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A fracking operation. Lock the Gate Alliance / Flickr

Fracking Debate Ramps Up Again in Illinois With First Permit Application Under New Rules

By Kari Lydersen

Four years ago, the Illinois legislature passed a law to regulate high volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, after months of contentious negotiations between oil industry interests, environmental watchdogs and community groups.

Leading up to the law's passage, companies had secured hundreds of leases to potentially frack in Southern Illinois.

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Health

Groups Sue EPA for Weakening Toxic Chemical Rules

By Gail Koffman

"The fox guarding the hen house" aptly describes the inner workings of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Trump administration.

A major case in point: The EPA official tasked to head up the Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention office, Nancy Beck, came to the job after working as a former high-level official for a chemical industry association. She was charged with updating the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which addresses the production, use and disposal of such chemicals as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), asbestos, radon and lead-based paint.

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'Industry Friendly' EPA Completes Review of 600 New Chemicals

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it has eliminated a backlog of more than 600 new chemicals it is reviewing under the agency's new chemical safety program.

"I am happy to report that the backlog of new chemical reviews is eliminated," EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said. The goal of the agency "is to ensure a new chemicals program that is both protective of human health and the environment, while also being supportive of bringing new chemicals to market."

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Before Buying a Water Filter, Read This

By Robert Coleman

The findings of the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) just-released Tap Water Database may be shocking to many Americans, as they show that the drinking water supplies of nearly everyone in the nation are tainted with chemicals at levels exceeding at least one health-protective guideline.

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GMO

'Secret Docs' Show Monsanto's Attempt to Influence Writers, Bribe Scientists

By Jessica Corbett

A trove of Monsanto's internal records released on Tuesday raises serious concerns about company efforts to influence media reports and scientific research related to risks posed by is popular weedkiller, Roundup.

As the New York Times reported:

Documents show that Henry I. Miller, an academic and a vocal proponent of genetically modified crops, asked Monsanto to draft an article for him that largely mirrored one that appeared under his name on Forbes's website in 2015. Mr. Miller could not be reached for comment.

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Did You Know ... Most Imported Cosmetics Are Never Tested by the FDA

By Melanie Benesh

According to a New York Times story published Wednesday, contaminants such as mercury, lead and bacteria, and other banned ingredients, are showing up in an alarming number of imported personal care products. This follows recent news that asbestos was found in tests of imported makeup marketed to tweens.

The Times story is based on a letter sent to Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In the letter, the FDA revealed that imports of personal care products have doubled in the last decade and that imports from China have increased 79 percent in the last five years. The FDA also disclosed that in 2016, 15 percent of imported personal care products inspected had adverse findings and 20 percent of products the FDA tested in its own labs had adverse findings.

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Tinker Creek filled with sudsy water following chemical spill. WSLS 10 reporter Rob Manch/ Twitter

Chemical Spill in Virginia ​Kills Tens of Thousands of Fish

About 165 gallons of an agricultural-use chemical leaked into a Roanoke-area creek over the weekend, resulting in fish kill estimated in the tens of thousands, Virginia officials announced Monday.

The chemical was identified as Termix 5301, a type of surfactant (detergent-like substance) added to herbicide and pesticide products before application, according to the Virginia's Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

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100 Cancer-Causing Contaminants Found in U.S. Drinking Water

By Robert Coleman

The Environmental Working Group's (EWG) just-released Tap Water Database shows that a startling number of cancer-causing chemicals contaminate the nation's drinking water. Of 250 different contaminants detected in tests by local utilities, 93 are linked to an increased risk of developing cancer.

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Poison Papers Reveal EPA Collusion With Chemical Industry

By Rebekah Wilce

The world of independent chemical testing has a shiny veneer. The public is reassured that chemicals they're exposed to on a daily basis are certified by technicians in spotless white lab coats who carefully conduct scientific studies, including on animals in neat rows of cages.

But a federal grand jury investigation that ended with convictions in the early 1980s discovered that Industrial Bio-Test Laboratories (IBT), the largest such lab in the U.S., conducted trials with mice that regularly drowned in their feeding troughs. The dead animals would decompose so quickly that "their bodies oozed through wire cage bottoms and lay in purple puddles on the dropping trays." IBT even invented an acronym "TBD/TDA" for its raw safety data, later discovered to mean "too badly decomposed."

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