10-27: Critical condition; Cape Town's crisis
News that drives the discussion, hand-picked by our journalists and researchers
1. Today's top read: We're in a "critical period"
When health researchers say "critical period" it usually refers to time frames when people are most vulnerable to toxic exposures. But, in a new commentary, a group of experts say, amid rollbacks and increased industry influence at the EPA, our society is in a critical period of its own when it comes to our health and hormones.
"The times we're living in are forcing us to take step back, look at the world around us and figure out how our science can inform policy," Emily Barrett, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Rutgers School of Public Health, told me.
- EPA's new task force considers deregulating polluting facilities (Source: Digital Journal)
- NH Senators stumped as EPA abruptly declares Superfund site does not pose an "unacceptable human health risk." (Source: Seacoast Online)
2. Water: Cape Town crisis; Military mess
What happens if a major city, of 4 million people, has no running water? For Cape Town, South Africa's second largest city, that day could come in March, writes Brett Walton for Circle of Blue.
"In order to avoid this disruption, everyone in the city will have to endure some discomfort and inconvenience, but this will be better than the alternative, which is extensive disruption at a later point," Richard Bosman, executive director of Safety and Security, wrote in the city's disaster plan.
In Arizona, the Hualapai Tribe are inching closer to a massive water rights settlement with the state and feds. The bill would provide the tribe with 4,000 acre-feet of Colorado River water, and $173 million to build a 70-mile pipeline from the Colorado River to Peach Springs, Arizona in Mohave County, the Hualapai tribal capital, according to Water Deeply.
3. Toxics roundup.
4. Food & the farm
This week EU lawmakers demanded a 5-year phaseout of the widely used, controversial pesticide glyphosate.
What would a ban mean for farm labor, weed control, and the economy?
"A ban would mean a competitive disadvantage for European farmers compared to farmers in, let's say, South America who are still allowed to use it," Michael Lohse, a spokesman of the German Farming Association, told Deutsche Welle.
See the full story: Farming without glyphosate — how would that work?
More on food and farms:
- French health regulator withdraws license for Bayer weedkiller. (Source: Reuters)
- European Commission has an unlikely ally in its fight for stricter environmental standards on agricultural fertilizers: a Russian oligarch. (Source: Politico)
- Third lawsuit this month filed over forced labor at chicken plants (Source: The Center for Investigative Reporting)
- Can Brazilian sugarcane ethanol take on carbon emissions without destroying sensitive forests? (Source Anthropocene Magazine)
5. #Goodnews! Grease, greener dry cleaning
- California cars are running on restaurant grease (Source: Bloomberg Technology)
- Is dry cleaning about to get wetter, safer and greener? (Source: Capital & Main)
- Costco develops new safer chemicals policy (Source: Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families)
6. Climate change, home runs and health
In Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday night the Dodgers and Astros combined for 8 home runs.
While home runs in the game have been up in general, Andrew Freedman of Mashable says it may be, at least in part, a climate phenomenon.
In other climate news:
- Nurses in Puerto Rico see first-hand health crisis from climate disasters. (Source: Inside Climate News)
- Climate change and the human mind: A noted psychiatrist weighs in. (Source: Yale Environment360)