Most People Breathing Unhealthy Air

Air Pollution An Extreme Threat To Public Health

By Mike Ives, The New York Times

The World Health Organization said Tuesday that 92 percent of people breathe what it classifies as unhealthy air, in another sign that atmospheric pollution is a significant threat to global public health.

A new report, the W.H.O.’s most comprehensive analysis so far of outdoor air quality worldwide, also said about three million deaths a year — mostly from cardiovascular, pulmonary and other noncommunicable diseases — were linked to outdoor air pollution. Nearly two-thirds of those deaths are in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific region, compared with 333,000 in Europe and the Americas, the report said.

air pollution Beijing

“When you look out through the windows in your house or apartment, you don’t see the tiny little particles that are suspended in the air, so the usual perception is that the air is clean,” Rajasekhar Balasubramanian, an air quality expert at the National University of Singapore who was not involved in the study, said in a telephone interview on Tuesday.

“But the W.H.O. report is a clear indication that even in the absence of air pollution episodes, the concentrations of particles suspended in the air do exceed what’s considered to be acceptable from a health viewpoint,” he said.

In previous studies, the W.H.O. estimated that more than eight in 10 people in urban areas that monitored air pollution were breathing unhealthy air and that about seven million deaths a year were linked to indoor and outdoor pollution.

The new study reduced the second estimate to 6.5 million deaths. But María P. Neira, director of the W.H.O.’s Department of Public Health and Environment, said in a telephone interview that “the trends are still going in the wrong direction.”

“Somebody has to pay for those health systems to sustain the treatment and the care for those chronic patients, and this is something that countries need to balance when they make decisions about the sources of energy they are selecting or the choices they make in terms of public transport,” Dr. Neira said. “These economic costs of health have to be part of the equation.”

The W.H.O. study was conducted by dozens of scientists over 18 months and was based on data collected from satellites, air-transport models and ground monitors in more than 3,000 urban and rural locations, agency officials said Tuesday.

greenhouse gas and climate change

The agency defined unhealthy air as having concentrations of fine particulate matter, known as PM 2.5, above 10 micrograms per cubic meter, or 35.3 cubic feet, but it did not measure concentrations of ozone, nitrous oxide or other harmful pollutants.

The study said that major drivers of global air pollution included inefficient energy use and transportation but that nonhuman factors, such as dust storms, also played a role.

Professor Balasubramanian said it was an open question whether countries in Southeast Asia, a region that has densely packed cities and struggles to combat cross-border pollution, would choose to improve urban air quality by switching to cleaner fuels in their power plants, as Western European countries did several decades ago.

Prolonging the decisions will probably increase the health risk from air pollution, he said, because the region’s population is rising and demanding more energy.

About 300 million children in the world breathe highly toxic air, the United Nations Children’s Fund said in a new report. The vast majority of these children, about 220 million, live in South Asia, in places where air pollution is at least six times the level that the World Health Organization considers safe, Unicef said.

Air Pollution News via http://nyti.ms/2cSBoVb

Posted in Air Pollution, Energy Conservation, Energy Efficiency, Public Health, Sustainable Cities | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

UNDP Launches Sustainable Cities Program

Cities A Massive Problem, Opportunity

By Helen Clark, Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme

On behalf of UNDP, welcome to the launch of the UNDP Sustainable Urbanization Strategy. As we meet here in Quito today for the Habitat III conference, we are also celebrating the International Day for Poverty Eradication.

greener cities conference

Many of the world’s poor now live in cities where the most pressing development challenges are found. In order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we need to ensure that the urban poor are not left behind.

The New Urban Agenda, which is due to be adopted here at Habitat III, aims to ensure that the cities of today and tomorrow offer an inclusive and sustainable future for all. The UNDP Sustainable Urbanization Strategy lays out the support which UNDP as a global development organization can provide to help achieve that.

Around our world, people are moving to cities in very large numbers.  Cities are seen as places of opportunity and hope, where hard work and determination can transform lives.

UNDP has developed its sustainable urbanization strategy to support cities to deliver on the hopes of their citizens and to implement the New Urban Agenda.  Many people in cities, particularly young people, lack work and say they currently feel excluded from opportunities. For women and girls, cities can be dangerous places where they cannot walk in safety and may risk exploitation in dangerous and demeaning jobs.  Natural disasters – including those exacerbated by climate change – and conflict and citizen insecurity can turn back the clock on hard won development gains.

UNDP’s experiences of working in towns and cities around the world have shaped this first UNDP sustainable urbanization strategy, and will guide our efforts beyond Quito.  Allow me to share three of our lessons learned:

  1. For cities to be succeed, they need to meet the needs of all their residents. Truly dynamic cities make space for all, and serve the needs of all.  Inclusivity is one of the main principles of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in which UN Member States pledged to leave no one behind. The needs and aspirations of poor and marginalized people in the world’s cities must be addressed to fulfill that ambition.
  2. Cities must be resilient to natural and man-made disasters and crises. Urban areas are now home to more than half the world’s people, and they also host most of the world’s critical infrastructure, key development assets, political institutions, and major socio-economic architecture. If disasters and crises rock cities, the spillover effects are great. In the first half of 2016 alone, natural disasters caused US$71 billion in damages worldwide, with most economic loss concentrated in cities. Political instability and conflict also have major costs.
  3. Cities are at the forefront of the battle against climate change and environmental degradation. They produce more than seventy percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, and use eighty per cent of the world’s energy. How cities grow and develop in the coming decades will play a significant part in determining whether the world can live within its planetary boundaries.

climate change policy

Delivering the sustainable, inclusive, and resilient cities of the future requires that we work together in partnership, as UNDP is committed to doing. Our partnerships are diverse:

  • Here in Ecuador, we have been part of the efforts to help local communities recover and rebuild in Manabí province following the 16 April earthquake this year.
  • In Soacha, Colombia, a town close to Bogota, UNDP and UNCHR have been working together on a programme called Building Sustainable Solutions. It supports the local municipality with land registration and title, promoting economic development with the support of the private sector, and with community and institutional strengthening.
  • In Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, UNDP has worked with local community groups to improve access to municipal services.
  • In Bangladesh, UNDP has supported municipal leaders to improve the livelihoods of millions of urban dwellers through our large scale Urban Partnerships for Poverty Reduction programme.
  • Initiatives like these, taken to scale through partnerships and strong urban leadership, will be critical to implementing the New Urban Agenda and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

Helen Clark is the Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme. She also chairs the United Nations Development Group.

Posted in Extreme Weather, Green Cities, Local Government, State Government, Sustainable Cities, United Nations | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

New Coal Deals Threaten Paris Climate Goals

Greenhouse Gas Reductions Critical In Battle Against Climate Change

The landmark global climate change deal brokered in Paris cleared an important hurdle this week when it secured enough official support to go into effect, but experts say the biggest hurdle — signatory countries turning their emissions, clean energy and climate adaptation financing goals from mere promises into reality — still lies ahead.

Slowing down construction of coal-fired power stations will be vital to hit globally agreed climate change goals, the World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim, said as he outlined a five-point plan to flesh out last year’s Paris agreement to reduce COemissions.

climate change policy

Speaking at a climate ministerial meeting in Washington during the bank’s annual meeting, he said there was no prospect of keeping global warming at or below 2C (3.6F) if current plans for coal-fired stations, especially those earmarked for Asia, were built.

“Many countries want to move in the right direction on climate change. We can all help to find renewable energy and energy efficiency solutions that allow them to phase out coal,” Kim said.

The World Bank president said achieving the climate change target required action in five areas. In addition to slowing down growth in coal-fired power stations, Kim said climate ambition needed to be baked into development plans for every developing country. It was important that the $90 billion of planned infrastructure spending over the next 15 years was for low-CO2 and climate-resilient investment.

He called for the ramping up of energy-efficient appliances and less use of hydrofluorocarbons, which are used in air conditioning units. “Phasing down HFCs could prevent close to half a degree of global warming by the end of the century,” he said.

Calls for the greening of finance by the Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, were also strongly backed by Kim who said the sector needed to be “fit for purpose to assess climate risks and opportunities.”

greenhouse gas and climate change

Finally, Kim said poor countries needed help to adapt to climate change and to become more resilient. He added that without climate-driven development, climate change could force more than 100 million people into extreme poverty by 2030, and that unless low-income countries in many parts of Africa, south Asia and the Pacific islands were helped all the gains in poverty reduction risked being lost.

Kim said countries needed more efficient water supply systems, climate-smart agriculture, early warning systems, better social protection and a reduction in disaster risk.

“It is our collective responsibility to see the Paris agreement through,” he said. “We cannot afford to lose the momentum. With each passing day, the climate challenge grows. The longest streak of record-warm months has now reached 16 – such heat has never persisted on the planet for so long. The reality is stark. We have a planet that is at serious risk, but our current response is not yet equal to the task.”

Kim said the Paris climate agreement was a “victory for multilateral action and a powerful signal from all corners of the world that there can be no turning back in the battle against climate change.”

Climate Change Update via https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/09/world-bank-jim-yong-kim-paris-climate-coal-power-emissions

Posted in Air Pollution, Carbon Offset, Climate Change, Greenhouse Gases, Renewable Energy, United Nations | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Tap Water Exposing Millions To Carcinogen

Chromium-6 In Hundreds Of Wells Across U.S.

In the film Erin Brockovich, the environmental crusader confronts the lawyer of a power company that polluted the tap water of Hinkley, Calif., with a carcinogenic chemical called chromium-6. When the lawyer picks up a glass of water, Brockovich says: “We had that water brought in ‘specially for you folks. Came from a well in Hinkley.”

The lawyer sets down the glass and says, “I think this meeting’s over.”

chromium-6 in drinking water

But almost 25 years after that real-life confrontation, the conflict over chromium-6 is not over. A new EWG analysis of federal data from nationwide drinking water tests shows that the compound contaminates water supplies for more than 200 million Americans in all 50 states. Yet federal regulations are stalled by a chemical industry challenge that could mean no national regulation of a chemical state scientists in California and elsewhere say causes cancer when ingested at even extraordinarily low levels.

The standoff is the latest round in a tug-of-war between scientists and advocates who want regulations based strictly on the chemical’s health hazards and industry, political and economic interests who want more relaxed rules based on the cost and feasibility of cleanup. If the industry challenge prevails, it will also extend the Environmental Protection Agency’s record, since the 1996 landmark amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act, of failing to use its authority to set a national tap water safety standard for any previously unregulated chemical.

In 2008, a two-year study by the National Toxicology Program found that drinking water with chromium-6, or hexavalent chromium, caused cancer in laboratory rats and mice. Based on this and other animal studies, in 2010, scientists at the respected and influential California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment concluded that ingestion of tiny amounts of chromium-6 can cause cancer in people, a conclusion affirmed by state scientists in New Jersey and North Carolina.

The California scientists set a so-called public health goal of 0.02 parts per billion in tap water, the level that would pose negligible risk over a lifetime of consumption. (A part per billion is about a drop of water in an Olympic-size swimming pool.) But in 2014, after aggressive lobbying by industry and water utilities, state regulators adopted a legal limit 500 times the public health goal. It is the only enforceable drinking water standard at either the state or federal level.

water contamination Phoenix

Spurred by a groundbreaking 2010 EWG investigation that found chromium-6 in the tap water of 31 cities and a Senate hearing prompted by the findings, the EPA ordered local water utilities to begin the first nationwide tests for the unregulated contaminant. From 2013 to 2015, utilities took more than 60,000 samples of drinking water and found chromium-6 in more than 75 percent of them. EWG’s analysis of the test data estimates that water supplies serving 218 million Americans – more than two-thirds of the population – contain more chromium-6 than the California scientists deemed safe.

The California scientists based their public health goal of 0.02 parts per billion solely on protecting people from cancer and other diseases. Public health goals are not legally enforceable, but legal limits are supposed to be set as close as possible to health goals “while considering cost and technical feasibility.” But the California Department of Public Health relied on a flawed analysis that exaggerated the cost of treatment and undervalued the benefits of stricter regulation, and adopted a legally enforceable limit of 10 parts per billion.

Even by that far-too-lax benchmark, EWG’s analysis of EPA tests shows that more than seven million Americans are served tap water from supplies that had at least one detection of chromium-6 higher than the only legal limit in the nation. Because the EPA tests covered only a fraction of the small systems and private wells that supply water to more than a third of Americans, it is highly likely that chromium-6 contamination is even more widespread.

water test EPA

According to government hypotheses, the amount posing no more than a one-in-a-million risk of cancer for people who drink it daily for 70 years. (By contrast, the state’s legal limit represents a cancer risk of 500 per million.) Comparing the public health goal to levels of contamination found in the EPA tests, EWG estimates that if left untreated, chromium-6 in tap water will cause more than 12,000 excess cases of cancer by the end of the century.

The tests found chromium-6 in almost 90 percent of the water systems sampled. Oklahoma, Arizona and California had the highest average statewide levels and the greatest shares of detections above California’s public health goal. Among major cities, Phoenix had, by far, the highest average level, at almost 400 times the California health goal, and St. Louis and Houston also had comparatively high levels.

Scientists in California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment are not alone in determining that extraordinarily low levels of chromium-6 in drinking water can cause cancer.

In 2010, New Jersey’s Drinking Water Quality Institute, a state agency comprised of scientists, utility officials and citizen experts, calculated a health-based maximum contaminant level – what California calls a public health goal – of 0.06 parts per billion, just slightly higher than California’s. This year, scientists in North Carolina’s Department of Environmental Quality, also drawing on the 2008 National Toxicology Program study that drove the California goal, calculated a do-not-drink level matching the New Jersey number.

But neither New Jersey nor North Carolina has set a legal limit for chromium-6 in tap water. In both states, scientists’ health-based recommendations were at odds with the decisions of politically appointed regulators.

In New Jersey, the press reported the water quality institute’s recommendation before it could be formally submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection for development of a regulation. According to former DEP planner Bill Wolfe, now an environmental advocate, this angered Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin, appointed by Gov. Chris Christie. Wolfe said Martin not only blocked submission of the recommendation, but effectively stopped the institute from meeting for four years, delaying drinking water regulations for more than a dozen chemicals.

In a statement to EWG, a Department of Environmental Protection spokesman said the department “vehemently disagrees with the EWG’s contention that political pressure in any way influenced the New Jersey Drinking Water Quality Institute’s consideration of an MCL for chromium-6.” The spokesman said EWG’s characterization is based on the “opinion of a single, former NJDEP employee who was last employed by the agency 12 years ago,” and that EWG’s criticism is “critically flawed – and blatantly misleading.”

In North Carolina, scientists at the Department of Environmental Quality were alarmed by levels of chromium-6 in hundreds of private wells near unlined pits where Duke Energy dumped coal ash. The scientists warned well owners not to drink water with chromium-6 levels higher than their calculations found were safe. But higher-ups at the department rescinded the do-not-drink warnings, citing the lack of federal regulation as justification for telling well owners their water met all state and federal standards.

The head of the Department of Environmental Quality, Donald R. van der Vaart, previously worked for a utility that is now part of Duke Energy. He was appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory, who worked for Duke Energy for 29 years before he ran for office. After the McCrory administration issued a public statement attacking the integrity of a scientist who resisted their plan to rescind the do-not-drink warnings, state epidemiologist Dr. Megan Davies resigned, saying she “cannot work for a department and an Administration that deliberately misleads the public.”

The conflict over chromium-6 regulation stems not only from the question of how much is safe, but the staggering cost of cleaning up such a widespread contaminant that is an industrial pollutant but also occurs naturally. The California Department of Public Health estimates that treating the state’s water to meet the legal limit of 10 parts per billion will cost nearly $20 million a year, so the cost of meeting the much more stringent public health goal would be far higher.

There are two main types of chromium compounds. Chromium-3, or trivalent chromium, is a naturally occurring compound and an essential human nutrient. Chromium-6 also occurs naturally, but is manufactured for use in steel making, chrome plating, manufacturing dyes and pigments, preserving leather and wood and, as in the Brockovich case, lowering the temperature of water in the cooling towers of electrical power plants. Chromium-6 is also in the ash from coal-burning power plants, which is typically dumped in unlined pits that a 2011 report by the nonprofit Earthjustice said may threaten hundreds or thousands of water supplies and private wells. And recent research has suggested that some methods of treating water supplies to remove other contaminants may actually increase levels of chromium-6.

Human studies by government and independent scientists worldwide have definitively established that breathing airborne chromium-6 particles can cause lung cancer, and the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration sets strict limits for airborne chromium-6 in the workplace. Whether inhaled or ingested, it can also cause liver damage, reproductive problems and developmental harm. Studies have found that exposure to chromium-6 may present greater risks to certain groups, including infants and children, people who take antacids, and people with poorly functioning livers.

But because of the unsettled science – including the crucial question of how much chromium-6 the stomach converts into mostly harmless chromium-3 – the EPA has only set a drinking water limit for total chromium, the combined level for both compounds. That outdated regulation from 2001, based on skin rash concerns, is 100 parts per billion – 5,000 times California’s public health goal for chromium-6 and 10 times the state’s legal limit.

After Brockovich uncovered chromium-6 pollution in Hinkley, residents filed a class-action lawsuit that Pacific Gas and Electric Company, or PG&E, settled in 1996 for a record $333 million. The case pushed California legislators to pass a law calling for regulators to set an enforceable drinking water standard. The law set a 2004 deadline for the regulation, but it was delayed by a PG&E-backed scheme.

In 2001, as state scientists conducted a risk assessment to guide the regulation, an epidemiologist named Jay Beaumont noticed something fishy. A Chinese scientist had revised a key study of chromium-6 in drinking water, reversing his original finding of a strong link to stomach cancer. Some members of a “blue-ribbon” panel advising the state cited the revised study as evidence against a strong regulation. But when Beaumont tried to find out why the scientist had changed his mind, it turned out he was dead.

Beaumont learned that the study was rewritten not by the original author, but by consultants hired by PG&E to help defend the Brockovich case. Before the Chinese scientist died, they paid him a token amount[26] for access to his original data, manipulated it to hide the link to stomach cancer, and published the revised study in a scientific journal without disclosing their or PG&E’s involvement.

What’s more, the advisory panel included the head of the consulting firm, Dennis Paustenbach of San Francisco-based ChemRisk, who was once described in a Newark Star-Ledger investigation of his role in weakening New Jersey chromium regulations as having “rarely met a chemical he didn’t like.” A 2013 investigation by the nonprofit Center for Public Integrity found that Paustenbach and other ChemRisk employees also worked for General Electric, Lockheed Martin and Merck, all companies with liability for chromium pollution, and the Chrome Coalition, an industry lobbying group.

After his role in tampering with the Chinese study was exposed, Paustenbach resigned from the advisory panel. Beaumont and his colleagues started over, using the authentic study to guide the public health goal. In 2005, EWG obtained and published documents and emails that detailed the deception, which was also recounted in a front-page story in The Wall Street Journal. The scientific journal that published the bogus study retracted it.

In 2010, in the first-ever tests for chromium-6 in U.S. tap water, EWG found the chemical in 31 of 35 cities, with water in 25 cities containing levels above the California public health goal. The worst contamination was in Norman, Okla., where the level was 600 times the public health goal. Levels in Honolulu, Hawaii; Riverside and San Jose, Calif.; Madison, Wis.; and Tallahassee, Fla., ranged from 100 to 62 times the California health goal. Sources of the contamination are largely unknown, although Oklahoma and California have high levels of naturally occurring chromium and California has the nation’s highest concentration of industrial sites that use chromium.

EWG’s tests and a petition from environmental groups pushed the EPA to add chromium-6 to the chemicals for which local utilities must test under the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule. The 1996 amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act require the EPA to select up to 30 previously unregulated contaminants for testing every five years. In 20 years, the agency has ordered testing for 81 contaminants, but has moved forward on setting a regulation for just one, the rocket fuel ingredient perchlorate, and is two years behind schedule on finalizing and implementing the regulation.

For our analysis, EWG matched the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule database with the federal Safe Drinking Water Information System to obtain county and population data. Population calculations for each utility were based on EPA data, and when projected to the county or state level, EWG used the U.S. Census Bureau estimates from July 2014.

The EPA results match EWG’s 2010 tests closely, with exceptions such as Phoenix and Scottsdale, Ariz., and Albuquerque, N.M., where the EPA tests detected significantly higher levels of chromium-6. The EPA results identify several communities where levels of chromium-6 are strikingly higher than those in the surrounding state, but determining whether this is because of industrial pollution or natural occurrences would require site-by-site investigation.

After the 2008 National Toxicology Program study found that mice and rats who drank chromium-6-laced water developed stomach and intestinal tumors, scientists in the EPA’s Integrated Risk and Information System, or IRIS, began a risk assessment, the first step toward drafting a national regulation to cap chromium-6 contamination in drinking water. They saw that the 2008 study provided clear evidence that chromium-6 is carcinogenic, and reviewed hundreds of other studies. In 2010, the EPA completed, but did not officially release, a draft risk assessment that classified oral exposure to chromium-6 as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans.”

The American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s powerful lobbying arm, argued that before formally releasing the draft for public comment, the EPA should wait for the publication of studies funded by the Council and the Electric Power Research Institute on the biological mechanisms through which chromium-6 triggers cancer. In an April 2011 letter obtained by the Center for Public Integrity, Vincent Cogliano, acting director of IRIS, responded to the chemistry lobby that “granting your request could entail a delay of unknown duration with no public discussion or review of the strong new studies that are now available.”

That’s exactly what happened.

An external review panel, which the Center for Public Integrity later found included three members who consulted for PG&E in the Brockovich case, pressured the EPA to grant the American Chemistry Council’s request. In 2012, the EPA quietly announced that the draft risk assessment will be held up until the chemical lobby’s studies are finished. EWG and other public health groups objected vociferously, not only due to the delay on chromium-6 but “the dangerous precedent suggested by delaying risk assessment activities to allow incorporation of as-yet unpublished, industry-funded research.”

The EPA’s prediction of when the risk assessment will be released for public comment has been pushed back repeatedly – from 2015 to the second quarter of 2016, and then to early 2017. When asked for an update, Cogliano wrote in an Aug. 24 email to EWG: “We expect to release a draft health assessment document in 2017, though I wouldn’t use the word ‘early.'”

Also on Aug. 24, an EPA spokesperson wrote in an email to EWG that the agency “has not made any decision regarding revising the drinking water regulations for [total] chromium or establishing regulations for hexavalent chromium.” That’s troubling, as the industry studies are expected to support the position that the EPA should do nothing at all.

The industry-funded studies are being conducted by ToxStrategies, a Texas-based science-for-hire consulting firm. The Center for Public Integrity found that a principal scientist at ToxStrategies, Mark Harris, had worked on the PG&E-funded scheme to revise the Chinese scientist’s paper linking chromium-6 to stomach cancer while at ChemRisk. The Center reported that Harris and his ToxStrategies colleague Deborah Proctor previously “were leaders in the chrome industry’s efforts to dissuade the Occupational Safety and Health Administration from setting stricter rules for airborne chromium in the workplace.”

In June, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality released a proposal for a daily safe dose of chromium-6 in drinking water that drew heavily on studies by Proctor and other ToxStrategies scientists. It argues that the EPA’s current legal limit for total chromium – 100 parts per billion, with no separate limit on chromium-6 – is adequate to protect public health. Joseph T. Haney Jr., the Texas state toxicologist who was the lead author of the paper, told the newsletter Inside EPA it was “a remarkable coincidence” that his calculations yielded a daily safe dose corresponding exactly to the EPA’s current regulation for total chromium.

Haney’s paper assumes there is a threshold for how much of a contaminant is harmful, and that no level of chromium-6 the EPA tests found in U.S. drinking water exceeded that amount. But the so-called linear method the EPA generally requires for mutagens – carcinogenic chemicals that cause cancer by damaging DNA, which can occur when even a single molecule enters a cell – assumes that any level of exposure carries some risk. The National Toxicology Program’s 2008 two-year study of lab animals found clear evidence that chromium-6 causes cancer, and the EPA’s 2010 draft risk assessment found that it is a powerful mutagen, so the linear method should be used to calculate cancer risk.

The ToxStrategies model rejects the EPA’s finding that chromium-6 causes cancer by damaging DNA, instead arguing that it causes hyperplasia, an increase in the number of cells, which may or may not be cancerous. It is based on a 90-day animal exposure study, in contrast to the more rigorous two-year National Toxicology Program study. It also ignores the growing body of independent research exploring the effects of small doses of carcinogens in combination with the myriad other cancer-causing chemicals Americans are exposed to daily.

If the EPA accepts the ToxStrategies threshold model, it could mean not only that chromium-6 will remain unregulated in drinking water, but also set a precedent that could undermine health protections for other carcinogenic chemicals. The EPA must reject the industry-backed effort, which is supported not by unbiased science to protect health, but by agenda-driven research to protect polluters from paying cleanup costs.

The recent conflict in North Carolina is one example of how the EPA’s failure to set enforceable national regulations is leaving Americans at risk from chromium-6 contamination. The result is not just an unsettled scientific debate, but the exposure of hundreds of millions of people to a cancer-causing chemical in their drinking water.

Cleaning up water supplies contaminated with chromium-6 will not be cheap. But the answer to high costs is not allowing exposures at unsafe levels while pretending water is safe. And the fact that some unknown level of chromium-6 contamination comes from natural sources does not negate Americans’ need to be protected from a known carcinogen.

Instead, the EPA and state regulators must set drinking water standards to protect the public, including those more susceptible to the toxic effects of chromium-6. Chromium-6 polluters must be held accountable and pay their shares of cleanup costs. The EPA and state regulators must focus on ensuring that water systems lacking the resources to meet health-protective standards have access to necessary funding, expertise and support so they can provide communities with truly safe water.

Read The Full Story At: http://www.ewg.org/research/chromium-six-found-in-us-tap-water#ref19

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Cities Can Offset Carbon Footprint With Reforestation Project In Tanzania

Program Will Include Urban Forestry

The Kilimanjaro region of East Africa is one of the most threatened ecosystems on earth. Millions of people and several endangered species depend on the snows and rains of Kilimanjaro for survival. As land use encroaches further into local forests, water flows are changing and conflicts with wildlife are rising. A nonprofit organization in Tanzania hopes to reverse those trends with a comprehensive forest conservation, reforestation and community-engagement program.

reforestation and climate change

The Mellowswan Foundation Africa-Tanzania will defend the greater Kilimanjaro ecosystem with more than 10 million new seedlings, community engagement, wildlife conservation strategies and more. They will educate local stakeholders about sustainable forestry, sustainable agriculture and wildlife management. Unlike past reforestation efforts in the region, it will focus on local needs and long-term sustainability. The seedlings are indigenous species that can help restore and protect the integrity of the ecosystem, while helping rural communities thrive as stewards of the land.

Unfortunately, forests across the region are retreating under the pressures of agriculture and communities that depend on firewood.

Climate change is impacting every continent. Deforestation and intensive agriculture are contributing to the problem. Fortunately, forest conservationreforestation, and sustainable agriculture are part of the solution.

carbon capture and reforestation

The foundation plans to save wildlife, capture carbon and reduce deforestation on a massive scale. This investment will benefit the entire planet, while preserving a world treasure.

water conservation

“Cities can help sponsor the program and claim the carbon credits as one of the many benefits,” said Gary Chandler, founder of Sacred Seedlings, a global coalition that promotes forest conservation, reforestation and coexistence with wildlife. “This is much more than a carbon capture program. Our sponsors will help defend entire ecosystems.”

For more information about reforestation across East Africa and beyond, please visit http://sacredseedlings.com/deforestation-threatens-critical-ecosystems-across-africa/

reforestation and climate change solution

Posted in Carbon Offset, Climate Change, Green Cities, Greenhouse Gases, Urban Forestry, Wildlife Conservation | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Cities Spreading Disease With Sewage Mismanagement

Wastewater Treatment Plants Weapons Of Mass Destruction?

As the Zika virus and other brain ailments soar around the world, it’s time for cities to take an honest assessment of their role in the emerging crisis. It’s right under their nose.

Infectious mosquitoes are a symptom of mismanaged infectious waste. There are several steps that we can take to stop the spread of Zika virus and the broader threat of neurodegenerative disease.

municipal wastewater treatment and disease

  1. Stop spreading misinformation. Neurodegenerative disease is infectious and millions of victims are producing tons of infectious waste every day (blood, saliva, mucus, urine, feces and tissue) that ends up in the sewage stream. Deadly and unstoppable contagions known as prions proceed to mutate and multiply.
  1. Stop dumping infectious waste on land like it’s fertilizer. It’s contaminating our food and water supplies. It’s feeding and infecting mosquitoes. The pathways to you and your family are numerous. Mosquitoes are just one. http://crossbowcommunications.com/land-application-of-sewage-sludge-spreading-brain-disease/
  1. Declare war on infectious waste, not just mosquitoes. It’s time to reclassify sewage sludge and biosolids as infectious waste not fertilizer. Enforce the Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, which is there to protect our food, water and air from deadly agents, including nerve agents found in modern sewage streams.

Rio de janeiro water contamination threatens Olympics

Thanks to reckless policy and practices, cities are dumping deadly dirty bombs on our crops and into our water supplies daily.

wastewater treatment and disease

sewage sludge treatment and disposal

biosolids and application fertilizer

People who consume tainted food, water and air are at risk of brain disease, respiratory disease, cancer, endocrine disruption and much more. Answers begin with the truth.

Posted in Human Health, Local Government, Public Health, Sewage, Waste Management, Wastewater Management | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Frankfurt A Model For Sustainability

Most Cities Failing On Sustainability

Cities around the world are failing to meet the needs of their people, according to the inaugural Sustainable Cities Index. However, on a broad scale that measures people, planet and profit, Frankfurt is the world’s most sustainable city. London is the runner up.

The research was conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research. It examines 50 cities from 31 countries ranking them across a range of indicators to estimate the sustainability of each city. The cities included in the study were selected to provide a sampling of the planet’s greenest cities.

sustainable Frankfurt green city

The 2015 report finds that no utopian city exists, with city leaders having to manage a complex balancing act between the three pillars of sustainability (people, planet and profit). The overall Arcadis Sustainable Cities Index ranks the cities as follows:

  1. Frankfurt
  2. London
  3. Copenhagen
  4. Amsterdam
  5. Rotterdam
  6. Berlin
  7. Seoul
  8. Hong Kong
  9. Madrid
  10. Singapore
  11. Sydney
  12. Toronto
  13. Brussels
  14. Manchester
  15. Boston
  16. Paris
  17. Melbourne
  18. Birmingham
  19. Chicago
  20. New York
  21. Houston
  22. Philadelphia
  23. Tokyo
  24. Rome
  25. Washington
  26. Kuala Lumpur
  27. San Francisco
  28. Los Angeles
  29. Dallas
  30. Santiago
  31. Sao Paulo
  32. Mexico City
  33. Dubai
  34. Abu Dhabi
  35. Shanghai
  36. Istanbul
  37. Johannesburg
  38. Buenos Aires
  39. Beijing
  40. Rio de Janeiro
  41. Doha
  42. Moscow
  43. Jeddah
  44. Riyadh
  45. Jakarta
  46. Manila
  47. Mumbai
  48. Wuhan
  49. New Delhi
  50. Nairobi

The index takes into account 20 different indicators ranging from green space to income inequality to ease of doing business.

sustainable Amsterdam

Although mature cities achieve the best balance, they cannot rely on historic investment. In a rapidly urbanizing world, the way in which cities are planned, built, operated and redefined has a huge social, environmental and economic impact.

Arcadis defines a sustainable city as one that works well for their citizens in the present without causing problems for themselves and the rest of the world in the future.

Roughly half of Frankfurt’s surface area is green, according to the city’s environment department, which notes that 52 percent of the city area has been set aside for recreation and to offset climate change. It consists of parks, woodland, farmland, orchard meadows, grassland, allotments and hobby gardens, cemeteries, roadside grass verges and bodies of water.

Frankfurt also is a founding member of the Climate Alliance of European Cities, pledging to continuously reduce its carbon emissions by 10 percent every five years, resulting in a 50 percent cut by 2030.

Across the world, cities are performing better for being sustainable for Profit and Planet purposes than they are for People factors. Many of the world’s economic powerhouses are becoming less affordable for their citizens, with the cost of property in New York, London, Paris, Tokyo and Hong Kong penalizing their rankings. There is also a tradeoff globally between strong education and poor work-life balance, particularly demonstrated in Hong Kong.

“City leaders need to find ways to balance the demands of generating strong financial returns, being an attractive place for people to live and work, while limiting their damage to the environment. To truly understand how sustainable a city is, we must understand how it ranks in People, Planet and Profit. Only then can city leaders act to assess their priorities, and the pathway to urban sustainability – for the good of all,” said John Batten, Global Cities Director at Arcadis, which produced the new urban index.

For more information about the Sustainable Cities Index, visit http://www.sustainablecitiesindex.com/

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Cities Offer Best Practices In Water Management

Droughts, Floods, Growth Testing Municipal Water Management

The threat of a water crisis is looming for hundreds of millions of the world’s inhabitants, as climate change, water management challenges and demographic shifts are disrupting water’s ecosystem. As a result, many of the globes cities are currently scrambling to shore up resilience, improve efficiency and guarantee the quality of their water. When it comes to ramping up water sustainability, cities globally can learn from Rotterdam, Copenhagen and Amsterdam.

The social and economic implications of water to cities is key, providing, among others, an infrastructure to support residents and businesses, as well as providing an impetus toward improving the standard of living of inhabitants. In line with the rise of megacities, and the ever growing urbanization trend, in particular in upcoming markets, addressing the management of water in and around cities in a sustainable manner is becoming an ever more pressing matter for city policy makers. This means efficiently providing safe, reliable, and easily accessible water to residents and businesses, as well as trustworthy access to sanitation and protecting waterways from pollution.

water management in Amsterdam

Sustainable Water Index

To better understand how 50 of the world’s top cities are performing in terms of water sustainability, Arcadis recently partnered with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) to gauge the management of city waterscapes across a range of factors. The researchers looked at three factors – the resiliency of the water system, the efficiency of water use and the quality of water use – with each of the dimensions broken down into a range of sub-indices.

The authors found that, among the cities taken into scrutiny, Rotterdam is the most sustainable city in the ranking. The city scores number one in the resilience category, offering strong performances in almost all major sub-indices. The Dutch city has taken a pro-active approach to water stewardship, including a resilience civil servant as well as a comprehensive set of packages aimed at improving and maintaining the cities’ relationship with its local water bodies. Danish capital Copenhagen takes the number two spot, on the back of a strong performance in water efficiency sub-indices and resilience, while Amsterdam, the capital city of the Netherlands, takes the number three spot. Berlin and Brussels complete the top five, with strong performances in resilience (2nd) and quality (4th) respectively.

The first Asia-Pacific city on the list is Sydney, with a strong performance in efficiency (4th) although its quality score (25th) is somewhat below par – while Melbourne, the number 11 on the list, has its quality placement at number 17. The first US city to make the list is Washington, which boasts good quality water (12th), while Los Angeles takes the number 2 efficiency spot and number 27 overall.

Eight of the top ten spots are held by European cities, reflecting the continent’s strong geographic and demographic advantages surrounding water (temperate climate, low population densities), as well as a long history of dealing with water problems; many of these cities have mature water systems that have been built up over a long period of time, many times in response to challenges they have faced with water. Two outliers are included in the list however, with London 21st and Italian capital Rome 28th, suggesting that there is room for improvement.

The remainder of the list contains two Indian cities, New Delhi and Mumbai – the cities constantly score in the bottom percentile of the three indices. African cities too are relatively lowly ranked on the index, including Nairobi, which manages a number 10 place in resilience at number 46 overall, and Johannesburg at number 45. The Latin American cities of Rio de Janeiro, Santiago and Buenos Aires hold the number 44, 35 and 34 spots respectively.

water contamination Rio de Janeiro

According to the researchers, Latin American cities perform poorly largely due to water quality, requiring improved wastewater treatment and sanitation. The African cities listed are held back by inefficiency and poorer water quality.

John Batten, Global Director of Water and Cities at Arcadis, says: “The World Economic Forum named water crises as one of the top three highest global risks to economies, environments and people, in terms of impact in 2016 [after climate change and the use of weapons of mass destruction]. Water demand issues and climate change risks are happening right here and right now. The cities that best understand this and act first will be the ones that not only help save the planet from an impending water crisis, but will also be the first to attract investment and improve their competitive position.”

Sustainable City News via http://www.consultancy.uk/news/12068/the-top-50-most-sustainable-cities-for-water-management

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Biosolids Recycling Infectious Waste

Sewage Sludge Spreading Brain Disease

In 1972, the world realized that dumping millions of tons of sewage sludge into the oceans killed underwater ecosystems. Some nations stopped the dumping immediately. Others did not.

The U.S., for example, finally passed the Ocean Dumping Ban Act of 1988. It required dumping all municipal sewage sludge and industrial waste on land. That meant dumping it into landfills or dumping it openly on land, including farms, ranches, national forests, city parks, golf courses, playgrounds, sport fields and beyond. The Act went into effect in 1992 and it sparked a public health disaster. The practice is spreading pathogens to people, livestock, wildlife and beyond every day.

biosolids and application fertilizer

Landfills designed to handle this toxic soup are extremely expensive. So, the dumpsters hired a public relations firm to convince unsuspecting citizens that neurotoxins are fertilizer. The PR firm called this toxic waste biosolids. It’s even sold in bags at your local home and garden store as soil for your garden and potting plants. It’s death dirt.

Since then, millions of tons of sewage sludge have been given to farmers as fertilizer every year. Those farmers and ranchers who don’t believe that “fertilizer” bullshit are being paid to dump it on their land and shut up. The farmers are held harmless the reckless practice causes damage to people or property downwind, downstream or at the dinner table. With government assistance, land owners are literally making a killing.

Unfortunately, the practice of dumping extreme quantities of sewage sludge on land has created an even bigger public health problem. It’s now killing wildlife and it still kills sea mammals. Livestock are not immune to the threat.

mad cow disease

Prions are the protein-based infectious agents responsible for a group of diseases called transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). The operative word is transmissible. TSEs are more commonly known as:

  • bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow disease) in cattle;
  • scrapie in sheep;
  • Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans; and
  • chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer, elk, and moose.

According to Nobel Laureate Stanley Prusiner, Alzheimer’s, ALS and Huntington’s disease also are on the TSE spectrum. All are fatal, neurodegenerative brain diseases.

transmissible spongiform encephalopathy

Infectious prions are in the bodily fluids of its victims, including blood, urine, mucus, saliva and feces. These victims send prions to the municipal sewage treatment plant where they remain untouched. Wastewater effluent and sewage sludge recycles prions into the environment. Once dumped on open land, they remain infectious. Irrigation, precipitation and wind carry the prions into groundwater, streams, lakes, oceans and airways, including homes, offices and beyond.

air pollution and human health

Reckless wastewater treatment policies and practices are now fueling a global epidemic of neurodegenerative disease among people, wildlife and livestock. The risk assessments are based on fraud and outdated information. The risk assessments for the land application of sewage sludge (LASS) were developed back in the 1970s and 1980s–before we knew about prions and other killers in modern sewage streams, including many forms of infectious medical waste.

The risk assessments are total failures now. Plus, these risk assessments do not account for the possibility of sewage sludge dumped on land going airborne. It’s much more than a possibility–airborne sewage is killing people and animals. It’s dumping the toxins everywhere.

municipal wastewater treatment and disease

Unfortunately, the U.S. exported these ridiculous ideas to other nations who proceeded to contaminate their food and water supplies with sewage. If hospitals can’t stop prions, neither can the brain surgeons at wastewater treatment plants.

The legislation banning ocean dumping was very explicit about the need to stop dumping potentially infectious medical waste into the oceans. Ironically, the current policy that promotes LASS ignores the risk of infectious medical waste and many other threats. It also ignores radionuclides, endocrine disruptors, birth control pills, antibiotics, flame-retardants and other toxins and superbugs. This toxic waste belongs in a lined landfill not our watersheds and food supplies. It’s time for immediate reforms.

The same sewage-borne toxins and pathogens are still contaminating our oceans. Now, they’re dumped in further upstream. Entire watersheds are now being infected—including the oceans. The body count among people, livestock and wildlife has been stacking up ever since ocean dumping began phasing out. Biosolids and other forms of sewage mismanagement are now fueling a global epidemic of neurological disease, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, autism, mad cow disease, chronic wasting disease, microcephaly and more. Industry and governments are scrambling to blame the global epidemic on anything but contaminated soil, water, food and air. They are playing dumb in the face of fraud and scientific suppression. Negligence is too kind of a word for these sociopaths.

Alzheimer's disease and infectious waste

Sewage also contaminates our food with listeria, e-coli, salmonella and other killers. In fact, scientists are scrambling to come up with new names for the growing list of sewage-related ailments, including Zika virus, West Nile virus, epizoic hemorrhagic fever, equine herpes, valley fever and others. Industrial disease is a more accurate label.

Crops contaminated by sewage sludge can uptake prions and deliver them throughout the plant. Plants then deliver the deadly prions to mammals that consume the plant. In fact, infected plants are spreading prion diseases to several species. When hamsters consumed infected wheat grass, the animals were infected with prion disease. Researchers also found deadly prions in plants exposed to infected urine and feces. The concept of a species barrier is a myth. A deadly prion is a deadly prion. They don’t discriminate among victims.

“These findings demonstrate that plants can efficiently bind infectious prions and act as carriers of infectivity, suggesting a possible role of environmental prion contamination in the horizontal transmission of the disease,” said Claudio Soto, the lead investigator from the University of Texas at Houston.

Killer prions are impossible to stop. Prions are contributing to the death of millions of people now. Victims produce and spread prions daily because they’re in the bodily fluids of all victims. Millions of people with brain disease are contaminating their homes and communities, while exposing caregivers and family members to the contagion. The sewage from these victims is contaminating the local wastewater treatment plant and everything that enters or leaves these facilities, including reclaimed wastewater and sewage sludge. Once dumped on open land, these contagions remain infectious as they migrate, mutate and multiply forever.

sewage sludge treatment and disposal

Prions demand containment and isolation, not distribution and consumption through air, food and water. These toxins demand lined landfills not reckless dumping on our dinner tables. Prions migrate, mutate and multiply, so dilution is not a solution. Prions are a nightmare.

The world has never done an effective job of managing its sewage. It’s an industry that drives by looking in the rear view mirror. It only swerves when the road is buried in body bags. After enough people get sick and die, new alternatives emerge. Today is no different. The bodies are stacking up. The contamination grows stronger and spreads further every day. It’s time to stop dumping sewage sludge on land because of the prion risk and many others that are not accounted for in the antiquated and fraudulent risk assessments. It’s time for citizens to defend our land, water and air.

Today, the land application of sewage sludge is killing mammals and more around the world. Pathogens in sludge are causing brain disease, cancer and death. Let’s take a meaningful stand for food safety. Just say no to biosolids in our watersheds and food supplies. Demand the use of lined landfills or other proven containment strategies.

prevent Alzheimer's disease

Take a free preview of our new eBook to learn everything that you need to know about the epidemic and the mismanagement. The rest of the book explains how to defend yourself with aversion and targeted nutrition. Eating organic foods is one way to minimize your exposure to sewage-borne toxins and pathogens.

Please join our coalition and campaign for truth and reform. Please write to Gary Chandler for more information gary@crossbow1.com

Read more about sewage sludge and disease at http://crossbowcommunications.com/land-application-of-sewage-sludge-spreading-brain-disease/

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Wastewater Treatment Plants Spreading Disease

Brain Disease Fastest Growing Cause Of Death

Neurodegenerative disease is a global epidemic among people and other mammals. Mismanagement and misinformation around the world are fanning the flames and putting millions of people in harm’s way.

Anywhere from 50-100 million people around the world are dying of brain disease. Millions more will contract it this year, while just as many will go undiagnosed and misdiagnosed. Adding to the madness is the fact that physicians are withholding millions of other diagnoses.

Alzheimer's disease and infectious waste

Death rates from heart disease, cancer and other leading causes of death are steady, if not dropping, in most countries due to advances in nutrition, medicine and disease management. Unfortunately, neurodegenerative disease is the one glaring exception. It’s spreading exponentially. If we had accurate mortality statistics, we would likely find that brain disease is already the leading cause of death around the world. Some countries are at a higher risk than others.

The most common forms of neurodegenerative disease include Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease–the most aggressive and infectious of them all. According to Nobel Prize Laureate Stanley Prusiner, they are all part of the same disease spectrum—prion disease. It’s also known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE). The operative word is “transmissible.”

transmissible spongiform encephalopathy

 

Prions are unstoppable. The pathogen spreads through the bodily fluids and cell tissue of its victims. The blood, saliva, mucas, milk, urine and feces of victims are infectious. Once unleashed on the environment, prions remain infectious. In fact, they migrate, mutate and multiply.

Not only are homes and hospitals exposed to the prion pathogen, so are entire sewage treatment systems and their by-products. Wastewater treatment plants are prion incubators and distributors. The sewage sludge and wastewater released are spreading disease far and wide.

Sewage treatment plants can’t detect or stop prions. Dumping sewage sludge (biosolids) from billions of people on land and at sea spreads prions far and wide. It also spreads heavy metals, radioactive waste, carcinogens, pharmaceuticals and more. The risk assessments for biosolids and wastewater reuse don’t mention prions because there is no answer.

wastewater treatment and disease

Prions shed from humans are the most deadly. They demand more respect than radiation. They’re being ignored by regulators and industry alike. As such, food and water sources are being contaminated with the deadliest forms of prions. Municipal water systems can’t stop them from reaching taps. Filtration doesn’t phase them.

Although there are many causes and pathways contributing to prion disease, many pathways are being mismanaged around the globe. Not only are homes and hospitals exposed to the prion pathogen, so are entire sewage treatment systems and their by-products. Wastewater treatment plants are prion incubators and the sewage sludge and wastewater pumped out spread the disease. People in some cities are actually drinking this wastewater.

Sewage treatment plants can’t detect or stop prions. Just ask the U.S. EPA. Dumping sewage sludge (biosolids) from billions of people on land and at sea spreads prions far and wide. It also spreads heavy metals, radioactive waste, carcinogens, pharmaceuticals and more. The risk assessments for biosolids and wastewater reuse don’t mention prions because there is no answer. It’s time to stop the land application of sewage sludge (LASS) in all nations. Safer alternatives exist.

wastewater treatment and disease

Via sewage, biosolids, and reclaimed wastewater, we’re recycling prions from victims into our food and water supplies. We’re dumping killer proteins on crops, parks, golf courses, gardens, ski areas, school grounds and beyond. Wind, rain and irrigation spread them throughout our communities and watersheds. We’re ignoring prion science.

The risk assessments prepared by the U.S. EPA for wastewater treatment and biosolids are flawed. Many risks are not addressed at all, including prions and radioactive waste. The same can be said for most nations. Failure to account for known risks is negligent. The land application policies that are based on these risk assessments should be voided and remediation should begin immediately. Plants grown in sewage sludge absorb prions and become infectious. We’re all vulnerable to Alzheimer’s and other forms of prion disease right now due to widespread denial and mismanagement.

prevent Alzheimer's disease

 

Wastewater Treatment and Disease via http://alzheimerdisease.tv/brain-disease-the-fastest-growing-cause-of-death/

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