Tag Archives | Water

The Prozac in America’s Wastewater is Making Birds Fat

Are the birds near you are looking more than a little plump? It’s probably all the Prozac in the water they drink reports Quartz:

A 2014 US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report (pdf) found that, between 2009 and 2012, 9% of Americans were using a prescription antidepressant at least once a month. Now, a sizable bunch of birds are too.

Birds

(Hold onto your lunch.) New research has found that Prozac, one of the most commonly prescribed antidepressants, can “significantly alter the behavior and physiology” of some bird species, The Guardian reports. The study in question concluded that wild starlings, when fed wax worms injected with levels of fluoxetine (the generic name for Prozac) equivalent to what the birds might be exposed to by “feeding on invertebrates at a wastewater treatment plant,” showed “conspicuous changes in foraging behavior.”

That’s right—birds are getting dosed with Prozac by eating worms in your poo.

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NASA: The Earth is Running Out of Water

Lake Hume stands at 4 percent during a drought in Victoria, Australia. (Photo: Tim J Keegan/cc/flickr)

Lake Hume stands at 4 percent during a drought in Victoria, Australia. (Photo: Tim J Keegan/cc/flickr)

This post was originally published on Common Dreams. Read more of Lauren McCauley’s posts here.

Bottom line: the Earth is running out of water.

Two new NASA studies led by researchers from the University of California Irvine and published Tuesday show that the depletion of global groundwater resources, due to the dueling impacts of global warming and growing human demand, has caused the world’s water supply to drop to dangerous levels.

The first report compares statistical analysis of water withdrawal to GRACE satellite analysis, which measures variations in gravity on the Earth’s surface, between January 2003 and December 2013. The study compares the difference between the use and availability of these resources to determine the amount of overall renewable groundwater stress, or RGS.

According to the findings, at 21 of the 37 largest aquifers, water is being drained at a greater rate than it is being naturally replenished, 13 of which fell into the most troubled category.… Read the rest

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Average American Consumes Over 300 Gallons of California Water Per Week

CA Avocados at the grove

Photo: California Avocados (CC)

Note that it’s the average American who consumes more than 300 gallons of California water each week, not the average Californian (whose usage is way higher). This is because this mythical average American is consuming a tremendous amount of food produced in California, everything from almonds to avocados explains the New York Times:

California farmers produce more than a third of the nation’s vegetables and two-thirds of its fruits and nuts. To do that, they use nearly 80 percent of all the water consumed in the state. It is the most stubborn part of the crisis: To fundamentally alter how much water the state uses, all Americans may have to give something up.

The portions of foods shown here are grown in California and represent what average Americans, including non-Californians, eat in a week. We made an estimate of the amount of water it takes to grow each portion to give you a sense of your contribution to the California drought.

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Mars has belts of glaciers consisting of frozen water

Mars distinct polar ice caps, but Mars also has belts of glaciers at its central latitudes – between the blue lines, in both the southern and northern hemispheres. A thick layer of dust covers the glaciers, so they appear as the surface of the ground, but radar measurements show that there are glaciers composed of frozen water underneath the dust. (Credit: Mars Digital Image Model, NASA/Nanna Karlsson)

Mars distinct polar ice caps, but Mars also has belts of glaciers at its central latitudes – between the blue lines, in both the southern and northern hemispheres. A thick layer of dust covers the glaciers, so they appear as the surface of the ground, but radar measurements show that there are glaciers composed of frozen water underneath the dust.
(Credit: Mars Digital Image Model, NASA/Nanna Karlsson)

via Niels Bohr Institute:

Mars has distinct polar ice caps, but Mars also has belts of glaciers at its central latitudes in both the southern and northern hemispheres. A thick layer of dust covers the glaciers, so they appear as surface of the ground, but radar measurements show that underneath the dust there are glaciers composed of frozen water. New studies have now calculated the size of the glaciers and thus the amount of water in the glaciers. It is the equivalent of all of Mars being covered by more than one meter of ice.

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Ten Percent of California’s Water Goes to Almond Farming

The media’s making a big deal out of California’s statewide water rationing, with state residents freaking out about not being able to water their MiracleGro lawns, wash their chrome-hubcapped cars and so forth. The real culprits are the farmers, though, and none more so than the almond growers per Slate‘s Eric Holthaus:

Denair, Calif.—In California’s vast Central Valley, agriculture is king. But the king appears fatally ill, and no worthy replacement is in sight, as the area noticeably reverts into the desert it was little more than a century ago.

Almond trees

An almond orchard just outside of Turlock and Hughson, CA.

Signs line the back roads here that run parallel to wide irrigation ditches:

“Pray for rain”
“No water = No jobs”

As I’ve already discussed in the Thirsty West series, city-dwelling Californians are a bit insulated from near-term water shortages thanks to the state’s intricate tentacles of aqueducts, pipelines, and canals that divert water from the snowcapped Sierras to the urban core along the coast.

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Overpumping of Groundwater is Contributing to Global Sea Level Rise

US Navy 090226-N-9584H-018 Construction Electrician Constructionman Greg Langdon, assigned to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 1, installs a new section of drill steel during a water well drilling operationHelp, we’re sinking! And the worst part is, we’re on dry land… from the Center for Investigative Reporting:

Pump too much groundwater and wells go dry – that’s obvious.

But there is another consequence that gets little attention as a hotter, drier planet turns increasingly to groundwater for life support.

So much water is being pumped out of the ground worldwide that it is contributing to global sea level rise, a phenomenon tied largely to warming temperatures and climate change.

It happens when water is hoisted out of the earth to irrigate crops and supply towns and cities, then finds its way via rivers and other pathways into the world’s oceans. Since 1900, some 4,500 cubic kilometers of groundwater around the world – enough to fill Lake Tahoe 30 times – have done just that.

“Long-term groundwater depletion represents a large transfer of water from the continents to the oceans,” Konikow wrote earlier this year in one article.

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Are There Toxins On Your Pole?

Maëlick (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Maëlick (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Long Island residents and community leaders are calling on PSEG Long Island to discontinue using pentachlorophenol (“penta”) on wooden utility poles. Penta has been used as a pesticide and disinfectant in the US in the past. However, since the 1980s, it has been primarily used as a wood preservative for utility poles and railroad ties. There are concerns that penta has been contaminating the groundwater.

Via CBS New York:

Sen. Charles Schumer has added his voice to a growing chorus of elected officials and residents expressing concern about the use of a pesticide on wooden utility poles.

Schumer said at a press conference on Long Island Monday that he’s concerned that pentachlorophenol may be seeping into the groundwater. The pesticide, which is known as penta, also preserves wood.

Schumer wants the federal Environmental Protection Agency to immediately investigate its use on utility poles. He estimates that at least 95,000 wood poles on Long Island have been treated with the chemical.

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Water Fluoridation May Increase Risk of Underactive Thyroid Disorder

Luis (CC BY 2.0)

Luis (CC BY 2.0)

Can you guess the number one prescribed medication in the USA between 2013-2014?  It was for under-active thyroid!  The CDC and USPHS is shooting for 75% of the population to be drinking Fluoridated tap water.

BY 2/24/15  Newsweek

A large study that looked at data from nearly every general medical practice in England suggests that water fluoridation may increase the risk of developing hypothyroidism, or underactive thyroid. This condition, in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, is associated with symptoms such as fatigue, obesity and depression.

The study found that locations with fluoridated water supplies were more than 30 percent more likely to have high levels of hypothyroidism, compared to areas with low levels of the chemical in the water. Overall, there were 9 percent more cases of underactive thyroid in fluoridated places.

Fluoride is added to the water of about 10 percent of England’s population—and to the taps of about two-thirds of Americans—for the purpose of preventing cavities.

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The Water Wars

Michael Specter describes a thirsty, violent world fighting for water, at the New Yorker:

Angry protesters filled the streets of Karachi last week, clogging traffic lanes and public squares until police and paratroopers were forced to intervene. That’s not rare in Pakistan, which is often a site of political and religious violence.

But last week’s protests had nothing to do with freedom of expression, drone wars, or Americans. They were about access to water. When Khawaja Muhammad Asif, the Minister of Defense, Power, and Water (yes, that is one ministry), warned that the country’s chronic water shortages could soon become uncontrollable, he was looking on the bright side. The meagre allotment of water available to each Pakistani is a third of what it was in 1950. As the country’s population rises, that amount is falling fast.

2014-009 - dry folsom

Photo: Robert Couse-Baker (CC)

 

Dozens of other countries face similar situations—not someday, or soon, but now.

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