chemicals

Bart Everson / Creative Commons

Exposure to lead and lead poisoning is a bigger problem in Connecticut than previously thought, and could be a factor in the achievement gap between white and minority kids in the state. 

The pharmaceutical company Pfizer said Friday it will move to prevent its drugs from being used in lethal injections.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

As Schuyler Thomson lead a group of paddlers down the Housatonic River in northwest Connecticut, he squinted through the morning sunlight on the water. 

Tony Bacewicz / C-HIT

Nearly 60,000 Connecticut children under age six were reported with lead exposure in 2013, and an additional 2,275 children had high enough levels of the toxin in their blood to be considered poisoned.

"I will not rest, and I'm going to make sure that the leaders at every level of government don't rest until every drop of water that flows to your homes is safe to drink, and safe to cook with, and safe to bathe in," President Obama told an energetic audience in Flint, Mich. "Because that's part of the basic responsibilities of a government in the United States of America."

Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

The CEO of General Electric has broken his silence over the company’s dispute with the Federal Environmental Protection Agency. 

It's been called "perhaps the most contentious issue in the food industry": Should food products be labeled to indicate they contain genetically modified ingredients?

Connecticut Senate Democrats / Creative Commons

The sponsor of a Maine bill designed to make it easier to label foods made with the use of genetically modified organisms says she'll push for a public vote.

A plume of toxic chemicals has been spreading slowly underground near the former Northrop Grumman plant in Bethpage, N.Y., for 60 years. It was formed by a chemical that the defense contractor used to build fighter jets for the U.S. Navy.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday that the state began testing ground water in Massapequa, which sits in the plume’s path between the old plant and the ocean, to see if and when the plume might pose a danger to people who live nearby.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Hartford school officials have decided to tear down Clark Elementary School because of extensive PCB contamination. The district had planned on renovating the school, but after discovering the extent of the problem, that option has been taken off the table.

U.S. Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut said he’ll propose a bill that would pay to remove lead from homes and businesses.

Murphy says a tax credit would lower the chances of lead poisoning in Connecticut. In the northeast, lead was commonly used in for paint and pipes in houses built before 1950. The Connecticut Department of Public Health says about 15 percent of buildings in the state might still have lead in their paint or pipes.

In Flint, Mich., families are using bottled water to do everything — from cooking to bathing.

The tap water is still unsafe to drink after government officials allowed corroded lead pipes to poison the water.

People in Flint have lots of questions for those officials. Perhaps the biggest is the one Hattie Collins has.

"When are you gonna fix it? And I mean fix it right," she says.

Creative Commons

The recent water crisis in Flint, Michigan has spurred national and local outrage as allegations arise of environmental racism against lower income and black communities. A public health advocate said there needs to be more collaboration among federal, state, and local agencies to resolve the problem.

Water contamination in Flint, Mich, — where the city switched water sources, causing pipe corrosion and ultimately filling the city's water supply with high levels of lead — has prompted President Obama to declare a state of emergency.

The move, which was requested by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, means FEMA is authorized to provide equipment and resources to the people affected. Federal funding will help cover the cost of providing water, water filters and other items.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

A U.S. senator from Connecticut is calling for more oversight of managing toxic polychlorinated biphenyls in public schools. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Hartford’s school board and city officials filed suit on Friday against Monsanto, seeking the multinational corporation's payment to remove toxic PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, from Clark Elementary School.

General Electric says it has completed its sixth and final year of dredging sediment contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls from the upper Hudson River.

Sarah Craig/Faces of Fracking / Creative Commons

Coventry has become the second town in Connecticut to pass an ordinance banning fracking waste from natural gas or oil drilling and extraction. The town of Washington passed a ban earlier this year.

University of Liverpool Faculty of Health & Life Sciences / flickr creative commons

Yale professor Paul Anastas says it isn't enough to know that environmental chemicals are making us fat and sick. Anastas directs a department that is working on redesigning chemicals in our food and many products we rely on so that they do not threaten our health.

metroforensics.blogspot.com

There's a synthetic chemical that's virtually everywhere. Scientists have found it in the blood of polar bears, thousands of miles from any known possible source. It’s found in fish throughout the world. It’s found in old caulk, fluorescent light ballasts, electrical transformers, mining equipment, and even carbonless copy paper.

Photo courtesy of Page Technologies

The cities of New Haven and Waterbury and the Connecticut Department of Housing are receiving federal funds to help combat poisoning from lead-based paint in housing.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

For nearly three decades across the U.S., toxic polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, were widely used in school construction and renovation work. A WNPR investigation has found that two-thirds of schools in Connecticut could be contaminated.

Despite a 1979 ban on PCBs -- a synthetic chemical -- and their classification as a known human carcinogen by the World Health Organization, there’s no state or federal law that requires testing for the presence of PCBs in schools.

Pesticide Drift Threatens Organic Farms

Jul 31, 2015

Chert Hollow Farm sits nestled between rows of tall trees and a nearby stream in central Missouri. Eric and Joanna Reuter have been running the organic farm since 2006. That means they don't plant genetically modified crops and can only use a few approved kinds of chemicals and fertilizers.

"We've traditionally raised about an acre and a half of pretty intensively managed produce, so it's a very productive acre and a half," Eric Reuter says.

The argument over genetically modified food has been dominated, in recent years, by a debate over food labels — specifically, whether those labels should reveal the presence of GMOs.

The battle, until now, has gone state by state. California refused to pass a labeling initiative, but Maine, Connecticut and Vermont have now passed laws in favor of GMO labeling.

Subway to Remove Artificial Ingredients by 2017

Jun 5, 2015
Thomas Hawk / Creative Commons

Fast food sandwich chain Subway announced yesterday that it will join a growing number of companies dropping artificial ingredients from their products. The chain, based in Milford, Connecticut, plans to rework its menu to remove artificial dyes and preservatives by 2017.

Federal health officials Monday changed the recommended amount of fluoride in drinking water for the first time since 1962, cutting by almost half the maximum amount of fluoride that should be added to drinking supplies.

The Department of Health and Human Services recommended 0.7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water instead of the long-standing range of 0.7 to 1.2 milligrams.

Barbara Wells / Creative Commons

Nearly 25 percent of the state’s population gets its drinking water from a private well. Now the state is calling on residents who own those wells to test them regularly. 

Fast food giant McDonald's announced Wednesday it will begin sourcing chickens raised without antibiotics.

Over the next two years, the chain says its U.S. restaurants — which number around 14,000 — will transition to the new antibiotics policy, which prohibits suppliers from using antibiotics critical to treating human illness.

Peg / Creative Commons

Connecticut's Department of Public Health is providing free private well testing for a limited number of homeowners.

d o w n s t r e a m / Flickr Creative Commons

Members of Congress, including three from Connecticut, have signed a letter urging the Environmental Protection Agency to better regulate a controversial class of pesticide called neonicotinoids.

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