health disorders, says the CEH in a report.