Top Toxification News

In their own words: Oral histories of California farmworkers.

Journalist Gabriel Thompson collected the stories of 17 farmworkers who share the day-to-day struggles of life in the fields. Civil Eats

Undermanned EPA delays action on lead in drinking water.

Even after the Flint scandal reawakened the nation to the dangers posed by lead drinking water pipes, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency appears to be in no rush to strengthen federal health standards. Circle of Blue

Military bases' contamination will affect water for generations.

Little remains of the former George Air Force Base but rows of dilapidated houses, a dismantled military hospital and dangerous chemicals from pesticides, jet fuels and other hazardous wastes that have poisoned the water for decades. News21

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Science: Pay attention to two other messages in the breakthrough BPA water treatment paper.

It's plausible no living multi-cellular organism on this planet is BPA-free. And the levels we're living with could be causing harm. Environmental Health News

BPA breakthrough: New treatment takes controversial chemical out of water.

Researchers report rapid removal of BPA from water using green chemistry. Environmental Health News

Science: Are we in a male fertility death spiral?

Male sterility is a growing problem. Here's why you should be worried—and your kids should be terrified. Environmental Health News

Reflections upon the death of a hero, Dr. Herbert Needleman.

David Bellinger

The passing of a great doctor and a fine American who shined a light on the injustice of lead poisoning. Environmental Health News


Army should pay its share for Superfund site cleanup.

It is clear that the National Guard was a primary contributor to the problem, and should also contribute to the cleanup. Las Cruces Sun-News, New Mexico

New Jersey must lead pollution fight.

New Jersey has a strong environmental track record, and while Gov. Chris Christie among others has derailed some of that progress, the spirit remains willing. Somerville Courier News, New Jersey

Fight for clean river needs strong leader.

In addition to all its other problems, the Cape Fear is an industrial sewer, and residents throughout the basin should be furious. Wilmington Star-News, North Carolina

Feds taking their time on urgent health matter.

Why is it that the only people who still have questions about the pollution flowing from the Stewart Air National Guard Base and the continuing hazards it poses to those who live nearby are the very ones responsible for the mess? Middletown Times Herald-Record, New York

Let's stop failing our children, address lead issue.

Illinois needs to lower the actionable level of lead in a child’s blood to 5 micrograms per deciliter; 10 is far too high. Galesburg Register-Mail, Illinois

Endocrine disruptors

PA environmental regulators to consider health limits for PFOA.

Pennsylvania’s Environmental Quality Board accepted a request to look at whether to set a health limit for the toxic chemical PFOA in drinking water, the board’s first such decision in its more than 40-year history. StateImpact Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania

Why do fish eat our trash? Because it smells yummy.

Scientists have been trying to figure out why fish that normally eat algae are eating the plastic particles that float in the ocean. San Francisco KQED Public Radio, California

Sperm count in Western men has dropped over 50 percent since 1973, paper finds.

The sperm count of men in Western countries has been declining precipitously with no signs of “leveling off,” according to new research. New York Times

Editor comments: Read more about possible causes here. -JPM

Plankton 'mucus houses' could pull microplastics from the sea.

California researchers have found a unique creature that spins a three-dimensional undersea net—one that can capture these tiny floating bits of plastic. Wired

Biodiversity and toxification

Bald eagles suffering from lead poisoning.

Tamarack Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center near Saegertown, Penn., typically treats two or three eagles each year for lead poisoning. But in recent weeks, the center has admitted four adult bald eagles, two of which still had the metal in their stomachs., Ohio

South Africa rivers in deep water.

A quarter of major rivers are ‘critically endangered.’ Johannesburg Times, South Africa

Why fish can't help but eat our plastic garbage.

It passes the sniff test, but it shouldn't. Popular Science

Frogs adapted to pesticides get more parasites.

Resistance to one sort of affliction may make frogs more susceptible to another, new research shows. United Press International

Study finds public pushing back on genetically modified mosquitoes.

A new study led by a UC San Diego researcher finds that some Americans are strongly opposed to releasing genetically modified insects in the wild, presenting challenges to plans for testing this approach in the U.S. San Diego KPBS, California

Plastic in the sea smells like food to fish, finds new study.

Plastic starts to smell like food to fish after it has been in the sea, according to research that sheds new light on how the artificial, toxic substance is getting into the food chain. The Independent, United Kingdom


Cheese powder and other hobgoblins: A double standard in risk reporting.

When a company claims its products are safe, journalists are rightly skeptical. Why do alarmist claims from environmental groups get a free pass? Undark

A solution for Hong Kong’s plastic waste crisis: Turn it into fuel.

A wide range of plastics cannot be recycled, or cannot be recycled any further, and end up in a landfill. Such plastics are an excellent, high energy feedstock for gasification. South China Morning Post, China

The bees are better, but they're not all right.

Total population collapse? No. Weaker insects? Yes. Problematic pesticides? Probably. Bloomberg View

Poison once flowed in America's waters. With Trump, it might again.

Over the past four decades, a huge amount of effort has gone into cleaning America’s heavily polluted waters. Is all of that progress about to be undone? The Guardian

Extraction, exploitation and the morality of switching from gasoline to cobalt for cars.

Is it as ethical as we think to switch from fossil fuel extraction to cobalt extraction? HuffPost

Water and toxification

Video: Toxic Taps: Meet California’s newest water contaminant.

In the fourth video in our “Toxic Taps” series, we explain what happens now that California has finally regulated a carcinogen, 1,2,3-trichloropropane, that has been contaminating groundwater for decades. Water Deeply

What's the status of GenX investigations, lawsuits?

Federal, state and local agencies are among those looking into Chemours. Wilmington Star-News, North Carolina

Bill to end moratorium on mining is introduced.

Wisconsin’s mining moratorium law would be jettisoned under a bill proposed Thursday by two Republican legislators that could spur plans for new mining in northern Wisconsin. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin

How much should major polluters pay? A case against DuPont provides a model.

A biologist traced mercury from a company spill to contamination in songbirds, and devised a new way to hold polluters financially accountable. Audubon Magazine

Food and toxification

Records show EPA efforts to slow herbicide review came in coordination with Monsanto.

Newly released government email communications show a persistent effort by multiple officials within the Environmental Protection Agency to slow a separate federal agency’s safety review of Monsanto’s top-selling herbicide. HuffPost

Egg inspections complete, but safety concerns remain.

Consumer concerns about eggs contaminated with insecticides persisted Friday, as the government announced the results of its inspections on all large-scale egg farms. Korea Herald, South Korea

Widespread crop damage from dicamba herbicide fuels controversy.

Plant scientists dispute claims by the herbicide’s manufacturers that new formulations can be used safely. Chemical & Engineering News

Mankato to Dayton: Do better on water quality.

Anyone who thinks farm runoff is strictly a rural issue should visit Mankato. Minnesota Public Radio, Minnesota

Solutions and Good News

Paper or plastic? Chicago bag tax is encouraging shoppers to say 'neither.'

Chicago's ban on disposable plastic bags wound up on the trash heap. But the bag tax that replaced it is nudging Chicagoans to kick, or at least curtail, their use of the plastic sacks. Chicago Tribune, Illinois

VIDEO: Decade long push for new law finally pays off.

Health advocates and firefighters have been fighting for a proposed law to ban toxic flame retardants in household furniture for years. Wednesday, their dedication paid off as Maine lawmakers overrode a veto from the Governor to enact the first law in the nation to phase out toxic flame retardants. Bangor WABI TV, Maine

Wal-Mart puts chemicals in spotlight by joining new program.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has joined a new program that rates companies on their use of chemicals, a move that puts fresh pressure on the consumer-products industry to police its ingredients. Bloomberg News

Bees are bouncing back from colony collapse disorder.

With pesticides and other factors still stressing bees, the overall increase is largely the result of constant replenishment of losses, the study showed. Bloomberg News

Environmental justice

Enbridge Line 3 options all would hurt American Indians, report says.

Enbridge's route and four alternative paths would all have disproportionately negative effects on American Indians in northern Minnesota. Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnesota

Inside the oil spill that followed Trudeau to China.

There is certain information about Husky Energy’s catastrophic oil spill in Saskatchewan last summer that you won’t find on the company’s brand new website. National Observer, Canada

Women of colour are being exposed to more toxic chemicals in their beauty products than white women, says new research.

According to a report published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, women of colour are coming into contact with more toxic chemicals than white women. London Metro, United Kingdom

Court lets Exxon off hook for pipeline spill in Arkansas neighborhood.

'Despite adherence to safety guidelines and regulations, oil spills still do occur,' the court said in overturning several violations against the oil giant. InsideClimate News

Troubled Water: Industrial waste pollutes America’s drinking water.

Manufacturing, mining and waste disposal companies and dozens of others provide millions of jobs and services to Americans, but they are also among the country’s worst water polluters. News21

An environmental threat: The East Chicago lead crisis one year later.

It has been more than a year since Mayor Anthony Copeland informed more than 1,000 West Calumet Housing Complex residents it was in their "best interest to temporarily relocate" because of contaminated soil. Northwest Indiana Times, Indiana

Children's Health

Mercury treaty now in force; brings new focus on alternatives.

The entry into force of the Minamata Convention on Mercury Aug. 16 will spur companies worldwide to restrict their use of mercury and pursue alternatives to mercury added products. Bloomberg BNA

India threatens Philip Morris with 'punitive action' over alleged violations.

The Indian government has threatened Philip Morris International Inc with "punitive action" over the tobacco giant's alleged violation of the country's anti-smoking laws, according to a letter sent to the company by the federal health ministry. Reuters Health

China to ban primary mercury mining by 2032 as convention comes into force.

China will ban the production and trade of a range of products containing mercury by 2020. Reuters

State urges all Utah schools to test water systems for lead after detecting contamination.

After voluntary spot testing, drinking water at 10 Utah schools was found to exceed EPA guidelines and dozens more contained poisonous lead below the federal limit. Salt Lake Tribune, Utah

Australia emits mercury at double the global average.

A report released this week by advocacy group Environmental Justice Australia presents a confronting analysis of toxic emissions from Australia’s coal-fired power plants. The Conversation, Australia

Women's health

Why women of color are being exposed to harmful chemicals in beauty products.

New research published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology confirms that women of color are being exposed to higher levels of beauty-product-derived chemicals like mercury, steroids and hormone-disruptors than white women, most likely because of racist beauty ideals. Elle

Can endocrine disruptors elevate risk of breast cancer?

Research suggests chemicals in the environment might help breast cancer grow. US News & World Report

We still don’t know if the Flint water crisis caused miscarriages.

For more than a year now, two studies have been looking at miscarriages in Flint during the water crisis. But we still don't have good answers for moms. Michigan Public Radio, Michigan

Studies shed new light on the EDC potential of BPA & BPS.

While bisphenol A is a known endocrine-disrupting compound (EDC), its substitute bisphenol S has been shown to be worrisome as well. Three new studies add more evidence that exposure to these EDCs early in life will likely lead to serious health issues later in life. Endocrine News

Ocean toxification

West Coast governors tell Trump: No oil, gas leases off our coast.

Oil and gas leasing must never again be allowed in sensitive marine waters off the West Coast, the governors of three states told U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and the Trump administration, in a blunt letter Thursday. Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Washington

Polluted water: It’s where sea snakes wear black.

Maybe it’s more than reptile fashion. The high percentage of citified sea snakes wearing black might be a sign that pollution is an evolutionary force. Science News

'We are jobless because of fish poisoning': Vietnamese fishermen battle for justice.

A year after Vietnam’s worst environmental disaster, lives remain ruined while the government cracks down on protesters seeking compensation. The Guardian

Denmark reports Maersk Oil to police for discharging chemicals into North Sea.

The Danish environmental protection agency said on Thursday it had reported Maersk Oil to the police for discharging chemicals into the North Sea in connection with oil production. Reuters