Wednesday December 13, 2017

Environmental Working Group: Drinking Water in US is Contaminated with a Toxic Compound called PFC

Even small concentration of toxic chemical in drinking water is risky to general wellbeing

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Drinking Water for 15 million Americas is contaminated with toxic chemicals. Pixabay
  • Potable water for 15 million Americans in 27 states is polluted with a toxic compound
  • The toxic chemicals are called PFCs and are connected to cancer, thyroid disease, and weak immune system

June 11, 2017: According to a report released by a non-profit Environmental Working Group on Thursday, 15 million Americans living in 27 states may be consuming unsafe drinking water tainted with a toxic compound.

The toxic chemical, Perfluorochemicals (PFCs) is so deadly that it may cause cancer, thyroid disease, and weak immune system. Even a small concentration of this toxic substance in drinking water is viewed as a risk to general wellbeing, as indicated by the report by EWG and Northeastern University.

EWG reported that PFCs have waterproof and nonstick properties. They were formerly utilized as a part of many purchase items, including cookware, outdoor clothing, food packaging and firefighting foam.

Bill Walker, managing director of EWG stated in a press release, “It’s remarkable that the richest country on Earth can’t guarantee its citizens that their drinking water is completely safe and has no long-term health implications.”

Also Read: Low-cost paper-based method to purify potable water

The EWG and Northeastern University made an interactive map consolidating information from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and publicly recorded cases of PFC contamination originating from assembling plants, military airbases, civilian airports and fire training sites.

It is clear that America is likely to have drinking water crises in future. In spite of the evident proofs of the health dangers of PFCs, there are no controls executed by the government against these chemicals.

The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974 is one of the underpinning environmental laws, consisting of rules that regulate about 100 contaminants found in drinking water. It has been a long time since the EPA has included another drinking water contaminant to the outdated Safe Drinking Water Act.

– prepared by Naina Mishra of Newsgram. Twitter: @Nainamishr94

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Plastic Found in 83% Drinking Water on Five Continents, Nobody is Safe

While the health impact of ingesting plastics are unclear, it is not something you would want to consume

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A shelf full of various kinds of bottled water is pictured at a supermarket in Beijing. (VOA)
  • Tiny particles of degraded plastic called microplastics found in drinking water
  • Consumption of microplastics by fishes are known to stunt growth, inhibit hatching of eggs and increase mortality rates
  • The tiny pieces of plastic have been found in both, public taps and bottled water

London, September 7, 2017 : Tiny pieces of plastic have been found in drinking water on five continents – from Trump Tower in New York to a public tap on the shores of Lake Victoria in Uganda – posing a potential risk to people’s health, researchers said on Wednesday.

Plastic degrades over time into tiny particles known as microplastics, which were found in 83 percent of samples from Germany to Cuba to Lebanon analyzed by U.S.-based digital news organization Orb Media.

“If you ask people whether they want to be eating or drinking plastic, they just say, ‘No, that’s a dumb question,’ ” said Sherri Mason, one of study’s authors and a chemistry professor at the State University of New York.

“It’s probably not something that we want to be ingesting, but we are, whether through our drinking water, through beer, juice. It’s in our food, sea salt, mussels. Nobody is safe,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Microplastics of up to 5 millimeters are also in bottled water, she said.

The health impact of ingesting plastics are unclear, but studies on fish have shown they inhibit hatching of fertilized eggs, stunt growth and make them more susceptible to predators, increasing mortality rates.

Microplastics absorb toxic chemicals from the marine environment, which are released into the bodies of fish and mammals who consume them, Orb Media’s chief executive, Molly Bingham, said in a statement.

While many studies have shown the prevalence of microplastics in the world’s oceans, where more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic are floating, it is the first time research has been conducted into drinking water. (VOA)

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Tons of Dead Fish in Pakistan Prompt Authorities to conduct Drinking Water Tests

Samples of water and dead fish sent for forensic testing after a complaint

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Dead fish float on the surface of Rawal lake on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Saturday, July 15, 2017. VOA
  • Tons of dead fish found in Islamabad’s Rawal lake 
  • Samples of water and dead fish sent for forensic testing
  • No alert issued by the police and the fisheries department yet 

Authorities in Pakistan’s capital are investigating the water in the city’s main reservoir after tons of dead fish were found in a lake on the city’s outskirts.

Police officer Imran Haider says Saturday samples of water and dead fish from Rawal Lake have been collected and sent for forensic testing after a complaint received from the capital’s fisheries department.

ALSO READ: Seawater can turn into drinking water for millions around the world without access to Clean Water

According to Haider, Mohammad Sadiq Buzdar of the fisheries department said there has been an increasing number of dead fish in the lake since monsoon rains began three days earlier.

Police and the fisheries department have not yet issued any alert regarding the situation.

Rawal Dam is one of two that enable water reservoir lakes for the capital. (VOA)

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Exclusive: Journalist Sanjay Mehta’s Report On Plight of The Tribes in Jharkhand

Journalist Sanjay Mehta, who went and stayed in Saranda village in Jharkhand, witnessed the plight and the worsened living conditions of the tribes people in the area

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Sanjay Mehta, a journalist from Jharkhand, with children from Saranda region. Sanjay Mehta
  • Sanjay Mehta is a journalist and a student of law hailing from Hazaribagh, Jharkhand
  • The journalist went and stayed with the tribes people of Saranda, thereby witnessing their living conditions
  • Sanjay Mehta’s report reveals the plight of tribes have been completely neglected by the system and the government leading to their shambolic living conditions

July 06, 2017:

Sanjay Mehta, a student of law at Vinoba Bhave University, is also a journalist hailing from Hazaribagh, Jharkhand. On 21st June, Mehta decided to visit Saranda forest region to get a closer glimpse of the various tribes that inhabit the place. This was Sanjay Mehta’s own initiative as he considers himself personally bonded with the clan.

Having visited many villages in the region and living among these tribes, Mehta developed a deeper understanding of the poor living conditions of these people who are ignored by both, the system as well as the government.

Sanjay Mehta
A tribe woman with her child. Sanjay Mehta

The Saranda forest, which lies in the West Singhbhum district, is approximately 200Kms away from Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand. Mehta reports that the living condition of the people is inhumane. The tribal clan is desperate for a better life. He continues that the offsprings of these people are victims of malnutrition and their present condition is fretting.

The pregnant women have frightful conditions to encounter every day throughout their pregnancy. Additionally, there are problems with the drinking water due to its high iron ore content. Mehta has discovered these problems since his visit to the region where the entire atmosphere is tragical and disappointing. Ignored by the authorities, it is as if these people are left to work things out on their own. Such situations suffered by the entire ethnic group is ridiculously disturbing.

Also Read: Exclusive: Why Gorkhaland for Gorkhas?

Villages like Meghahatuburu, Kotgarh, Gua, Tatiba, Lokasi, among many others, are struggling for basic necessities of life. The doctors in the hospitals are under-staffed, schools lack students who suffer from malnutrition while the entire community have only the nature for survival (which isn’t enough in today’s world). Having failed completely, the questions should be aimed towards the Govt.

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The children of families in Saranda, Jharkhand suffer from malnutrition and malaria. Sanjay Mehta

Sanjay Mehta also alleges that the Feb 2017 report prepared by UNICEF and the Central Govt has falsely estimated that only 20% of the kids in the Saranda region suffer from malnutrition. Having lived there for 15 days now, the journalist estimates a much higher statistic than 20%. He reports that almost every kid is under-nutrition and often even minor diseases are life threatening. These deaths go unnoticed and often ignored.

The Govt. facilities are non-existent. The water problem combined with extreme unemployment implies just how badly the Govt has been performing. Even basic electricity is a rare thing in some villages. In some areas, the roads are constructed badly, and in others, you can only see crooked paths.

The region is a mining paradise making it complicated for development policies to be implemented here. Most of the land is leased out to SAIL, a public sector company, and thus the amount of money received from the centre for development is often sent back. SAIL has its own CSR initiative and therefore, do not provide an approval certificate. Although the officers have been urged time and again to look into the matter, there still has been no progress.

In his report, Sanjay Mehta has also documented the experiences of the villagers. Many people also told that the poor quality of water has infected their feet and nails. The women of Noamundi grieved that they fry insects as their meal. It is, in fact, an essential nutrition in their diet at this time of the season.

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The drinking water has a high content of Iron ores making it a health issue. Sanjay Mehta

One villager has expressed his frustration aimed at the government. He said that the kids of the village are dying of malnutrition and malaria. The government is paying no attention to it.

Another man from a village called Kiriburu has declared the government’s policies as a complete failure. The people of the village have not reaped any benefits that the government had promised.

Juda Bodra, hailing from the Gua village, stated “I am unemployed and have no benefits from the state. This is very difficult for us”

Sanjay Mehta
Badapasia women selling insects which are an essential part of the daily meal of this tribe. Sanjay Mehta

Badapasia village resident Ghanshyam Bobonge said that the conditions for tribe’s people are miserable. “We are living the lives’ of the lowest class. No officials come and address our griefs”

When the journalist highlighted this issue in a Facebook post, it was reported and henceforth removed. The Journalist also concludes that gradually the villagers are getting more and more angry towards the establishment, which is unhealthy for any political system. Sanjay Mehta can be followed on Twitter @JournalistMehta

By Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394