Category archives for Environmental Health
Last month, California’s Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) proposed revised and stronger regulations for oil refineries in the state after a 4½-year joint campaign by labor unions, environmental and community organizations. The successful strategic coalition is a powerful example of how health and safety regulations can be improved despite an industry’s wealth, power and political influence.
In 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a report finding 457 fracking-related spills in eight states between 2006 and 2012. Last month, a new study tallied more than 6,600 fracking spills in just four states between 2005 and 2014. But, as usual, the numbers only tell part of the story.
Earlier this month, news broke of a study that found potentially health-harming chemicals in a variety of fast food packaging. Upon hearing such news, the natural inclination is to worry that you’re ingesting those chemicals along with your burger and fries. Study researcher Graham Peaslee says that’s certainly a risk. But perhaps the greater risk, he says, happens after that hamburger wrapper ends up in landfill and the chemicals seep into our environment and water.
From gaps in airline safety and railcars filled with toxics, to the respiratory hazard of food flavorings and an asbestos disaster in Libby, Montana, Andrew Schneider made his mark on public health. The investigative journalist and two time Pulitzer Prize winner died on February 17 at age 74.
Can I afford the water that comes out of my tap? It’s not a question that Americans typically ask themselves. However, a new study finds that in the next few years, many more of us might be asking that very question as we open our utility bills and realize that we’re merely accustomed to affordable water — we don’t have a guaranteed right to it.
A just published book – Refinery Town: Big Oil, Big Money and the Remaking of an America City – describes how a decade of local organizing and year-round campaigning has resulted in impressive local victories in a Black, white and Asian town dominated by Chevron corporation. Richmond, California, has set an example and registered successes by local left wing campaigners that contain important and hopeful lessons about uniting allies and successfully defending health, safety and democratic rights.
EPA met its first major milestone under the new chemical safety law passed by Congress this past June. It announced its list for the first 10 chemicals for which it will prepare risk evaluations. Those evaluations could lead to restrictions on use or phase-outs of chemicals that presents an unreasonable risk to humans and the environment.
Dr. Steve Wing’s voice, courage and integrity touched the lives of many. I have yet to meet anyone so intertwined with both science and social movements. His legacy will continue through the ongoing struggles for justice and social change.