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US health watchdog to take legal action against e-cigarette makers

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“A health watchdog is to take legal action in California against the manufacturers of some of the best-known brands of e-cigarettes, following tests to establish the levels of toxic chemicals they contain.

The Center for Environmental Health (CEH) says its tests found that nearly 90% of the companies had at least one brand that produced high levels of one or both of the cancer-causing chemicals formaldehyde and acetaldehyde.

In the first ever large lab-testing of e-cigarettes on the market, the CEH found that most – 50 of 97 products examined – contained high levels of one or both chemical.

The lab tests and legal action will fuel the battle raging over e-cigarettes. While supporters say they could help thousands of people give up the far more dangerous tobacco-filled conventional cigarettes, others worry about the chemicals they contain.”

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Male fish in North Carolina found to have female parts

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“Male black bass and some sunfish in North Carolina rivers and streams are developing eggs in their testes, which can cause reproductive problems and potentially threaten populations, according to unpublished research.

The research adds to growing evidence that exposure to estrogen compounds is feminizing male fish across the U.S. and suggests that North Carolina fish might be particularly at risk.

“It’s a very interesting study and certainly adds to our understanding of what’s potentially going on in our rivers and with the intersex fish,” said Vicki Blazer, a U.S. Geological Survey fish biologist who was not involved in the study.”

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More evidence of Roundup’s link to kidney, liver damage

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Long-term exposure to tiny amounts of Roundup—thousands of times lower than what is permitted in U.S. drinking water—may lead to serious problems in the liver and kidneys, according to a new study.

The study looked at the function of genes in these organs and bolsters a controversial 2012 study that found rats exposed to small amounts of the herbicide Roundup in their drinking water had liver and kidney damage.

It is the first to examine the impacts of chronic, low exposure of Roundup on genes in livers and kidneys and suggests another potential health impact for people and animals from the widely used weed killer.

Mike Mozart/flickr

“Given even very low levels of exposure, Roundup can potentially result in organ damage when it comes to liver and kidney function,” said senior author Michael Antoniou, head of the Gene Expression and Therapy Group at King’s College London.

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just moms stl

St. Louis Moms Call On Obama For Help

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Anger builds at EPA over radioactive landfill.  “We believe that it would be within the power of the president to issue an executive order to clean up the bureaucratic administrative mess at West Lake Landfill, put one government agency in charge, said Ed Smith.”  Matt LaVanchy, a local fire department official, told radio station KTRS that he believes the fire could be less than 1,000 feet from the radioactive material, and is trying to train firefighters for possible outcomes.

CHEJ has been working with this community for years and agrees that it is time Obama steps in and commands action. EPA refuses to . . . Republic Service has failed nearly every step and people are dying. Time to take the site out of the hands of the incompetent and move the families down wind of the site. Read more here.

celophane

A West Virginia town battles toxic pollution and corporate greed

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“DuPont deceived as many people as they could deceive as for as long as they could,” Jim Tennant, a farmer in Parkersburg, tells The Huffington Post. “Now that their secrets are out and they’ve been forced to clean up the water, they’re starting again with a new set of chemicals. This isn’t a fight that will be won in my lifetime.”

The Huffington Post reports on “one of the most brazen, deadly corporate gambits in U.S. history” in ‘Welcome to Beautiful Parkersburg, West Virginia.’

Travis Dove for Bloomberg Businessweek

The EPA Doesn’t Know How to Deal With 300 Million Tons of Animal Poop

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‘Rene Miller grew up on a seven-acre slip of Duplin County, N.C., where her mother, Daisy, raised corn, chickens, and hogs. Now, what was a neighbor’s tobacco farm across the narrow two-lane road is a field where a giant sprinkler sprays waste from an industrial hog-raising operation onto whatever happens to be planted there—corn, hay, soybeans. The force of the liquefied manure is so strong it splatters the street sign Miller installed to mark Daisy Miller Lane. “I can’t go out in my yard to watch the cars go by. I can’t put my clothes out on the line,” she says. “It stinks.” ‘


Travis Dove for Bloomberg Businessweek



Read more at Bloomberg Businessweek.

springfield oh 700 people aug 27 2015

700 People Told EPA “Dig it Up -Take It Out”

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YES! The people of Clark County, Ohio showed up last night in force….

  • Their Health District attendance counters stopped at 650, with more people coming in the door.
  • US EPA’s Joan Tanaka said in all her 20 years’ work on Superfund sites, she had never seen such a huge crowd.

EPA’s purpose in coming to Clark County was to tell residents what information they wanted us to know….

  • They listened politely to too many power point slides that were unreadable, too many reassurances that were not believable, and too much talking that glossed over or avoided the real questions.

Their united purpose last night was to tell EPA what they wanted them to know–and boy did they do just that.

In summary the people were clear that they:

  • Do not and will not accept their proposed plan.
  • Want all hazardous wastes permanently removed from the Tremont City Barrel Fill.
  • Will continue to work with Ohio EPA and our elected leaders to change their remedy.
  • Do not trust EPA, their reassurances, or their ability to protect our health and water source forever.

Our preference last night was made very clear….We want permanent removal of all  hazardous wastes at the Barrel Fill.

U.S. EPA: Dig it up! Truck it out! Protect our water!

fracking smokey

Groups Threaten To Sue EPA Over Dangerous Fracking Waste Disposal

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 26, 2015

Groups File Notice of Intent to Sue EPA Over Dangerous Drilling and Fracking Waste

Call on Agency to Issue Rules for Handling and Disposal of Oil and Gas Waste

WASHINGTON, D.C.  (August 26, 2015) – A coalition of environmental organizations filed a legal notice with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today demanding regulations to stop oil and gas companies from dumping drilling and fracking waste in ways that threaten public health and the environment.

The groups filing today’s notice letter are the Environmental Integrity Project, Natural Resources Defense Council, Earthworks, Responsible Drilling Alliance, San Juan Citizens Alliance, West Virginia Surface Owners Rights Organization, and the Center for Health, Environment and Justice. The groups are calling on EPA to comply with its long-overdue obligations to update waste disposal rules that should have been revised more than a quarter century ago.

“We’re asking that EPA finally do what it found to be necessary back in 1988:  update the regulations for oil and gas wastes,” said Adam Kron, attorney at the Environmental Integrity Project.  “The oil and gas industry has grown rapidly since then, and yet EPA has repeatedly shirked its duties for nearly three decades.  The public deserves better protection than this.”

For example, EPA should institute stricter controls for underground injection wells, which accept two billion gallons of oil and gas wastewater every day and have been linked to numerous earthquakes in Ohio, Oklahoma, and Texas. EPA should ban the practice of spreading fracking wastewater onto roads or fields, which allows toxic pollutants to run off and contaminate streams. And EPA should require landfills and ponds that receive drilling and fracking waste to be built with adequate liners and structural integrity to prevent spills and leaks into groundwater and streams.

“Oil and gas waste is extremely dangerous—yet the EPA admitted decades ago that federal rules are inadequate protect the public,” said Matthew McFeeley, attorney at NRDC.  “The scary truth is that right now this waste—complete with carcinogens and radioactive material—is being dumped irresponsibly or disposed of like everyday household garbage. Toxic waste should not be sent to run-of-the-mill landfills, sprayed on our roads and fields, or stored in open air pits.”

The groups notified EPA that they will file a lawsuit in 60 days unless the agency complies with its duty under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) to review and revise the federal regulations governing how oil and gas waste must be handled and disposed.  RCRA requires that EPA review the regulations at least every three years and, if necessary, revise them.  The agency determined that such revisions of the regulations were necessary to address specific concerns with oil and gas wastes more than 25 years ago, yet has failed to meet its legal responsibility to act.

Over the last decade, the oil and gas industry’s fracking-based boom has produced a vast amount of solid and liquid waste. Each well produces millions of gallons of wastewater and hundreds of tons of drill cuttings, which contain contaminants that pose serious risks to human health. These include known carcinogens such as benzene, toxic metals such as mercury, and radioactive materials. However, the current RCRA rules that govern oil and gas wastes are too weak because they are the same rules that apply to all “non-hazardous” wastes, including household trash.

As a result, oil and gas companies are handling, storing, and disposing of these wastes in a number of troublesome ways. These include: spraying fracking waste fluids onto roads and land near where people live and work; disposing of billions of gallons of oil and gas wastewater in underground injection wells; sending the drill cuttings and fracking sands to landfills not designed to handle toxic or radioactive materials; and storing and disposing of wastewater in pits and ponds, which often leak.  Across the U.S., there are numerous instances of wastes leaking out of ponds and pits into nearby streams and the groundwater beneath, and operators often “close” the pits by simply burying the wastes on site.

Aaron Mintzes, Policy Advocate for Earthworks, said: “While it’s sadly common for states to fail to enforce their own oil and gas oversight laws, it is especially shameful that we should have to sue the Environmental Protection Agency, the only federal agency solely dedicated to protecting the environment and human health, to force EPA to fulfill its legal obligations to protect us from fracking pollution.”

The following are some examples of problems caused by the improper disposal and handling of fracking and drilling waste:

  • Ohio: Underground injection wells in Ohio accepted 22 million barrels of oil and gas wastewater for disposal in 2014, nearly four times the amount in 2009.  This has resulted in scores of earthquakes in the well-dense Youngstown area, with one well alone linked to 77 earthquakes.  The Ohio Oil and Gas Commission recently noted that regulations “have not kept pace” with the problem, and that (to an extent) both the state and industry are “working with their eyes closed.”
  • Pennsylvania: In May 2012, a six-million-gallon industrial pond holding fracking wastewater in Tioga County leaked pollutants, including arsenic and strontium, through holes in its liner into groundwater and a nearby trout stream.
  • West Virginia: Oil and gas wastewater dumped or spilled in rivers in West Virginia and Pennsylvania contains high levels of potentially hazardous ammonium and iodide, according to a study by Duke University scientists.
  • North Dakota: In January 2015, three million gallons of drilling wastewater spilled from a leaky pipe outside Williston, polluting a tributary of the Missouri River.  In July 2011, a pipeline serving a well in Bottineau County leaked over two million gallons of fracking wastewater, damaging twenty-four acres of private land.
  • Colorado: A contractor for a pipeline services firm gave a detailed account of sand-blasting pulverized waste buildup (called “scale”) from pipeline seals directly into the air outdoors without a filter, even though such dust can be radioactive and cause damage to lungs.
  • Across the Marcellus region: Over the past several years, landfills in states around the Marcellus shale formation—even in New York, where fracking is prohibited—have experienced increasing shipments of drill cuttings that contain high levels of radiation.  Many of the landfills do not test for radiation and do not have adequate controls to prevent the often toxic and radioactive “leachate” from seeping into groundwater.

EPA’s current regulations do not take into account the dangerous contents of oil and gas wastes or their unique handling and disposal practices.  Since 1988, the agency has acknowledged the shortcoming of its basic rules for solid waste management and has indicated that it needs to create enhanced rules tailored to the oil and gas industry. However, the agency has yet to take any action to develop these updated regulations.

“Improper handling of drilling waste threatens the health and safety of 3.5 million Pennsylvania residents whose drinking water comes from private wells,” said Barbara Jarmoska, who serves on the Board of Directors of the Responsible Drilling Alliance, a nonprofit advocacy group based in Lycoming County, Pa.  “It is past time for the EPA to put public and environmental health and safety first. EPA should revise existing regulations and specifically address issues relevant to the modern oil and gas industry.”

If EPA does not act within 60 days of today’s notice letter, the groups intend to ask a federal court to set strict deadlines for EPA to complete this long-needed update and strengthening of its regulations for oil and gas wastes.

“These are not your mom and pop wells of the 1980s, and their waste can no longer be ignored and listed as being non-hazardous,” said Teresa Mills, director of the Ohio field office for the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice.  “For the agency to continue to classify millions of gallons/tons of hazardous material as non-toxic is mind-boggling.  The free ride for the oil and gas industry must come to an end, now.”

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Environmental Integrity Project: Tom Pelton, 202-888-2703 or tpelton@environmentalintegrity.org

Natural Resources Defense Council: Kate Kiely, 212-727-4592 or kkiely@nrdc.org

Earthworks: Alan Septoff, 202-887-1872 ×105 or aseptoff@earthworksaction.org

ABOUT THE ORGANIZATIONS:

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

The Environmental Integrity Project, based in Washington, D.C., is dedicated to advocating for more effective enforcement of environmental laws across the U.S.   The organization provides objective analyses of how the failure to implement laws increases pollution, and it holds governments and corporations accountable to protect public health. Learn more at www.environmentalintegrity.org and follow us on Twitter @EIPOnline.

Earthworks is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting communities and the environment from the adverse impacts of mineral and energy development while promoting sustainable solutions. Earthworks stands for clean air, water and land, healthy communities, and corporate accountability. Website: https://www.earthworksaction.org/

The Responsible Drilling Alliance is a registered 501(c)(3) education and advocacy coalition, based in Pennsylvania that seeks to educate members and the public about deep shale gas drilling and all of its ramifications. The alliance advocates for federal, state and local regulations needed to protect our economy, environment, health, safety and quality of life. Website: www.rdaPA.org

The West Virginia Surface Owners’ Rights Organization is a statewide membership organization representing over 900 members, almost all of who live or own land in the state’s oil and gas producing counties. One of the organizations primary purposes is to educate its members and the public regarding surface owners’ rights and the environmental and other impacts associated with oil and gas exploration and production. Website: www.wvsoro.org

The San Juan Citizens Alliance is a Colorado-based grassroots organization dedicated to social, economic and environmental justice.  The alliance organizes San Juan Basin residents to protect the basin’s water and air, public lands, rural character, and unique quality of life while embracing the diversity of the region’s people, economy, and ecology. Website: http://sanjuancitizens.org/

The Center for Health, Environment & Justice (CHEJ) mentors a movement, empowering people to prevent harm to human health caused by exposure to environmental threats. Through training, coalition building and one-on-one technical and organizing assistance, CHEJ works to level the playing field so that people can have a say in the environmental policies and decisions that affect their health and well-being. Website: http://chej.org/

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incinerator

United Workers calls for opposition to incinerator project in Curtis Bay

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United Workers has released a video for the Free Your Voice project calling for community control of the land being held hostage by the incinerator project. After watching the video, sign their petition (unitedworkers.org/stop_the_incinerator) calling on Maryland Department of the Environment to enforce the law and support their push for Fair Development.

“Like many communities, we find ourselves in a basic struggle for survival in which our health is sacrificed and the very air we breathe is made toxic by failed development. In such times we must come together to use our creativity and collective resources to find solutions to the crisis we face. Today, we are proud to share this powerful video calling for community control of the 80 acre site currently being held hostage by Energy Answers’ plan to build the nations’ largest trash burning incinerator less than a mile from schools in Curtis Bay.

For the past several years community members and an amazing group of supporters have developed a democratic process to identify community driven solutions to the challenges we face. Ideas emerging from this process include a community solar farm that would utilize Maryand’s new community solar legislation to generate truly green energy along with savings and wealth for local residents. We have also identified a number of recycling and composting businesses that would bring hundreds of good jobs along with practical solutions to dealing with waste (instead of burning or burying it all).

Meanwhile, the incinerator project has failed to meet the requirements of the federal Clean Air Act and is holding over 80 acres of land hostage. Many of you reading this were instrumental in our successful push to get over 20 public entities to choose to terminate their energy contracts with the incinerator. Now it is time for the Maryland Department of the Environment to step up and do the right thing for our health, our environment and our economy. Along with this video, we are gathering comments and petitions calling upon the Maryland Department of the environment to enforce the law and hold Energy Answers accountable. Stop holding us back from taking a big step toward Fair Development!”


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Is Your Child Coloring with Asbestos

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Some children’s crayons—marketed with colorful characters such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Power Rangers and Mickey Mouse—and play crime lab kits contain cancer-causing, lung damaging asbestos fibers, according to a report released today. The report, commissioned by the environmental nonprofit Environmental Working Group Action Fund, found that four brands of children’s crayons out of 28 boxes tested and two of 21 children fingerprint kits contained asbestos. All of the products that tested positive for asbestos were made in China and imported to the United States.

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