Forever Chemicals Contaminate More Drinking Water Than Previously Reported
That includes dozens of cities, including major metropolitan areas like Miami, New York, New Orleans, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia, according to the new report.
The Environmental Working Group, or EWG, tested water samples from 44 different locations in 31 states. Only one of those cites had no detectable level of PFAS, or forever chemicals as they are known since they do not degrade in the environment or body, but rather build up in our blood and organs. Some of the major metropolises that were tested had the highest concentrations of detectable PFAS in their water. The only sample without detectable PFAS was from Meridian, Mississippi, which draws its drinking water from wells more than 700 feet deep.
Exposure to PFAS increases the risk of cancer, harms fetus development and reduces the effectiveness of vaccines. Biomonitoring studies by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the blood of nearly all Americans is contaminated with PFAS, according to the EWG report.
The EWG test looked for 30 different PFAS in the water, with most samples showing six or seven detectable PFAS, while one sample had 13, according to Dave Andrews, Ph.D. a senior scientist at the EWG, who spoke to reporters on Wednesday.
Andrews added that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set an advisory threshold for only two known PFAS in the mid-90s at 70 parts per trillion. The EWG believes that number is 70 times above the threshold for toxicity and falls short of what is needed since there are hundreds or thousands of PFAS that are known contaminants.
The EWG numbers also take into account a combination of PFAS, which the EPA does not, meaning the comparisons are skewed.
For example, a water sample in Philadelphia had 46.3 parts per trillion (ppt) of PFAS, but that comes from adding up 11 different chemicals that were found. The EPA only has limits for PFOS and PFOA, which tested at 5.3ppt and 7.7ppt — or around one-tenth of the EPA's threshold for concern, according to their detailed analysis.
However, the greatest concentration of PFAS contamination was taken from Bellville Elementary School in New Brunswick County, North Carolina by the nonprofit group Clean Cape Fear. It had a staggering 185.9 ppt.
"This is particularly painful as a school teacher, a parent of four children, and a mayor," said Rob Allen, the mayor of Hoosick Falls, NY, which has PFAS contaminated water, in a conference call with journalists. "Our children are unwittingly poisoned from drinking water at school."
"I'm devastated to see my children's school at the top of this nationwide study," said Emily Donovan, co-founder of Clean Cape Fear, in an EWG press release. "This is wrong. I'm so sad."
UPDATE: Bottle water was delivered to Belville Elementary School earlier today. Have any other schools in Brunswick… https://t.co/iCdZy3SprX— Clean Cape Fear (@Clean Cape Fear)1579724174.0
The recent findings raised the ire of actor and environmental activist, Mark Ruffalo, who starred in the movie Dark Waters, about the PFAS contamination from a DuPont plant into the water of Parkersburg, West Virginia.
"Decades of chemical industry deception and government inaction and collusion have brought us to this crisis," said Mark Ruffalo, the star and a producer of the film, and a longtime environmental activist, in an EWG statement. "Nearly every American is carrying these dangerous chemicals in their blood, and as EWG's new findings show, everywhere we look, we find more PFAS contamination of our tap water. The government has done little or nothing in 20 years, so it's time for all of us to demand that our elected leaders do their jobs and pass laws to clean up this mess."
His call to action was echoed by EWG scientists, "This research reveals that escaping PFAS pollution is nearly impossible," said Olga Naidenko, Ph.D., EWG vice president for science investigations, who led the new study. "Communities and families all across the nation are bearing the burden of chemical companies' callous disregard for human health and the government's inaction. This crisis calls for immediate action to ensure that all Americans have safe and clean drinking water."
While the two most notorious PFAS that were produced by DuPont and 3M have been phased out of use, Andrews told reporters that he worries that replacement chemicals are no better and are continuing to contaminate water supplies.
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Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.
<div id="dadb2" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="aa2ad8cb566c9b4b6d2df2693669f6f9"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1357796504740761602" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">🚨Cute baby alert! Wisdom's chick has hatched!!! 🐣😍 Wisdom, a mōlī (Laysan albatross) and world’s oldest known, ban… https://t.co/Nco050ztBA</div> — USFWS Pacific Region (@USFWS Pacific Region)<a href="https://twitter.com/USFWSPacific/statuses/1357796504740761602">1612558888.0</a></blockquote></div>
By Hui Hu
Winter is supposed to be the best season for wind power – the winds are stronger, and since air density increases as the temperature drops, more force is pushing on the blades. But winter also comes with a problem: freezing weather.
Comparing rime ice and glaze ice shows how each changes the texture of the blade. Gao, Liu and Hu, 2021, CC BY-ND
Ice buildup changes air flow around the turbine blade, which can slow it down. The top photos show ice forming after 10 minutes at different temperatures in the Wind Research Tunnel. The lower measurements show airflow separation as ice accumulates. Icing Research Tunnel of Iowa State University, CC BY-ND
While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.
theDOCK aims to innovate the Israeli maritime sector. Pexels<p>The UN hopes that new investments in ocean science and technology will help turn the tide for the oceans. As such, this year kicked off the <a href="https://www.oceandecade.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)</a> to galvanize massive support for the blue economy.</p><p>According to the World Bank, the blue economy is the "sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods, and jobs while preserving the health of ocean ecosystem," <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412019338255#b0245" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Science Direct</a> reported. It represents this new sector for investments and innovations that work in tandem with the oceans rather than in exploitation of them.</p><p>As recently as Aug. 2020, <a href="https://www.reutersevents.com/sustainability/esg-investors-slow-make-waves-25tn-ocean-economy" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Reuters</a> noted that ESG Investors, those looking to invest in opportunities that have a positive impact in environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, have been interested in "blue finance" but slow to invest.</p><p>"It is a hugely under-invested economic opportunity that is crucial to the way we have to address living on one planet," Simon Dent, director of blue investments at Mirova Natural Capital, told Reuters.</p><p>Even with slow investment, the blue economy is still expected to expand at twice the rate of the mainstream economy by 2030, Reuters reported. It already contributes $2.5tn a year in economic output, the report noted.</p><p>Current, upward <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/-innovation-blue-economy-2646147405.html" target="_self">shifts in blue economy investments are being driven by innovation</a>, a trend the UN hopes will continue globally for the benefit of all oceans and people.</p><p>In Israel, this push has successfully translated into investment in and innovation of global ports, shipping, logistics and offshore sectors. The "Startup Nation," as Israel is often called, has seen its maritime tech ecosystem grow "significantly" in recent years and expects that growth to "accelerate dramatically," <a href="https://itrade.gov.il/belgium-english/how-israel-is-becoming-a-port-of-call-for-maritime-innovation/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">iTrade</a> reported.</p><p>Driving this wave of momentum has been rising Israeli venture capital hub <a href="https://www.thedockinnovation.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">theDOCK</a>. Founded by Israeli Navy veterans in 2017, theDOCK works with early-stage companies in the maritime space to bring their solutions to market. The hub's pioneering efforts ignited Israel's maritime technology sector, and now, with their new fund, theDOCK is motivating these high-tech solutions to also address ESG criteria.</p><p>"While ESG has always been on theDOCK's agenda, this theme has become even more of a priority," Nir Gartzman, theDOCK's managing partner, told EcoWatch. "80 percent of the startups in our portfolio (for theDOCK's Navigator II fund) will have a primary or secondary contribution to environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria."</p><p>In a company presentation, theDOCK called contribution to the ESG agenda a "hot discussion topic" for traditional players in the space and their boards, many of whom are looking to adopt new technologies with a positive impact on the planet. The focus is on reducing carbon emissions and protecting the environment, the presentation outlines. As such, theDOCK also explicitly screens candidate investments by ESG criteria as well.</p><p>Within the maritime space, environmental innovations could include measures like increased fuel and energy efficiency, better monitoring of potential pollution sources, improved waste and air emissions management and processing of marine debris/trash into reusable materials, theDOCK's presentation noted.</p>
theDOCK team includes (left to right) Michal Hendel-Sufa, Head of Alliances, Noa Schuman, CMO, Nir Gartzman, Co-Founder & Managing Partner, and Hannan Carmeli, Co-Founder & Managing Partner. Dudu Koren<p>theDOCK's own portfolio includes companies like Orca AI, which uses an intelligent collision avoidance system to reduce the probability of oil or fuel spills, AiDock, which eliminates the use of paper by automating the customs clearance process, and DockTech, which uses depth "crowdsourcing" data to map riverbeds in real-time and optimize cargo loading, thereby reducing trips and fuel usage while also avoiding groundings.</p><p>"Oceans are a big opportunity primarily because they are just that – big!" theDOCK's Chief Marketing Officer Noa Schuman summarized. "As such, the magnitude of their criticality to the global ecosystem, the magnitude of pollution risk and the steps needed to overcome those challenges – are all huge."</p><p>There is hope that this wave of interest and investment in environmentally-positive maritime technologies will accelerate the blue economy and ESG investing even further, in Israel and beyond.</p>
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