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Category Archives: Energy

CDC investigation: Blood lead levels higher after switch to Flint River water

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today released the results of its investigation into the potential health impact that lead contamination in the Flint, Michigan water supply had on the blood lead levels of local children.  The findings indicate that when the source of the water supply was switched to the Flint River, without appropriate corrosion control measures, young children who drank the water had blood lead levels (BLLs) that were significantly higher than when the source of water was the Detroit water system. After the switch back to the Detroit water system, the percentage of children under 6 years with elevated blood lead levels returned to levels seen before the water switch took place. “This crisis was entirely preventable, and a startling reminder of the critical need to eliminate all sources of lead from our children’s environment,” said Patrick Breysse, Ph.D., director of CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health. “CDC is committed to continued support for the people of Flint through our Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention program and efforts to raise awareness and promote action to address the critical public health issue in communities across the country.” To understand the impact of consuming contaminated drinking water on children’s blood lead levels, CDC researchers examined data on levels of lead in blood of children younger than six years before, during, and after the switch in Flint’s water source. The current CDC blood lead level of concern (also known as a reference level) is 5 or more micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (≥5 µg/dL). This reference value is based on the population of children ages 1-5 years in the U.S. who are in the top 2.5% of children tested for lead in their blood. From April 25, 2014, to October 15, 2015 (the period when the Flint River was used for drinking water),  the levels of lead in Flint tap water increased over time and analysis of children’s blood lead data detected an increase in BLLs ≥5 µg/dL. The likelihood that a child consuming the water would have a blood lead level ≥5 µg/dL was nearly 50 percent higher after the switch to Flint River water. CDC continues to recommend that all children under age 6 living in the City of Flint have their blood tested for lead by a health care provider, particularly if they have not had a blood lead test since October 2015. All children with BLLs ≥5 µg/dL should receive evaluation and follow up, including a home assessment for sources of lead, and health and developmental assessments. The CDC study had limitations. Researchers were not able to account for all of the factors that might have contributed to a child’s exposure to lead, including whether lead-based paint was present in the child’s living environment. In addition, researchers did not have information on the amount of lead in or the amount of water consumed by the tested children, limiting the analysis to evaluation of changes in blood lead levels over time as the source water changed…”

Electronic Waste: DOD Is Recovering Materials, but Several Factors May Hinder Near-Term Expansion of These Efforts

DOD Is Recovering Materials, but Several Factors May Hinder Near-Term Expansion of These Efforts, GAO-16-576: Published: Jun 20, 2016. Publicly Released: Jun 20, 2016. “The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) processes tens of millions of pounds of Department of Defense (DOD) electronic waste annually and recovers some materials from this waste, including precious metals and one… Continue Reading

NASA Spots Single Methane Leak from Space

Via NASA Jet Propulsion Labs: “For the first time, an instrument onboard an orbiting spacecraft has measured the methane emissions from a single, specific leaking facility on Earth’s surface. The observation — by the Hyperion spectrometer on NASA’s Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) — is an important breakthrough in our ability to eventually measure and monitor emissions… Continue Reading

1,4 – Dioxane in Cape Fear River Basin of North Carolina: An Initial Screening and Source Identification Study

North Carolina Division of Water Resources. 2016. 1,4-dioxane in the Cape Fear River basin of North Carolina: An initial screening and source identification study. Raleigh, North Carolina: North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. “Abstract – 1,4-dioxane is an emerging contaminant of concern that is being monitored in drinking water throughout the United States as part… Continue Reading

Interior Supported $106B in Recreation, Conservation, Water and Renewable Energy Investments

News release: “U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today released the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Economic Report for Fiscal Year 2015. The report highlights that Interior investments in recreation, conservation, water and renewable energy led to $106 billion in economic output, and supported 862,000 jobs. Interior’s activities related to fossil fuel extraction and… Continue Reading

India was the third-largest energy consumer after China and the United States in 2013

EIA Report – “India was the third-largest energy consumer in the world after China and the United States in 2013, and its need for energy supply continues to climb as a result of the country’s dynamic economic growth and modernization over the past several years. India’s economy has grown at an average annual rate of… Continue Reading

Paper – Trust, tribalism and tweets: has political polarization made science a “wedge issue”?

Brian Helmuth, Tarik C. Gouhier, Steven Scyphers and Jennifer Mocarski – Climate Change Responses 2016 3:3 DOI: 10.1186/s40665-016-0018-z ©  Helmuth et al. 2016 Received: 5 February 2016 Accepted: 13 May 2016 Published: 30 May 2016 “Background – Political polarization remains a major obstacle to national action on global climate change in the United States Congress, and acceptance of anthropogenic drivers strongly differs between Republicans and Democrats. But… Continue Reading

First-ever standards to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector

“As a further step in the Obama Administration’s commitment to take action on climate change and protect public health, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing comprehensive steps to address methane emissions from both new and existing sources in the oil and gas sector.  For new, modified and reconstructed sources, EPA is finalizing a… Continue Reading

Unplanned global oil supply disruptions reach highest level since at least 2011

EIA: “Unplanned global oil supply disruptions averaged more than 3.6 million barrels per day (b/d) in May 2016, the highest monthly level recorded since EIA started tracking global disruptions in January 2011. From April to May, disruptions grew by 0.8 million b/d as increased outages, largely in Canada, Nigeria, Iraq, and Libya, more than offset… Continue Reading

Infographic: Four in Ten Electric Power Generation Establishments

“Statistics from the 2014 County Business Patterns indicate 43 percent of electric power generation establishments convert renewable energy. One of the visualizations shows a distribution of the electric power generation industries (such as nuclear and hydroelectric) by the number of establishments and the corresponding renewable/nonrenewable split (as classified by the Department of Energy.) Also included in this… Continue Reading

Toxic Crops and Zoonotic Disease: UNEP Identifies the Emerging Environmental Issues of Our Time

Via United Nations Environment Programme – “From the worrying rise in zoonotic diseases around the world to an examination of how climate change is increasing the toxicity of crops, a UNEP report out today seeks to highlight a number of the world’s key emerging environmental issues. UNEP’s Frontiers report identifies, highlights and offers solutions to… Continue Reading

Animation shows how the Earth has warmed up since 1850

Via World Economic Forum: “It is difficult to really visualize global warming, but a new animation vividly illustrates how much global temperatures have risen since 1850. Constructed using data from the UK’s Met Office, the animation shows global warming rapidly gathering pace in recent years. What’s different about it? Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at… Continue Reading