The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment released a multiyear report examining the impact of oil and gas drilling on residents living within 2,000 feet of fracking sites. The study found that individuals that live in proximity to a site have increased exposure to benzene and other chemicals that cause nosebleeds, headaches, and trouble breathing. Colorado officials are looking into more air monitoring near homes and stricter regulations on air emissions while more research is conducted to fully examine the health risks associated with oil and gas production. Read More.
Ten elementary schools in Denver, Colorado have encouraged an outdoor air quality monitoring pilot program to reduce the risk of pollution exposure to students. Real-time monitoring results, provided by the Love My Air program, will be displayed on large screens in the schools for students and teachers to see if air quality conditions are healthy for students. The goal of the program is to test for high levels of particulate matter that are known to increase conditions of asthma and heart disease. The pilot program is predicted to begin in December 2019. Read More.
By: Sharon Franklin
Kristina Marusic, of Environmental Health News reported on October 9, 2019 about the dangerous PFAS chemicals that show up in the bodies of people who eat takeout, fast food, and pizza are often at higher levels than in people who regularly cook at home. This is according to a new study, which is the first to link certain foods and PFAS exposures in Americans and adds to the mounting evidence that food packaging, (i.e. grease resistant boxes, pizzas and popcorn) is a major source of exposure to the toxics in people. PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) refers to a class of more than 5,000 chemicals that are used to make everything from food packaging and cook wear to furniture, carpets and clothing grease-, stain-, and water-repellent. They’re sometimes called “forever chemicals” because they don’t break down naturally. These chemicals can accumulate in the body and have been linked to many health issues, including cancer, thyroid disease, low birth weight and decreased fertility.
Dr. Laurel Schaider, who co-authored the study PFAS in drinking water (STEEP) says “We all know eating more fresh foods and more home-cooked meals is good for our health for many reasons,” and “I think our study adds further evidence to support that. She and her co-authors analyzed data collected between 2003 and 2014 from 10,106 participants in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that tracks health and nutritional trends in the United States. Dr. Schaider also stated that “We found that every 100 calories of food purchased at a grocery store and prepared at home instead of at a restaurant was associated with 0.3 to 0.5 percent lower levels of PFAS in our bodies”.
Dr. Schaider concluded, while eating at home was associated with lower levels of PFAS than eating out overall, eating fast food and pizza were most strongly linked with higher levels of PFAS in people. “We know we’re exposed to PFAS from many different sources, “but our findings indicate that food consumption is an important pathway of exposure.” Ultimately, we need better regulations to keep harmful chemicals from getting into our food and products in the first place.”
Photo Credit: Jacob Styburski/flickr
In September, the EPA revoked two rules involved with the protection of clean water and air that could have serious effects on how states neighboring the Chesapeake Bay can regulate for pollution. The Trump administration has set out to rollback regulations that inhibit economic growth, as said to have been done by the 2015 Clean Water Rule that protected any “navigable” water system. The rollbacks wont affect states like Maryland that enforce greater pollution regulations than the federal government, however, the state will have a harder time limiting pollution from neighboring states that follow the federal rollback. Now the EPA is considering rolling back even further regulations connected with the Clean Water Act that allow states to block the construction interstate projects, such as pipelines, that threaten water quality. Read More.
The EPA has revealed new rules for drinking water quality testing and water line repair actions for the presence of lead. The updated regulations are the first significant changes since the establishment of the lead and copper standards in 1991. The new rules will require water testing in all homes with lead service lines and the production of a public inventory listing all lead water systems. Additional rules include federal action towards replacing sections of contaminated pipes. Some environmental advocates claim that although the updated regulations are a start, they do not hit at the root cause of the lead contamination: replacing the 6 million lead service lines spread across the country. Read More.
On Wednesday, October 9, PG&E shut off power for over 800,000 customers in Northern California. As California’s wildfire season rages on, the electrical company has decided to shut off all power to prevent the spark of another wildfire caused by equipment malfunctions. Opinions are varied by the company’s decision to blackout 34 counties. The power outages were preempted by last year’s Camp Fires that destroyed nearly 14,000 homes and took 85 lives. However, customers with medical conditions that require consistent sources to electricity are concerned about how long the power outages will last. Read More.
Next month, the former particulate matter advisory group will meet publicly to continue their work studying the effects of air pollution on human health, despite having been fired by the Trump administration a year ago. The group will convene at the same location it met last year to discuss the 21 million Americans that are subjected to adverse health effects from air pollution and pollution from fossil fuels. This is not the first time a group has reassembled to discuss environmental concerns despite dismissal from Trump’s EPA. Scientists and environmental experts are continuing to meet to fight for the health and safety of Americans suffering as a result of industrial pollution. Read More.
September marked a month of climate change discussions and activism from younger generations across the world. In the wake of the hundreds of student organized protests that took place at then end of the month, professional psychiatrists are encouraging parents to have honest conversations with their children about their fears connected with climate change. Health professionals are advising parents to discuss the problems associated with warming temperatures, the solutions groups are currently working on, and potential changes families can implement in their own homes to reduce their carbon footprint. Read More.
As Children’s Health Month continues, the Environmental Protection Agency has released a memorandum stating its improved action towards eliminating lead contamination in school and childcare water systems. In support of the Lead Action Plan, the EPA’s MOU lists ways partnering agencies, water utilities, and community health specialists can work together to train, identify, and remove lead from children’s drinking water. Read More.
As we start to settle into the cooler Fall temperatures, the Washington Post reflects on the record breaking heat that took over the first week of October. Weather stations with data that date back 40 years show that nearly 30 states along the eastern side of the country experienced record high temperatures for October. Some stations established that the early October numbers were higher than temperatures some states had received all year. Read More.