Monthly Archives: February 2016
By Kylie Cheung, http://www.attn.com/
or the past few weeks, the eyes of the nation have been on the city of Flint, Michigan, and for good reason.
Last month, a state of emergency was declared over the city’s lead-contaminated water supply about a year after government officials switched Flint’s water source to the Flint River. Many have raised concerns about the severe long-term effects of lead poisoning on youth and the delay of action and lack of transparency from the city’s government has garnered criticism from politicians and advocates around the country.
However, new reports are revealing that other major U.S. cities have even higher lead exposure and more lead-affected children than Flint, and it’s not just water that’s the problem. Read more
By Bryce Covert, http://thinkprogress.org/
In emails obtained by The Flint Journal, local health officials in Flint accuse the administration of Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) of withholding the results of lead testing in the city’s schools before making them public.
Flint switched its water source in April 2014 to the Flint River and failed to use corrosion controls, steps that are now known to have caused dangerous levels of lead to leach into the city’s water system. On October 2, 2015, a day after Snyder says he learned that there were elevated lead levels in the city, he initiated lead testing, including at the schools.
But the results of those tests weren’t released to the public for six days, despite the numerous health risks associated with consuming lead-contaminated water. In one of the emails, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, Jim Henry, the county’s environmental health supervisor, wrote, “MDEQ [the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality] explained that the Governor prohibited releasing all Genesee County lead results until after the press conference,” which took place on October 8.
In an interview this Wednesday with the Journal, Henry elaborated that Genessee County officials like him didn’t learn about the test results until they were distributed at the press conference. “They should have alerted the schools and they didn’t,” he said.
The tests, when made public, showed that three school district buildings tested above 15 parts of lead per billion, the threshold above which the Environmental Protection Agency recommends taking corrective action, although researchers say there is no safe level of lead. One school tested at 101 parts per billion, more than six times that level. Read more
By Monica Laliberte, http://www.wral.com
The spots, the smell and the struggle with mold and mildew are a common complaint to 5 On Your Side. When it’s your house, you know you have to take care of it.
But what about renters? Those who are stuck in a lease still have some recourse.
Rent or own, mold is everywhere. It just needs moisture to grow. Some people have severe reactions to it. Others are totally unaffected. Everyone knows that wherever mold and mildew are growing, the problem should be cleaned up and fixed!
April Turpin and Alex Garner lived in a rental home in Coats for two and a half years. They found the first signs of a problem on a bathroom floorboard, and they contacted their landlord.
“We said, ‘Hey, there’s this board in the bathroom we’re kind of concerned about,'” Garner said. “And he said, ‘Oh no, it’s not a problem. If it’s an eyesore, paint over it.'”
But the mold bled through the paint, and other problems arose. Read more
By Natalie Morin, wtop.com
The dangerous amount of lead recently found in the water supply of Flint, Mich. came as a shock to the majority of the American people. Believe it or not, many other states are familiar with the problem of elevated lead levels in children.
Using data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), HealthGrove found 21 states with the percentages of children younger than 6 years who tested positive for elevated blood lead levels. Elevated blood lead levels is defined as equal to or greater than 10 ug/dL lead in blood for children younger than 6. These blood lead levels are detected through blood lead tests conducted in labs. HealthGrove only included states that reported 2014 statistics, as data reporting is not mandatory for all states, and the list is in no particular order as coverage in each state is sparse. Read more
By Christine D’Antonio, http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com
He was the only survivor of a mold outbreak inside UPMC hospitals.
However, the 70-year-old man died this weekend.
Before his death, he and his family filed a lawsuit against UPMC alleging medical negligence.
Che Duvall initially went to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in August of 2015 to receive a double lung transplant. A month later, he was diagnosed with the infection and received treatment up until Saturday, when he was pronounced dead. Read more
By Beth Swantek, http://www.asbestos.com
An asbestos exposure mishap at the Gateway Arch in St. Louis not only delayed a renovation project at an estimated cost of $350,000, but it also exposed park service employees and others to the cancer-causing mineral.
Last November, workers with contractor McCarthy Building Companies cut into asbestos insulation around an old steam pipe at the museum. Park officials responded by evacuating the area and halting renovations.
According to Kathy Schneider, project manager for the National Parks Service, the delay would normally last only a few days while the area was sealed and the pipe removed.
In this case, McCarthy workers determined they severed the same pipe a month earlier, not realizing deadly asbestos had contaminated the area. Read more
By Marcia Dunn, http://www.sci-tech-today.com/
The International Space Station now has a bright pop of orange, thanks to commander Scott Kelly’s green thumb. Kelly showed off his gardening results — a thriving zinnia with a beautiful orange-yellow bloom — over the weekend. He posted photos of the flower on his Twitter account.
“Yes, there are other life forms in space!” Kelly said in a tweet.
Last month, Kelly had to fight off mold that threatened to kill all the flowers in the space station’s mini-greenhouse. Mission Control gave him free rein, and he managed to save some of the crop. This type of autonomous gardening will be necessary during Mars expeditions, Kelly noted. Read more
By Eric Niiler, http://news.discovery.com/
Road crews are spreading salt on many East Coast highways as a big winter storm prepares to slam into the region Friday morning, but the same deicing salt that may prevent accidents could also be poisoning drinking water in many U.S. communities, scientists say.
In Flint, Mich., for example, thousands of families have suffered health effects from high amounts of lead in their drinking water – from skin rashes to possible brain damage in children. President Obama declared Flint a disaster area this month, and Michigan’s governor apologized to local residents on Tuesday, saying he would spend $28 million to fix the water problems.
While many residents are angry at the people who ran the city’s water supply, as well as state and federal regulators who residents say ignored the problem for almost two years, there may be an additional culprit: road salt. Researchers believe that high levels of chloride from salt corrodes the pipes and can dislodge lead particles into the water that flows into our homes. Read more