Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life
A new Trump administration rollback of EPA regulations could allow plants to emit two to ten times more hazardous air pollutants than before. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI / AFP via Getty Images

Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has weakened yet another safeguard against air pollution in the midst of a respiratory pandemic.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Gina Luster, 42, and her daughter Kennedy Luster, 8, stand at a now-defunct water fountain in downtown Flint, Michigan on October 11, 2016. Brittany Greeson / For The Washington Post / Getty Images

The state of Michigan has reached a settlement with the victims of the Flint water crisis. Michigan agreed to pay $600 million, which will primarily benefit the city's children since they were most affected by the lead-tainted water, The Washington Post reported.

Read More Show Less

Like many other plant-based foods and products, CBD oil is one dietary supplement where "organic" labels are very important to consumers. However, there are little to no regulations within the hemp industry when it comes to deeming a product as organic, which makes it increasingly difficult for shoppers to find the best CBD oil products available on the market.

Read More Show Less
The ubiquity of guns and bullets poses environmental risks. Contaminants in bullets include lead, copper, zinc, antimony and mercury. gorancakmazovic / iStock / Getty Images Plus

New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that she will attempt to dismantle the National Rifle Association (NRA), arguing that years of corruption and mismanagement warrant the dissolution of the activist organization, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Florida Fish and Wildlife Research Institute staff and volunteers try to help a stranded bottlenose dolphin in Cockroach Bay near Ruskin, Florida on Sept. 17, 2015. FWC Fish and Wildlife Research Institute

A new study gives a first look at the presence and potential effects of plastics and new forms of synthetic chemicals in stranded dolphins and whales along the coast of the southeastern U.S.

Read More Show Less
A boy works among India's largest collection of electronic junk, which has been linked to high lead levels, on June 12, 2016 in New Delhi, India. Shams Qari / Barcroft Media / Getty Images

Childhood lead poisoning is a long-recognized health hazard that has severely negative consequences for the developing brain. A new first-of-its-kind study reveals that lead poisoning is a global problem, affecting far more children than previously thought. The researchers estimate that roughly 800 million children worldwide, or one out of three, suffer from lead poisoning, according to The New York Times.

Children with a blood lead level above 5 micrograms per deciliter need immediate treatment to prevent life-long consequences from the powerful neurotoxin. The report, The Toxic Truth: Children's exposure to lead pollution undermines a generation of potential, says that the bulk of affected children live in South Asia. India is one of the worst affected countries, where more than 275 million children have dangerously high lead levels in their blood, the BBC reported.

The study is a collaboration between UNICEF and Pure Earth, a nonprofit that seeks to help poor countries threatened by toxic pollutants.

"With few early symptoms, lead silently wreaks havoc on children's health and development, with possibly fatal consequences," said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore in a UN statement. "Knowing how widespread lead pollution is – and understanding the destruction it causes to individual lives and communities – must inspire urgent action to protect children once and for all."

Childhood lead exposure has been linked to behavioral problems. It can also eventually lead to kidney damage and cardiovascular conditions, according to Agence-France Presse (AFP). Lead poisoning is estimated to cost low- and middle-income countries almost $1 trillion over children's lifetimes, AFP reported.

The study showed lead poisoning is a major problem in developing South Asian countries since environmental safeguards have not yet been put in place or are poorly enforced. That means that lead in dust and fumes from smelters, fires, car batteries, old peeling paint and water pipes, electronics junkyards, and even cosmetics and lead-infused spices pose an enormous risk to the mental and physical development of a generation of children, The New York Times reported.

"The unequivocal conclusion of this research is that children around the world are being poisoned by lead on a massive and previously unrecognized scale," the study found.

The study also discovered that nearly one million adults die prematurely every year because of lead exposure.

The report's authors say that vehicle batteries are the prime culprit of lead exposure. They based their findings on data from the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, which obtained blood test results from tens of thousands of children around the world, the BBC reported.

"Vehicles in low and middle-income countries have tripled since 2000 and that has led to a graphic rise in lead acid battery recycling, often in an unsafe way," Dr. Nicholas Rees, one of the report's authors, told the BBC.

The BBC reported that about 85 percent of the world's lead goes into producing lead-acid batteries, with the vast majority coming from recycled car batteries.

"As a result, as much as half of the used lead-acid batteries end up in the informal economy," the report found, according to the BBC. "Unregulated and often illegal recycling operations break open battery cases, spilling acid and lead dust onto the ground, and [there is] smelt lead in open-air furnaces that spew toxic fumes and dust that contaminate surrounding neighborhoods."

However, lead poisoning is rare in more developed countries, suggesting that the problem is solvable with decisive action.

"The good news is that lead can be recycled safely without exposing workers, their children and surrounding neighborhoods," said Richard Fuller, president of Pure Earth, the AFP reported. "People can be educated about the dangers of lead and empowered to protect themselves and their children."

He added that the economic and social returns in reducing lead pollution could be enormous.

"Improved health, increased productivity, higher IQs, less violence, and brighter futures for millions of children across the planet," said Fuller, according to the AFP.


"Emissions from pyrotechnic displays are composed of numerous organic compounds as well as metals," a new study reports. Nodar Chernishev / EyeEm / Getty Images

Fireworks have taken a lot of heat recently. In South Dakota, fire experts have said President Trump's plan to hold a fireworks show is dangerous and public health experts have criticized the lack of plans to enforce mask wearing or social distancing. Now, a new study shows that shooting off fireworks at home may expose you and your family to dangerous levels of lead, copper and other toxins.

Read More Show Less
Ariana Hawk of Flint, Michigan, leads a chant during a protest over unsafe drinking water on the steps of the Michigan State Capitol on April 11, 2018 in Lansing, Michigan. Brittany Greeson / Getty Images

By Ben Knight

Reports that the new coronavirus is disproportionately killing African Americans in the United States are no surprise to the country's public health researchers. Numerous examples, from polluted water in Flint, Michigan, to parasites like hookworm in Alabama, have long shown that African Americans are more exposed to environmental dangers and ill-health than white Americans.

But a study into one of the most enduring of these threats — lead poisoning among children —provides a new measure of what many say is the toxic effect of systematic racism in the US.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Examples (from left) of a lead pipe, a corroded steel pipe and a lead pipe treated with protective orthophosphate. U.S. EPA Region 5

Under an agreement negotiated by community groups — represented by NRDC and the Pennsylvania Utility Law Project — the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) will remove thousands of lead water pipes by 2026 in order to address the chronically high lead levels in the city's drinking water and protect residents' health.

Read More Show Less

America's national bird is threatened by hunters. Not that hunters are taking aim at the iconic bald eagle, but bald eagles are dying after eating lead bullets, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Researchers found byproduct of coal in an ice core extracted from Shishapangma Mountain in the Himalayas, seen above. ccdoh1 / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

New research has found that soot dating back to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution made its way across Europe to settle on the top of the Himalayas, according to a new study published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Read More Show Less

A women fills a water bottle with a filter from an alpine lake in the mountains around Pemberton, British Columbia, Canada. Canada is on the front lines of rapid climate changes that affect the water cycle. Ben Girardi / Aurora Photos / Getty Images

By Corinne Schuster-Wallace, Robert Sandford and Stephanie Merrill

In recent years, the daily news has been flooded with stories of water woes from coast to coast to coast.

Read More Show Less
People participate in a national mile-long march to highlight the push for clean water in Flint Feb. 19, 2016 in Flint, Michigan. Bill Pugliano / Stringer / Getty Images

The Supreme Court made a decision Tuesday that means Flint residents can sue state and local officials over the water crisis that leached lead into their water and resulted in at least 12 deaths.

Read More Show Less