Oct 31, 2012

DARWIND5 wind turbine improves on an old design

Canadian startup Harvistor has tested its DARWIND5 vertical axis wind turbine and says it ...

Ontario, Canada has carved out a niche for itself as a hub of green technology. One of the latest clean tech innovations to come out of that province is DARWIND5, a vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT). Designed by Harvistor, it comes with a promise of more oomph than existing models for small-scale wind power generation. According to the company, recent tests showed that its technology can achieve 35 percent more kilowatt hours per year than current VAWTs for the same sweep area, besides operating at 25 percent lower heights than similarly priced market leaders... Continue Reading DARWIND5 wind turbine improves on an old design

Air + water = gasoline? Not quite...

Is there a future for synthetic gasoline? (Photo: Shutterstock)

Air Fuel Synthesis, Ltd. (AFS), a small company in the northern English county of Durham, has recently made headlines for a chemical process that claims to synthesize gasoline from air and water. In essence, they are using energy to unburn fuel so that it can be burned as fuel again – a great deal of energy. Sixty kWh of electric energy are used up to store 9 kWh of that energy in a liter of gasoline. When you take into consideration that gasoline vehicles are about 15 percent efficient, a car fueled with synthetic gasoline would use roughly 35 times more energy on a given trip than would an electric vehicle. Not, it would seem, a prescription for a commercially valuable green product... Continue Reading Air + water = gasoline? Not quite...

The Great Lakes have some of world's most concentrated plastic pollution.

Plastic pollutants circulate in pockets of the Great Lakes at concentrations higher than any other body of water on Earth, according to a recent State University of New York study.

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Oct 30, 2012

First vertical farm opens in Singapore via @wired

Wired - The first commercial-scale vertical farm has opened in the tiny, densely populated city of Singapore, with the aim of decreasing dependence on food imports.

Singapore, which lies at the end of the Malay Peninsula, is just 274 square miles, almost all of which is city. That leaves little space to grow vegetables. As a result, the city currently only produces 7 percent of its vegetables locally, forcing it to buy from other countries.

The vertical farm, which has been developed by Sky Green Farms, consists of 120 aluminum towers, each extending up almost 30 feet in height. It can produce over 1,000 pounds of three kinds of vegetables per day, all of which are sold in the local Fair Price Finest supermarkets. However, they do cost a little more than imported vegetables.

That hasn’t stopped them becoming enormously popular with local consumers, and they’re frequently out of stock. As a result, the company is looking for investors to allow it to produce two tons of vegetables per day. As supply ramps up, economies of scale should also be able to cut the price.

Mexico City encourages urban farming

Green buildings as sustainability education tools

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of green building technologies and practices and illustrate how public libraries can use them as tools to teach their communities about sustainability and foster behavior change.

The author wishes to thank the members of the Sustainable Librarians LinkedIn Group and the STS-L, Envlib, and ISL-All-Synergy e-mail lists for their assistance with identifying green library building projects. Their suggestions were invaluable. Thanks also to Paul Mills of the Fountaindale Public Library and Sharon Jarvis, Branch Manager of the Bronx Library Center, for sharing details of their libraries' green building projects and community education efforts.

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of green building technologies and practices and illustrate how public libraries can use them as tools to teach their communities about sustainability and foster behavior change.

Design/methodology/approach – Through literature searches, case studies analysis, and individual phone and e-mail interviews, the author identified ways that public libraries can use their buildings to demonstrate green technologies and practices and show their patrons how to apply them at home, at work, and in the community.

Findings – Education is a component of LEED certification. Many LEED certified libraries publicize a list of the green technologies used in their building projects. Some sponsor programs related to the green building and include permanent displays in the library to explain how the technology works. The Fayetteville Public Library went beyond these basic techniques to not only improve the sustainability of their operations but also become a community test bed for a renewable energy project.

Originality/value – This paper sheds light on how building projects can be used not only to educate the public about green technologies and practices, but also inspire others to begin using similar techniques at home, at work, and in the community.

Read and download at:

Great Lakes Green Chemistry Conference & GreenScreenTM for Safer Chemicals Training Nov. 13 - 15, 2012 – Green Chemistry and Economic Development in the Great Lakes Region

View the Green Chemistry Conference Flyer

Green Chemistry Conference

Registration information is available at http://www.glrppr.org/conference/

Great Lakes Green Chemistry Conference & GreenScreenTM for Safer Chemicals Training
November 13-15, 2012
Hyatt Regency, Chicago IL
Register at http://www.glrppr.org/conference/registration.cfm

November 13 – 14: Catching the Wave – Green Chemistry and Economic Development in the Great Lakes Region

  • Learn first-hand about the business case for Green Chemistry and Engineering and how companies can take advantage of technical assistance opportunities to help them move forward in their own effort to promote sustainability

  • Hear from businesses who have successfully used the framework of green chemistry who will talk about what the benefits for their businesses have been

  • Are public-private partnerships the wave of the future? Hear from the leaders who are building these partnerships today

  • Take advantage of working sessions to identify technical assistance needs and develop resources to promote Green Chemistry in the Great Lakes region. See the Agenda.

November 15: GreenScreenTM for Safer Chemicals Training (space is limited)

Register early for this in-depth experiential training on how to use the GreenScreenTM for Safer Chemicals, a comparative chemical screening method developed by Clean Production Action to help move our society toward the use of greener and safer chemicals. This workshop is intended to educate designers and decision-makers on how to implement the GreenScreenTM to compare and select safer chemicals for use in products and manufacturing processes. See the Agenda.

Pollution Prevention (P2) – 101 Basic Training modules for #Sustainable, #Green Initiatives

WSSPN, Region 9 has uploaded ten P2-101 training modules to its website.  During the 2012 Used Oil + HHW + WSPPN Training and Conference, WSPPN and NPPR  created a P2-101 Basic Training and the training was video- taped and ten five to twenty minute modules were developed.  Both the presentations and the videos are available for viewing today.

See full at:  http://wsppn.org/p2-training/p2-101-basic-training/

Workplace deaths: Florida second in nation, region has a dozen or more yearly #OHS #SAFETY

There were 4,609 workplace deaths nationwide last year, according to a late-September U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, which showed 227 deaths in Florida, including five in Collier County and seven in Lee. Just as it had a year earlier, Florida ranked second nationally, after California, which had 360 deaths.

"It is alarming that 13 people a day are dying from work-related injuries," said Richard A. Pollock, president of the American Society of Safety Engineers. "This is a serious problem that we find unacceptable.

"These incidents can be prevented," he said, urging companies and organizations to use safety measures. "Remember, these are 4,609 people who left for work in the morning and never returned home to their families."

Read more By AISLING SWIFT at

To read the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report, go here: www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/cfoi.pdf

Sustainable Manufacturing Curriculum: Greening the Future by Educating Tomorrow's Workforce VIA @tsmom1219

Laura Barnes: U.S. EPA Region 4 has developed a curriculum intended for educators at high schools, career and vocational institutes, community colleges and trade schools. It is comprised of three modules: Environmental Sustainability, Lean Manufacturing and Pollution Prevention, and Energy and Carbon. Each module includes a slide presentation and a facilitator's guide complete with handouts, activities, quizzes, and facilitator's notes. The facilitator's guide also uses visually engaging icons to assist educators in appropriately conveying the material to the students.

The curriculum modules are available at http://www.e3.gov/sustainability/curriculum.html.

Thanks to Marcus Rivas, U.S. EPA P2 Coordinator in Region 7, for the heads-up about this resource.

26 Nuclear Power Plants In Hurricane Sandy's Path - via @Slashdot

"Hurricane Sandy is about to ruin a bunch of people's Mondays. In New York City alone, the storm has already shut down public transportation, forced tens of thousands to relocate to higher ground and compelled even more office jockeys to work from home. (Okay, that last part might not be so bad, especially for the folks that don't actually have to work at all.) But if it knocks out power to any of the 26 nuclear power plants that lie directly in its path, the frankenstorm of the century will ruin Tuesday, too. Heck, a nuclear meltdown would be a much bigger problem."

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Oct 29, 2012

Pentagon Calls for “Sustainment” in its Grand Strategic Narrative for the U.S. - importance of achieving a more sustainable approach to security, energy, agriculture, and the environment.

The Pentagon has quietly issued a report that continues to receive little attention: “A National Strategic Narrative.” The piece was written by two senior members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in a "personal" capacity, but it is clear that it would not have seen the light of day without a measure of official approval. The narrative argues that the United States is fundamentally getting it wrong when it comes to setting its priorities, particularly with regard to the budget and how Americans as a nation use their resources more broadly. The report places considerable emphasis on the importance of achieving a more sustainable approach to security, energy, agriculture, and the environment. The National Strategic Narrative calls for a policy of “sustainment” rather than “containment.”

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Industrial pollution puts millions of people at risk.

Pollution from factories and mines is putting the health of 125 million people at risk worldwide and is as dangerous in the developing world as malaria or tuberculosis, according to a report by two environmental advocacy groups.

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Detergent packets pose health hazard to children.

They're brightly colored, squishy and bite-size, and may look like candy to young children. And that's the problem. Toddlers often can't resist popping small detergent packets for dishwashers and washing machines into their mouths, resulting in serious health problems.

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Shale glut becomes $2 diesel using gas-to-liquids plants.

Drivers are next in line to benefit from the U.S. shale boom. Technologies that create motor fuels from raw materials other than oil, some drawing on techniques first commercialized in Nazi Germany, are poised to turn the glut of U.S. natural gas into energy for cars, trucks and planes.

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Plastic litter on Arctic Ocean floor doubled in 10 years: Researcher - thestar.com

The amount of plastic bags and other litter on parts of the Arctic Ocean floor has doubled since 2002, according to images gathered off the coast of Greenland.

“There’s a lot going around and there will be more because we produce more plastic — 230 million tonnes of plastic produced every year, that’s the current estimate. Ten per cent of this goes into the sea,” researcher Melanie Bergmann told the Toronto Star.

Bergmann released her findings in a study published by the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin. Bergmann analyzed more than 2,000 photographs taken by underwater cameras positioned about 2.5 kilometres under the water’s surface.

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ALLOWING children to have a television in their bedroom almost triples the risk of #obesity & type 2 #diabetes #Health

Call to ban TV in kids' bedrooms  - ''If they end up sitting for prolonged periods then they are going to die earlier. The body is not designed to sit still for long periods, it is designed to be mobile.''

ALLOWING children to have a television in their bedroom almost triples the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes, a conference on sedentary behaviour in Sydney will hear this week.

New US research that studied 380 children aged from five to 18 found two-thirds had a TV in their bedroom, despite recommendations against it by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

A TV in the bedroom - and watching it for more than two hours a day - were associated with greater odds of increased waist circumference and elevated [artery blocking] triglyceride levels, despite exercise and limited sugary drinks.

The study, headed by Amanda Staiano, from the Pennington Biomedical Research Centre, to be published in January, concluded: ''Parental education to reduce television could protect youth against the development of obesity and an adverse cardiometabolic profile.''

The body goes into a type of ''hibernation'', like a computer in low power mode, which should be prevented by frequent breaks to move around. ''Schools are teaching skills for life and [students] should be taught to never sit down for more than half an hour,'' he said.

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Oct 28, 2012

Autism: Environmental factors often neglected in search for a cause.

In 1990, 6 out of 10,000 children were diagnosed with autism by age 5 in California. In 2001, it was 42 in 10,000 - a 600 per cent spike. For the past 10 years, Irva Hertz-Picciotto has tried to discover what environmental factors could account for that staggering increase.

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India's plague, trash, drowning in its own waste during strike.

Bangalore, the capital of India’s modern economy and home to many of its high-tech workers, is drowning in its own waste. Trash is India’s plague. It chokes rivers, scars meadows, contaminates streets and feeds a vast and dangerous ecosystem of rats, mosquitoes, stray dogs, monkeys and pigs.


U.S. cuts estimate of sugar intake over 20%

It was repeated so often it was accepted as true: the typical American consumed 95 to 100 pounds of sugar each year. Health experts said that consumption was surely contributing to a nationwide crisis of obesity. But a new methodology has shaved 20 pounds of this estimate.

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Runoff from Iowa farms growing concern in Gulf of Mexico.

Since the Gulf of Mexico dead zone’s discovery four decades ago, the federal government has spent billions of dollars — no one can say exactly how much — to study its origins and reduce its impact. But instead of slowing, the toxic flow of nitrates has increased — along with the average size of the dead zone.
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Fluoride fight has long roots, passionate advocates.

As Wichitans decide whether to add the cavity-fighting chemical to their city's drinking water, the two sides in the campaign for the Nov. 6 election are pounding away at each other with rhetorical clubs labeled "public good" and "freedom of choice."
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Wal-Mart, in China, pushes suppliers down green path - Planet Ark

Wal-Mart, in China, pushes suppliers down green path Photo: REUTERS
Employees stand in front of the gate to a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Chongqing municipality October 24, 2011.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc has given global suppliers five years to comply with its environmental rules or risk being pushed off U.S. shelves at the world's largest retailer, expanding a sustainability campaign launched in 2009.

The new requirements, announced in China where Wal-Mart has more than 20,000 suppliers, will compel workshops that churn out much of the world's toys, clothing and electronics to improve on energy efficiency, waste reduction and other markers on the retailer's checklist.

Wal-Mart said the checklist was voluntary. But if suppliers fall short, they could be cut off from the nearly 4,000 Walmart discount stores and more than 600 Sam's Club wholesale warehouses that the company operates in the United States.

The standards set in Wal-Mart's "sustainability index", which has helped to burnish an image tarnished by criticism from labor groups and local communities, have already been embraced by 500 of the world's major consumer product makers.

The retailer said that by the end of 2017, U.S. Walmart and Sam's Club stores will get 70 percent of their goods from global suppliers that use the sustainability index.

"This will send a clear message to the Walmart supply chain that if you want to grow and partner with us for the long term, you will engage with us on the sustainability index," Wal-Mart Chief Executive Mike Duke said in a speech in Beijing, a copy of which was provided to Reuters in advance.

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Compounding pharmacy linked to meningitis outbreak knew of mold, bacteria contamination.

The Massachusetts specialty pharmacy linked to the deadly fungal meningitis outbreak knew it had extensive contamination by mold and bacteria throughout its operations for making sterile drugs but failed to take corrective action, federal health officials said Friday.

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Why Are Environmentalists Taking Anti-Science Positions?

Yale Environment 360...Three current issues suggest that the risks of myopic adherence to ideology over rational debate are real: genetically modified (GM) crops, nuclear power, and shale gas development. The conventional green position is that we should be opposed to all three. Yet the voices of those with genuine environmental credentials, but who take a different view, are being drowned out by sometimes abusive and irrational argument.

In each instance, the issue is not so much which side environmentalists should be on, but rather the mind-set behind those positions and the tactics adopted to make the case. The wider political danger is that by
The issue is not which side environmentalists should be on, but rather the mind-set behind their positions.
taking anti-scientific positions, environmentalists end up helping the anti-environmental sirens of the new right.

Most major environmental groups — from Friends of the Earth to Greenpeace to the Sierra Club — want a ban or moratorium on GM crops, especially for food. They fear the toxicity of these “Frankenfoods,” are concerned the introduced genes will pollute wild strains of the crops, and worry that GM seeds are a weapon in the takeover of the world’s food supply by agribusiness.

For myself, I am deeply concerned about the power of business over the world’s seeds and food supply. But GM crops are an insignificant part of that control, which is based on money and control of trading networks. Clearly there are issues about gene pollution, though research suggesting there is a problem is still very thin. Let’s do the research, rather than trash the test fields, which has been the default response of groups such as Greenpeace, particularly in my home country of Britain.

As for the Frankenfoods argument, the evidence is just not there. As the British former campaigner against GMs, Mark Lynas, points out: “Hundreds of millions of people have eaten GM-originated food without a single substantiated case of any harm done whatsoever.”

The most recent claim, published in September in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, that GM corn can produced tumors in rats, has been attacked as flawed in execution and conclusion by a wide range of experts with no axe to grind. In any event, the controversial study was primarily about the potential impact of Roundup, a herbicide widely used with GM corn, and not the GM technology itself.

Nonetheless, the reaction of some in the environment community to the reasoned critical responses of scientists to the paper has been to claim a global conspiracy among researchers to hide the terrible truth. One scientist was dismissed on the Web site GM Watch for being “a longtime member of the European Food Safety Authority, i.e. the very body that approved the GM corn in question.” That’s like dismissing the findings of a climate scientist because he sits on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — the “very body” that warned us about climate change. See what I mean about aping the worst and most hysterical tactics of the climate contrarian

Please read more by Fred Pearce: 

Infographic: We're Running Out of Doctors in the U.S.

Primary-care physicians—the ones who cover comprehensive health needs and provide continuing care for their patients—were once the foundation of a high-value American health care system. But now, family doctors are becoming an endangered breed. Why?

Oct 27, 2012

Fukushima Fish Still Radioactive and will remain so for decades.

Bottom-dwelling fish that live near the wrecked Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant still show elevated radiation levels 19 months after the accident — and those radiation levels are not declining. Researcher Ken Buesseler says this indicates the seafloor sediments are contaminated (abstract), and will remain so for decades.Please read full and follow at:

Algal #Biofuels Not Ready For Scale-Up - #green, #energy

Using today's technologies and knowledge, a scale-up of fledgling algal biofuel production sufficient to meet even 5% of U.S. transportation fuel demand is unsustainable, says a report released last week by the National Research Council. The report examines the efficiency of producing biofuels from microalgae and cyanobacteria with respect to energy, water, and nutrient requirements and finds that the process falls short. The energy from algal biofuel, the report finds, is less than the energy needed to make it. In terms of water, at least 32.5 billion gal would be needed to produce 10 billion gal of algae-based biofuels, the report states. The study also finds that making enough algal biofuels to replace just 5% of U.S. annual transportation fuel needs would require 44–107% of the total nitrogen and 20–51% of the total phosphorus consumed annually in the U.SPlease read full and follow at: http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/12/10/26/153259/algal-biofuels-not-ready-for-scale-up

TechCrunch Launches CrunchGov, CrunchGov, which aims to bring educated people together to work on tech-related government policy.

TechCrunch has launched a project called CrunchGov, which aims to bring educated people together to work on tech-related government policy. 'It includes a political leaderboard that grades politicians based on how they vote on tech issues, a light legislative database of technology policy, and a public markup utility for crowdsourcing the best ideas on pending legislation.' They give politicians scores based on how their votes align with consensus on policy in the tech industry. 'A trial run of the public markup utility in Congress has already proven successful... perhaps the first time that the public, en masse, could have a realistic shot at contributing to federal law purely based on the merit of their ideas.'"

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#Green Grid Argues That Data Centers Can Lose the Chillers - #LEED

The Green Grid, a nonprofit organization dedicated to making IT infrastructures and data centers more energy-efficient, is making the case that data center operators are operating their facilities in too conservative a fashion. Rather than rely on mechanical chillers, it argues in a new white paper (PDF), data centers can reduce power consumption via a higher inlet temperature of 20 degrees C. Green Grid originally recommended that data center operators build to the ASHRAE A2 specifications: 10 to 35 degrees C (dry-bulb temperature) and between 20 to 80 percent humidity. But the paper also presented data that a range of between 20 and 35 degrees C was acceptable. 
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Samsung Supplies Solar Powered Internet Schools For South Africa : TreeHugger

Samsung/Promo image

Samsung is supplying solar powered internet schools, and the kids are excited, calling it "purely greatness, happily madness." Samsung describes it as" exclusively solar-powered, mobile and completely independent classroom that is geared towards increasing accessibility to education and connectivity across Africa". Designboom shows this one is in Phomolong, near Johannesburg. It was the "African solar project of the year" and supports 21 students. According to ITWeb,

Samsung had to ensure the container could be used even when things didn't go to plan. The solar panels on the roof and sides are made of a rubber-like material, rather than conventional panels, so it can be transported without them breaking. He adds that the unusual technology would also make it easy to track the panels if they were stolen.
The batteries inside the unit have been modified so they use a lead-acid gel instead of separate acid and water, so there's no risk of leakage during transit.
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Chinas largest rare earths producer suspends output

Houston Chronicle (AP) — China's biggest rare earths producer has suspended production in an effort to shore up plunging prices of the materials used by makers of mobile phones and other high-tech products.

State-owned Baotou Steel Rare Earth (Group) Hi-tech Co. said in a statement released through the Shanghai Stock Exchange that it suspended production Tuesday to promote "healthy development" of rare earths prices. It gave no indication when production would resume and phone calls to the company on Thursday were not answered.

Beijing is tightening control over rare earths mining and exports to capture more of the profits that flow to Western makers of lightweight batteries and other products made of rare earths. China has about 30 percent of rare earths deposits but accounts for more than 90 percent of production.

Beijing alarmed global manufacturers by imposing export quotas in 2009. It also is trying to force Chinese rare earths miners and processors to consolidate into a handful of government-controlled groups.

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Oct 26, 2012

HUGE job opportunities for Environmental Professionals at Design + Environment #green #jobs

It was my pleasure to talk with David Oswald, President of (DE) Design + Envi­ron­ment Inc , to discuss the type of work and explore the opportunities they have for Environmental Professionals .

DE is a industry leading environmental consultancy and design firm that works around the world. DE is regularly featured in the media and is called upon by governments, non-government organizations, and leading corporations world wide to give input on issues that require their specialized skills in design and environmental science.

They are looking for talented Environmental Professionals to expand their environmental management initiatives. Please check them out and pass along the information to a Environmental Leader you know who wants a wonderful opportunity at a great company.   

Here is more information about DE and what they are currently looking for:
Jr. Environmental Professionals
- You have an undergraduate degree in a field related to sustainability
- You are passionate about bringing environmental solutions to all parts of our complex world
- You want to create solutions and can look at a situation and delineate the pros and the cons of any type of approach
- You have some experience in the business world and understand how to work and think as a professional.
- You must have excellent communication skills (written and spoken), preferably in more than one language - the more the better.

Sr. Environmental Professionals
- You have an undergraduate and advanced degree in a field related to sustainability
- You have at least six years of experience working in the environment sector (or related)
- You have superb communications skills and can quickly grasp complicated situations with multiple stakeholder groups
- You must be willing to work fluidly in a team environment with much of the collaboration happening virtually.

Design Environment is a Canadian-based company, located in Montreal, specifically. However, most of our team members work remotely and the work is project-based - basically, we put together the right team for each project, regardless of individual location.

If you're interested, please send DE your CV, a personal statement which explains why you want to work with DE at:

I also invite you to visit their website at http://design-environment.com to learn more about DE, the work they do, and the issues their passionate about.
You can follow them @DesignEnvInc

Thanks for helping DE and contining to provide opportunities to the professionals protecting our people and our plant.
Have a good weekend.
Christopher Haase

Want a free pass to next weeks Wind Energy Health & Safety Summit Oct 30-31 in Dallas, Texas?

I got a pass to next weeks Wind Energy Health and Safety Summit USA 2012 30-31 October, The Double Tree Market Centre Hotel, Dallas, Texas, USA

Email me back if you want a pass (only one :) - ehsdirector(at)gmail.com

2012 attendee list is online - view it here now

We are delighted to announce confirmed attendance from BP Wind Energy, Chevron, Duke Energy Renewables, EDP Renewables, Enbridge, Exelon Wind, Infigen Energy, Pattern Energy and many more

See the confirmed attendee list here

Key topics addressed in 2012

    Hear what risks are associated with the size, design and function of the next WTG models and learn how to eliminate them
    Identify project construction risk at an early stage to eliminate project delays
    Learn which procedures and equipment can be adapted for use across your entire portfolio to blend worker safety with cost reduction
    Reinforce your EHS model from senior management to wind technician for not only fewer incidents but also cost reductions
    Spot in-field hazards early and then take the most suitable approach from peer reviewed previous case studies

View the full conference agenda online here

Quigley Veterans Bill Signed into Law

"By removing the unnecessary barriers that prevent these hardworking men and women from obtaining a commercial driver’s license, this law allows America to give something back by providing them with a valuable skill to advance their civilian employment opportunities when their military service ends,” said Congressman Quigley. '


After a 14-year-old girl died of cardiac arrest after drinking energy drink...

After a 14-year-old girl died of cardiac arrest after drinking two cans of Monster Energy drink, the FDA said yesterday that it is investigating the deaths of four other people who have died after drinking Monster Energy since 2009.

Monster Energy, the largest maker of so-called energy drinks in the United States, insists that its product is safe — but doctors say there are growing concerns about the effect of highly caffeinated beverages on children, and the teen’s death has emboldened calls for stricter regulation of the drinks.

“No kid should be drinking this stuff, period,” Dr. Marc Gillinov, a cardiac surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic, told The Daily. “We have next to no data on this. We don’t know what the risk is.”

Please read more from source:

Ethanol makers might go to more productive butanol

Some ethanol refiners in the Corn Belt are considering switching to butyl alcohol. Butanol is more attractive to refiners because it has some advantages over ethyl alcohol: It produces more energy, is easier to handle, and more of it can be blended into a gallon of gasoline. But producing it will take costly retrofits at ethanol plants. (Photo: Butanol production)

Several companies, including Butamax Advanced Biofuels, ajoint venture of  BP and DuPont, have developed ways to make butanol the same way as ethanol, through yeast fermentation and distillation. Butamax CEO Paul Beckwith told Henry Fountain of The New York Times that making butanol that way should be attractive to ethanol producers because they won't have to adopt a new production method. He also said new butanol-specific plants could be built, including some that use switchgrass or other nonfood raw materials similar to cellulosic ethanol plants.

Ethanol producers are wary, though, saying they prefer to talk with gasoline companies before making the switch. Highwater Ethanol CEO Brian Kletscher told Fountain that the company sees potential in butanol production, but he wants to talk to gas refiners before making a final decision. Butamax estimates that converting a small ethanol plant to butanol could cost $10 to $15 million. (Read more)

Stop destruction of our U-233 for more NASA space exploration, new cancer treatments and thorium based energy abundance! | We the People: Your Voice in Our Government

This U233 has been stored for decades & will serve advanced-reactor development of Generation-IV reactor class termed MSR & MSBR (Molten-Salt Reactors).

“We are currently not supporting any projects that require U233 for testing. As such, the disposal of U233 will go forward.” - DoE

Other nations (& American start-ups) are developing this reactor class. MSR consumes abundant Thorium, inexpensively achieving higher levels of safety & efficiency. Liquid fuel allows cancer-fighting, space-probe-fueling isotopes to be harvested, not trapped in spent fuel rods.

$500 million is being spent to denature our U233. A terrible waste of money. A destruction of America’s unique resource.


See petition here

GM Shares Zero-Waste Best Practices...turned its own waste byproducts into a $1 billion-a-year revenue generator.

GM Shares Zero-Waste Best PracticesGeneral Motors is sharing details about how it has turned more than half of its manufacturing plants into landfill-free facilities and which best practices helped the automaker turned its own waste byproducts into a $1 billion-a-year revenue generator. GM released a downloadable blueprint “The Business Case for Zero Waste” in an effort to help companies [...]

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Speed Limits on Cargo Ships Could Cut Emissions ‘Up to 70%’

Speed Limits on Cargo Ships Could Cut Emissions ‘Up to 70%’Putting a speed limit on cargo ships as they sail near ports and coastlines could cut their GHG emissions by up to 70 percent, according to scientists writing in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. More than 100,000 ships carry 90 percent of the world’s cargo, David R. Cocker III and colleagues write in the [...]

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Standards & Compliance Briefing: R2, ISO 14001, Energy Star, ASTM Roofing, LEED

Standards & Compliance Briefing: R2, ISO 14001, Energy Star, ASTM Roofing, LEEDHere’s the latest standards and compliance news affecting corporate environmental and energy executives. Today’s briefing includes eight items. Acme Electronics Recycling, in Galion, Ohio, has earned R2 and ISO 14001 certifications. The recycling center uses a high-capacity shredding process with a primary and secondary shredder, eddy-current separator, customized sorting stations and optical sorting, the company [...]

See list at

China lifts nuclear power ban in attempt to accelerate emissions reduction

BusinessGreen: The Chinese government has released a new nuclear strategy, confirming that it has lifted the moratorium on new nuclear plants imposed in the wake of the Fukushima disaster and expects a "small number" of new coastal nuclear reactors to be approved before 2015. The cabinet yesterday approved a package of new nuclear safety and inspection rules, which would ensure all new plants would be restricted to coastal areas and forced to comply with "third generation safety standards". The new standards...

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California's Prop 37 on GM labelling could make food safer for us all

Guardian: What is food to one, is to others bitter poison. – Lucretius, Roman poet (95-55BC) If California were a country, with its population approaching 40 million, it would be among the 30 most populous nations on Earth. The economic, political and cultural impacts of California on the rest of the United States are huge. That is why citizen ballot initiatives in California – and any state law, for that matter – can carry such significance. Of the 11 initiatives before the 2012 California electorate,...

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BP caps dome believed to be source of oil sheen

Associated Press: BP PLC said Thursday it has capped and plugged an abandoned piece of equipment that is believed to be the source of a sheen spotted near the site of its massive 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The London-based oil giant said it placed a 750-pound cap over an 86-ton steel container that the company had deployed in a failed effort to contain the spill. BP also inserted plugs on the top and sides of the container, which had been lowered over a leaking drill pipe in an effort to funnel oil to...

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RIP Hydrogen Highway? California Takes Back Grant Dollars

...That future has taken a blow in California, with the news that $27 million in grants for hydrogen filling stations has been revoked by the California Energy Commission.

According to the Santa Monica Mirror (viaAutoblog Green), the grants have been revoked so the state can reassess the grant process, after complaints that Linde Group and Air Products & Chemicals (AP&C)--two companies set to use around two-thirds of the grant money--had largely self-dealt the contracts.

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We’re all guinea pigs: Film explores effects of living among untested chemicals

KTF Films

Dana Nachman was a producer at NBC when she wrote a story on how to make your home less toxic. “It was something I never gave an ounce of thought to before,” she says. In her research, she learned not only about the tens of thousands of chemicals lurking in everyday products, but that most of those chemicals have never been independently tested for their safety. Meanwhile, rates of tough-to-explain health problems like breast cancer, autism, and infertility — many of which have been linked to toxic exposure — are on the rise. A mother of young children, Nachman found this upsetting enough to turn it into the subject of her next documentary (her first two films tackled wrongful convictions and terrorism). The Human Experiment, narrated by Sean Penn and co-directed by Don Hardy, follows three families motivated by health problems to fight the powerful chemical industry lobby on behalf of everyone’s safety.

Nachman, Hardy, and producer Chelsea Matter plan to start submitting the film to festivals and looking for distribution next year. In the meantime, they’re working on developing an app to help consumers choose the safest products and minimize toxins in their homes.

Watch a trailer for The Human Experiment:

I caught up with Nachman during a break from editing the film to learn more about our toxic world and whether there’s anything we can do to change it.

Q. Was I naive to assume safety testing was part of the standard procedure to get a product on the market?

A. Most people assume that these things are vetted before they get put on the store shelves, and that’s absolutely not true. Why? The answer is pretty complicated, but there was a law established in 1976 called the Toxic Substances Control Act. It’s very outdated. We’re dealing today with tens of thousands of chemicals in everyday life, with the same laws we’ve had since before there were so many. [The TSCA generally excludes substances like food, drugs, cosmetics, and pesticides.]

Q. How did we come to live among so many chemicals?

A. A lot of these chemicals have been here for a long time. But they’re just ubiquitous now. There’s 80,000 chemicals used in society today. [The more] modern conveniences that we use … the more chemicals we’re using. Back in the ’70s people knew about certain [substances] like DDT and PCBs, and they took action to limit those, among other things. But a lot of work on environmental health has only started in earnest since the beginning of the 1990s.

A main thing in our movie is that we shouldn’t wait until we have absolute proof that these things are bad for us to make some changes. For example, in the 1920s, the [cigarette] companies knew that tobacco causes cancer. Now it’s been 100 years, almost, and tobacco is still killing people.

Somebody just the other day asked me what I thought about BPA. I said I don’t know definitively; I do believe there are problems with BPA, enough so that I try to limit my children’s exposure to BPA as much as I possibly can. And if it turns out there’s nothing wrong with BPA, great. But companies making a lot of money off of our purchasing these things without having to do obligatory testing — that’s not okay with me.

Q. It can be hard to process information about all the dangerous chemicals we live with if you and your loved ones don’t seem to be affected by them. It can sound alarmist, or it can seem pointless to even try to protect yourself.

Oct 25, 2012

Surprise, The People Who Made Your iPhone Are People | James Fallows - Atlantic

James Fallows joins the small circle of Western journalists to have made the journey to Foxconn . He shouldn't be so surprised at what he found there.

Photo by James Fallows

Source: theatlantic.com

Foxconn. The word no doubt evokes images of miserable proles, and the company has become a Dickensian symbol of the laboring masses in China that produce everything that makes the 21st century the 21st century. What the Nike sweatshop was to the 1990s, Foxconn has become to the 2010s. But if you dig a little deeper, even on Google, the picture becomes slightly more complicated: There are soccer fields and cafes amidst the images of workers assembling iPhones and iPads. Workers complain about bad food and not being able to work as many hours as they'd like.

So I'm somewhat surprised that James Fallows, super-international correspondent for The Atlantic who's spent a lot of time reporting abroad is, well, surprised by what he found at Foxconn. Not because he found previously unreported egregious labor violations or inhumane conditions, but because he found a bunch of people acting rather normal.

I am always surprised by things in China, but this day was at the more-surprising-than-usual end of the spectrum. In the days to come, I will share a series of photos I was able to take on the campus. I will start now, before completing my article, with just a few that set the general mood.

Photo by James Fallows

Source: theatlantic.com

They like watching TVs! and And they drink coffee and put money in the bank.

These are the young people building your smartphones and computers. Or, this kind of scene at lunch hour, with a bunch of employees clustering around a HD big-screen TV being offered at special discount. This is a main street on the campus near a central cafeteria and many shops, banks, coffee bars, and so on.


Cause of Small Explosion at Sam Adams Brewery Still Under Investigation

The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and a state commission are on site to help determine what happened, Sullivan said, "so we understand exactly what did occur and if there's any learning there."

Sullivan confirmed Tuesday the small explosion was a natural gas ignition. At the time of the incident last week, it was still being determined whether it had been an explosion or boiler malfunction. 

The workers were getting ready to start the boiler around noon when the small explosion occurred. The brewery was shut down and the building evacuated. About 100 employees were on site at the time.

....Two men had been hurt slightly and were treated at the scene. One had smoke in his eyes, the other had a bump on his head.


@warchildcan—where childhood thrives, war does not.

Powerful, beautiful commercial. And, the ending twist is simply brilliant.

Bullets turn to crayons, shrapnel turns to bubbles and children's book pages.

War Child is a "family of independent humanitarian organisations which work together to help children and young people affected by armed conflict." This spot is for WarChild.ca, whose message is—where childhood thrives, war does not.

Print ad (much less effective) below.

Ad agency: john st.

This First World Problems Read by Third World Kids spot is still the best PSA of the year.


Green Chemistry Conference November 13 - 15

The use of Green Chemistry and Engineering in the market strategies of businesses throughout the Great Lakes region is growing as companies look for ways to meet consumer demand for products and processes that are more sustainable. Join participants from industry, academia, government, non-profits, U.S. EPA Region 5, and those involved in the National Pollution Prevention Roundtable's Safer Chemistry Challenge Program for the first Great Lakes Green Chemistry Conference, followed by the GreenScreenTM Training for Safer Chemicals.

November 13 - 14: Catching the Wave - Green Chemistry and Economic Development in the Great Lakes Region

  • Learn first-hand about the business case for Green Chemistry and Engineering and how companies can take advantage of technical assistance opportunities to help them move forward in their own effort to promote sustainability
  • Hear from businesses who have successfully used the framework of green chemistry who will talk about what the benefits for their businesses have been
  • Are public-private partnerships the wave of the future? Hear from the leaders who are building these partnerships today
  • Take advantage of working sessions to identify technical assistance needs and develop resources to promote Green Chemistry in the Great Lakes region. See the Agenda.

November 15: GreenScreenTM for Safer Chemicals Training (space is limited)

Register early for this in-depth experiential training on how to use the GreenScreenTM for Safer Chemicals, a comparative chemical screening method developed by Clean Production Action to help move our society toward the use of greener and safer chemicals. This in-depth experiential workshop is intended to educate designers and decision-makers on how to implement the GreenScreenTM to compare and select safer chemicals for use in products and manufacturing processes. See the Agenda.

Who should attend?

Great Lakes businesses and industry, Safer Chemistry Challenge participants, local, state & federal governments, not-for-profits and academia.

***Registration is now open.***

Register to attend the Great Lakes Green Chemistry Conference now

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Oct 24, 2012

Can Andrea Rossi's Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World--Or Just Scam It?

POPSCI: Rossi--a lone Italian inventor with no real credentials and a history as a convicted scam artist--has convinced a small army of researchers that his box can harness a new type of nuclear reaction. What if they're right?

On January 14, 2011, a 61-year-old Italian inventor named Andrea Rossi staged a spectacular demonstration.
In a warehouse in Bologna, he switched on a strange contraption that looked like a leg of lamb wrapped in aluminum foil. He called it the “E-Cat,” short for “energy catalyzer.” It contained a pinch of powdered nickel, a puff of hydrogen gas, and a dash of a secret catalyst. When the mixture was heated with an electrical current, a mysterious reaction occurred, generating large amounts of excess heat—far more than any known chemical reaction could produce. The heat boiled water into steam. The steam could be used to spin a turbine to make electricity.

Here, Rossi claimed, was a machine that harnessed a previously unknown type of nuclear reaction—a machine that could produce nearly infinite energy cheaply and with no radioactive by-products. It would put the oil companies out of business. It would enable humanity to explore space on the cheap. It would change the world overnight.
A handpicked audience of 40 journalists and scientists watched Rossi’s E-Cat gurgle steam for an hour. Physicist Francesco Celani, who had traveled to Bologna from Rome, brought along a spectrometer to measure spikes in gamma radiation, which could provide evidence that nuclear reactions did indeed power Rossi’s machine; Rossi demanded that Celani turn it off, lest he divine his secrets.

Despite the rebuff, three weeks later Celani presented observations of Rossi’s “black box,” as he called it, at a special session of the 16th International Conference on Cold Fusion. He also circulated an e-mail in which he estimated that Rossi’s E-Cat produced 15 to 20 times more energy than it consumed.

If it were true, Rossi’s invention would be a miracle—the boundless energy source that physicists have been pursuing since the dawn of the nuclear age. But could it be true? Could a solo inventor working out of a warehouse in Bologna really have built a fusion device that could power the planet?

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U.S. to Get Downgraded Amid Fiscal ‘Theater,’ via@Bloomberg

Bloomberg - “The U.S. will get downgraded, it’s a question of when,” Scott Mather, Pimco’s head of global portfolio management, said today in Wellington. “It depends on what the end of the year looks like, but it could be fairly soon after that.”
The Congressional Budget Office has warned the U.S. economy will fall into recession if $600 billion of government spending cuts and tax increases take place at the start of 2013. Financial markets are complacent about whether the White House and Congress will reach agreement on deferring the so-called fiscal drag on the economy until later next year, Mather said.
In a “base case” of President Barack Obama being re- elected and Congress becoming more Republican, there is a high likelihood an agreement “doesn’t happen in a nice way, and we have disruption in the marketplace,” he said

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Global Food Reserves Have Reached Their Lowest Level In Almost 40 Years

For six of the last eleven years the world has consumed more food than it has produced.  This year, drought in the United States and elsewhere has put even more pressure on global food supplies than usual.

As a result, global food reserves have reached their lowest level in almost 40 years.

http://joelkatz1.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/china-drought-001.jpg?w=414&h=248Experts are warning that if next summer is similar to this summer that it could be enough to trigger a major global food crisis.  At this point, the world is literally living from one year to the next.  There is simply not much of a buffer left.

In the Western world, the first place where we are going to notice the impact of this crisis is in the price of food.  It is being projected that overall food prices will rise between 5 and 20 percentby the end of this year.  It is becoming increasingly clear that the world has reached a tipping point.  We aren't producing enough food for everyone anymore, and food reserves will continue to get lower and lower.  Eventually they will be totally gone.

The United Nations has issued an unprecedented warning about the state of global food supplies.

According to the UN, global food reserves have not been this low since 1974...

World grain reserves are so dangerously low that severe weather in the United States or other food-exporting countries could trigger a major hunger crisis next year, the United Nations has warned.
Failing harvests in the US, Ukraine and other countries this year have eroded reserves to their lowest level since 1974. The US, which has experienced record heatwaves and droughts in 2012, now holds in reserve a historically low 6.5% of the maize that it expects to consume in the next year, says the UN.

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Or original article written by Michael Snyder at TheTruthWins.com

Wisconsin Kewaunee nuclear plant to shut down in the spring

Herald Times Reporter | Dominion Resources Inc. said Monday it will shut down the one-reactor power plant on the shore of Lake Michigan in the spring because it could not sell it and cannot operate it profitably.

“The biggest factor is the market price of power,” said Daniel Stoddard, senior vice president of nuclear operations at Dominion.

The closing will have a wide-ranging impact, hurting workers who will lose high-paying jobs and the Northeastern Wisconsin and Kewaunee County economies, and possibly affecting Wisconsin Public Service Corp. customers. The Kewaunee Power Station provides about 20 percent of WPS’s electricity.

“Over the last 18 months, we have worked very hard to find a buyer for Kewaunee,” Stoddard said. “Our view right now is this is a permanent decision.”

Stoddard said Dominion will honor its contracts to sell electricity through December 2013, when they expire. The plant began operation in 1974.

Kewaunee Power Plant employees learned of the decision Monday morning.

State resources will be available to displaced workers, said Jim Golembeski, executive director of Bay Area Workforce Development Board. “The good thing is, we have some time here. I don’t think anybody needs to panic at this time,” he said.

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NRC Whistleblowers: Risk of Nuclear Melt-Down In U.S. Is Even HIGHER Than It Was at Fukushima - Washington's Blog

Numerous American nuclear reactors are built within flood zones:

NuclearFloodsFinal Highres NRC Whistleblowers: Risk of Nuclear Melt Down In U.S. Is Even HIGHER Than It Was at Fukushima
As one example, on the following map (showing U.S. nuclear power plants built within earthquake zones), the red lines indicate the Mississippi and Missouri rivers:

 NRC Whistleblowers: Risk of Nuclear Melt Down In U.S. Is Even HIGHER Than It Was at Fukushima

Numerous dam failures have occurred within the U.S.:

damfailures NRC Whistleblowers: Risk of Nuclear Melt Down In U.S. Is Even HIGHER Than It Was at Fukushima

Reactors in Nebraska and elsewhere were flooded by swollen rivers and almost melted down.  See this,thisthis and this.

The Huntsville Times wrote in an editorial last year:

A tornado or a ravaging flood could just as easily be like the tsunami that unleashed the final blow [at Fukushima as an earthquake].

An engineer with the NRC says that a reactor meltdown is an “absolute certainty” if a dam upstream of a nuclear plant fails … and that such a scenario is hundreds of times more likely than the tsunami that hit Fukushima :

An engineer with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) … Richard Perkins, an NRC reliability and risk engineer, was the lead author on a July 2011 NRC report detailing flood preparedness. He said the NRC blocked information from the public regarding the potential for upstream dam failures to damage nuclear sites.

Perkins, in a letter submitted Friday with the NRC Office of Inspector General, said that the NRC “intentionally mischaracterized relevant and noteworthy safety information as sensitive, security information in an effort to conceal the information from the public.”The Huffington Post first obtained the letter.

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Oct 22, 2012

Good News for Coffee Lovers: It May Prevent Cancer

In the war against cancer, caffeine may turn out to be one of the most beneficial, surprising weapons you never suspected. And with at least one type of cancer, even decaf coffee may be just as powerful as the caffeinated stuff. Drinking coffee can help keep your mind young, too.

REALAGE - In some research, coffee -- often lots of it -- has been linked to lower rates of four kinds of cancer, including breast cancer. We've checked the list twice. In these studies, coffee seems to be anathema to:

  • Endometrial cancer. Research indicates that women who drink lots of coffee are 25% less likely to develop endometrial cancer than women who don't finish even 1 cup. (Dr. Mike doesn't know how someone can't.) Dose: at least 4 cups a day.
  • Prostate cancer. There's increasing evidence that prostate cancer detests coffee. Just weeks ago, new data came in showing that both high test and decaf coffee are particularly effective at shooing off the most dangerous kind of prostate cancer. Dose: 1 to 6 cups a day, with or without caffeine. Skip those caramel coffee drinks with whipped cream. Here's why.
  • The most common skin cancer. If basal cell carcinoma has quietly gotten a toehold, coffee acts to shut it down, researchers say. Dose: more than 3 cups a day.
  • Breast cancer. Women who drink lots of coffee also run a lower risk of certain types of breast cancer after menopause -- 20 to 50% lower versus women who have less than 1 cup a day. Dose: at least 5 cups a day of regular. Decaf coffee doesn't do it.

Coffee, anyone?

Check out 3 other big health benefits of coffee.

Extensive coal ash contamination found in US water supply

Recent data released by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) show that as many as 197 different sites across 37 states registered violations to federal drinking water statutes due to contamination from coal ash produced by power plants nearby.

Coal ash impoundment sites, called wet ash ponds, in some cases contained contaminant levels so toxic that in an event of a pond’s overflowing, the result would be a loss of human life. Nearby lakes and rivers, which are used by energy companies as a water source for cooling towers, are likewise heavily polluted.

The process of coal-burning in more than 430 different power plants across the US creates more than 140 million tons of ash per year–carrying toxins such as arsenic, lead and mercury which can settle in public areas and water supplies. More than half of the waste is simply stored in landfills, ponds and old mines, where leakage is common. Some 2,000 dump sites hold coal ash across the country.

The impact on human and environmental health can be devastating. The toxin arsenic alone is connected to several forms of cancer in humans as well as heart and lung disease.

In Zekiah Swamp, a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland, more than 8.4 million tons of coal ash was found to be leaking into the ground water. The Moapa River Reservation, home to the Paiute Indian tribe in Nevada, has had 136 drinking water violations since 2010, and two in every three children living closest to the landfills nearby have asthma.

The EPA rated 45 ponds “high hazard,” meaning that if a rupture occurred, people would most likely die.

Separate water tests by North Carolina’s Duke University found several cases across the state where levels of contamination far exceeded EPA safe water standards. Some of the worst contaminated samples were drawn from primary sources of drinking water for metropolitan areas.

Mountain Island Lake, which provides water for the city of Charlotte and surrounding suburbs, contained levels of arsenic 25 times higher than the current EPA standards. Duke Energy's Riverbend Steam Station and two coal ash ponds are situated near the lake. The findings were published in the October edition of the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

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