Eight years ago, the water crisis in Flint, Michigan began, the effects of which linger today. The nation was shocked to see a city fail so spectacularly to meet its most basic responsibility to provide safe water to its citizens. Unfortunately, Flint is not alone. According to a 2020 Natural Resources Defense Council analysis of Environmental Protection Agency data, nearly 30 million people in the U.S. drink from unsafe water systems. The rate is significantly elevated in communities of color. The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania water system was one of them. As in Flint and other cities, structural racism, chronic disinvestment, and economic austerity meant that Pittsburgh’s communities of color were most impacted by the failing water systems. Entering the 2000s, Pittsburgh’s water infrastructure was in dire need of repair and modernization.
WASHINGTON - The contamination of U.S. drinking water with man-made "forever chemicals" is far worse than previously estimated with some of the highest levels found in Miami, Philadelphia and New Orleans, said a report on Wednesday by an environmental watchdog group. The chemicals, resistant to breaking down in the environment, are known as perfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS. Some have been linked to cancers, liver damage, low birth weight and other health problems.
Shell Oil Company was ordered this week to pay $63 million in damages for polluting groundwater in the city of Atwater, California. A jury this week found the corporation liable in the four-month trial over a lawsuit filed against the company for their role in releasing the highly toxic chemical 1,2,3-Trichloropropane (TCP) into the groundwater. Shell was accused of marketing a nematicide, a chemical used by farmers to kill worms in the soil, to the public without revealing that it contained TCP. The nematicide was widely used by farmers in Atwater on agricultural lands, leading to contaminated groundwater.
By the summer of 2022, storage tanks holding processed water on the grounds of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant will become completely full, according to Tokyo Electric Power Co. That marks the first timetable the utility has set on when capacity will be reached in the tanks holding the water processed to remove most radioactive substances. Analysts said setting a deadline for the tank capacity allows TEPCO to push the central government and other entities to take action on the volume of contaminated water...
With all the emphasis that has been placed on making sure children are safe from the hazards of lead-based paint at home, similar efforts would seem just as important for America’s schools. After all, outside of the home, young children spend the majority of their day – 6.8 hours a day – at school. Yet a new federal report found that an estimated 15.2 million children in the U.S. go to schools in school districts that found lead-based paint. This is happening more than 40 years after the United States’ 1978 ban on the use of lead-based paint in housing.
The U.S. Navy has contaminated the groundwater at Maryland’s Patuxent River Naval Air Station (NAS) with 1,137.8 parts per trillion (ppt) of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), according to a report published last July by the engineering firm CH2M Hill. PFAS have been associated with a variety of cancers and are known to jeopardize human reproductive health. The contamination was not reported on the Defense Department’s March 2018 report on PFAS. There are no restrictions currently on military or industrial PFAS discharges under either the federal Clean Water Act or the federal Clean Air Act.
According to the lawsuit, Monsanto had been aware that polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were harmful but concealed the data for years while polluting the water. Los Angeles County recently filed a lawsuit against Bayer, the company that purchased Monsanto last year, for allegedly contaminating the local environment with an outlawed chemical that Monsanto used in many of its products decades ago. According to the lawsuit, Monsanto had been aware that polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were harmful but concealed the data for years while polluting the water.
Ms. Maureen Sullivan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Environment, testified in front of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on March 28, 2019. The hearing focused on the DoD’s actions related to carcinogenic perfluorinated chemicals found in fire-fighting foam routinely used in exercises at military bases around the world. The American military is poisoning people and the planet with these chemicals. My two U.S. Senators from Maryland, Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin, failed to subject Sullivan to serious questioning during this important hearing on the military’s response to lethal ground water contamination. Reading her testimony filled me with rage.
I drove across the country with my daughter Holly last week to draw attention to the reckless behavior of the military as it continues to poison the waters in communities across the country. We billed our trip, “The Million Parts per Trillion Tour” because we stopped at eight extremely contaminated bases, all with more than a million parts per trillion (ppt) of deadly Per and Poly Fluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in the groundwater. We worked with The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom-U.S. and Civilian Exposure from Camp Lejeune, NC.
Germany is experiencing a public health crisis with millions of people potentially exposed to drinking water contaminated with Per and Poly Fluoroalkyl Substances, or PFAS. A major source of this chemical contamination comes from the aqueous film forming foam (AFFF) used in routine fire-training on U.S. military bases. After igniting, then dousing massive fires with the lethal foam containing PFAS, the American bases allow the poisons to leach into the groundwater to contaminate neighboring communities which use groundwater in their wells and municipal water systems.
High concentrations of the deadly compounds Per-fluoro-octane sulfonate (PFOS) and Per-fluoro-octanoic acid (PFOA), together known as Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been found in the drinking water in communities adjacent to the U.S. Air Force’s Kadena Air Base and the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in the Japanese Prefecture of Okinawa. The chemicals are found in the fire-fighting foam used in routine fire-training exercises on base.
A major indigenous group in the Argentine Patagonia is suing some of world's biggest oil and gas companies over illegal fracking waste dumps that put the "sensitive Patagonian environment," local wildlife and communities at risk, according to Greenpeace. The Mapuche Confederation of Neuquén filed a lawsuit against Exxon, French company Total and the Argentina-based Pan American Energy (which is partially owned by BP), AFP reported. Provincial authorities and a local fracking waste treatment company called Treater Neuquén S.A. were also named in the suit. The Mapuche accused the companies of contaminating the environment with "dangerous waste" due to "deficient treatment" close to the town of Añelo, according to AFP.
Per-flouro octane-sulfo-nate or PFOS, and Per-flouro-octa-noic acid or PFOA, are the active ingredients in the foam routinely used to train soldiers to extinguish aircraft fires at U.S. military bases around the world. The toxic chemicals are allowed to leach into surrounding soil to poison groundwater. The result is one of the greatest water contamination epidemics in human history. Doubt that? Click on Google News and enter: “PFOS PFAO Military Base.” Then, come back and read the rest of this article – and brace yourself. It’s bad. The water in thousands of wells in and around U.S. military installations across the globe have been tested and have been shown to contain harmful levels of PFOS and PFOA.
By Christopher Knaus for The Guardian - A top United States environmental official has described the contamination of drinking water by toxic firefighting chemicals as the most seminal public health challenge of coming decades. The US, like Australia, is still grappling with how to respond to widespread contamination caused by past use of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (Pfas) in firefighting foam. The manmade chemicals share a probable link with cancer, do not break down in the environment and have contaminated groundwater, drinking water, soil and waterways. The Australian government has continued to maintain there is no concrete evidence of a link between the chemicals and adverse health impacts, but has been criticised for the inadequacy of its response. The government’s stated position sits in stark contrast with a view expressed this week by a senior official in the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a government agency and the country’s leading public health institution. Patrick Breysse, director of the CDC’s National Centre for Environmental Health, described the chemicals as “one of the most seminal public health challenge for the next decades”, according to the Bloomberg news agency.
By Sharon Lerner for The Intercept - AFTER YEARS of litigation over PFOA, an industrial toxin used to make Teflon and other non-stick and stain-resistant products, in 2009 DuPont introduced GenX. Now the slippery substitute has followed the path of the molecule it replaced, contaminating water near plants in West Virginia and North Carolina, and attracting its own intense legal interest. The lawsuits over PFOA exposed the chemical’s links to several diseases, including kidney and testicular cancer. Like PFOA, also known as C8, GenX is a perfluorinated compound and similarly, was the subject of internal DuPont research showing it poses many of the same health concerns as the original chemical. Also like PFOA, GenX persists indefinitely in the environment. In the past two weeks, two citizens groups in North Carolina announced plans to sue Chemours, the DuPont spinoff company that now makes GenX, over its release of the chemical from its plant in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The Cape Fear Public Utility Authority issued a letter of intent to sue both Chemours and DuPont last week over violations of the Clean Water Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act over release of GenX into the Cape Fear River, which is a source of drinking water for more than 250,000 people in the Wilmington area.