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The carcinogen often referred to as the "Erin Brockovich chemical" is present in about two-thirds of the drinking water across the country, according to water testing data from the Environmental Protection Agency.

When you shop for cleaning supplies, brightly colored bottles advertise stain-removing powers or "whiter whites." But it’s hard to get clear information about what the chemical ingredients could do to your health or the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency is hoping to change that.

Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

Cumberland, Rhode Island popped up on a list of cities and towns that have unsafe levels of the chemical perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA. It’s used to make Teflon. It turns out those levels have dropped significantly in the town over the past year.

President Obama is expected to sign a federal GMO labeling bill into law soon. This would nullify Vermont's labeling law, as well as laws passed by Connecticut and Maine that have not been enacted yet — effective immediately.

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday took the first step to pass legislation that would overturn Vermont's law that requires the labeling of food that contains genetically modified ingredients. The proposed federal bill would prohibit individual states from enacting their own GMO labeling standards.

Vermont’s so-called GMO Labeling Law will go into effect July 1. It requires manufacturers to label foods made with genetic engineering. It’s the first law of its kind in the nation, and it has started a trend.

Maine and Connecticut have passed similar laws, but only require labels if nearby states join the labeling bandwagon. New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island are also considering labeling legislation.

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President Obama just signed into law a new and long awaited Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Officially called the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, it’s expected to radically change how the federal government oversees thousands of chemicals used in products and in the workplace.

Vermont’s Attorney General Bill Sorrell said Tuesday that he has some concerns that new federal legislation will limit states’ rights to regulate chemicals within their borders.

Emily Corwin / NHPR

A new kind of water contamination has shown up all over the U.S., including New England.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, are known as one of the 12 most harmful organic chemicals in the world. But the material has been used in building construction for decades, and has become a complex problem affecting cities, schools, and individuals in many states.

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.

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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.

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