Tag Archives | Pollution

A Toxic Chemical Ruined The Lives Of These People — And It’s Probably In Your Blood

“Welcome to beautiful Parkersburg, West Virginia, home to one of the most brazen, deadly corporate gambits in U.S. history,” writes Mariah Blake in a #LongRead for Huffington Post:

“Hold on to something,” Jim Tennant warned as he fired up his tractor. We lurched down a rutted dirt road past the old clapboard farmhouse where he grew up. Jim still calls it “the home place,” although its windows are now boarded up and the outhouse is crumbling into the field.

Photo: Tim Kiser (CC)

Photo: Tim Kiser (CC)

 

At 72, Jim is so slight that he nearly disappears into his baggy plaid shirt. But he drives his tractor like a dirt bike. We sped past the caved-in hog pen and skidded down a riverbank. The tractor tipped precariously toward the water, slamming into a fallen tree, but Jim just laughed.

When we had gone as far as the tractor could take us, Jim climbed off and squeezed through a barbed-wire fence.

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Two major US aquifers contaminated by natural uranium

The intensity of groundwater contamination via uranium (red) and nitrate (blue) is shown in two major aquifers and other sites through out the nation. UNL researcher Karrie Weber says the availability of uranium data pales compared to that of nitrate. Credit: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The intensity of groundwater contamination via uranium (red) and nitrate (blue) is shown in two major aquifers and other sites through out the nation. UNL researcher Karrie Weber says the availability of uranium data pales compared to that of nitrate.
Credit: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

University of Nebraska-Lincoln via ScienceDaily:

Nearly 2 million people throughout the Great Plains and California above aquifer sites contaminated with natural uranium that is mobilized by human-contributed nitrate, according to a study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Data from roughly 275,000 groundwater samples in the High Plains and Central Valley aquifers show that many Americans live less than two-thirds of a mile from wells that often far exceed the uranium guideline set by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The study reports that 78 percent of the uranium-contaminated sites were linked to the presence of nitrate, a common groundwater contaminant that originates mainly from chemical fertilizers and animal waste.

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Cap and Trade Proven Successful in Northeastern States

carbontax

Peter Sinclair writes at Climate Crock of the Week:

If you listened to right wing media, you might assume that “Cap and Trade” was a game that ISIL fighters played with severed heads of their enemies.

Actually, it’s a Republican idea for fighting pollution, and it’s been shown to work pretty well in tamping down Acid Rain – which is why it was proposed early on as a means of dealing with climate change.

The Hill, April 3, 2012:

President Obama reminded Republicans Tuesday that cap-and-trade has GOP roots in a rare public reference to the embattled environmental policy.

“Cap-and-trade was originally proposed by conservatives and Republicans as a market-based solution to solving environmental problems,” Obama said during a fiery speech at a luncheon hosted by The Associated Press.

“The first president to talk about cap-and-trade was George H.W. Bush. Now you’ve got the other party essentially saying we shouldn’t even be thinking about environmental protection.

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Can Pollution Help Trees Fight Infection?

Pollution may help trees fight infection. Credit: Frederic E. Pitre

Pollution may help trees fight infection.
Credit: Frederic E. Pitre

Via ScienceDaily:

Trees that can tolerate soil pollution are also better at defending themselves against pests and pathogens. “It looks like the very act of tolerating chemical pollution may give trees an advantage from biological invasion,” says Dr Frederic E. Pitre of the University of Montreal and one of the researchers behind the discovery.

Unexpectedly, whilst studying the presence of genetic information (RNA) from fungi and bacteria in the trees, the researchers found evidence of a very large amount of RNA from a very common plant pest called the two-spotted spidermite.

In fact, 99% of spidermite RNA was in higher abundance in trees without contamination, suggesting that the polluted plant’s defence mechanisms, used to protect itself against chemical contamination, improves its resistance to a biological invader.

“This higher spidermite gene expression (RNA) in non-contaminated trees suggests that tolerating contamination might ‘prime’ the trees’ defence machinery, allowing them to defend themselves better against pests, such as spidermites,” says Pitre.

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Faces Of Crying Babies Projected Onto Factory Smoke To Highlight Pollution

In an effort to highlight China’s air pollution problem, Xiao Zhu projected faces of crying babies onto factory smoke pollution.

Via the YouTube description:

Xiao Zhu wanted to stand out in a market that was almost as congested as the air. A market where half a million people, mostly children, have died due to air pollution related illnesses. So we decided to put a spotlight on air pollution’s biggest culprits – the factories – by using the actual pollution from the factories as a medium. People took notice, and the word spread.

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An 8-year-old Falls Into One of Mexico’s Most Contaminated Rivers. 18 Days Later, He’s Dead.

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At Fusion, Steve Fisher reports on how many companies (mostly US owned) dump toxic chemicals in Mexico’s rivers:

It was a warm sunny afternoon in 2008 in the dusty suburb of La Azucena. Eight-year-old Miguel Ángel Lopez Rocha was kicking a ball with his friends. A group of boys were playing near the Ahogado Canal, a tributary to the Santiago River and a recipient of factory discharge, that cuts through one of the most prosperous industrial zones in Mexico, located in El Salto, Jalisco.

Someone kicked the ball into the canal. It was Lopez Rocha’s turn to retrieve it. As he reached down to pick it up, he tripped and fell directly into the backwaters of the canal.

Later that night, feeling dizzy, Lopez Rocha stumbled into the bathroom. He was vomiting profusely. His mother rushed him to a hospital in nearby Guadalajara, where doctors quickly determined that the young boy was suffering from arsenic poisoning.

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Can ‘Ghosts’ Cause Bad Air?

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Kevin Dooley (CC BY 2.0)

Via ScienceDaily:

A team of Clarkson University researchers is studying the possible links between reported hauntings and indoor air quality.

Associate Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering Shane Rogers said human experiences reported in many hauntings are similar to mental or neurological symptoms reported by some individuals exposed to toxic molds. It is known that some fungi, such as rye ergot fungus, may cause severe psychosis in humans.

The links between exposure to toxic indoor molds and psychological effects in people are not well established, however, Rogers said. Notably, many hauntings are associated with structures that are prime environments to harbor molds or other indoor air quality problems.

“Hauntings are very widely reported phenomena that are not well-researched,” he said. “They are often reported in older-built structures that may also suffer poor air quality. Similarly, some people have reported depression, anxiety and other effects from exposure to biological pollutants in indoor air.

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Urban Treehouse That Absorbs Pollution

© Beppe Giardino

© Beppe Giardino

Not only is this apartment complex badass, but it’s also good for the environment. The apartment building, 25 Verde located in Turin, Italy, contains 150 trees that absorb air pollution and noise pollution.

The building, designed by Luciano Pia, elevates the trees “off the ground in an attempt to evade Turin’s homogeneous urban scene and integrate life into the facade of the residential building.” The trees absorb about “200,000 liters of carbon dioxide an hour,” while providing insulation from the busy street and glaring sun.

© Beppe Giardino

© Beppe Giardino

What are the chances NYC would build something like this? I’m thinking slim-to-none…

Check out more photos at Colossal.

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Great Barrier Reef Corals Eat Plastic

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These are corals on the Great Barrier Reef. Credit: Mia Hoogenboom

 

Via ScienceDaily:

Researchers in Australia have found that corals commonly found on the Great Barrier Reef will eat micro-plastic pollution.

“Corals are non-selective feeders and our results show that they can consume microplastics when the plastics are present in seawater,” says Dr Mia Hoogenboom, a Chief Investigator with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University.

“If microplastic pollution increases on the Great Barrier Reef, corals could be negatively affected as their tiny stomach-cavities become full of indigestible plastic,” Dr Hoogenboom says.

Microplastics are tiny fragments of plastic in the environment and are a widespread contaminant in marine ecosystems, particularly in inshore coral reefs.

Despite the proliferation of microplastics, their impact on marine ecosystems is poorly understood.

“Marine plastic pollution is a global problem and microplastics can have negative effects on the health of marine organisms,” says Dr Hoogenboom.

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