The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
13 Toxic Waste Sites Damaged by Harvey, Houston Awash in Chemicals
Toxic waste and pollution are emerging as a top concern as cleanup continued in Houston over the long weekend.
Owners of the Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, which suffered multiple explosions and fires last week, announced Sunday it would conduct controlled burns of the rest of the chemicals stored at the damaged facility as a "proactive measure."
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), at least 13 Superfund sites in the Houston area have been damaged by flooding. Runoff from chemical plants and oil and gas facilities has also mixed with the city's overflowing sewage system to create a toxic soup in the remaining floodwaters, causing concerns around drinking water systems. And filings accumulated by the Center for Biological Diversity estimate that over one million pounds of toxic pollutants from damaged oil and gas and chemical facilities, including several types of carcinogens, have been released into the air since the hurricane made landfall.
"We've never seen precipitation to this level at any Superfund site," Jennifer Horney, an associate professor of epidemiology at Texas A&M University told BuzzFeed. "The main problem is that we don't know what to expect."
"We don't have any precedent to figuring out what the cumulative affect is going to be on someone's health," Horney added. "They're not going to get cancer tomorrow—they may get asthma in three months."
For a deeper dive:
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Elizabeth Henderson
Farmworkers, farmers and their organizations around the country have been singing the same tune for years on the urgent need for immigration reform. That harmony turns to discord as soon as you get down to details on how to get it done, what to include and what compromises you are willing to make. Case in point: the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 5038), which passed in the House of Representatives on Dec. 11, 2019, by a vote of 260-165. The Senate received the bill the next day and referred it to the Committee on the Judiciary, where it remains. Two hundred and fifty agriculture and labor groups signed on to the United Farm Workers' (UFW) call for support for H.R. 5038. UFW President Arturo Rodriguez rejoiced:
By Julia Conley
A council representing more than 800,000 doctors across the U.S. signed a letter Friday imploring President Donald Trump to reverse his call for businesses to reopen by April 12, warning that the president's flouting of the guidance of public health experts could jeopardize the health of millions of Americans and throw hospitals into even more chaos as they fight the coronavirus pandemic.
By Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner
Over six gallons of water are required to produce one gallon of wine. "Irrigation, sprays, and frost protection all [used in winemaking] require a lot of water," explained winemaker and sommelier Keith Wallace, who's also a professor and the founder of the Wine School of Philadelphia, the largest independent wine school in the U.S. And water waste is just the start of the climate-ruining inefficiencies commonplace in the wine industry. Sustainably speaking, climate change could be problematic for your favorite glass of wine.
By Jeff Turrentine
From day to day, our public health infrastructure — the people and systems we've put in place to keep populations, as opposed to individuals, healthy — largely goes unnoticed. That's because when it's working well, its success takes the form of utter normalcy.