In a classic two-sided story, the New York Times reports scientific uncertainty about whether the ubiquitous plastic chemical BPA hurts humans or not. It does not explore another key question: should the burden of proof be on companies to prove chemicals they widely expose people to are safe? -- or on environmental health scientists to prove them unsafe?
The application of sewage sludge (renamed "biosolids" by industry PR) to fields has created worries about smell, disease, and toxic contaminants. Federal efforts to track sludge problems have been fragmented, haphazard, and delayed -- which does not inspire confidence in industry-backed federal assurances that sludge is safe. The assurances have preceded the evidence that would support them.
"Canada is in the process of a historic move to add bisphenol-A to its list of toxic substances, Environment Canada confirmed Wednesday."
"BINGHAMTON -- A pair of [New York] state legislators on Wednesday showed an improved version of a website mapping cancer instances statewide as well as buildings and other facilities holding chemicals, gases or producing air emissions."
"Children whose mothers were exposed to widely-used pesticides such as malathion during pregnancy may be at increased risk of developing an attention disorder by age 5, a new study shows."
The New Orleans-area citizens' group Louisiana Bucket Brigade has been conducting a survey of the Gulf oil spill's possible health effects that may pave the way for larger and more scientific federal studies yet to be started.
"A Swiss chemical producer may soon be the first company to receive approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to use nanosilver to make clothing smell better, stay cleaner and destroy germs. However, health scientists say the nanoparticles will wash out with the rinse water and could cause unknown environmental and health problems downstream."
While thoroughly bureaucratic, the 55-page guidance document, as well as EPA's Environmental Justice Strategic Enforcement Assessment Tool, can be useful resources for reporters who seek to understand and highlight potential environmental justice issues unfolding at the national, regional, or state level.
"Without DDT and the other now-banned pesticides that kept bedbugs in check for more than 50 years, the United States is as vulnerable as parts of the world where the insects remain a plague."