Forever Chemicals Are Widespread in U.S. Drinking Water

Many Americans fill up a glass of water from their faucet without worrying whether it might be dangerous. But the crisis of lead-tainted water in Flint, Mich., showed that safe, potable tap water is not a given in this country. Now a study from the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a nonprofit advocacy organization, reveals a widespread problem: the drinking water of a majority of Americans likely contains “forever chemicals.” These compounds may take hundreds, or even thousands, of years to break down in the environment. They can also persist in the human body, potentially causing health problems.

A handful of states have set about trying to address these contaminants, which are scientifically known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). But no federal limits have been set on the concentration of the chemicals in water, as they have for other pollutants such as benzene, uranium and arsenic. With a new presidential administration coming into office this week, experts say the federal government finally needs to remedy that oversight. “The PFAS pollution crisis is a public health emergency,” wrote Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president for government affairs, in a recent public statement.

Of the more than 9,000 known PFAS compounds, 600 are currently used in the U.S. in countless products, including firefighting foam, cookware, cosmetics, carpet treatments and

— source | Annie Sneed | Jan 22, 2021

Nullius in verba

Mountain glaciers may hold less ice than previously thought

Mountain glaciers are essential water sources for nearly a quarter of the global population. But figuring out just how much ice they hold — and how much water will be available as glaciers shrink in a warming world — has been notoriously difficult.

In a new study, scientists mapped the speed of over 200,000 glaciers to get closer to an answer. They discovered that widely used estimates of glacier ice volume may be off by about 20 per cent in terms of how much Earth’s glaciers outside the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets could contribute to sea level rise.

Mathieu Morlighem, a leader in ice sheet modeling and a coauthor of the study, explains why the new results hold a warning for regions that rely on glaciers’ seasonal meltwater, but barely register in the big picture of rising seas.

— source | Mathieu Morlighem | 08 Feb 2022

Nullius in verba

Sun is likely an unaccounted source of the Earth’s water

A University of Glasgow-led international team of researchers including those from Curtin’s Space Science and Technology Centre (SSTC) found the solar wind, comprised of charged particles from the Sun largely made of hydrogen ions, created water on the surface of dust grains carried on asteroids that smashed into the Earth during the early days of the Solar System. solar wind created water on the surface of tiny dust grains and this isotopically lighter water. This new solar wind theory is based on meticulous atom-by-atom analysis of miniscule fragments of an S-type near-Earth asteroid known as Itokawa, samples of which were collected by the Japanese space probe Hayabusa and returned to Earth in 2010

— source Curtin University | Nov 29, 2021

Nullius in verba

Israel Holds Up Vital Spare Parts for Gaza’s Water and Sewage Systems

Israel is holding up the entry of hundreds of vital replacement parts for the proper functioning of Gaza’s water and sewage systems. As a result, partially treated wastewater is being released into the sea, water leakage from pipes is even worse than usual, rainwater runoff is causing a danger of flooding. The quality and quantity of drinking water, purified in special facilities, is also being affected, and the same problems keep happening because repairs are being made with makeshift materials.

Palestinian officials in the Gaza Water Utility say that there have been unexplained prolonged delays and foot-dragging in getting approvals to bring in the various necessary items since the war ended in May. An Israeli security official rejects the claims of delays.

Maher an-Najar, deputy director general of the Coastal Municipalities (Gaza) Water Utility, says that prior to the war, suppliers and contractors waited from a week to a month to obtain an Israeli permit to bring in urgently needed items for regular maintenance or repairs, whereas the waiting time now is two to five months or more. About 500 water and

— source Jews For Justice For Palestinians | Amira Hass | Jan 9, 2022

Nullius in verba

American’s Very Big (Water) Drinking Problem

Think of it this way: what we don’t know will hurt us. And water—yes, water—is an example of just that. Even at a time of such angry political disputes, you might imagine that, in a wealthy country like the United States, it would still be possible to agree that clean water should be not just a right, but a given. Well, welcome to America 2021.

When it comes to basic water supplies, that’s hardly an outlandish thought. After all, back in 2015, our government, along with other members of the United Nations, embraced the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals, the sixth of which is universal access to safe drinking water. Despite modest progress globally—71% of the world’s population lacked that simple necessity then, “only” 61% today—nearly 900 million people still don’t have it. Of course, the overwhelming majority of them live in the poorest countries on this planet.

The United States, however, has the world’s largest economy, the fifth-highest per-capita income, and is a technological powerhouse. How, then, could the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) have given our water infrastructure (pipes, pumping stations, reservoirs, and purification and recycling facilities) a shocking C- grade in their 2021

— source | Rajan Menon | Nov 12, 2021

Nullius in verba

Like in Flint, Lead Pipes Leave Benton Harbor, Michigan, with Toxic Water

Officials in Michigan have warned residents in the predominantly Black city of Benton Harbor not to use tap water for drinking, cooking or brushing their teeth, due to lead contamination. Tap water in the city has contained lead levels up to 60 times the federal limit since 2018. Advocates are calling for officials to declare a state of emergency and for the EPA to intervene. Free cases of water are being given out to households, but some distribution sites don’t have enough water to meet the demand. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has now vowed to remove and replace lead pipes in the city within 18 months. Up until recently, Whitmer had been saying the process could take five years.

The situation in Benton Harbor is being compared to the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, that began in 2014 when the city’s unelected emergency manager, appointed by then-Republican Governor Rick Snyder, switched the city’s water supply to the Flint River as a cost-saving measure. The move has been linked to at least 12 deaths, from an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, and widespread lead poisoning in residents, including children, in the majority-Black city of Flint. The water crisis in Benton Harbor comes as Congress is considering a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that includes $55 billion to replace lead pipes and for other measures to ensure drinking water supplies.

— source | Oct 18, 2021

Nullius in verba

The Americans living without running water amid COVID-19

Joshua Haynes was raised to work hard and take care of his family without asking for outside help. But when the utility bills arrived last month, he knew there would be trouble.

Haynes, 34, a construction worker from Newbern, Tennessee, was left without income after the governor issued a stay-at-home order in early April. As a cash-in-hand builder, he is not eligible to claim unemployment insurance, and the stimulus check still had not arrived.

“I always pay my bills on time, but without work, I just didn’t have the money to cover everything, so I asked for an extension. They said no,” Haynes said.

Haynes, who lives with his wife and three children, managed to get the money just six days after the bill was due, but the city refused to accept the payment unless he also paid a $70 reconnection charge. He didn’t have it, and the charge didn’t make sense as they had not been disconnected. A few hours after his payment was turned down, the taps were turned off, even as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urged people to frequently wash their hands in order to prevent the virus spreading.

— source | Nina Lakhani | May 3, 2020

Nullius in verba