Posts tagged: Health and Toxics

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Health and Toxics


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Everyone has The Right To Breathe clean air. Watch a video featuring Earthjustice Attorney Jim Pew and two Pennsylvanians—Marti Blake and Martin Garrigan—who know firsthand what it means to live in the shadow of a coal plant's smokestack, breathing in daily lungfuls of toxic air for more than two decades.

Coal Ash Contaminates Our Lives. Coal ash is the hazardous waste that remains after coal is burned. Dumped into unlined ponds or mines, the toxins readily leach into drinking water supplies. Watch the video above and take action to support federally enforceable safeguards for coal ash disposal.

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unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders.

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View David Guest's blog posts
14 October 2009, 4:04 PM
Polluters join ag commissioner in fighting against clean water
Algae slimes Christopher Point Creek

It is hard to imagine anyone defending the polluters that are turning Florida's waters green and slimy. But, hey, money talks.

At long last, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is agreeing to set legal, enforceable limits on such nutrients as phosphorous and nitrogen, which are poisoning Florida's public waters. EPA's historic decision settles the lawsuit we filed in July 2008.

Now the state's biggest polluters are trying to block the settlement. Big Agriculture, sewage plants, utilities, and phosphate miners have filed legal challenges to try to force the EPA to back down. And the state's Agriculture Commissioner, Charles Bronson, is using taxpayer dollars to side with the polluters and against clean water.

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View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
14 October 2009, 2:05 PM
Earthjustice going to court over cleaning products

You spray them in the air, mop your floors with them and wash your clothes in them—but do you have any idea what chemicals are in the cleaners you use?

Probably not. And Procter & Gamble, Colgate Palmolive and other household cleaner giants want to keep it that way.The companies are fighting Earthjustice's lawsuit under a right-to-know law requiring them to disclose the chemical ingredients in their products (Mr. Clean, Lysol, Brillo, Ajax and others) and the health risks they pose.

Keri Powell in the Northeast office will soon face off against the companies' lawyers in court. She'll be outflanked 5 to 1. But she's got spirited colleagues to cheer her on. That—and the fact that the law is on her side!

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View Susan Britton's blog posts
14 October 2009, 12:47 PM
It's hard to believe trade group's sudden change of heart

I know I am not alone in applauding EPA's recent announcement that it plans to push for reform of that 60-page weakling, the Toxic Substances Control Act, and develop "action plans" for several exceptionally bad actors, among them perfluorinated chemicals, phthalates and bisphenol A.

As it stands now, EPA has no authority to require manufacturers to submit toxicity or ecotoxicity information about the chemicals they produce, and no authority to require testing of any chemical on the market without clearing impossibly high hurdles. Not surprisingly, EPA has managed to regulate only a handful of chemicals in over three decades. So any talk of reform is cause for celebration.

But is that in fact the American Chemistry Council—the nation's most influential chemical manufacturers' trade group—cheering along in agreement?

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View Brian Smith's blog posts
13 October 2009, 4:32 PM
Earthjustice action in New York Times today

Despite the insistence of multi-billion dollar ad campaigns from the coal industry, “clean coal” simply does not exist.

Even when scrubbers are installed to filter air pollution from coal-fired power plants, the mercury, selenium, and other toxic heavy metals released by coal combustion have to go somewhere. Sadly, too much pollution is ending up in America’s rivers and groundwater.

This week, the New York Times’ excellent series "Toxic Waters" takes a look at the dangers of shifting coal pollution from air to water.

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View Jared Saylor's blog posts
02 October 2009, 1:50 PM
Tune in this Sunday, October 4th

When venerable television news show 60 Minutes takes notice of a story, it's got to be an important issue. On this Sunday, October 4, 60 Minutes is going to look at one of the biggest waste problems in our country: coal ash. From the preview on their website:

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View David Guest's blog posts
02 October 2009, 12:05 PM
Uses tax dollars in resisting efforts to clean up waterways
Agricultural runoff creates toxic algae bloom in Florida waters

 It is shameful that Florida Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Bronson is siding with the state’s worst polluters to fight against cleaning up algae-choked waters poisoned by agricultural runoff.

There are toxic algae blooms all over the state, water treatment plants are closing due to nutrient poisoning, and yet Bronson directs the state to work for the polluters and against the people. 

In August, in a historic move, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency signed a consent decree in which it agreed to set legal limits for the widespread nutrient poisoning that triggers harmful algae blooms, like the one above, in Florida waters.

But, instead of working to make the public's water cleaner and safer, Bronson is spending tax dollars to help special interests like the Florida Pulp and Paper Association and Big Agriculture block the clean water settlement. The Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services filed a motion to intervene in the case on the polluters' side.
 

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View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
30 September 2009, 11:40 AM
Fans of the precautionary principle, read on

Imagine a day when expectant parents can paint their nurseries, stock them with playthings and baby supplies, and do it all with the security of knowing that each and every chemical in those products has been tested for health effects and found safe for their newborn.

Last night, the Obama administration got us one step closer to that shimmery non-toxic future.

At a speech in San Francisco, Environmental Protection Agency administrator Lisa Jackson said what none of her predecessors dared say before: our current system of regulating toxic chemicals—which doesn't even allow the government to restrict the use of asbestos—is badly broken.

View Jared Saylor's blog posts
14 September 2009, 4:54 PM
"Toxic Waters" series examines America's worsening water pollution

Clean water is necessary for anyone who drinks water, bathes in water, uses water in their everyday life. Ultimately, it's urgent for everyone.

Today the New York Times ran an article highlighting the hazards of contaminated water that focuses on the struggles faced by residents living near coal processing ponds in Charleston, West Virginia. This region is ground zero in our fight against mountaintop removal. Mining companies dump waste directly into streams and headwaters that make their way into aquifers and wells used by residents for drinking water. The Times story reveals the human impact of toxic chemicals leaching into waters: kidney and liver damage, cancer, skin lesions.

View Bill Karpowicz's blog posts
27 August 2009, 9:18 AM
Toxin found in every fish tested in 291 streams

More than two-thirds of fish tested by the federal government between 1998 and 2005 are contaminated by mercury at levels exceeding EPA standards according to a recent report.

Contamination is widespread, the report said, coming from various sources depending on geography. Coal-fired power plants are the largest source of mercury, although 59 of the 291 streams studied may have been affected by gold and mercury mining. The highest mercury levels were found in the south and southeast-North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Louisiana, while elevated levels were found in mining areas of the West and watersheds in the Northeast and Upper Midwest.

In 2008, Earthjustice successfully appealed an EPA rule favorable to industry which would have allowed dangerous levels of mercury to persist. We’re waiting for the Obama administration to make good on its promise to introduce new power plant emission regulations.

View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
25 August 2009, 3:37 PM
Gas industry has another 'fraccident'

From the hard-hitting investigative team at ProPublica comes an important story today about drinking water in Wyoming that's been contaminated by chemicals commonly used in the gas drilling process of hydraulic fracturing.

Responding to concerns from residents, scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency sampled 39 wells near the ranching town of Pavillion, Wyo (pop. 160). They found the common gas drilling chemical 2-butoxyethanol in three water wells and found traces of other contaminants in 11 more wells.

Just about the only industrial activity in Pavillion is gas drilling, or, more specifically horizontal hydraulic fracturing—in which drilling companies spike millions of gallons of water with toxic chemicals, then blast the water thousands of feet beneath the ground into horizontally drilled wells, blasting the gas out of the rock pores.

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