EJToday: Top Headlines
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The story of hexavalent chromium, a carcinogen, in drinking water is not over, even though Erin Brockovich's legal victory was vaunted in a film 13 years ago. Groundwater near Hinkley, Calif., is still polluted. The story of how industry clout has kept EPA delaying regulation of chromium in drinking water is a tale of the chemical industry's ability to manipulate regulation by sowing doubt. But recent highly dramatized stories on chrome-6 in drinking water may not have helped much, to the extent that they downplayed natural background levels, the importance of dose, and the statistical problems in identifying cancer clusters. The whole saga raises key issues about public relations, lobbying, regulatory politics, the legal system, environmental journalism, and the protection of public health.
"Many pesticides used in consumer products and agriculture received federal approval through a loophole that doesn't require thorough testing, according to a study released Wednesday by an environmental group."
"Spending about 100 hours each month in the air, flight attendants are bombarded with pesticides, radiation, ozone and any illnesses passengers carry on board. Now new research shows that they also fly along with some of the highest levels ever measured for some flame retardants."
"The residents of south Seattle's 98108 ZIP code, some living cheek-by-jowl with the Duwamish River Superfund site, face a high degree of environmental health threats and are likely to live sicker and die younger than residents of other Seattle neighborhoods, says a new report by two nonprofit groups."
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration in January proposed a food safety rule that lacked a requirement for food makers to actually test for germs. The requirement had been removed by a shadowy White House office known as OIRA -- where industry can lobby in secret to overturn science-based rules such as this one, meant to prevent one million illnesses per year.
"SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California officials vowed Tuesday to move forward on a new fire safety rule that could eliminate the use of toxic flame retardants in household furniture and baby products sold nationwide."
Products so toxic they are banned in the United States -- lead paint is just one example -- are still being legally exported by U.S. corporations to other countries, where they may harm unsuspecting customers.
"WASHINGTON -- The White House has endorsed a plan to relax long-held standards for cleaning up radioactive material released by a nuclear power plant disaster or act of terrorism, a group of federal officials say in a new draft report."
"SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- A U.S. agency has issued a long-awaited report saying it found no proof that decades of military practice bombing on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques sickened residents who blame it for high rates of cancer, asthma and other illnesses."
"A Washington County judge [Wednesday] morning ordered unsealed a court-approved settlement between Marcellus Shale development companies and a family that claimed the drilling operations damaged their health."
"As nearly a dozen states consider legislation that would ban toxic flame retardants, Illinois apparently will remain on the sidelines of a growing debate about chemicals linked to cancer, developmental problems and impaired fertility."
"The U.S. drinking water and sewage infrastructure earned a barely passing grade of D from the American Society of Civil Engineers today, which said at least $1 trillion is needed to fix the problem."
"The Obama administration is leaning toward revising its landmark proposal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants, according to several individuals briefed on the matter, a move that would delay tougher restrictions and could anger many environmentalists."
"The number of people living in extreme poverty could increase by up to 3 billion by 2050 unless urgent action is taken to tackle environmental challenges, a major UN report warned on Thursday."