Three students from Washington DC, Bria Snell, India Skinner and Mikayla Sharrieff, collectively known as S3 Trio, have been named as the only East Coast finalists in the NASA “OPSPARC” Challenge for coming up with an innovative way of cleaning up lead-contaminated drinking water. ¬†
S3 Trio¬†at Work
The all-female team identified that water from public school fountains often contained impurities, putting the health of students at risk. ¬†
‚ÄúOur product will purify public school systems’ water by detecting impurities such as chlorine, copper, and bromine.‚ÄĚ¬†~ S3 Trio¬†
The dynamic 11th graders opted for a community project, working on the serious health issues posed …
The Goldman Environmental Prize is awarded to a small handful of people from around the world in recognition of their grassroots environmental activism. ¬†
Selected by an international jury, this year‚Äôs seven winners came from places as diverse as Vietnam, Colombia, South Africa‚Ä¶and Flint, Michigan. ¬†
A Short History of Environmental Heroism
Just after Flint officials notoriously switched the city water source in April 2014 to save money, LeeAnne Walters started to become concerned that the water she and her four children were drinking was harmful.
She was, of course, right, but proving it was a struggle. ¬†State authorities didn‚Äôt want to listen and LeeAnne worked tirelessly with the EPA and Marc Edwards, …
Back in 2016, French multinational corporation Saint-Gobain ‚Äėfessed up to releasing carcinogenic chemicals from its premises in Merrimack, New Hampshire, causing private wells in the area to become contaminated though the local groundwater. ¬†
Bottled Water Hand-Out
Following the spill, bottled water was provided to residents with a private well within a one-mile radius of the plant, which meant supplying around 400 properties with bottled water. ¬†
The state gave Saint-Gobain strict deadlines to fix the problem, requiring the 350-year old corporation to conceive, design and install a water treatment solution to clean up the contamination.
A Satisfactory Solution?
Flash forward to March 2018, and state officials have reached ‚Äúa monumental agreement‚ÄĚ¬†to ensure …
Look, don‚Äôt shoot the messenger, but there‚Äôs something else to worry about in America‚Äôs water. ¬†
Bosses at coal-burning power plants country-wide are required to file reports with the Environmental Protection Agency this month, looking into the toxins that are being released into groundwater from vast, unlined “ponds” containing coal ash and debris.
“Coal ash ponds need to be addressed as potential environmental and human health issues.”
~ Avner Vengosh,¬†Professor¬†of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Duke University
Coal Ash Court Cases
130 million tons of coal ash is produced each year. ¬†Arsenic, Chromium-6, mercury and radium are just a few of the dangerous substances potentially leaching into the water supply. ¬†…
America‚Äôs Water Infrastructure Report Card for 2017 is in and it‚Äôs fair to say that there‚Äôs room for improvement.¬†It‚Äôs not exactly new news to talk about the state of America‚Äôs pipelines and how millions of Americans are drinking water that might be harmful to their health, but the report card highlights another aspect of the problem ‚Äď the waste.
Many pipes were laid during the early-mid 20th century and have a lifespan of 75‚Äź100 years. ¬†There are an estimated 240,000 pipeline fractures every year and with an average annual repair rate of 0.5%, the repairs will take around 200 years to complete, by which time the pipelines will have been around …
Water is big news. ¬†Of course it is, it‚Äôs a massive part of our lives. ¬†We depend on it for life itself and yet we‚Äôre all guilty of wasting it from time to time. ¬†So how did we become so complacent …
The cancer-causing contaminant Chromium-6, brought to the public gaze by Erin Brockovich, is at levels exceeding public health goals in 50 states.
Millions of people are trying to find a workable solution to protect themselves and their families and to avoid drinking contaminated water. ¬†
What Reverse Osmosis Water Does to the Pipeline
A reverse osmosis water system is sometimes touted as a possible solution on both a domestic and municipal level. ¬†After all, it removes contaminants and that‚Äôs the goal, right?
Unfortunately, reverse osmosis is not a solution on either front. ¬†On a city-wide basis, aside from the prohibitive cost of building the plant, the stripped-back water ‚Äď though admittedly free of contaminants …
Posted by: Rhona Reid On February 1, 2018 12:00 pm
According to this report published in January by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), 173 million people – around half of all Americans – have been exposed to radiation in their drinking water. ¬†That means an increase in the possibility of developing certain types of cancer and can also have a detrimental effect on fetal development. ¬†
The “Erin Brockovich” Chemical
By studying 50,000 water systems countrywide, the EWG found that millions of people across 50 states are drinking water that contains¬†radioactive contaminants; including the most commonly-occurring radioactive element, radium.
In Texas ‚Äď one of the worst affected states – up to 80% of homes are supplied with water containing potentially dangerous levels …
Posted by: Rhona Reid On November 21, 2017 7:00 am
In 1990, the New England Journal of Medicine published the results of an 11-year study into the long term cognitive and neurobehavioral effects of lead exposure in children. ¬†
What Does Lead Do?
The children had been exposed to lead during their childhood, in some cases relatively low levels. ¬†132 test subjects were re-examined in 1988 and the following neurobehavioral traits were identified as being related to lead exposure during childhood:
Poorer hand/eye co-ordination
Slower reaction times
“No Safe Level of Lead”
Although some lead can be excreted by the body, children are more susceptible to long term effects from lead exposure, as their …
Posted by: Rhona Reid On November 14, 2017 7:00 am
America‚Äôs water system is undeniably in crisis.¬† The projected cost of fixing the miles of pipeline that criss-cross the country runs to $1 trillion, according to some estimates.¬† There‚Äôs no quick fix.
Next Generation ‚Äď New Hope
But where there is a future, there is always hope.¬† And where there is hope, there is a future.¬† Maybe the next generation will come up with some answers, determined to put right what is broken and unsustainable.¬† This possibility has been highlighted by eleven-year-old Gitanjali Rao, winner of America’s top young scientist award.
Horrified by the news of lead contamination in the water of Flint, Michigan, Gitanjali quickly realized the …