Growing up in south Texas, 25-year-old Joaquin Duran always wondered what it would be like to have running water. Before he was born, Duran’s parents moved from Juarez, Mexico to a small community called Cochran that lies within El Paso County. They hoped the enclave of Mexican-American families would be a safe place to raise their children and offer advantages not easily attained in Mexico.
The plot of land Duran’s parents purchased in Texas lacked running water when they settled in, but they were promised service was coming – only a year or two away. The family decided the wait would be worthwhile and they made the plot their home. During the day, Duran’s mother would scrub old concrete off the cinder blocks her husband retrieved from demolition work through his construction job. At night, they built their house from the salvaged materials.
Now, a quarter century later, water still has not arrived – for the Durans or for anyone else in the dry, dusty community of Cochran.
“My parents would protest and go to water district meetings,” said Duran. “They would be told, ‘Yes, you’re getting the water soon.’ All these promises. But in the end, nothing would happen.”
The long wait may be about to end.
Many decades ago, my mother-in-law set an example I aim to follow: As an activist challenging certain government policies, she centered all her work on a foundational question: Is it good for the children?
Now I’m doing the same, working through a group in the San Francisco Bay area to raise awareness about ties between childhood diseases and pesticides and the growing economic and social burdens we all bear from overuse of these chemicals.
In 2012, The American Academy of Pediatrics urged policymakers to do more to protect children from pesticides. Yet, a decade little, our regulators have virtually ignored this plea.
A St. Louis jury on Wednesday heard opening statements in a new Roundup cancer trial that is the latest in a long line-up of coming courtroom battles over allegations that Monsanto’s popular weed killer causes cancer.
Plaintiffs’ lawyer Gibbs Henderson told jurors that evidence in the case would persuade them that exposure to Roundup caused each of his three clients to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), while Monsanto lawyer Manuel Cachan said he would present evidence that would completely dispute any causal connection.
Henderson said in his opening statement that he expects Monsanto to rely heavily on assessments by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that glyphosate, the main ingredient in Roundup, is “not likely” to be carcinogenic. But he said he and other lawyers representing the plaintiffs will show the jury a large body of scientific evidence showing the herbicide does cause cancer and that Monsanto engaged in tactics designed to hide that information from consumers.
Henderson said the plaintiffs’ side will prove Monsanto was negligent and acted in “reckless disregard” for the plaintiffs’ safety with respect to its Roundup products.
“We think the evidence is going to show that reckless disregard,” said Henderson.
Driven by climate change, forests laden with fuel, historic drought and heat waves, wildfires in the US West are spreading smoky air to millions of people, even those who live far from where the fires burn. The problem is becoming so pronounced that some television weather forecasters in California now include “smoke casts,” in their reports, displaying models that predict, like a weather forecast, where smoky air from a wildfire will travel days into the future.
Wildfires in 2015, 2017 and 2020 burned more than 10 million acres each, mostly in the western United States, releasing plumes of smoke that experts say now account for half of the air pollution in western states. Burned area from wildfires is about four times what it was forty years ago, researchers say, and the problem of the polluted air resulting from fires is growing.
Scientists warn that current health policies are not effectively protecting people against smoke inhalation dangers , and a new study published in July underscored how dangerous levels of tiny pollution particles in wildfire smoke travel into households not threatened by the fire itself.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said Tuesday they are launching a $12 billion initiative aimed at improving the nation’s wastewater infrastructure, with a focus on aiding underserved communities.
The “Closing America’s Wastewater Access Gap Community Initiative” will make use of $11.7 billion in loans and grants through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for projects that will start in several small towns, rural areas and on Tribal lands in six states.
More than two million people in the United States live without running water and basic indoor plumbing, according to a report by the US Water Alliance. Properly collecting and treating wastewater is essential to providing clean water and maintaining public health. But a lack of working wastewater management systems can expose humans to harmful sewage and the environment to nutrient pollution.
Our food supply needs pesticides – it’s as simple as that. Without access to these tools, U.S. and global agriculture could not sustainably feed the world. Furthermore, attempts to do so would likely lead to environmental catastrophe. It is true that some production methods, like organic, may use fewer pesticides than conventional agriculture—although, even organic producers can and do use some pesticides. However, contrary to popular belief, pesticides are responsible for significantly improving environmental outcomes in agriculture.
From wildfires racing through the drought-stricken west, to heavy flooding in the central and eastern regions of the United States, extreme weather events are spurring many Americans to seek refuge in more environmentally stable cities, so-called “climate havens.”
On top of a list of identified ideal destinations is the town of Asheville, North Carolina, a community of roughly 100,000 people located in the western part of the coastal state amid the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The climate haven label implies that the city is relatively more resilient to climate change than other places across the country, a reassuring safe space in the face of uncertainty.
And indeed, Asheville’s location in a mountainous region of North Carolina does make it less vulnerable to extreme heat impacts, and it is sufficiently inland to avoid hurricane winds and oceanside erosion issues.
There is great interest in growth in and around Asheville, according to Amanda Martin, chief resilience officer of the North Carolina Office of Recovery and Resiliency.
Just five blocks away from the Reid-Hillview Airport in Santa Clara County, California, Maricela Lechuga lives among a community of 52,000 residents who are predominantly Latino, many also immigrants.
The general aviation airport does not serve commercial air travel, but does serve a range of other public aviation activities; in 2019 it had more than 200,000 take-offs and landings.
It is also known as one of the highest lead emitting airports in the United States, a fact spotlighted Thursday in a U.S. House Committee on Oversight and Reform subcommittee hearing called to examine health harms associated with leaded aviation fuel.
The Clean Air Act banned leaded gas for passenger cars in 1996 after phasing in an unleaded gasoline. However, lead fuel continues to power over 170,000 piston-engine aircrafts mainly flown for hobbyist, private, emergency, or training purposes. These planes and helicopters contribute about 70% of all lead emissions to the air in the United States, according to a 2021 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.
Despite petitions calling to ban leaded aviation fuel that date back to 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has failed to address the issue through regulation, a delay that is creating injustice and danger for people living not just near Reid-Hillview Airport, but numerous others around the country, according to critics.
An ambitious plan by the Biden Administration to replace all lead service pipes in the United States faces a number of hurdles, a US official charged with helping oversee the sweeping project said on Thursday.
“One of the biggest barriers to getting this work done is the lack of knowledge of where the lead service lines currently are, and how many we have in the United States,” said Karen Dettmer, managing director for infrastructure implementation at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Office of Water.
States need inventories of where lead service lines currently exist to replace them, but that information could be lacking or completely missing for many communities, Dettmer said.
US government health agencies need to move quickly to launch broad testing of people exposed to types of toxic chemicals known as PFAS to help evaluate and treat people who may suffer PFAS-related health problems, according to a report issued today by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM).
The report recommends that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise clinicians to offer PFAS blood testing to their patients who are likely to have a history of elevated exposure to the toxins. Those test results should be reported to state public health authorities to improve PFAS exposure surveillance, NASEM said.