Top Toxification News

Johnson & Johnson wins reversal of $72 million verdict over talc cancer risks.

Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday won the reversal of a $72 million verdict in favor of the family of a woman whose death from ovarian cancer they claimed stemmed from her use of the company’s talc-based products like Johnson’s Baby Powder. Reuters

Artificial sweeteners are being used to detect polluted water.

Low-cal additives are finding a place in pollution control — even as scientists dig into whether they are pollutants in their own right. Ensia

The UK just installed its first “seabin” to clean plastic-polluted waters.

Our oceans fill with millions of tons of plastic every single year. Portsmouth Harbor, in the UK, aims to combat this problem with the seabin, a new device that sucks plastic, oil, and other debris from the water. Futurism

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More news from EHN

Weed killer for breakfast.

Island Press

New book explores controversial weed killer, cancer and corrupt science. Environmental Health News

Pollution and stress at home combine to spur more hyperactivity.

Breathing dirty air and living in stress combine to increase the likelihood NYC kids will have a behavior disorder. Environmental Health News

Menominee Tribe seeks stricter federal oversight in Michigan mine fight.

Brian Bienkowski

In its continued fight against a mine near sacred waters, the Menominee Indians of Wisconsin want stronger federal regulations to apply as officials weigh the final permit for mine approval. Environmental Health News

17 million in US live near active oil or gas wells.

More than 17 million people in the United States live within a mile of an active oil or natural gas well, according to a new study. Daily Climate


Mr. Trump outdoes himself in picking a conflicted regulator.

The nominee to lead the E.P.A. chemicals office is a threat to public health. New York Times

Fire-fighting chemicals and drinking water.

The PFAS saga is not just an issue for those who live near the Williamtown RAAF base and other hot spots around the nation. Newcastle Herald, Australia

It's time to clean up Lunenburg Harbour.

Come on, you governments of Canada, Nova Scotia and Lunenburg. It’s time you started acting together to seriously deal with what the noses of residents and the bacteria counts of scientists have been telling us this summer about Lunenburg Harbour. Halifax Chronicle Herald, Nova Scotia

The EPA acts more like a friend and less like a regulator of utilities.

The EPA needs to listen to public concerns. It may learn something. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Missouri

EPA adds to list of Coakley failures.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency added to the long list of failures of governmental agencies to protect the environment and residents by stating it would not recommend remediation of the chemicals leaching from the Coakley landfill. Portsmouth Herald, New Hampshire

Endocrine disruptors

Toxic firefighting chemicals 'the most seminal public health challenge.'

A U.S. environmental official says PFAS chemicals found in firefighting foam are contaminating water supplies. The Guardian

Rubbish causing Polar Bear hormone disruption.

Fears have been raised over the risks of plastic pollution as UK MPs heard claims discarded bottles are leading to polar bears developing two sets of testicles. Sydney Sky News, Australia

PFAS contamination: Fishermen still not consulted after being forced to cease work in Victorian wetland.

A Victorian commercial fishing family says it has still yet to be consulted by the Department of Defence about PFAS contamination in a Gippsland wetland which has led to a fishing ban. ABC News Online, Australia

Desperate Puerto Ricans are drinking water from a hazardous-waste site.

In Puerto Rico, water is being pumped to people by water authorities from a federally designated hazardous-waste site. CNN

Editor comments: Climate-related weather disasters are driving health concerns in Puerto Rico (Superfund water), Texas (petrochemical spills) and California (toxic air). -JPM

Biodiversity and toxification

Pesticide traces in New Zealand honey surprises researcher.

A researcher says he was surprised to find how four samples of New Zealand honey contained traces of a class of pesticides known for their role in the decline of bees. New Zealand Herald

PODCAST: Romaine calm and curry on.

Food insecurity in the form of malnutrition could be addressed in both developed and developing countries with the help of agricultural biotechnology. Did you know that the same technologies may conserve biodiversity and ensure sustainable food production? The Forum

Firms act on ocean plastic from Southeast Asia.

Two initiatives involving industry aim to stop ocean plastic pollution at the source. Chemical & Engineering News

Plastic pollution: An increasing threat to marine life in Pakistan.

The issue of plastic pollution along Pakistan’s coast is a major concern and is worsening due to inadequate solid waste disposal systems. Lahore Daily Times, Pakistan

High-street outlets move to ditch plastic amid environmental concerns.

Pret A Manger becomes the latest to act by offering free filtered water and selling empty glass bottles. The Guardian

Irving constitutional challenge a threat to pollution rules.

Irving Pulp and Paper's plan to launch a constitutional challenge to Canada's environmental regulations is expected to shine a bright light on water pollution standards for mills across the country. CBC New Brunswick, New Brunswick


How a healthy economy can shorten life spans.

In general, prosperity brings better health. But economic booms are also associated with air pollution, stress and car accidents. New York Times

Trump abandons efforts to clean up Utah's air.

Three million Utahns will be the victims if clean cars are run off the road by the clown car at the White House. Salt Lake Tribune, Utah

Filters: A cigarette engineering hoax that harms both smokers and the environment.

Without filters, the number of lethal lung cancers may be reduced, more smokers would quit because of the harsh taste, and fewer young people would start smoking. The Conversation

It’s time to nix neonics.

If we care about the quality and security of our food sources — and the species and ecosystems they rely on—the time for neonics is over. Halifax Coast, Nova Scotia

These chemicals are bad for babies and whales: Why haven't they been banned in Canada?

A federal agency in the United States took action last month to ban an entire class of toxic flame retardants from being added to a wide variety of consumer products. It’s a first for the U.S. — and it could be done in Canada too. The Conversation

Water and toxification

Puerto Rican families draw water from Superfund site.

Past water tests at the site have shown the presence of potentially harmful industrial solvents. Washington Post

Editor comments: Climate-related weather disasters are driving health concerns in Puerto Rico (Superfund water), Texas (petrochemical spills) and California (toxic air). -JPM

EPA cleanup plan for Houston Superfund site opposed by industry.

The San Jacinto waste pits were flooded during Hurricane Harvey. EPA and industry differ on how to minimize contaminant risk. Circle of Blue

Wolverine landfill neighbors threaten lawsuit to force cleanup.

Neighbors of a Wolverine World Wide tannery waste dump are threatening a lawsuit that could force the company to clean up the toxic landfill at the center of an expanding groundwater contamination investigation near Grand Rapids. Grand Rapids Press, Michigan

Former US military base sites in South Korea heavy with contamination.

Almost 2/3 of environmental surveys since 2008 have revealed high pollution in water and soil. Seoul Hankyoreh, South Korea

Food and toxification

Weedkiller dicamba unlocks record harvests – and a web of conflict among divided farmers.

Dicamba has emerged as a successor to Monsanto's Roundup, but recriminations and lawsuits have followed. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Missouri

BASF to harvest seeds, herbicide businesses from Bayer for $7 billion.

BASF has agreed to buy seed and herbicide businesses from Bayer for 5.9 billion euros in cash, as Bayer tries to convince competition authorities to approve its planned acquisition of Monsanto. Reuters

Research details packaging chemicals found in food.

Chemicals from plastic and paper packaging are leaching into some foods sold in New Zealand, new research shows. Radio New Zealand, New Zealand

EU pesticide debate needs more 'independent expertise': Macron.

France and the European Union need independent scientific experts to guide them on divisive environmental issues such as pesticides, French President Emmanuel Macron said, criticizing some research as prone to lobbying pressures. Reuters

Solutions and Good News

Lead poisoning plummets thanks to cleaner petrol.

Lead poisoning in expectant mothers has fallen dramatically since lead was finally phased out of petrol in 2006. Johannesburg Times, South Africa

Exhibit brings the hard lessons of the petrochemical industry home.

What do Louisiana and western Pennsylvania have in common? For one, an industry that for better or for worse inspires art. Allegheny Front, Pennsylvania

Federal panel votes to warn public about flame retardants in baby products, furniture.

For the first time a federal agency is moving to outlaw an entire class of toxic flame retardants, a policy change intended to protect Americans from chemicals linked to cancer, neurological deficits, hormone disruption and other health problems. Chicago Tribune, Illinois

Farmers, beekeepers put aside differences to aid bees.

A new pilot project in North Dakota aims to get past frequent finger-pointing between beekeepers and farmers over the decline in bee populations and get them to work together with scientists to reverse the trend. Minnesota Public Radio, Minnesota

Environmental justice

Exposure to air pollution before birth may shorten our lives.

Pollution affects us even in the womb: Women who are exposed to air pollution during pregnancy have babies with shorter telomeres (a genetic biomarker), a study published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics found. CNN

Nearly half of the 102 Superfund homes in East Chicago tested by EPA had lead paint. Whose job is it to remove?

An agency spokesperson said they have no plans to remove it because such activity is outside the authority of the agency's Superfund program. Northwest Indiana Times, Indiana

'Lead in my bones': Living a contaminated life in East Chicago.

The NAACP kicked off an initiative in East Chicago to teach children how to test their soil, water and air for lead. Indianapolis Star, Indiana

Truth is, conflicting water studies are stressing out some in Flint.

Researchers admit their findings need to be reviewed and replicated by others before anyone can claim to be closer to the truth about the effect tainted water had on some of the city’s most vulnerable residents. Detroit Free Press, Michigan

California mobile home park residents face barriers to clean water.

Study finds more frequent service cuts and dirtier water in trailer parks. Circle of Blue

EPA warns Puerto Ricans to stop drinking water from Superfund sites, but everything's fine!

t's been three weeks since Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico, and conditions are deteriorating due to a pervasive lack of access to food, water, and electricity. Some residents in Puerto Rico have little recourse left than to seek out water supplies at wells located on the island's Superfund sites. Mashable

Children's Health

California fires leave 31 dead, a vast landscape charred, and a sky full of soot.

The reach of the blazes is spreading dramatically further by the day, as thick plumes of smoke blow through population centers across the Bay Area. New York Times

Claims filing begins in WV water crisis settlement.

Thousands of Kanawha Valley residents, businesses and workers now can file claims to receive their share of the $151 million settlement of the class-action lawsuit over the January 2014 water crisis. Charleston Gazette-Mail, West Virginia

Getting the lead out of spices, powders, supplements.

Public health experts are joining forces to reduce children’s exposure to lead-tainted spices and other imports. North Carolina Health News, North Carolina

State: Water crisis didn’t affect Flint birth outcomes.

A state health department analysis released Tuesday on birth outcomes in Flint found “no significant differences” before and after the city switched its water source — contrary to a study released last month by researchers in Kansas and West Virginia. Detroit News, Michigan

Canada groups urge government to toughen toxic chemicals law.

Five environmental groups say Canada’s law governing toxic chemicals is outdated and they urge the government to amend soon it to protect children and the general population. Radio Canada International

Women's health

It's surprisingly hard to ban toxic sex toys, but here's how to protect yourself.

With the short-term effects of chlorine and the long-term effects of phthalates, PVC is, “definitely one of the worst sex toy materials we’ve seen.” Glamour

Editor comments: Imagine this Congress making a bold, sex-positive statement like mandating sex toy safety. -DF

Low prenatal exposures to fluoride: Are there neurotoxic risks for children?

A new study in Environmental Health Perspectives examines risks of exposure to prenatal fluoride at concentrations typical of the general population. Environmental Health Perspectives

Trading old hazards for new?

PFOA has been phased out, but what are industries using in its place? Hill Country Observer, New York

Editor comments: We risk "regrettable substitutions” when the specific chemical identities of substances presumed to be safer are unknown. -LP

Test tube babies in a conflict zone: Dealing with infertility in Gaza.

The UN has called the Gaza Strip unlivable, yet IVF treatment is widely available to its residents, with some paying thousands of dollars while others take advantage of a goodwill gesture by the ruling Hamas party. The Guardian

Ocean toxification

David Attenborough urges action on plastics after filming Blue Planet II.

Naturalist says experience making second series of BBC show revealed devastating threat posed to oceans by plastic. The Guardian

David Attenborough on the scourge of the oceans: 'I remember being told plastic doesn't decay, it's wonderful.'

David Attenborough explains why plastic pollution, climate change and overpopulation are problems too urgent to be left to ecologists. The Guardian

Sewage plants are leaking millions of tiny plastic beads into Britain's seas.

The plastic beads used for filtering sewage are hard to spot and pose a risk to wildlife, according to a new report. The Guardian

Toxic pollution flowing to Kirra Beach from Gold Coast Airport prompts council warning.

Low-level toxic contamination reaching Kirra Beach from Coolangatta Creek on the southern Gold Coast will prompt signage urging people not to swim in the area. ABC News Online, Australia