Urszula Tanouye had no idea that she was breathing in toxic air pollution until a friend sent her a link to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) website showing her home was in a hotspot for cancer risk. “It seemed like, within a couple of days, the whole village found out pretty much that way,” Tanouye...
Past Presentation | What do kids think about the growing problem of plastic pollution? Our students explore young perspectives on plastic pollution causes, impacts and solutions through interviews with Maui kids ages five through ten.
The House voted on Tuesday to overturn a Biden truck pollution rule, teeing up an expected White House veto. The vote was 221-203. The Biden rule in question, which aims to cut pollution from heavy-duty trucks, would be expected to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides by 50 percent in the year 2045. These pollutants can worsen respiratory health...
Countries grappling with the “immense” task of ending plastic pollution began a new round of talks in Paris on Monday, amid protests and warnings of the urgency to act. Representatives of 175 nations with divergent ambitions met at the UNESCO headquarters with the aim of making progress towards reaching by next year a historic […] The post Plastic pollution: Treaty talks get into the nitty-gritty appeared first on The Tico Times | Costa Rica News | Travel | Real Estate.
Have patience.That, in essence, is the response of EPA officials to criticism that they are whiffing on an opportunity to strengthen commercial jet aircraft engine pollution regulations and benefit environmental justice communities.
Scottsdale Public Art is drawing attention to the worldwide environmental crisis involving excess waste generated by the fast fashion industry with its latest exhibit, “Diversion: Recycled Textiles to Art.”
More than a third of Americans are exposed to potentially life-shortening air pollution, according to the American Lung Association’s (ALA) 2023 State of the Air report. About 119.6 million Americans, or 36 percent of the population, live in areas the association assigned a failing grade to for particle or ozone pollution. This is a reduction...
One third of all second-hand clothing shipped to Kenya in 2021 was "plastic waste in disguise", creating a slew of environmental and health problems for local communities.
Professor of environmental chemistry Martin Scheringer joins "The Great Simplification" podcast to discuss new research on PFAS and their ubiquity in waterways all over the globe. The conversation then turns to plastic pollution and what we might do about it.
A group of 12 environmental organizations is taking aim at regulators over failure to update effluent guidelines from industries like oil and gas.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said on Wednesday it is considering adopting new regulations to address...
The Environmental Protection Agency is investigating whether Colorado’s regulation of air pollution from industrial facilities discriminates against Hispanic residents and other racial minorities, according to a letter released by the agency Wednesday
The Biden administration on Tuesday announced that it had finalized a rule that’s expected to cut a significant amount of harmful pollution from heavy-duty trucks, though environmental groups say the administration should be doing even more. The EPA announced that it had finalized a rule that restricts the release of a group of pollutants known...
The District of Columbia filed a lawsuit Thursday against Velsicol, claiming it violated the city's environmental laws by polluting a major waterway, the Anacostia River, and its surrounding environment for decades.
Sequins are nearly always made of plastic and will take hundreds of years or more to decompose.
Unhealthy air pollution levels affect more than a third of all U.S. residents, according to an annual report published Wednesday.The big picture: That's 17.6 million fewer people than in the American Lung Association's previous "State of the Air" report.Yes, but: The ALA notes in an accompanying statement that the number of people facing "daily spikes in deadly particle pollution was 63.7 million, the most ever reported under the current national standard."The report underscores disparities in the U.S., with people of color accounting for 54% of the nearly 120 million Americans living in counties with unhealthy air pollution levels. That's despite accounting for 41% of the overall U.S. population.The findings concur with earlier studies showing this fine particulate air pollution, or PM2.5, disproportionally affects Americans of color because of their proximity to industry and construction sites, and gasoline and diesel vehicles.What they did: The study examined ozone smog and particle pollution levels from data recorded in the Environmental Protection Agency's Air Quality System from 2019 to 2021.What they found: Californian cities were among the most polluted metropolitan areas in the U.S. for the period examined, which coincided with the state being hit by a series of wildfires. The agricultural area of Bakersfield, California, ranked the worst in the U.S. for short-term and long-term particle pollution.Los Angeles-Long Beach, California, had the worst ozone pollution in the U.S., according to the report.The intrigue: The overall falling levels of ozone across the U.S. represented "the continuation of a positive trend that reflects the success of the Clean Air Act of 1970, per the ALA.Of note: The ALA warns the effects of climate change are impacting such improvements."The three years covered by 'State of the Air' 2023 ranked among the seven hottest years on record globally," the ALA notes."High ozone days and spikes in particle pollution related to heat, drought and wildfires are putting millions of people at risk and adding challenges to the work that states and cities are doing across the nation to clean up air pollution."Between the lines: Richard Peltier, an associate professor of environmental health sciences at University of Massachusetts Amherst, who wasn't involved in the study, noted to NBC News that "wildfires that are related to climate change" were mostly behind California's short-term spikes.The report findings concur with a separate study that last year found California's 2020 wildfires impacted negatively on its recent emissions cuts.Read the full report, via DocumentCloud: Go deeper: Air pollution shaves off 2.2 years of average life expectancy worldwide
California activists fought to frame climate change as an air quality problem. Now it’s federal law.
Artists like Turner and Monet painted the smog they saw in London and Paris, a new study says
The nation’s top environmental regulator called Monday for stricter laws to prevent companies from contaminating drinking water with chemicals that haven’t yet been regulated.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering stricter standards for soot, one of the deadliest air pollutants. We talk two doctors — one from Viroqua, one from Milwaukee — about how this type of pollution affects humans.
Some environmental lawyers believe that state environmental regulators have more authority than they use to weigh pollution already released in a community before allowing more.
PITTSBURGH — Community advocates tasked with spending $5 million in fines from Shell’s industrial air pollution are determined not to let the oil company take credit for the projects. In a region long plagued by industrial pollution, community advocates say weak enforcement leads to a “pay-to-pollute” model, where it’s cheaper for companies to pay fines for polluting than to clean up operations. Now some of those same advocates — tasked with spending pollution fine money to better their communities’ health — want to hold polluters accountable. Last November, Shell started up its massive new ethane cracker, which converts fracked ethane gas into tiny plastic pellets, in Beaver County, Pennsylvania, about 35 miles north of Pittsburgh. By December, the plant had already exceeded its air pollution permit for the year. Emissions from the plant include particulate matter pollution, volatile organic compounds like benzene and toluene, and a long list of other hazardous air pollutants. Exposure to these emissions is linked to brain, liver and kidney issues; cardiovascular and respiratory disease; miscarriages and birth defects; and childhood leukemia and cancer. In May, Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro reached a settlement agreement with Shell to pay $10 million in fines for clean air violations. Under the agreement, half of that money must be used for projects to mitigate the pollution’s impact on local communities. “We’re glad this money is going to the community, but there are still some pay-to-pollute aspects in this agreement,” Matt Mehalik, executive director of the Breathe Project, a Pittsburgh-based collaborative of more than 50 regional and national environmental advocacy groups, told Environmental Health News (EHN). “The settlement agreement seems to anticipate that Shell’s pollution will continue through the end of the year. We’d like to see more direct requirements in the settlement agreement to mitigate, prevent and prohibit ongoing air pollution.” In recent years, another major law-breaker in the area, US Steel, has paid fines for clean air law violations at its Clairton Coke Works plant into a community trust. But those funds have largely been used for things like park upgrades, road paving and new municipal vehicles. Advocates say US Steel gets credit for funding such community initiatives — a pattern they’re determined to avoid repeating with Shell. “There’s nothing inherently bad about those projects, but those funds are not being used to mitigate air pollution and protect public health the way they could be,” Mehalik said. “That fund is viewed almost as a charitable donation fund to under-resourced communities, even though it only exists because the company is causing harm in those communities.” At a public meeting about how to spend Shell’s fine money in July, people raised numerous concerns about repeating the perceived mistakes made with US Steel’s fine money (decisions made by the Allegheny County Health Department, which oversees air quality in Pittsburgh). A 17-member steering committee, made up of community advocates, decided that projects from Shell’s community fund must go toward providing environmental, health or quality of life benefits in Beaver County. In the official protocol for the projects, the group also mandated that any public discussion about projects funded by the fine money must include a statement saying the project was funded with fines from Shell due to “violations of the Air Pollution Control Act and regulations.”“So many of the falsehoods about this industry come from what is not said, rather than what is said,” Terrie Baumgardner, a member of the steering committee and an outreach coordinator for the Clean Air Council, told EHN. She pointed out that Shell has previously made numerous donations to community projects unrelated to air pollution in Beaver County and that other oil and gas companies regularly donate to municipal projects and historical societies. She also pointed to Norfolk Southern paying for admission to carnival rides at a community fair in East Palestine in the wake of its catastrophic train derailment in the town.“People who aren’t informed about the bigger picture just see things like that and say, ‘Oh, aren’t they wonderful,’ Baumgardner said. “We hope this messaging reminds people that these fines were a penalty for Shell breaking the law and harming the community’s health, not a charitable donation.”Other requirements for the funds include initiating at least one independent air monitoring project, and at least one project focused on community education and engagement related to air pollution. All of the projects must involve organizations within Beaver County. As a next step, organizations interested in pursuing projects will submit applications and another committee will be assembled to decide which projects will be funded.No projects have been formally proposed yet, but members have discussed ideas like future lung-health screenings for residents, a digital billboard displaying real-time air quality information, support for an already-underway asthma registry and solar energy and electric vehicle projects that could help reduce local air pollution from other sources.Shell did not respond to requests for comment about the fund.Regulating environmental justiceThe Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has a complicated relationship with the communities it’s tasked with protecting. In the past, residents of some of the state’s most heavily fracked regions have bitterly joked that the agency’s acronym, DEP, actually stands for “Don’t Expect Protection.” The agency, under new leadership following the inauguration of Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro in January and the appointment of Rich Negrin as Department Secretary in June, hopes to change that — particularly among members of the state’s environmental justice communities. Within 15 miles of Shell’s plant, there are at least eight communities where residents are more than 30% non-white or more than 20% of people live in poverty, making them environmental justice communities under state law. Environmental justice communities are supposed to get extra consideration during permitting for polluting facilities, but the agency didn’t meet with members of these communities while permitting Shell’s ethane cracker because the facility wasn’t within their geographic boundaries. Those policies are now being reconsidered. “As DEP updates environmental justice policies, and even how we characterize environmental justice areas, the goal remains to ensure that Pennsylvanians have a voice in the decision-making process,” Fernando Treviño, the agency’s newly-appointed special deputy secretary for the Office of Environmental Justice, told EHN in an email. “DEP is working to do that on the front end at the permit application review stage, and right here in our communities where people have been impacted.” Before the community meeting on Shell’s fine money, Treviño spent weeks meeting one-on-one with locals to hear concerns about the plant’s pollution and their hopes for the funds. He mostly listened, but he also told people he wanted to help restore the community’s trust in their state regulators. “In many ways DEP is forging new relationships in this community, by meeting with budding grassroots organizations, established institutions, and community advocates and leaders,” Treviño said. “What we’re trying to show here is that DEP’s enforcement goes beyond fines… That’s an important part of our toolbox, but we’re re-thinking this model.” The agency is using these efforts in Beaver County as a blueprint for other communities facing industrial pollution, with plans to secure similar community-run mitigation funds when the law allows it. The agency is also working to post additional emissions data online, require demonstrations that pollution controls are functioning properly, and mandate repairs to facilities like Shell’s ethane cracker, according to Treviño. While there’s still frustration that the fines levied against Shell may not be large enough to actually deter pollution violations, community advocates expressed gratitude for these new initiatives. “This whole process was very transparent and open to community participation,” said Mehalik, the director of the Breathe Project. “That’s a big, transformative change at the DEP’s environmental justice office; and it’s a very welcome change.”
United Utilities accused of ‘making mockery’ by raising dividend in face of sewage spills and continuing leakages The decision by United Utilities to hand more than £300m to shareholders has sparked fresh anger over water companies’ multimillion-pound payouts, at a time when the industry is under pressure to spend more on tackling leaks and stopping sewage pollution.The company, which supplies more than 3m homes and 200,000 businesses across the north-west of England, from Carlisle to Crewe, had the unenviable title of England’s most polluting water company last year, according to Environment Agency data. Continue reading...
The Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, for projects mitigating transborder water pollution between San Diego and Tijuana, recommend a course of action that could reduce the number of days of transborder flow by 76 percent.
Costa Rica hosted the regional workshop of the GloLitter project from December 6 to 9, which aimed to help countries prevent and reduce marine plastic waste. The International Cooperation Directorate of the Costa Rican Foreign Ministry supported the development of this project. GloLitter is a plan designed by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the […] The post Costa Rica Pledges to Reduce Plastic Marine Pollution appeared first on The Tico Times | Costa Rica News | Travel | Real Estate.
Last week, advocacy groups logged victories in two significant court cases. In one, a judge decided that CAFOs that were previously exempt from environmental impact assessments will now be required to complete them in order to access government loans. In another, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agreed to respond by August to a petition it […] The post Momentum Builds to Regulate Water Pollution from CAFOs appeared first on Civil Eats.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it will study whether to toughen regulation of large livestock farms that release manure and other pollutants into waterways.
A new satellite will take continuous measurements of dangerous air pollution in the U.S. That has scientists, and residents, warily optimistic about undoing decades of environmental injustice.
However, there’s also good news – the disease-carrying pests may not survive the winter. A recent study has revealed that urban light pollution may interfere...
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality recently fined Georgia-Pacific’s Toledo mill about $62,000 for alleged air and water quality violations, some dating back two years.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has vetoed a bill aimed at reducing light pollution, citing concerns about costs.
This story was originally published by Grist and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration. The global food system is a climate mess, from the widespread use of greenhouse gas-emitting fertilizers to the methane-spewing livestock to all the food that gets tossed into the trash. In the United States, a staggering one-third of all food—something like 130 […]
Canadian wildfire smoke clouded the air across Northern Virginia twice last month, causing the region to have some of the worst air-quality readings in the world. But the National Weather Service never issued air-quality alerts for Fauquier or southern Prince William for an unsettling reason: In both counties, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality lacks the equipment necessary to monitor smoke pollution.
Planning a summer road trip? What to know about two major sources of pollution coming from your car: tires and brakes.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it will study whether to toughen regulation of large livestock farms that pollute waterways
The Biden administration is proposing to tighten standards for pollution coming from coal-fired power plants. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Tuesday that it is proposing to strengthen restrictions under the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards for the first time in more than a decade. The agency said it will update limits for pollutants, including...
Open-source tool from MIT’s Senseable City Lab lets people check air quality, cheaply.
Without scientific evidence, fringe political figures are increasingly blaming the existence of transgender people on environmental pollution.
Pollution from 18 U.S. companies’ cargo ships is causing an "onslaught of pollution,” report finds.
When communities impacted by PFAS contamination seek medical advice, they often discover doctors are unfamiliar with these chemicals health effects and unsure how to address their patients’ concerns. A report released in July and new courses for medical professionals aim to change that. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report recommends offering per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly known as PFAS, blood testing to individuals likely to have had elevated exposure and prioritizes certain types of medical screening for affected individuals. In addition, in October 2022, our team launched a free Continuing Medical Education course, initiated by and including perspectives from community activists, along with a Clinician Resources webpage on the PFAS Exchange. These recommendations and resources are urgent: PFAS—used to impart stain, water, grease and heat-resistance to many common consumer products—are persistent in the environment and our bodies and have likely impacted the drinking water of more than 200 million Americans. PFAS have been linked to far-ranging health effects, including high cholesterol, immune suppression, thyroid disease and cancer. Our aim to increase the medical community’s knowledge and resources in addressing PFAS is gaining traction. These efforts are part of a growing recognition of the need for more health professional education and guidance on health implications of PFAS exposure, obtaining and interpreting PFAS blood testing and improving patient care. PFAS testing can save lives The importance of clinician education regarding PFAS is demonstrated in the lives of those affected by these chemicals. Michigan resident Sandy Wynn-Stelt learned in 2017 that she and her late husband Joel had consumed highly contaminated water for over a decade prior to his fatal liver cancer diagnosis. Her quest for answers led her to get tests — both her blood and her private well had extremely high levels. She shared her test results with her doctor along with information about PFAS health effects. This information likely saved her life: Wynn-Stelt’s physician monitored her health and was able to make an early diagnosis of thyroid cancer based on the results of her PFAS blood test and other information.Related: Where did the PFAS in your blood come from? These computer models offer cluesSimilarly, Ayesha Khan became concerned about PFAS after her firefighter husband Nate Barber was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2019 and she learned that PFAS exposure is a risk factor for the condition. PFAS contamination was discovered in groundwater near the Nantucket Airport close to their home around that time and she was additionally concerned to learn that firefighters are exposed to PFAS from firefighting foam, as well as their protective gear. In 2020, she and her close friend Jaime Honkawa founded the Nantucket PFAS Action Group, a community organization that educates firefighters and the public about the risks of PFAS — and helps them take protective action. Our new course was prompted by a request from the Nantucket Cottage Hospital to the Nantucket PFAS Action Group to develop training for their medical professionals about PFAS exposure. The Nantucket PFAS Action Group worked with the PFAS-REACH collaborative team and the Mid-America Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit to develop the course.Released this October through Children’s Mercy Hospital, the course features both scientific experts as well as people who’ve experienced contamination. It was designed to be useful to all health professionals, and especially those in PFAS-impacted areas or whose patients have been occupationally or otherwise exposed. It can be accessed via the Children’s Mercy Hospital website or on the Clinician Resources page of the PFAS Exchange website. Testing individuals for PFASIn the past, the federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and other health agencies have emphasized the benefits of testing at the population, rather than individual, level. So the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine report’s recommendation to offer PFAS blood testing to individuals who have likely experienced elevated exposures is noteworthy. The report highlighted the importance of patient autonomy with informed, shared decision making between clinicians and patients about PFAS blood testing and medical screening with discussion of its benefits, harms and limitations. It noted how testing can help people feel empowered in managing their own health and can relieve the stress of not knowing one’s exposure.For patients with moderately elevated PFAS blood levels, the report recommends that clinicians focus on screening for high blood pressure, pregnancy induced hypertension and breast cancer based on age and other risk factors. For patients with higher total PFAS in their blood, the report additionally recommends that clinicians test for thyroid function and assess for signs of ulcerative colitis as well as kidney and testicular cancer. The recommendations have been well received by those impacted by PFAS contamination. Andrea Amico of Testing for Pease in New Hampshire called the report’s recommendations “huge milestones in the right direction,” and Emily Donovan of the community action group Clean Cape Fear in North Carolina wrote that the new report is “an important first step for our community” and that it “allows us to begin the process of caring for the elevated disease burdens our region is experiencing.” Amico, Donovan and many others from PFAS-impacted communities across the country provided valuable input for the report. Taking action on PFAS pollutionPFAS science and activism have expanded enormously in less than a decade and engagement of medical professionals has not kept pace. Now, the combination of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report and our Continuing Medical Education course opens up new avenues to address health effects and should spur health professionals to join in work to halt the upstream production and emissions of PFAS.If you are a resident of a PFAS-impacted community, you can share our Resources for Clinicians page with your medical providers and explore our PFAS Exchange website. If you are a medical professional, please consider enrolling in our course and sharing the information with your network of medical and public health organizations. Together, we can empower PFAS-affected people and help tackle this insidious pollution. For more information: Download the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine reportAccess our free Continuing Medical Education (CME) Training at the Children’s Mercy Hospital Continuing Medical Education page. Check out our Resources for Clinicians, which includes video of the training, a link to feedback survey, and medical screening guidancePFAS-REACH (Research, Education, and Action for Community Health) is a collaboration among Silent Spring Institute, Northeastern University, Michigan State University, Testing for Pease, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition, and Slingshot. We acknowledge the work of Elizabeth Friedman, MD and Alan Ducatman, MD who are responsible for the medical content of the CME course.
Eczema is on the rise. More people in urban environments are getting diagnosed — but nobody knows exactly why
A new lawsuit is pressing Florida’s top environmental leader to address wastewater problems contributing to an unprecedented manatee die-off in the Indian River Lagoon.
Air pollution doesn't just harm your lungs and skin — new research shows it also harms the brain
A coalition of Democratic legislators, environmental groups and local officials say they will introduce new air pollution permit mandates Wednesday that go further than Gov. Jared Polis’ recent directives to regulators.
If reactors are retired, polluting energy sources that fill the gap could cause more than 5,000 premature deaths, researchers estimate.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The U.S. branch of Belgian chemicals company Solvay has struck a deal with the New Jersey Department of Environmental...
The findings have "substantial policy and environmental implications," researchers say. But other academics aren't so sure.
The agency is evaluating if the state is properly scrutinizing polluters and assessing if minority communities face harmThe US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is investigating whether industrial pollution in Colorado disproportionately affects Hispanic and other minority communities.According to federal officials, the investigation centers on state oversight of its most prolific polluters. Continue reading...
A new “good neighbor” rule issued by the Environmental Protection Agency will restrict smokestack emissions from power plants and other industrial sources that burden downwind areas with smog-causing pollution they can’t control
Governor John Bel Edwards sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency to designate the Capitol Lakes as a superfund site, prioritizing the lakes for federal funding needed to clean up high levels of pollution in the bodies of water.
The polluted leftovers of Florida’s phosphate fertilizer mining industry, more than 1 billion tons in “stacks” that resemble enormous ponds, are at risk for leaks or other contamination when Hurricane Ian comes ashore in the state, environmental groups say.
With new satellites and programs, the agency is tackling air quality from all angles—for the health of people and the planet.
Microplastic pollution in lakes could affect the food web, all the way to people fishing and harvesting mussels, as well as sources of drinking water.
DNA from plants’ and animals’ shed cells gets caught in air filters at pollution monitoring stations, providing a valuable source of data for tracking biodiversity
"Schools are surrounded by oil and gas wells and fracking sites."
Research reveals a link between environmental air pollution and certain dementia characteristics, like impaired verbal fluency. Possession of a particular gene variant seems to amplify...
The Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday said that it would be able to fund 132 projects for monitoring air pollution in 37 states after recent legislation passed congress. The funds, from both the Democrats’ COVID-19 Stimulus Package and their climate, tax and health care bill, will cover the grants. “This is the largest investment in...