Multi-layered strategies needed to protect public health from oil and gas drilling impacts

Efforts to mitigate the potentially harmful effects of oil and gas drilling are often focused on single measures, such as increasing setbacks, the minimum allowable distance between drilling and homes, schools, and other sensitive locations. However, in a July 6 commentary in Environmental Research Letters, a group of public health experts from several universities and organizations urges adoption of a multi-layered approach when developing policies to mitigate the impact of gas and oil production operations. They lay out a framework for decision-making, which they say would facilitate the application of more public health protective measures.

“Oil and gas development can emit multiple hazards and therefore requires multiple solutions to protect communities and the environment,” said Nicole Deziel, Ph.D., the paper’s

— source Yale School of Public Health | Jul 6, 2022

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Car tires produce vastly more particle pollution than exhausts

Almost 2,000 times more particle pollution is produced by tire wear than is pumped out of the exhausts of modern cars, tests have shown.

The tire particles pollute air, water, and soil and contain a wide range of toxic organic compounds, including known carcinogens, the analysts say, suggesting tire pollution could rapidly become a major issue for regulators.

Air pollution causes millions of early deaths a year globally. The requirement for better filters has meant particle emissions from tailpipes in developed countries are now much lower in new cars, with those in Europe far below the legal limit. However, the increasing weight of cars means more particles are being thrown off by tires as they wear on the road.

The tests also revealed that tires produce more than 1 trillion ultrafine particles for each kilometer driven, meaning particles smaller than 23 nanometers. These are also

— source theguardian.com | Damian Carrington | Jun 10, 2022

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Noise from Road traffic in European cities

Road traffic is the main source of environmental noise. Previous research has linked environmental noise to a range of adverse health effects: sleep disturbance, annoyance, cardiovascular and metabolic disease, adverse birth outcomes, cognitive impairment, poor mental health and well-being, and premature mortality. Long-term exposure to road traffic noise can cause a sustained stress reaction, which results in the release of stress hormones and increases in heart rate, blood pressure and vasoconstriction, eventually leading to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, depression and anxiety disorders.

For this study, data on European cities were retrieved from the Urban Audit 2018 dataset. Road traffic noise exposure was estimated using noise maps produced by countries and cities under the current European legislative framework (Environmental Noise Directive) or available from local sources (e.g. city governments and research institutions). For

— source Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) | Mar 24, 2022

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How the chemicals industry’s pollution slipped under the radar

It’s one of the biggest industries in the world, consumes more than 10% of fossil fuels produced globally and emits an estimated 3.3 gigatons of greenhouse gas emissions a year, more than India’s annual emissions – yet the chemicals sector has largely slipped under the radar when it comes to climate.

This sprawling industry produces a huge range of products, many of which support other industries – pesticides for agriculture, acids for mining, lubricants for machinery, ingredients in cleaning agents, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals and plastics.

While the industry has an important role to play in moving to low-carbon economies – providing coatings for solar panels, lightweight plastics to reduce vehicles’ energy consumption and insulating materials for buildings – it’s also hugely carbon intensive and predicted to become more so. Oil companies have been betting on chemicals as a way to remain profitable as the world pledges to turn away from fossil fuel energy. The International Energy Agency predicted that petrochemicals could account for 60% of oil demand in

— source theguardian.com | XiaoZhi Lim | 5 Jan 2022

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The plastics you throw away are poisoning the world’s eggs and World’s Poor eating that

Eggs eaten by some of the world’s poorest people are being poisoned by plastic waste from rich countries like Canada and the U.S., new research has found.

A suite of harmful chemicals are added to plastic and food packaging to give them desirable traits, like grease resistance or flexibility. When they burn or break down, these chemicals contaminate the surrounding environment and animals living or feeding nearby.

Chickens can absorb the chemicals by drinking contaminated water or eating contaminated worms and insects. Eggs are particularly sensitive to containing toxic chemicals and are commonly consumed by people, according to the report produced by the International Pollutant Elimination Network (IPEN), a global coalition of environmental organizations.

The problem is most acute for people in low- and middle-income countries at the receiving end of the multibillion-dollar global trade in plastic and electronic waste. According to the recent study, which was not peer-reviewed, people eating free-range eggs raised near 25 plastic waste dumps and recycling centres in 14 low- and middle-income countries

— source nationalobserver.com | Marc Fawcett-Atkinson | Jun 22 2021

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Lesser known ozone layer’s outsized role in planet warming

Ozone is a gas composed of three oxygen atoms. Many studies have described ozone in the stratosphere, and its role in shielding people from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation. Closer to ground level, in the troposphere, ozone is harmful to humans.

New research led by UC Riverside scientists reveals this lower level ozone is adding a great deal of heat to the Southern Ocean — more than scientists previously understood.

This finding has now been published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Oceans remove a majority of the carbon and heat that enter the atmosphere when humans burn fossil fuels. The Southern Ocean, also called the Antarctic Ocean, collects a third of all excess carbon in the world’s atmosphere, and an estimated 75% of the excess heat collected by the world’s oceans.

Historically, about a third of the ocean’s warming is attributable to ozone. For this third, about 40% is from the stratosphere, and the rest is troposphere.

Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, from products like pesticides, tobacco smoke and automobiles are gases that form the building blocks of tropospheric ozone. The same is true

— source University of California – Riverside | Apr 22, 2022

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Pharmaceutical pollution in the world’s rivers

The new study looked at 258 rivers across the globe, including the Thames in London and the Amazon in Brazil, to measure the presence of 61 pharmaceuticals, such as carbamazepine, metformin and caffeine. strong correlations between the socioeconomic status of a country and higher pollution of pharmaceuticals in its rivers (with lower-middle income nations the most polluted). the most polluted countries and regions of the world are the ones that have been researched the least (namely sub-saharan Africa, South America and parts of southern Asia). The study revealed that a quarter of the sites contained contaminants (such as sulfamethoxazole, propranolol, ciprofloxacin and loratadine) at potentially harmful concentrations. The study included noteworthy rivers such as the Amazon, Mississippi, Thames and the Mekong. Water samples were obtained from sites spanning from a Yanomami Village in Venezuela, where modern medicines are not used, to some of the most populated cities on the planet, such as Delhi, London, New York, Lagos, Las Vegas, and Guangzhou. The study forms part of the University of York-led Global Monitoring of Pharmaceuticals Project, which has expanded significantly over the last two years

The contaminants found at potentially harmful concentrations include:[]–

propranolol (a beta-blocker for heart problems such as high blood pressure)
sulfamethoxazole (an antibiotic for bacterial infection)
ciprofloxacin (an antibiotic for bacterial infection)
loratadine (an antihistamine for allergies)

— source University of York | Feb 14, 2022

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Indigenous Resistance to Resource Colonization Worldwide

the fire started, I believe, Tuesday. We got the alert. It was really rapid, within like 15 minutes. There were like four — three or four evacuation notices that came out, just like literally in rapid fire. You would, like, call somebody to check, and then there’d be another street that was being evacuated because of the massive winds that were happening.

The firefighters are doing incredible to try to keep, you know, as many homes safe as possible, but there’s definitely been loss of homes and loss of property and loss of — just a lot of loss. You know, you hear stories about families who had a 1-year-old, and all they could grab on their way out the door was the child, you know, and so they’ve lost everything.

But this community really is incredible and helping everybody get together and stand together in it. On Tuesday, you know, I was out trying to help clear brush from places, especially with elders who had a hard time getting underneath their porches. But yeah, it’s pretty close. It’s moved a little bit further at the moment. But for about two days the sky was just full of smoke.

— source democracynow.org | Apr 22, 2022

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Nebraska ethanol plant turned seeds into toxic waste

Jody Weible keeps a jar on her front porch that she refuses to open, because the smell would make her eyes water and her throat close up. Inside is a goopy mixture of fermented corn seeds that she collected nearly four years ago from a field near her home in Mead, Nebraska, a town of about 600 people. The seeds had been applied to the soil as an “amendment” to boost fertility, but they were actually waste from a nearby ethanol plant, AltEn — waste that contained staggeringly high levels of toxic pesticides.

For nearly a decade, AltEn collected leftover seeds from around the country to use as the base for its ethanol, a corn-based fuel that’s mixed into gasoline. A byproduct was the fermented seed mixture, stored in a pastel-green pile that at one point took up 30 acres of the property. The smell it gave off was “acidic, rotten, dead,” Weible told Grist from her home less than a mile away from the plant. Residents kept their windows closed because of the stench; birds stopped coming to feeders. One woman said her dogs started having neurological problems after eating some of the waste.

The seeds AltEn used were coated with a class of chemicals known as neonicotinoids, or “neonics,” an insecticide that’s been linked to a nationwide pollinator decline and is

— source grist.org | Diana Kruzman | Apr 21, 2022

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Rich countries are illegally exporting plastic trash to poor countries

At the beginning of last year, 187 countries took steps to limit the export of plastic trash from wealthy to developing countries. It’s not working as well as they hoped. According to an analysis of global trade data by the nonprofit Basel Action Network, or BAN, violations of a U.N. agreement regulating the international plastic waste trade have been “rampant” over the past year. Since January 1, 2021, when new new rules were supposed to begin clamping down on countries that ship their plastic refuse abroad, the U.S., Canada, and the European Union have offloaded hundreds of millions of tons of plastic to other countries, where much of it may be landfilled, burned, or littered into the environment.

The regulations in question are part of the Basel Convention, a framework designed to control the international movement of waste that is designated “hazardous.” In the years after it was first adopted in 1989, the convention covered substances such as mercury and pesticides. But in 2019, signatories to the convention agreed to add new guidance for

— source grist.org | Apr 15, 2022

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