Flint citizens protest the cost and quality of their water. Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

High Lead Levels In Michigan Kids After City Switches Water Source


Research from Flint, Michigan shows that lead levels in children have gone up since a change in the city’s water supply in spring of 2014. Lead levels nearly doubled after the switch, and are much higher than those in other areas of the country. Are vulnerable children being poisoned by their water supply?

Flint citizens protest the cost and quality of their water. Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Read more at NPR.org


Indigenous Women Disrupt Pipeline Consultation


“When you’re here on occupied territory, the most important law that you need to respect is Natural Law. And as Indigenous People, we have developed our culture in accordance with Natural Law. We don’t see the natural world as separate from Who We Are.” ~Amanda Lickers, Turtle Clan of the Onondowaga nation, part of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy

Watch the video here.


EPA Adds Five Hazardous Waste Sites to Superfund’s National Priorities List & Proposes an Additional Seven


WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is adding five hazardous waste sites that pose risks to human health and the environment to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). A separate action includes a proposal to add seven sites to the list.

“Since the creation of the Superfund program 35 years ago, EPA has been addressing the risk to human health and the environment as well as blight to the economy due to contamination left behind by owners and operators,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “Superfund cleanups protect communities’ health, their environments and their economic wellbeing, including some of the country’s most vulnerable populations.”

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Pesticide Exposure Associated with Increased Risk of Diabetes


“A meta-analysis presented at the annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Sweden concludes that exposure to pesticides is associated with an increased risk of diabetes. Although diabetes is long-suspected as involving an interplay between genetics and environmental factors, emerging research is revealing that contaminants like pesticides may play an important role in the pathogenesis of the disease. These findings add to a growing body of evidence demonstrating that pesticides play a key role in the development of a wide range of all-too-common diseases in the 21st century.”

Read more from Beyond Pesticides


We Need a Rational Policy on Chemical Safety


“Children’s health and the environment is a most fitting topic for World Environmental Health Day 2015. Children are the most vulnerable among us to degradation of the environment…

…Toxic chemicals are a particularly serious threat to children’s health. More than 80,000 new synthetic chemicals have been invented in the past 50 years. These chemicals are found in thousands of products that we use every day.”

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‘A Watchful Eye on Farm Families’ Health’


Farmworker communities are disproportionately vulnerable to toxic organophosphates through multiple pathways. There’s an important environmental-justice issue in play, because areas with higher spray exposure are also areas with lower socioeconomic status. From the New York Times.

Pope Francis

How Pope Francis helped awaken a deep religious tradition for care for the environment


As Pope Francis moves on from his visit in DC and continues his tour of the United States, it’s the perfect time to recognize the stance he has taken in firm support of the environmental movement. As an advocate for both social justice and environmental sustainability, Pope Francis has a large role to play in uniting the religious community in support of the environmental justice.

“Just about every person who led and shaped the American conservation and early environmental movements grew up Protestant. What irony, then, that the one person who has done more to get people talking about the environment than anyone in decades is the supreme pontiff of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis…”

Read more at The Washington Post


Children May Be Exposed to Unsafe Levels of BPA in School Meals


School meals may contain unsafe levels of bisphenol A (BPA), according to a study led by Jennifer Hartle, DrPh, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University’s Prevention Research Center and a Center for a Livable Future-Lerner Fellow (2013). BPA – a chemical commonly found in canned goods and plastic packaging – can disrupt human hormones and has been linked to adverse health effects including cancer. Current federal standards for school meals focus on nutrition and overlook exposure to toxic chemicals. Researchers say this exposure is of serious concern for low-income children since they are more likely to eat federally funded meals instead of bringing lunch from home.    

“During school site visits, I was shocked to see that virtually everything in school meals came from a can or plastic packaging,” Hartle said. “Meat came frozen, pre-packaged, pre-cooked and pre-seasoned. Salads were pre-cut and pre-bagged. Corn, peaches and green beans came in cans. The only items not packaged in plastic were oranges, apples and bananas.” The uptick in packaging is a result of schools’ efforts to streamline food preparation and meet federal nutrition standards while keeping costs low.

To better assess BPA exposure through school meals, Hartle, along with researchers from the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF), interviewed school food service personnel, visited school kitchens and cafeterias in the San Francisco Bay Area and analyzed studies on BPA food concentration values. They found that BPA exposure varies depending on what students eat, but a student consuming pizza and milk with canned fruits and vegetables could take in anywhere from minimal levels to 1.19 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight per day. While most students would not consume the maximum amount, those who do would take in more than half the dose shown to be toxic in animal studies in just one meal.

“With endocrine-disrupting chemicals particularly, there is so much uncertainty,” said Robert Lawrence, MD, co-author of the study and director of the CLF. “We can’t tie a specific dose to a specific response like we can with lead. But we know BPA is impacting human health. Animal models are showing there can be a wide range of health effects. This research shows we should take a precautionary approach and limit school meal exposure to BPA by serving students more fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Probabilistic modeling of school meals for potential bisphenol A (BPA) exposure,” was written by Jennifer C. Hartle, Mary A. Fox, and Robert S. Lawrence.


How strict California rules on emissions led to lower cancer risk


California has made tremendous progress cleaning its once-notorious air pollution over the last generation, with Los Angeles smog easing in response to the state’s ever-stricter emissions standards.

On Monday, there was more good news. The Air Resources Board reported that Californians’ cancer risk from toxic air pollution has declined 76% over more than two decades, a trend the agency attributes to the state’s array of regulations targeting everything from diesel trucks to dry cleaners.

State scientists measured the drop from 1990 to 2012 by tracking airborne concentrations of the seven toxic air contaminants that are most responsible for increasing cancer risks. They include the particulate matter in diesel exhaust, benzene from gasoline, perchloroethylene emitted by dry cleaners and hexavalent chromium from chrome plating operations.

The authors of the study, published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, said they were able to link declines in toxic compounds to specific policies, including rules targeting exhaust from diesel trucks, gasoline vapors and emissions from dry cleaners.

Read More from LA Times


Blocks From the Pope’s Mass, a Dumping Ground for the Nation’s Capital


The pope has decried our throwaway society and its impact on the poor. In Washington, D.C., one neighborhood has waged a three-decade fight over garbage.

The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth,” Pope Francis wrote recently. Decrying today’s “throwaway culture,” the pontiff is especially anguished that the world’s poor bear an unfair burden.

For a striking example of people victimized by the world’s garbage, the pope need look no farther than a neighborhood nestled between two landmarks he’ll visit in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday and Thursday. Two miles northeast of the U.S. Capitol, where he’ll address a joint session of Congress, and just blocks from North America’s largest Roman Catholic Church, where he’ll celebrate Mass, families often cope with stench and vermin, trash truck convoys spewing exhaust, and seagulls circling overhead.

For three decades, people living in Washington’s Brentwood section have argued that they’ve been treated as a dumping ground for the nation’s capital. Many in the neighborhood, which is 93 percent African-American and has 18 percent unemployment, say the situation would never be tolerated in the city’s white or wealthy neighborhoods. Twenty-nine percent of people there live below the poverty level.

Read more from National Geographic News