Environmental Health

Category archives for Environmental Health

Lead isn’t the only toxin threatening the safety of community drinking water. A recent study on water located downstream from a West Virginia fracking disposal site uncovered levels of endocrine-disrupting chemicals high enough to adversely impact the aquatic animals living there. And that means human health could be at risk too.

In debates over air pollution control, it’s always a tug-of-war between the cost to business and the cost to public health. Late last month, a study emerged with new data for the public health column: the cost of the nation’s nearly 16,000 annual preterm births linked to air pollution is more than a whopping $5 billion.

During the years that community health researcher Jill Johnston lived and worked in San Antonio, Texas was experiencing an explosion of fracking. She and the community partners she worked with on environmental health issues had a strong hunch that most of the fracking wastewater wells were being located near communities of color. So, they decided to dig a little deeper and quantify the pattern.

In the U.S., just a tiny fraction of the chemicals used in consumer products have been tested for human health effects. And with the current climate in Congress, it feels unlikely that we’ll see any true reform of the nation’s terribly outdated chemical safety rules anytime soon. In the meantime, scientist Thomas Hartung may have created the next best thing.

Manufacturers who market their products as “BPA-free” aren’t just sending consumers a message about chemical composition. The underlying message is about safety — as in, this product is safe or least more safe than products that do contain BPA. However earlier this month, another study found that a common BPA alternative — BPS — may not be safer at all.

Occupational Health News Roundup

Federal laws fail to protect workers left out of state workers’ comp systems; electronics recycling workers and their families face dangerous lead poisoning risks; California farmworkers join forces with low-wage food service workers for better pay; and a worker who died during preparations for the Super Bowl is remembered.

Each year, the U.S. spends $26.2 billion on costs associated with preterm birth — that’s birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Beyond the costs, babies born too early experience immediate and long-term problems, from developmental disabilities to asthma to hearing loss. For years, scientists have been studying possible environmental contributors, with many finding an association between preterm birth and air pollution. Earlier this week, a new study brought even more depth and clarity to this connection.

Appeals Court rejects coal industry complaints, upholds health protections for miners

In a decision issued yesterday, the US Court of Appeals rejected the National Mining Association’s legal challenge to a Labor Department regulation to better protect coal miners from developing black lung disease.

It’s been nearly two decades since the last publication of a nationwide survey on the distribution of blacklegged ticks — the primary transmitters of Lyme disease. That survey, released in 1998, reported the tick in 30 percent of U.S. counties. Today, a new study using similar surveillance methods has found the tick in more than 45 percent of counties.

Re-run from August 11, 2015: There are plenty of lawmakers who criticize OSHA regulations. Perhaps some of them might think differently if they realized the importance of workplace safety regulations for children’s health.