Race, not class, is the strongest predictor of whether someone will be overburdened by environmental pollution, climate disasters and other hazards.
Plastic is polluting oceans, freshwater lakes and rivers, food and us — but it's also a major contributor to global climate change, warns a new report.
Pennsylvania Governor Wolf tours the Shell Cracker Plant Site in Beaver County, PA. (Credit: Governor Tom Wolf)<p>Despite growing awareness of plastic pollution, there is an ongoing expansion of petrochemical and plastic production happening in the United States, as well as in China, the Middle East, Europe and South America.</p><p>In the fall of 2017, the American Chemistry Council estimated $164 billion in investment for 260 new or expanded petrochemical facilities in the U.S. Just one year later, that estimate was blown away — the Council reported investments of more than $200 billion in more than 330 new or bolstered facilities. "In the space of a year, both the planned investments and the number of new or expanded facilities grew by more than 25 percent," the new report said. </p><p>Muffett said to a "great extent the production of plastics is driven not by demand but by supply." </p><p>"Plastics' feedstock is 99 percent fossil fuels," he said. "Plastics are effectively a byproduct, taking what would be a waste stream from oil and gas. The fracking boom is resulting in a massive buildout of new infrastructure for plastics production." </p><p>Roughly 70 percent of petrochemicals in the U.S. become plastic resins, synthetic rubber, or fibers, Muffett and colleagues wrote in the new report. </p><p>A lot of the expanded production is centered around the Ohio River Valley, spanning from Pennsylvania to Illinois. </p><p>Fetting agrees that supply is driving the bolstered production. In Pennsylvania, there is "frack sand, cheap gas, water supplies and infrastructure," she said. "Industry sees this as the perfect location to build this … the Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory of plastics."</p><p>Fetting said local media has just recently caught on to the story that this buildout will forever alter the region. And, while direct human health impacts from emissions are a huge concern, she said nobody is talking about the climate change impacts. </p><p>"For every cracker plant built, we'll need to frack about a thousand wells every two to three years to provide feedstock. That's a lot of climate pollution," she said. "And we haven't heard any of our elected officials talk about this as part of a climate discussion."</p><p>The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates natural gas production in the Appalachian region will see an "increase of more than 350 percent from 2013 to 2040," according to the new report. "Production is projected to increase [more than]700 percent by 2023 compared to 2013 figures."</p><p>The region's petrochemical expansion will require an estimated 583 billion gallons of freshwater and 380 million tons of sand. </p><p>When it comes to the petrochemical expansion, at least in Pennsylvania communities, "people still don't understand what's happening," Fetting said. </p><p>But that's starting to change. </p><p>"When people see they're turning our region into another cancer alley, it makes people sit up and say 'what have we done?' 'What are we doing'?"</p><p>Shell did not return requests for comment on the new report. </p>
A new study found levels of the widespread herbicide and its breakdown products reduced, on average, more than 70 percent in both adults and children after just six days of eating organic.
"Many of the chemical profiles that we see in cetaceans are similar to the types of chemical profiles that we see in humans who live in those coastal areas."
A new study found that animals known to carry harmful diseases such as the novel coronavirus are more common in landscapes intensively used by people.