Nestlé Pays $200 A Year To Bottle Water Near Flint – Where Water Is Undrinkable

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By Jessica Glenzain for The Guardian – While Flint battles a water crisis, just two hours away the beverage giant pumps almost 100,000 times what an average Michigan resident uses into plastic bottles. Gina Luster bathed her child in lukewarm bottled water, emptied bottle by bottle into the tub, for months. It became a game for her seven-year-old daughter. Pop the top off a bottle, and pour it into the tub. It takes about 30 minutes for a child to fill a tub this way. Pop the top, pour it in; pop the top, pour it in. Maybe less if you can get gallon jugs. Luster lives in Flint, Michigan, and here, residents believe tap water is good for one thing: to flush the toilet. “I don’t even water my plants with it,” she said. Flint became synonymous with lead-poisoned water after government officials, looking to save money, switched the city’s water supply from Detroit city water to water from the corrosive Flint river. Once the city had switched, the number of children with elevated lead exposure doubled; residents reported unexplained rashes and losing hair. An unpublished study recently found fetal deaths in Flint increased by 58% during the crisis.

Crumbling Pipes, Tainted Water Plague Black Communities

Troy Lowe, 4, sleeps under the arm of his father, Tory Lowe, in Milwaukee. Troy tested positive for lead poisoning after ingesting the tap water in their home. (Michael M. Santiago/News21)

By William Taylor Potter, Brandon Kitchin and Alexis Reese for Troubled Water – CAMPTI, La. – Deep in the winding mass of crumbling back streets in Campti, Leroy Hayes sets a glass of water from his faucet in a patch of sunlight on the railing of his porch and watches specks of sediment float to the top. Hayes said the town’s water system has been bad for years, with water often coming out brown and smelling like bleach. The family uses bottled water for drinking and cooking and often has to drive to the city of Natchitoches, 11 miles away, to wash their clothes. The Campti water leaves their clothes with a yellowish tint. “Don’t nobody drink that mess,” Hayes said. Like many poor African-American communities, Campti’s poverty is a significant impediment to making crucial improvements to the town’s infrastructure – including its old water system. Hayes is a lifelong resident of the town, where according to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than half of the predominantly African-American population lives in poverty. Campti’s median household income is only $15,428.

Pollutants in Virtually All U.S. Public Water Systems

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By Staff for Environmental Working Group. The disturbing truth is that, all too often, a glass of tap water also comes with a dose of industrial and agricultural contaminants that have been linked to cancer, brain and nervous system damage, or developmental defects. “Just because your tap water gets a passing grade from the government doesn’t always mean it’s safe,” Cook said. “It’s time to stop basing environmental regulations on political or economic compromises, and instead listen to what scientists say about the long-term effects of toxic chemicals and empower Americans to protect themselves from pollutants even as they demand the protective action they deserve from government.” The vast majority of utilities are in compliance with federal regulations, but their water still often contains contaminants in concentrations exceeding the levels that scientists say pose health risks. Many of the existing legal limits are set far above levels that are truly health protective.

THAAD Rocket Fuel: Likely Ground Water Contamination Coming To Seongju, South Korea

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By Bruce K. Gagnon for Organizing Notes – The unwelcome US deployment of the THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) missile defense (MD) system in Seongju, South Korea is not only a significant threat to regional peace but is also a major environmental catastrophe waiting to happen. The reason is that rocket fuel contains a deadly chemical component called perchlorate. And since the Seongju area is a melon farming community the risk of ground water contamination by perchlorate should be alarming to all concerned. Perchlorate, the explosive ingredient in solid rocket fuel, has leaked from military bases and weapons and aerospace contractors’ plants in at least 22 states, contaminating drinking water for millions of Americans. In the US scientists have warned that perchlorate could cause thyroid deficiency in more than 2.2 million women of childbearing age. This thyroid deficiency could damage the fetus of pregnant women, if left untreated. Reports indicate that 20 million to 40 million Americans may be exposed to the chemical.

Fishing The Plastic Out Of The Ocean

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By Jessica Murray for True Activist – An Amsterdam-based company called Plastic Whale is embarking on a positive initiative to combat plastic pollution by reusing plastic bottles in an innovative and simple way. The company work to retrieve numerous plastic bottles, along with other debris from various canals around the city. Once they have collected a large amount, they then transform the plastic material into a boat, which is cleverly then used to fish for more plastic bottles in the canals, according to reports. Thereby producing an answer to a problem within another solution. The main goal of Plastic Whale is to dramatically reduce plastic pollution and thereby clear the world’s waters of the damaging material. Plastic Whale, which describes itself as the world’s first plastic fishing company, is currently working to solve a huge global problem, with recent statistics estimating around 8 million tons of plastic trash entering waterways every year. The company’s founder and captain, Marius Smit, told EcoWatch that he imagines the world where waters are completely free of plastic…

Judge Scrapped Pennsylvania Families’ $4.24M Water Pollution Verdict In Gas Drilling Lawsuit

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By Sharon Kelly and Steve Horn for Nation of Change – For many residents of Carter Road in Dimock, Pennsylvania, it’s been nearly a decade since their lives were turned upside down by the arrival of Cabot Oil and Gas, a company whose Marcellus Shale hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) wells were plagued by a series of spills and other problems linked to the area’s contamination of drinking water supplies. With a new federal court ruling handed down late last Friday, a judge unwound a unanimous eight-person jury which had ordered Cabot to pay a total of $4.24 million over the contamination of two of those families’ drinking water wells. In a 58 page ruling, Magistrate Judge Martin C. Carlson discarded the jury’s verdict in Ely v. Cabot and ordered a new trial, extending the legal battle over one of the highest-profile and longest-running fracking-related water contamination cases in the country. In his order, Judge Carlson chastised the plaintiff’s lawyers for “repeatedly inviting the jury to engage in unwarranted speculation” and wrote that, in his personal estimation…

Activists: Charges In Flint Crisis Won’t Restore Faith In Government

Almost a year after President Obama declared a state of emergency in Flint, the crisis continues to affect people there.	
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By Auditi Guha for Rewire – Karina Petri, founder of Project Flint, said grassroots organizations like hers are struggling to find a voice for residents who have given up, some of whom have gone back to using the tainted water because they no longer care about the health consequences. There’s a lot of blame to go around and still no clean water in Flint, Michigan, where four more officials were charged Tuesday for their failure to protect people from health hazards caused by contaminated drinking water, bringing the total charged this year to 13. The charges come as activists in Flint see despair setting in among residents who have lived through the public health nightmare.

California City Wins $22 Million Against Shell Oil Over Toxic Drinking Water

The city of Clovis won its more than three-month-long civil trial against the chemical manufacturing giant Shell Oil Co. over the cleanup of a toxic chemical found in drinking-water wells around the city of 108,000 people. MARK CROSSE Fresno Bee file

By Andrea Castillo for McClatchy DC – The city of Clovis won its more than three-month-long civil trial against chemical manufacturing giant Shell Oil Co. over the cleanup of a toxic chemical found in drinking-water wells around the city of 108,000 people. The chemical is 1,2,3-trichloropropane, or TCP, which is a waste product from making plastic. TCP was in farm fumigants last used in the 1980s, which were injected into the ground to kill tiny worms called nematodes. A jury on Wednesday awarded the city nearly $22 million, finding that Clovis residents were harmed by the design of the fumigant, that Shell did not prove the benefits of its product outweighed the risks, and that those risks were known at the time it was sold.

Thousands Of Communities Have Lead Levels Worse Than Flint

LEAD ZONE: St. Joseph, Missouri, has neighborhoods filled with aged homes and high rates of lead poisoning. Here, Kadin Mignery, 2, plays on his front porch. Kadin was diagnosed with lead poisoning, prompting his mother to change his diet and repaint the home’s interior. REUTERS/Whitney Curtis

By M.B. Pell and Joshua Schneyer for Reuters – ST. JOSEPH, Missouri – On a sunny November afternoon in this historic city, birthplace of the Pony Express and death spot of Jesse James, Lauranda Mignery watched her son Kadin, 2, dig in their front yard. As he played, she scolded him for putting his fingers in his mouth. In explanation, she pointed to the peeling paint on her old house. Kadin, she said, has been diagnosed with lead poisoning. He has lots of company: Within 15 blocks of his house, at least 120 small children have been poisoned since 2010, making the neighborhood among the most toxic in Missouri, Reuters found as part of an analysis of childhood lead testing results across the country. In St. Joseph, even a local pediatrician’s children were poisoned.

EPA Reversal Acknowledges Fracking Causes Water Pollution

In a major reversal, the Environmental Protection Agency has removed from its final fracking water report its controversial top-line conclusion that fracking has not "led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources in the United States." Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

By Neela Banerjee for Inside Climate News – In a significant reversal, the Environmental Protection Agency struck from a major 2015 report its conclusion that fracking has not caused “widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water” in the United States. The agency cited the lack of data and evidence to support the finding. The change was made after an EPA panel of independent scientists recommended in August that the agency revise the statement, which had minimized the potential hazards posed to drinking water. The panel, known as the Science Advisory Board (SAB), spent a year analyzing the draft version of the study. In a call with reporters, Thomas A. Burke, the EPA’s deputy assistant administrator and science adviser, said the SAB’s analysis was central to the change.

An Indiana City Is Poised To Become The Next Flint

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By Alex Zielinski for Think Progress – Akeeshea Daniels first suspected something was off when her two toddlers came down with scarlet fever. It was 2004, and she just moved her family into a spacious public housing complex in East Chicago, Indiana. “I looked it up. Scarlet fever hasn’t been a problem since the ‘50s,” she said. “It was something straight out of a history book.” But when she brought her concerns to the East Chicago Housing Authority — the manager of her public housing complex— she was brushed off.

Glyphosate Herbicides Cause Tragic Phosphorus Poisoning Of Lake Erie

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By Laura Barrera for No-Till Farmer – A new study by experts from Ohio Northern University in the U.S. has shown that glyphosate herbicides are a main cause of the tragic phosphorus poisoning of Lake Erie, which has been causing an increase of harmful algae blooms that foul drinking water and kill fish. The study follows a joint agreement by the U.S. and Canadian governments earlier in 2016 to seek a 40% reduction in phosphorus runoff into sections of Lake Erie plagued by the harmful algae blooms.

Whistleblower Fired For Exposing Flint Mayor’s Plan To Take Water Donations

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By Llowell Williams for Care 2 – Every time the Flint, Mich., water crisis seems to have finally hit rock bottom, a new development tosses that assumption out the window. A lawsuit filed this week claims Flint city administrator Natasha Henderson was fired by Mayor Karen Weaver unjustly, but why? According to Henderson’s lawyer, her dismissal came after becoming aware of allegations that Mayor Weaver had been instructing her staff to redirect donor funds to the mayor’s PAC — not the actual campaign aimed at helping Flint families.

Impacted Communities Testify On Us Water Crises At Human Rights Hearing

Maureen Taylor of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization from Detroit, Michigan (Photo from OAS livestream of the water and sanitation hearing)

By Kevin Gosztola for Shadow Proof – In a hearing hosted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, representatives of indigenous, working class, and minority populations in the United States testified on water and sanitation crises. The hearing hosted by IACHR, which is part of the Organization of American States (OAS), was scheduled in response to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. It featured stark testimony that sharply contrasted with the bureaucratic statements of U.S. officials.

Congress Focuses On Flint, Drinking Water Crisis Is National

Bottled water "has actually become a long-term solution" in Baltimore public schools after testing showed elevated lead levels, NPR reported this week. (Photo: Keoni Cabral/flickr/cc)

By Deirdre Fulton for Common Dreams – While a congressional hearing Thursday focused attention on the drinking water crisis in Flint, Michigan, news reporting from around the country reveals that the problem of lead-contamination afflicts communities nationwide. A multi-part USA Today investigation published this week identified almost 2,000 additional water systems in all 50 states where testing has shown excessive levels of lead contamination over the past four years.