Aug 11, 2022

Regulatory actions for Cycle 1 of "Safer Products for Washington"

Regulatory actions for Cycle 1 of o"Safer Products for Washington"

We determined restrictions are needed for the following chemical-product combinations:

  • Organohalogen flame retardants in external plastic device casings for electric and electronic products intended for indoor use
  • Organohalogen and organophosphate flame retardants in RCW 70A.430 in recreational polyurethane:
    • Uncovered foam pits
    • Covered floor mats
    • Covered flooring
    • Outdoor recreational products
  • Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in:
    • Carpets and rugs
    • Indoor leather and textile furniture and furnishings
    • Aftermarket stain- and water-resistance treatments for leather and textile products
  • Bisphenols in:
    • Thermal paper
    • Drink can linings
  • Alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs) in laundry detergent
  • Ortho-phthalates in:
    • Vinyl flooring
    • Fragrances used in personal care and beauty products

We determined reporting requirements are needed for the following chemical-product combinations:

  • Organohalogen flame retardants in external plastic device casings for electric and electronic products intended for outdoor use
  • Organohalogen and organophosphate flame retardants listed in RCW 70A.430 in recreational polyurethane covered wall padding
  • PFAS in outdoor leather and textile furniture and furnishings
  • Bisphenols in food can linings

What changed between the draft and final report

We made a number of changes to integrate feedback from our stakeholders and communities. Read how we incorporated feedback in our comment overview. Three regulatory determinations changed between draft and final:

  • We changed our determination to no action on polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in paints or printing inks. We believe federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) regulations preempt us.
  • We changed our determination from a restriction on PFAS in leather and textile furniture and furnishings intended for outdoor use to a reporting requirement.
  • We changed our determination from a restriction on flame retardants in electric and electronic enclosures intended for outdoor use to a reporting requirement. We also further clarified which electric and electronic products are in scope.

If interested, you can view comments from other stakeholders on the draft report. To hear a summary of the results from our public comment survey, watch our video covering the highlights (also available in Spanish). For more details, check out our infographic (also available in Spanish) and blog post covering the results. You can also review the complete, unedited responses to the survey.




Free Virtual Workshop Indoor Air Management of Airborne Pathogens Lessons, Practices,

About this workshop

The Environmental Health Matters Initiative (EHMI) of the National Academies invites you to register for the first workshop in our three-part series on Indoor Air Management of Airborne Pathogens building upon the 2020 workshop on the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2. These workshops will explore strategies needed for airborne disease control and risk reduction in enclosed places by drawing on accumulated community and institutional knowledge, on-the-ground observations of indoor environments management during the pandemic, and novel and promising scientific discoveries.

The first workshop in the series will engage multidisciplinary speakers and active participants to investigate the state of knowledge concerning building management to reduce the transmission of airborne pathogens. Speakers will highlight progress made since 2020, identify critical research gaps, and explore technical and social barriers to implementation. Participants will share their experiences with the management of enclosed spaces during the pandemic and identify promising practices to be adopted to make these places safer.

Learn more about the structure of the workshop and the speakers by visiting our webpage, where you will soon be able to download the meeting agenda.

Your Voice Matters!

We want to hear a broad range of perspectives before the workshop to inform the conversation during the event. Please fill out any or all questions included in this anonymous questionnaire if you are or aren't able to attend the event.

Indoor Air Management of Airborne Pathogens Lessons, Practices, Innovations image

Date and time

Thu, August 18, 2022

11:30 AM – 3:30 PM EDT


Aug 10, 2022

Help counseling patients on PFAS

Healthcare providers need to know how to counsel patients about PFAS, known as "forever chemicals." Perfluoro alkyl substances (PFAS) have been found contaminating over 2,500 communities in the US, and 97% of Americans have PFAS in their blood. On July 28, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine released a report recommending that healthcare providers order PFAS blood levels on their exposed patients.

Doctors, nurses and other health professionals need to know who is exposed, how to interpret blood PFAS results, and what to tell their patients. We have developed two short videos (2 minutes each) for healthcare providers that introduces them to PFAS and directs them to a CME webinar on PFAS hosted at the University of Cincinnati. We are asking you to help us disseminate these videos to your providers and other stakeholders, on your social media, or in your newsletter.

Here are the links to the videos:

PFAS Doctor's Perspective - YouTube

PFAS Questions with Dr. Nicholas Newman - YouTube

 

Via Susan Buchanan, MD, MPH
Director, Great Lakes Center for Reproductive and Children's Environmental Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago/ Region 5 Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit https://childrensenviro.uic.edu/

Jul 28, 2022

EPA Issues Draft Revisions to its Risk Determination for the 1-Bromopropane (1-BP) Risk Evaluation Issued Under the Toxic Substance Control Act

On July 20, 2022, EPA published a draft revision to its risk determination for 1-bromopropane, also referred to as "1-BP." EPA proposed revisions to supersede the conditions of use previously issued in the 2020 1-BP evaluation. Due to recent policy changes, EPA is replacing its condition of use-specific unreasonable risk determinations with a determination of unreasonable risk for 1-BP as a whole chemical substance driven by certain condition of uses.

As part of the revision, EPA is removing the assumption of personal protective equipment use by workers, which means that 23 out of 25 conditions of use evaluated would drive the determination that 1-BP presents an unreasonable risk of injury to human health under its conditions of use. Two out of 25 conditions of use would not drive the unreasonable risk: commercial and consumer use of 1-BP in insulation for building and construction materials, and distribution in commerce.

Comments are due on August 19, 2022.

Read the revised risk determination here
https://www.epa.gov/system/files/documents/2022-07/1-Bromopropane%20Draft%20Revised%20Unreasonable%20Risk%20Determination.pdf

Jul 25, 2022

​The world's largest vertical farm ready to produce more than 2 million pounds of leafy greens annually.

The world's largest vertical farm using 95% less water and is ready to produce more than 2 million pounds of leafy greens annually.

Bustanica was built by Crop One Holdings in collaboration with Emirates Flight Catering. It recently opened its doors in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, near Al Maktoum International Airport at Dubai World Central. The facility is as big as 330,000-square-foot and spans over 175 yards.
95% less water

The crops produced in the facility will turn out clean and not require pre-washing as they will grow without pesticides, herbicides, or chemicals. The facility itself employs 95 percent less water, unlike traditional farms, and will produce three tons of output per day while wielding machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data analytics.

The facility utilizes a closed-loop system that circulates water through plants to use water efficiently. Water vaporizes during the watering process and is recycled into the system, which saves 250m liters of water every year compared to traditional outdoor farming producing the same output.


Read full at:
https://interestingengineering.com/the-worlds-largest-vertical-farm-using-95-less-water-opens-in-dubai

Jul 21, 2022

7 Cryptomining Companies Use Nearly as Much Energy as All Homes in Houston, Congressional Investigation Finds

A new congressional investigation, led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass), has found that seven of the top Bitcoin mining companies will use about as much energy as all the homes in Houston (nearly 1 million homes), the fourth most populous city in the U.S.

A group of Democratic Senators, including Warren and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Representatives Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) are calling on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy (DOE) for more regulations on the cryptomining industry.

"The results of our investigation … are disturbing … revealing that cryptominers are large energy users that account for a significant – and rapidly growing – amount of carbon emissions," the lawmakers wrote in a letter to EPA and DOE. "Our investigation suggests that the overall U.S. cryptomining industry is likely to be problematic for energy and emissions. But little is known about the full scope of cryptomining activity. Given these concerns, it is imperative that your agencies work together to address the lack of information about cryptomining's energy use and environmental impacts, and use all available authorities at your disposal…  to require reporting of energy use and emissions from cryptominers."

Please read full from sources:
https://grist.org/climate-energy/congress-crypto-mining-electricity-use-houston/
and
https://www.ecowatch.com/cryptomining-companies-energy.html

Jul 19, 2022

Maine Act To Stop Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Pollution

In July 2021, Public Law c. 477, An Act To Stop Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances Pollution (LD 1503, 130th Legislature) was enacted by the Maine Legislature. This new law requires manufacturers of products with intentionally added PFAS to report the intentionally added presence of PFAS in those products to the Department beginning January 1, 2023. The law also prohibits the sale of carpets or rugs, as well as the sale of fabric treatments, that contain intentionally added PFAS beginning on January 1, 2023. Effective January 1, 2030, any product containing intentionally added PFAS may not be sold in Maine unless the use of PFAS in the product is specifically designated as a currently unavoidable use by the Department.

 

To implement the product notification requirements the Department is working with the Interstate Chemicals Clearinghouse to develop an online reporting database similar to those already in use by other states. The Department is also in the process of developing a rule to clarify the upcoming reporting requirements. During the rule development process there will be an opportunity for stakeholder input on the implementation of the program. If you are interested, please sign up to receive notification of Department rulemaking and opportunity to comment notices on our website. 

 

There is also a FAQ at https://www1.maine.gov/dep/spills/topics/pfas/PFAS-products/index.html

Jul 13, 2022

Notice - Wisconsin PFOA/PFOS Rules to Take Effect August 1

Effective August 1, 2022 are two PFOA/PFOS rules. One on drinking water rule (CR 21‐088) and the second on surface water rule

CR 21-088
Department of Natural Resources (NR)
Environmental Protection – Water Supply
The promulgation of new drinking water maximum contaminant levels for Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) including Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA)

for details.

Jul 11, 2022

CDC study finds ‘Disturbing’: weedkiller ingredient tied to cancer found in 80% of US urine samples

theguardian: CDC study finds glyphosate, controversial ingredient found in weedkillers including popular Roundup brand, present in samples

More than 80% of urine samples drawn from children and adults in a US health study contained a weedkilling chemical linked to cancer, a finding scientists have called "disturbing" and "concerning".

The report by a unit of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that out of 2,310 urine samples, taken from a group of Americans intended to be representative of the US population, 1,885 were laced with detectable traces of glyphosate. This is the active ingredient in herbicides sold around the world, including the widely used Roundup brand. Almost a third of the participants were children ranging from six to 18.
A bumblebee covered in pollen

Academics and private researchers have been noting high levels of the herbicide glyphosate in analyses of human urine samples for years. But the CDC has only recently started examining the extent of human exposure to glyphosate in the US, and its work comes at a time of mounting concerns and controversy over how pesticides in food and water impact human and environmental health.

"I expect that the realization that most of us have glyphosate in our urine will be disturbing to many people," said Lianne Sheppard, professor at the University of Washington's department of environmental and occupational health sciences. Thanks to the new research, "we know that a large fraction of the population has it in urine. Many people will be thinking about whether that includes them."

Read full here:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jul/09/weedkiller-glyphosate-cdc-study-urine-samples

Read full CDC report here:
https://wwwn.cdc.gov/Nchs/Nhanes/2013-2014/SSGLYP_H.htm

Glyphosate weedkiller damages wild bee colonies, study reveals
Read more
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jun/02/glyphosate-weedkiller-damages-wild-bumblebee-colonies

Revealed: US water likely contains more cancer causing ‘forever chemicals’ than EPA tests show

Guardian analysis of water samples taken in nine US locations shows test agency uses is likely missing significant levels of PFAS pollutants

A Guardian analysis of water samples from around the United States shows that the type of water testing relied on by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is so limited in scope that it is probably missing significant levels of PFAS pollutants.

The undercount leaves regulators with an incomplete picture of the extent of PFAS contamination and reveals how millions of people may be facing an unknown health risk in their drinking water.

The analysis checked water samples from PFAS hot spots around the country with two types of tests: an EPA-developed method that detects 30 types of the approximately 9,000 PFAS compounds, and another that checks for a marker of all PFAS.

The Guardian found that seven of the nine samples collected showed higher levels of PFAS in water using the test that identifies markers for PFAS, than levels found when the water was tested using the EPA method – and at concentrations as much as 24 times greater.

"The EPA is doing the bare minimum it can and that's putting people's health at risk," said Kyla Bennett, policy director at the advocacy group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility
Ties to cancer

PFAS are a class of chemicals used since the 1950s to make thousands of products repel water, stains and heat. They are often called "forever chemicals" because they don't fully break down, accumulating in the environment, humans and animals. Some are toxic at very low levels and have been linked to cancer, birth defects, kidney disease, liver problems, decreased immunity and other serious health issues.

Read full at:

Jul 1, 2022

The US Supreme Court Narrows EPA’s Authority to Regulate GHG Under the Clean Air Act

In a 6-3 decision issued today in the case West Virginia v. EPA, the United States Supreme Court held that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exceeded its statutory authority when it attempted to enact an economy-wide, power generation shifting rule in 2015 known as the Clean Power Plan. Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts cited a series of recent decisions where the Court held that administrative agencies had attempted to regulate the economy far beyond Congressionally delegated powers, implicating serious constitutional separation of powers questions. Citing its "major questions" doctrine, the Court concluded that Section 111 of the Clean Air Act does not empower EPA to substantially restructure the American energy market. Rather, the statute empowers the agency to regulate emissions and not direct an economy-wide shift of energy sources, that Congress "conspicuously and repeatedly" rejected. The Court noted that its "major questions" doctrine refers to "an identifiable body of law that has developed over a series of significant cases all addressing a particular and recurring problem: agencies asserting highly consequential power beyond what Congress could reasonably be understood to have granted." The decision does not disturb EPA's authority to regulate GHGs under the Clean Air Act, but significantly narrows that authority. The decision also fails to directly address the scope of EPA's authority to regulated GHG's under Section 111(d) of the Clean Air Act.

Read full at:
https://www.michaelbest.com/Newsroom/291812/The-US-Supreme-Court-Narrows-EPAs-Authority-to-Regulate-GHG-under-the-Clean-Air-Act

Jun 20, 2022

EPA Announces New Drinking Water Health Advisories for PFAS

On June 15, 2022, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released drinking water health advisories for PFOA, PFOS, GenX chemicals, and PFBS. These chemicals are four separate subsets of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). EPA's advisories identify the PFAS chemical concentration in drinking water that EPA does not anticipate creating adverse health effects. EPA released its first ever drinking water health advisories for GenX chemicals and PFBS.  However, EPA's drinking water health advisories for PFOA and PFOS replaced the health advisories it announced in 2016, which recommended a combined PFOA and PFOS chemical concentration below 70 parts per trillion (ppt). EPA's updated health advisories dramatically decrease its recommended PFOA and PFOS chemical concentration to near zero levels. The newly released drinking water health advisories are as follows:
  • PFOA = 0.004 ppt
  • PFOS = 0.02 ppt
  • GenX chemicals = 10 ppt
  • PFBS = 2,000 ppt

EPA acknowledges its recommended drinking water PFOA and PFOS chemical concentrations are below levels that EPA can reliably detect at this time.  While it may be difficult to determine whether drinking water is compliant with EPA's advisory PFAS levels, EPA states "[t]he lower the level of PFOA and PFOS, the lower the risk to public health." 

EPA's drinking water health advisories are non-enforceable and non-regulatory documents meant to provide guidance for drinking water systems operators and other related parties. However, EPA is moving forward with proposing a PFAS National Drinking Water Regulation in fall 2022. Further, EPA is making $1 billion in grant funds available to help reduce PFAS chemical concentration in drinking water throughout the country. EPA's grants are the first of $5 billion allocated in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill toward reducing PFAS in drinking water.


Read full at:

https://www.michaelbest.com/Newsroom/290804/EPA-Announces-New-Drinking-Water-Health-Advisories-for-PFAS

100 Million People in the U.S. Live With Medical Debt

In the past five years, more than half of U.S. adults report they've gone into debt because of medical or dental bills. "Debt is no longer just a bug in our system. It is one of the main products. We have a health care system almost perfectly designed to create debt."

Jun 13, 2022

EPA Announces $6.5 Billion in New Funding Available for Water Infrastructure Projects

EPA Press Office – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the 2022 notices of funding availability for the agency's Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) program and the State Infrastructure Financing Authority WIFIA (SWIFIA) program. This year's funding will provide up to $6.5 billion in total funding to support $13 billion in water infrastructure projects while creating more than 40,000 jobs.

"Water infrastructure provides the foundation for healthy and vibrant communities by delivering safe drinking water and returning our treated wastewater to the environment," said EPA Assistant Administrator for Water Radhika Fox. "In too many communities, these essential pipes and pumps are decades old and need to be upgraded. That's why EPA is providing $6.5 billion in low-cost financing through WIFIA and SWIFIA that can help revitalize our water systems while creating good paying jobs and delivering significant economic benefits, especially in underserved and overburdened communities."

The notices of funding availability include $5.5 billion for the WIFIA program and an additional $1 billion for the SWIFIA program. This round of funding will prioritize funding in four areas:

  • Increasing investment in economically stressed communities.
  • Making rapid progress on lead service line replacement.
  • Addressing PFAS and emerging contaminants.
  • Supporting one water innovation and resilience.

By prioritizing investment in underserved communities, EPA is considering prospective WIFIA borrowers consistent with the goals of President Biden's Justice40 initiative. This initiative intends to ensure that federal agencies deliver at least 40% of benefits from certain investments, including water and wastewater infrastructure, to underserved communities.

To make WIFIA funding more adaptive to ongoing community needs, EPA is changing the way it accepts letters of interest from prospective borrowers. Letters of interest may be submitted by prospective borrowers and received by EPA at any time on or after September 6, 2022. The submission period will close when all available funds are committed to prospective borrowers. A rolling selection process allows EPA to provide year-round access to WIFIA funding, quicker selection decisions to prospective borrowers, and technical assistance to prospective borrowers. Since letters of interest will be evaluated when they are received, EPA encourages submissions at the beginning of the availability period.

EPA's WIFIA loan program is delivering the benefits of water infrastructure improvements nationwide. To date, EPA has closed 88 WIFIA loans that are providing over $15 billion in credit assistance to help finance nearly $33 billion for water infrastructure while creating nearly 100,000 jobs and saving ratepayers over $5 billion.

For more information about WIFIA and this funding announcement, visit: https://www.epa.gov/wifia.

Background

Established by the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act of 2014, the WIFIA program is a federal loan and guarantee program at EPA that aims to accelerate investment in the nation's water infrastructure by providing long-term, low-cost supplemental loans for regionally and nationally significant projects.

WIFIA credit assistance can be used for a wide range of projects, including:

  • Drinking water treatment and distribution projects.
  • Wastewater conveyance and treatment projects.
  • Nonpoint source pollution management program.
  • Management, reduction, treatment, or recapture of stormwater.
  • National estuary program projects.
  • Enhanced energy efficiency projects at drinking water and wastewater facilities.
  • Desalination, aquifer recharge, alternative water supply, and water recycling projects.
  • Drought prevention, reduction, or mitigation projects.

Jun 9, 2022

Elevated Levels of PFAS Found In Several Fish Species

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Department of Health Services (DHS) today announced a new PFAS-based consumption advisory for bluegill, crappie, largemouth bass and northern pike from Angelo Pond in Monroe County based on fish sampling.   

Elevated levels of PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate), a type of PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), were found in several fish species sampled from Angelo Pond, a 53 acre impoundment of the La Crosse River near Sparta in May of 2021.

As a result, the DNR and DHS recommend the following consumption guidelines for bluegill, crappie, largemouth bass, and northern pike harvested from the La Crosse River at Angelo Pond:

Angelo Pond Fish Consumption Advisory Guidelines

SPECIES

PREVIOUS ADVISORY

NEW ADVISORY

Bluegill

General/Statewide Advisory*

1 meal/week for everyone

Crappie

General/Statewide Advisory*

1 meal/month for everyone

Largemouth Bass

General/Statewide Advisory*

1 meal/month for everyone

Northern Pike

General/Statewide Advisory*

1 meal/month for everyone

*The general/statewide consumption advice for women <50 and children is 1 meal/week for panfish and 1 meal/month for all other species. For women >50 and men, the general/statewide consumption advice is 1 meal/week for all species except for panfish, which are unrestricted.

In April 2021, the DNR and DHS issued a consumption advisory of 1 meal/month for brook and brown trout caught in Silver Creek, which flows into Angelo Pond. Sampling efforts continue in consultation with Fort McCoy due to results of elevated PFAS surface water samples received from Silver Creek in 2019.

PFAS are a group of human-made chemicals that have been used for decades in various products, such as non-stick cookware, fast food wrappers, stain-resistant sprays and certain types of firefighting foams that have made their way into the environment.

Health risks may increase when fish with high levels of PFAS are consumed. These can include increased cholesterol levels, decreased immune response, and decreased fertility in women, among other health effects. More information is available on the DHS website.

Following fish consumption advisories will help protect you from consuming excess PFOS, Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and mercury. A complete list of up-to-date consumption advisories can be found in the DNR's Choose Wisely booklet.

Additional fish consumption advice and information on the effects of PFAS can be found on the DNR's website at:

https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/chemical/pfas.htm

Jun 7, 2022

​ Study finds ‘millions of tons’ of extremely reactive chemical in Earth’s atmosphere

(Independent) Scientists say the newly discovered chemicals may be able to penetrate into aerosol

Scientists have discovered an entirely new class of super-reactive chemical compounds in the Earth's atmosphere that they say may affect both human health and global climate.

The study, published in the journal Science, documented for the first time the formation of so-called trioxides – extremely oxidising chemical compounds with three oxygen atoms attached to each other.

"This is what we have now accomplished. The type of compounds we discovered are unique in their structure. And, because they are extremely oxidising, they most likely bring a host of effects that we have yet to uncover," study senior author Henrik Grum Kjærgaard from the University of Copenhagen said in a statement.

In the new study, scientists have shown that hydrotrioxides, as they are known, are a completely new class of chemical compounds that form under atmospheric conditions.

Hydrotrioxides are a kind of hydrogen polyoxide, with water – containing two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom – being the simplest and most common of the type.

Read full at:

Scientists have detected a new type of extremely reactive substance in the Earth's atmosphere that could pose a threat to human health, as well as the global climate.

(DailyMail) Scientists have detected a new type of extremely reactive substance in the Earth's atmosphere that could pose a threat to human health, as well as the global climate.

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have demonstrated that trioxides – chemical compounds with three oxygen atoms attached to each other – are formed under atmospheric conditions.   

Trioxides are even more reactive than peroxides – which have two oxygen atoms attached to each other, making them highly reactive and often flammable and explosive.

Peroxides are known to exist in the air surrounding us, and it was predicted that trioxides were probably in the atmosphere as well, but until now it has never been unequivocally proven.

'This is what we have now accomplished,' says Professor Henrik Grum Kjærgaard, at the University of Copenhagen's Department of Chemistry.

'The type of compounds we discovered are unique in their structure. And, because they are extremely oxidising, they most likely bring a host of effects that we have yet to uncover.'


Read full from source:

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-10861331/Entirely-new-kind-highly-reactive-chemical-Earths-atmosphere.html

May 29, 2022

Upcycling end-of-life vehicle waste plastic into flash graphene

Nature article about plastics from end-of-life vehicles can be upcycled - all together, without being sorted - into  graphene.

Abstract
Responsible disposal of vehicles at the end of life is a pressing environmental concern. In particular, waste plastic forms the largest proportion of non-recycled waste material from light-duty vehicles, and often ends up in a landfill. Here we report the upcycling of depolluted, dismantled and shredded end-of-life waste plastic into flash graphene using flash Joule heating. The synthetic process requires no separation or sorting of plastics and uses no solvents or water. We demonstrate the practical value of the graphene as a re-inforcing agent in automotive polyurethane foam composite, where its introduction leads to improved tensile strength and low frequency noise absorption properties. We demonstrate process continuity by upcycling the resulting foam composite back into equal-quality flash graphene. A prospective cradle-to-gate life cycle assessment suggests that our method may afford lower cumulative energy demand and water use, and a decrease in global warming potential compared to traditional graphene synthesis methods.

Read full from Nature

May 25, 2022

Can We Generate Renewable Energy by Burning Trash? (cnbc.com)

(Via SlashDot) CNBC visited a company that burns trash from a California landfill, and then "harnesses steam to make enough electricity to power 18,000 homes in the area" — which turns out to be part of a surprisingly large industry: A portion of the waste comes from companies including American Airlines, Quest Diagnostics, Sunny Delight and Subaru.... Major retailers like Amazon also use this combustion method to dispose of returns they deem unfit to recycle, resell, or donate....

The U.S. is one of the most wasteful developed countries in the world. Of the record 292 million tons of waste generated by Americans each year, more than half is landfilled, about a third is recycled, and 12% is incinerated at waste-to-energy facilities, according to the World Bank. Online commerce poses a particular problem. Not only are internet purchases breaking records in terms of volume, but roughly 20% of items get returned, which is a higher number than for in-store purchases. Returns solutions provider Optoro says U.S. returns generate an estimated 5.8 billion pounds of landfill waste each year.

But the article also points out that more than half of U.S. states define waste-to-energy as a renewable energy source." Unlike landfills, many governments and non-governmental organizations consider it a source of greenhouse gas mitigation. That includes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, where Susan Thorneloe leads research on materials management.

U.S. climate experts say these are the three reasons the burning process produces a net reduction of greenhouse gasses. First, it keeps waste out of landfills, which emit methane that the EPA estimates is 86 times greater than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period. Second, waste-to-energy facilities reduce the need for mining because they recover 700,000 tons of metal each year. And finally, they produce energy, reducing the need to burn fossil fuels.... The steam can also be captured and piped up to a mile away to heat or cool entire buildings, like Target Field in Minneapolis....

The EPA estimates that for every megawatt-hour of electricity generated, waste-to-energy emits an average of just over half a metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent gasses. Landfills emit six times that, and coal plants emit nearly double.

At least some scientists CNBC spoke to said that air pollution technology has advanced so much in the last two decades that most common toxins have largely been eliminated.

May 20, 2022

AIPG MN/WI 2022 Geology and Remediation Weekend

AIPG MN/WI 2022 Geology and Remediation Weekend (Sept 30 – Oct 2) - Join us for a gathering of professional geologists and their guests to view and listen to presentations and then visit the unique natural and human areas of the SE Minnesota and SW Wisconsin corners of our States. Successful Remediation and Investigation projects (including per fluorinated chemicals PFAS and emerging contaminants ECs) will be showcased by local Consultants, Regulatory and University professionals, and students. Event participants will be offered field trip options to Bluff Natural Areas or Karst Areas, and a Cruise on the Mississippi River to #7 Dam.

For registration and more information please see:

May 10, 2022

AP analysis finds growing number of poor, high-hazard dams

An Associated Press analysis tallied more than 2,200 high-hazard dams in poor or unsatisfactory condition across the U.S. — up substantially from a similar AP review conducted three years ago. The actual number is likely even higher, although it's unclear because some states don't track such data and many federal agencies refuse to release details about their dams' conditions.

The nation's dams are on average over a half-century old and often present more of a hazard than envisioned when designed because homes, businesses or highways have cropped up below them. Meanwhile, a warming atmosphere can bring stronger storms with heavier rainfall that could overwhelm aging dams.

"All of a sudden, you've got older dams with a lower design criteria that now can potentially cause loss of life if they fail," said Del Shannon, an engineer who is president of the U.S. Society on Dams.

"The number of deficient, high-hazard dams is increasing," he said, adding that without investment in upgrades, that number will continue to rise.

Decades of deferred maintenance has worsened the problem. But a changing climate and extreme floods — such as the one that caused the failure of two Michigan dams and the evacuation of 10,000 people in 2020 — have brought a renewed focus to an often overlooked aspect of America's critical infrastructure.

The $1 trillion infrastructure bill signed last year by President Joe Biden will pump about $3 billion into dam-related projects, including hundreds of millions for state dam safety programs and repairs.


Source: AP

May 9, 2022

EPA takes three new actions to address PFAS

The agency is developing a new broad PFAS testing method, a PFAS development for the NPDES program, and ambient water quality criteria to protect aquatic life from PFA.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced three actions to protect communities and the environment from per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in waters.

"EPA is using all available tools to address PFAS contamination as part of a broader, whole-of-government effort to protect communities across the country from these chemicals," said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. "Today's actions help protect the health of all Americans as we deliver on our commitment to research, restrict, and remediate PFAS."

A New Testing Method
EPA is publishing a new method that can broadly screen for the presence of PFAS in water at the part per billion level. EPA's new Draft Method 1621, the Screening Method for the Determination of Adsorbable Organic Fluorine (AOF) in Aqueous Matrices by Combustion Ion Chromatography (CIC), provides an aggregate measurement of chemical substances that contain carbon-fluorine bonds. PFAS are a common source of organofluorines in wastewater.

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program interfaces with many pathways by which PFAS travel and are released into the environment and ultimately impact people and water quality. EPA is seeking to proactively use existing NPDES authorities to reduce discharges of PFAS at the source and obtain more comprehensive information through monitoring on sources of PFAS.

EPA is also developing national recommended ambient water quality criteria for PFAS to protect aquatic life. The agency is proposing the first Clean Water Act aquatic life criteria for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS)—two of the most well-studied chemicals in this group. The criteria are intended to protect aquatic life in the United States from short-term and long-term toxic effects of PFOA and PFOS.

Please read full from:
https://www.waterworld.com/drinking-water/potable-water-quality/press-release/14275856/epa-takes-three-new-actions-to-address-pfas

Apr 27, 2022

WDNR - Stop Food Waste Day April 27

MADISON, Wis. – Join the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) for Stop Food Waste Day on April 27 by helping keep food waste out of Wisconsin landfills.

Stop Food Waste Day is an international day of action in the fight against food waste. Food waste is edible food thrown away before it is eaten or because it is spoiled, as well as scraps such as banana peels and eggshells.

According to the DNR's 2020-2021 Statewide Waste Characterization Study, food waste make up 20% of trash headed to our landfills, an amount that has more than doubled since the last study in 2009. Most of this food waste, 14.5%, could have been consumed.

Approximately 854,000 tons of food waste and scraps were sent to the state's landfills in 2020 – that's 294 pounds per Wisconsinite. Households contribute heavily to this amount, with food waste making up 30% of waste from residential sources.

"Wisconsin is one of several states where food waste dominates the waste stream, so momentum is building to address the issue," says Brad Wolbert, DNR Waste and Materials Management Program Director. "Residents have a major opportunity to positively impact the environment while reducing resources and costs associated with food production, purchasing and disposal."

Food waste in landfills doesn't just take up valuable space. When organic waste breaks down in landfills, it emits significant amounts of methane, one of the main contributors to global warming. Landfills are required to collect and treat the gas, but it can be several years before a landfill cell is covered and those systems are in place. Meanwhile, the food waste continues to break down.

The DNR estimates that using or composting the amount of food waste sent to state landfills in 2020 would equal the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from taking nearly 600,000 passenger vehicles off the road for a year.

"The DNR's Blueprint for Climate Action has set the goal of reducing food waste disposed of in Wisconsin landfills by half by 2030," Wolbert said. "In addition to engaging residents, we look forward to building partnerships with communities, organizations and businesses."

Make A Difference – Tips To Fight Food Waste

We all can do a few easy things every day to reduce our food waste and its burden on our landfills.

  • Plan ahead. Before heading to the grocery store, take stock of what you have on hand, plan a few meals, make a list and stick to it. Don't just wing it.
  • Store leftovers safely. Handling your leftovers properly will help you avoid throwing them away. Cool them in shallow containers in the fridge to keep bacteria at bay, and if you're freezing something, wrap it securely to prevent freezer burn and label it so you can identify it later.
  • Make smart food substitutions. Avoid buying ingredients you'll only use once in small amounts, and instead swap in substitutes. Use maple syrup instead of honey, cottage cheese instead of ricotta and make your own buttermilk by adding vinegar or lemon juice to milk.
  • Know the fridge zones. Bust out your fridge's user guide to learn about its zones or pay close attention to food when you store it in different areas of your fridge. Learn what areas work best for what types of food.
  • Rescue foods nearing the end. Bananas getting brown? Peel and freeze them in sections, then use them for smoothies or banana bread. Sad-looking spinach? Sauté it for a few minutes, then add it to pizza, lasagna or pasta. Wilty kale? Stick it in a glass of water in the fridge to perk it up.
  • Understand date labels. Except for infant formula, expiration dates are provided by the company for best quality. Food past a "best by" or "use by" date is not automatically unsafe.

For more resources, visit the DNR's webpage on reducing residential food waste at home. When food waste is unavoidable, composting is an alternative to throwing food waste into the trash. For more information, check out the DNR's Composting in Wisconsin webpage.

Apr 22, 2022

Guide to Marine Plastic Pollution - EarthDay addition

(OBERK) - Plastic can be found in many of the items that people use on a daily basis. Despite the benefits that make it popular, the overuse of plastic is taking a heavy toll on the environment, particularly the ocean. For many years, throwing away a plastic bottle was done with little thought, and even today, many people routinely toss away plastic goods such as straws, utensils, or bags without considering what happens to them. Many of these items make their way into rivers and eventually the ocean, where they leach chemicals into the water that harm both human and animal health. For instance, fish are exposed to these toxins and ingest them, and then people who eat the fish are also exposed to these chemicals. Over time, this can cause problems such as birth defects or cancer. Plastics such as bottles, netting and straps, soda rings, and pellets further threaten wildlife in a number of ways. Seabirds, for example, often consume plastic, which they may inadvertently feed to their young, harming or killing them in the process. And sea turtles and other marine life frequently become trapped and tangled in plastic debris, which can cause suffocation, starvation, lacerations, and death.

Plastic debris in the ocean can accumulate in gyres or circulating ocean currents. This debris attracts other marine pollutants and continues to grow as more plastics make their way into the gyre, creating large marine trash vortexes. The largest of these is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It is located in the North Pacific Ocean and is currently estimated at three times the size of France. Trash vortexes such as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch continues to grow in size because most types of plastic are non-biodegradable: When a plastic bottle is tossed into the water, it cannot be transformed over time into a harmless state by natural means. Instead, it may break into smaller pieces of plastic called microplastics that remain a part of the vortex. Fortunately, the more people understand plastic ocean pollution, the more chances there are that action will be taken to reduce it.

The Problem of Marine Plastic Pollution

Learn all about marine plastic pollution and the problems that it creates by visiting this page on the Clean Water Action website.

Ocean Plastic Pollution: Our Ocean's Biggest Threat

Click this link to read about the deadly impact of plastic pollution on marine animals.

22 Facts About Plastic Pollution

There's a lot to learn about plastic pollution, and this page on the EcoWatch website can help educate people about 22 related facts.

Plastic Oceans: How You Can Help

Everyone can do their part in reducing plastic pollution, and this infographic provides seven simple actions that can help.

Facts and Figures on Marine Pollution

UNESCO provides a list of marine pollution facts and figures here.

Plastic Pollution, Our Oceans, Our Future

In this video, 17 students from Hawaii study the impact of plastic pollution in the ocean, with an emphasis on the state's high use of Styrofoam.

Marine Pollution

The U.S. Department of State website features an article that discusses the challenges associated with marine pollution, including plastics, and what the necessary steps forward are.

Plastic Pollution and its Solution

People who click this link will learn about marine debris, how it ends up in gyres, and what the potential solutions are.

Ocean Plastic Pollution

The Monterey Bay Aquarium offers this page on the plastic pollution problem in oceans to help explain its cycle, what you can do, and what they are doing to reduce and prevent it.

Ocean Plastic a Planetary Crisis

Click on this link to the BBC website to learn about ocean plastic and why the UN considers it a crisis for the entire planet.

Plastics in Our Oceans

It's hard to imagine how plastic from one's home ends up in the ocean, but this article helps to explain not only how it gets there but also how it threatens marine life and what's being done about it.

Plastics in the Ocean Affecting Human Health

Plastics in the ocean is the topic of discussion on this page, which includes information on plastic islands, sources of plastic toxins, and plastics impacting human and animal health.

Plastic Pollution Iis Killing Coral Reefs, Four-Year Study Shows

Read this NPR article about a four-year study on how the millions of tons of plastic that end up in the ocean on an annual basis are harming coral reefs.

An Ocean of Plastic

Parents and kids who visit this page can learn about plastic polluting the ocean and how to turn the tide and keep the ocean cleaner.

Health of Seabirds Threatened as 90 Percent Swallow Plastic

Learn how plastic threatens seabirds by reading this article on the Imperial College London website.

Ten Ways to Reduce Plastic Pollution

Click this link to the National Resource Defense Council website to read the ten ways that it suggests people can help to reduce plastic pollution.

Popularity of Plastic Takes Toll on Oceans, Puts Human Health at Risk

This Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health resource cites statistics regarding plastic and discusses how its use is negatively impacting the oceans and human health.

Plastic Pollution

People who visit this website can read how plastics are filling the ocean with waste and the deadly consequences it has on both humans and animals.

Trash-Free Seas: Plastics in the Ocean

On this page, site visitors will find information on the problem with plastic, the waste it produces, and how it affects the ocean.

An Ocean of Plastic

Click this link to the University of California website to read about plastic waste, including how much of it makes it into the ocean and the impact it has on more than 600 species of marine life.

Trash Talk: What Is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

Visit this page on the NOAA website to watch a video explaining the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Great Pacific Garbage Patch Now Three Times the Size of France

CNN presents a report about birds eating plastic and how the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is growing faster than expected.

Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Anyone interested in learning about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch can click this link to read a National Geographic article and look through the slide show.

Plastic Within the Great Pacific Garbage Patch Is Increasing Exponentially, Scientists Find

Learn more about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and its growth.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch Is Ballooning

According to this article, more than 87,000 tons of plastic is clogging the Pacific Ocean, representing a major threat to marine life and birds.


Article source: https://www.oberk.com/guide-to-marine-plastic-pollution

Via: Mikayla Saunderson greenislove.org

Earth Day Fun and Facts

(GreenIsLove) - National Earth Day is April 22nd. The day was established to celebrate our shared green spaces across the nation and to spread the message of environmental awareness through green community events and initiatives. Earth Day was championed in 1970 by then Wisconsin senator Gaylord Nelson. During a time when corporate business and industrial manufacturing were leaving behind clouds of smog and pollution, Nelson pioneered the green cause and called for a national day of recognition to be set aside, during which Americans were reminded of the importance of conservation and all that is involved in being a green citizen.

The first Earth Day saw the participation of 20 million Americans nationwide! Community groups organized events, rallies, and tended to local green spaces, and invited people of all ages to help in any way they could. These people shared in a simple mission, leaving their mark by reducing their mark on the planet. Throughout the country, communities host a variety of eco-friendly activities and events and to encourage the celebration of Earth Day and to facilitate opportunities for all to contribute to the care and conservation of their shared green spaces. Popular Earth Day activities include roadside cleanups, playground and local park maintenance, recyclable or bottle drives, and many other service-driven activities. Earth Day is also commonly a focus of class lessons and activities, and many instructors across different ages have curated Earth Day lessons for students to enjoy. Eco-driven lesson plans aren't only applicable only to Earth science classes; it can be the focus of many different subjects.

Celebrating Earth Day in the home is a great idea, too. Getting the family together in going green can facilitate positive family time and empowers the family to do their part. Working as a team can show children the importance of going green and allows them to practice concepts they've learned in school. Have them teach older family members what it means to "go green"; you will be surprised at what they have to share. Eco-craft projects that use materials around the home: plastic jugs, cans and bottles, and paper are great to get the youngest in the family involved, too. However you choose to celebrate Earth Day, make it a priority to solidify your commitment to eco-friendly living and fostering environmental awareness.

Learn More:

 

Source: https://greenislove.org/earth-day-fun-and-facts/

Apr 18, 2022

Alcohol Caused More Deaths than COVID in 2020

A new federal study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found a 25.5 percent increase in alcohol-related deaths in 2020, compared with 2019 – whereas the increase from 1999 to 2019 had been just 3.6 percent. This startling data showed that more adults under age 65 died from alcohol-related factors (74,408) than died from COVID-19 (74,075) in 2020. Overall, just under 100,000 Americans (99,017) died from alcohol-related factors in 2020 – representing 3 percent of all deaths that year.

New Article: The Unbearable Heaviness of Climate Coloniality

This article that was recently published may be of interest, with links to full text below the abstract:

Sultana, Farhana (2022). "The Unbearable Heaviness of Climate Coloniality" Political Geography https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polgeo.2022.102638

Abstract:
The extremely uneven and inequitable impacts of climate change mean that differently-located people experience, respond to, and cope with the climate crisis and related vulnerabilities in radically different ways. The coloniality of climate seeps through everyday life across space and time, weighing down and curtailing opportunities and possibilities through global racial capitalism, colonial dispossessions, and climate debts. Decolonizing climate needs to address the complexities of colonialism, imperialism, capitalism, international development, and geopolitics that contribute to the reproduction of ongoing colonialities through existing global governance structures, discursive framings, imagined solutions, and interventions. This requires addressing both epistemic violences and material outcomes. By weaving through such mediations, I offer an understanding of climate coloniality that is theorized and grounded in lived experiences.

PDF here:

Apr 11, 2022

A new DNR survey shows more households are recycling or reusing unwanted electronics instead of storing them.

Wisconsin DNR – Of the estimated 25.2 million devices in Wisconsin households, 7.6 million devices were not in use –about 17% of TVs, 26% of computers and 44% of cellphones. This was an 18% decrease from the estimated 9.3 million unused devices in the DNR's 2018 survey. Among households that had stopped using a device during the previous year, more chose to recycle or reuse, rather than store, the devices compared with 2018.

"We were really pleased to see that fewer households were storing unwanted electronics," said Sarah Murray, DNR E-Cycle Wisconsin Coordinator. "But a lot of us still have old cellphones, computers and TVs in drawers, closets and basements. Now is a good time to look for options, since more collection events are hosted in the spring and summer. And you can throw in all those tangled cords, cables and accessories – they're also recyclable."

Please read more from Wisconsin DNR

Germany Announces New Plan to ‘Turbocharge’ Transition to Renewable Energy

ECO-Watch: The goal of the new plan is for Germany to get at least 80 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2030 and achieve almost 100 percent renewable energy by 2035, DW reported.

The new energy plan is a 600-page document known as the "Easter Package," DW reported. Habeck said it was "the biggest comprehensive energy package in two decades" and would "turbocharge" the transition to renewable energy. 

The plan is the work of Germany's coalition government, which includes the Free Liberals, Social Democrats and Greens, according to Reuters. It was approved by the German cabinet. It increases Germany's previous renewable energy target from 65 percent by 2030. Currently, the country gets around 40 percent of its energy from renewable sources. Meeting the 100 percent 2035 goal will require the country to more than double its current rate in 13 years, AP News reported. 

The new plan also sets specific targets for different types of renewable energy, according to DW. These include:

  1. Increasing land-based wind power by 10 gigawatts a year, to reach 115 gigawatts by 2030. 
  2. Increasing solar by 22 gigawatts a year, to reach 215 gigawatts by 2030.
  3. Reaching 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030, 40 by 2035 and at least 70 by 2045. 

Unsafe levels of URANIUM have been detected in two-thirds of public drinking water in the US with those in the Midwest and South most at-risk

Researchers at Columbia University found that two-thirds of US drinking water systems have elevated levels of uranium
  • Around 90% of Americans use community drinking water systems, making this a wide-reaching problem in the U.S.
  • Hypertension, cardiovascular disease, kidney damage, and lung cancer have all been tied to uranium exposure
  • Elevated levels of arsenic, barium, chromium, selenium were found in many drinking water systems around the country as well
  • Researchers, who published their findings at the start of the month in The Lancet Planetary Healthy, gathered data from 2000-2011 for the study, reviewing recorded metal levels from nearly 38,000 sites.

Levels of antimony, arsenic, barium, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, mercury, selenium, thallium, and uranium were studied.

They found elevated levels of uranium across the country, with researchers nothing that semi-urban and Hispanic communities were most at risk of being exposed to the contaminated water.

In total, nearly two-thirds of sites tested had some sort of uranium contamination.

Apr 7, 2022

DNR Awards $90,000 Urban Forestry Grants To Five Communities

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) today announced that it has recently awarded a total of $90,000 to five Wisconsin communities to support urban forestry projects. These funds were made available through a United States Forest Service grant. 

Like electricity and water, an urban tree canopy is an important part of a community's infrastructure. Well-managed urban forests provide services such as energy conservation, economic vitality, improved air quality, reduced stormwater runoff, carbon sequestration and enhanced beautification.

The Village of Grafton received $25,000, the City of Greenfield received $17,238.62, the City of Monroe received $7,917.67, the Ozaukee County Planning & Parks Department received $14,843.71 and the City of West Bend received $25,000. The communities that received these must match them dollar-for-dollar. More information on the urban forestry projects is available on the DNR website.

The DNR Urban Forestry Grant program funds projects that support state and national goals of increasing the number of trees in urban forests and their benefits. An urban forest encompasses trees on both public and private property. This is the second round of grants awarded in 2022 so far.

Priorities for the 2022 grant cycle included projects that:

  • Increase the ability of local municipal partners to expand their urban forestry program
  • Increase the ability of all local partners to provide ongoing urban forestry funding, services and markets
  • Benefit multiple communities and put existing inventories of urban trees to use

More information about the DNR Urban Forestry Grant program is available on the urban forestry grants webpage.

Apr 5, 2022

Charlotte company stockpiling drug in Europe to treat radiation and chemical exposure

Author: Curtis Carden  — An international distributor of medicines, based in Charlotte, is upping its inventory of a drug in Europe that helps treat radiation and chemical exposure.

Tanner Pharma Group announced it is increasing the inventory of Leukine with the medication's owner, Partner Therapeutics, in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the potential for incidents that could require a speedy deployment of the drug to treat people.

RELATED: Russia faces growing outrage amid new evidence of atrocities

"In response to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Tanner is supporting preparedness and response in Europe by increasing the local inventory of Leukine that can be rapidly deployed in response to an emergency," Banks Bourne, CEO and Founder of Tanner Pharma, said in a statement provided March 24. "The unique efficacy of Leukine, which has been shown to improve survival when given within 96 hours after radiation exposure and without whole blood transfusions, makes it a highly effective countermeasure with important logistical advantages in the event of a nuclear detonation. Positioning more supply in Europe ensures that more Leukine is available quickly, if needed."

Leukine was approved by the FDA in 2018 as a way to treat acute radiation syndrome and has been held for use in the United States since 2013.

According to the FDA report, "Leukine was shown to increase survival when administered up to 48 hours after total body irradiation exposure at doses expected to be fatal to 50% of those exposed subjects under conditions of minimal supportive care."

A press release provided by the company also mentioned that the drug was used to help treat some victims of the nuclear incident at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in 1986.

Apr 4, 2022

WHO says 99% of world's population breathes poor-quality air

Independent  - The U.N. health agency says nearly everybody in the world breathes air that doesn't meet its standards for air quality
WHO said 99% of the global population breathes air that exceeds its air-quality limits and is often rife with particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs, enter the veins and arteries, and cause disease. Air quality is poorest in WHO's Eastern Mediterranean and Southeast Asia regions, followed by Africa, it said.

"After surviving a pandemic, it is unacceptable to still have 7 million preventable deaths and countless preventable lost years of good health due to air pollution," said Dr. Maria Neira, head of WHO's department of environment, climate change and health. "Yet too many investments are still being sunk into a polluted environment rather than in clean, healthy air."

The database, which has traditionally considered two types of particulate matter known as PM2.5 and PM10, for the first time has included ground measurements of nitrogen dioxide. The last version of the database was issued in 2018.

"Particulate matter, especially PM2.5, is capable of penetrating deep into the lungs and entering the bloodstream, causing cardiovascular, cerebrovascular (stroke) and respiratory impacts," WHO said. "There is emerging evidence that particulate matter impacts other organs and causes other diseases as well."

Please read full from Independent

50% of U.S. Lakes and Rivers Are Too Polluted for Swimming, Fishing, Drinking

EcoWatch - Fifty years ago, the U.S. passed the Clean Water Act with the goal of ensuring  "fishable, swimmable" water across the U.S. by 1983. 

Now, a new report from the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) finds the country has fallen far short of that goal. In fact, about half of the nation's lakes and rivers are too polluted for swimming, fishing or drinking. 

"The Clean Water Act should be celebrated on its 50th birthday for making America's waterways significantly cleaner," EIP Executive Director Eric Schaeffer said in a press release announcing the report.  "However, we need more funding, stronger enforcement, and better control of farm runoff to clean up waters that are still polluted after half a century. Let's give EPA and states the tools they need to finish the job – we owe that much to our children and to future generations."

The report was based on reports that states are required to submit under the Clean Water Act on the pollution levels of their rivers, streams, lakes and estuaries. According to the most recent reports, more than half of the lakes and rivers are considered "impaired," meaning that they fall short of standards for fishing, swimming, aquatic life and drinking. 

Specifically, around 51 percent of rivers and streams and 55 percent of lake acres are considered impaired, The Hill reported. Further, 26 percent of estuary miles are also impaired. 

The Clean Water Act was a landmark legislative achievement when it was passed in 1972. It promised to end the discharge of all pollutants into navigable waters by 1985, according to the press release. However, it has fallen short of that goal for several reasons, according to the report. 

  1. The act has strong controls for pollution pumped directly into waterways from factories or sewage plants but not for indirect pollution such as agricultural runoff from factory farms.
  2. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has dragged its feet in updating industry-specific technology-based limits for water pollution control systems. By 2022, two-thirds of these industry-specific limits had not been updated in more than 30 years.
  3. Budget cuts have hampered the ability of the EPA and state agencies to enforce the law.
  4. Permit requirements are poorly enforced.
  5. Total Maximum Daily Loads, a kind of pollution control plan, are insufficient. 
  6. There are problems effectively managing watersheds that cover two or more states. 

The report also broke down pollution by state. Indiana has the most miles of rivers and streams too impaired for swimming and recreation.

"Indiana's waters have benefited from the Clean Water Act, but unfortunately, they also illustrate some of the gaps in the law," Dr. Indra Frank, Environmental Health & Water Policy Director for the Hoosier Environmental Council, said in the press release. "We have seen persistent, unresolved impairments, especially for E coli bacteria in our rivers and streams, in part from industrial agricultural runoff.  And we have also seen examples of Clean Water Act permits used to send water contaminated with coal-ash into our rivers. We need to halt pollution like this."

Florida, meanwhile, had the most lake acres impaired for swimming and aquatic life. 

"Florida's toxic-algae crisis is the direct result of lax enforcement of phosphorus and nitrogen pollution limits in cleanup plans required by the Clean Water Act," Friends of the Everglades Executive  Director Eve Samples said in the press release. "Because these limits rely on voluntary 'best management practices' and a presumption of compliance, agricultural polluters regularly exceed phosphorus runoff limits while dodging responsibility — leading to harmful algal blooms in Florida's lakes, rivers, estuaries, and even on saltwater beaches."


Please read full from at EcoWatch