After the fire: Blazes pose hidden threat to the West’s drinking water

photo: Tubbs wildfire destroyed homes, may release chemical contaminants

Photo: The ruins of houses destroyed by the Tubbs Fire on Oct. 14, 2017 in Santa Rosa, California. David McNew / Getty Images file

At least 65 percent of the public water supply in the Western U.S. comes from fire-prone areas, and wildfires can taint water with toxins and parasites.

Gerald and Serene Buhrz were among the lucky ones.

When they fled their home at 2:00 a.m. on Oct. 8, … [more…]

Most Bottled Water Contaminated With Microplastics

Most Bottled Water Contaminated With Microplastics

Plastic has become an incredibly harmful convenience, now threatening environmental and human health alike, and in more ways than one. With Earth Day being tomorrow [April 2018], there is no better time to analyze the impact bottled water has had on our planet. There’s the issue of bulk plastics in our landfills, where it will remain indefinitely since most plastic does not biodegrade, and microplastics — microscopic pieces of degraded … [more…]

Duke Study: Rivers Contaminated With Radium and Lead From Thousands of Fracking Wastewater Spills

photo: polluting industries on the banks of rivers

Bakken Oil and Gas in Williston, North Dakota on the Missouri River. Photo Credit: EcoFlight

Thousands of oil and gas industry wastewater spills in North Dakota have caused “widespread” contamination from radioactive materials, heavy metals and corrosive salts, putting the health of people and wildlife at risk, researchers from Duke University concluded in a newly released peer-reviewed study.

Some rivers and streams in North Dakota now carry levels of radioactive … [more…]

At some Detroit schools, toxins in water reached excessive levels

photo: hydration stations in Detroit schools. At some Detroit schools, toxins in water reached excessive levels

DPSCD has been using water stations and bottled water while the district determines a permanent means to deliver safe, clean water to students. (Photo: Clarence Tabb Jr., The Detroit News)

As Detroit’s school district develops plans to make drinking water safe inside its buildings, a review of testing data shows one school had more than 54 times the allowable amount of lead under federal law while another exceeded the regulated

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Water-Filter Pitchers Not Equally Effective at Removing Microcystins

Water-Filter Pitchers Not Equally Effective at Removing Microcystins

Photo: Dr. Chaffin in the lab. (Credit: Ohio Sea Grant, Stone Laboratory, https://ohioseagrant.osu.edu/news/2018/7a1my/water-quality-safe.)

Harmful algal blooms (HABs) and the toxins they produce, threaten drinking water safety worldwide, and here in the US, we are becoming more aware of the issue as HABs are reported across the country. Microcystins, the most common toxins arising from HABs, can put animals and humans at risk. Human reactions to microcystins include mild skin rash,

[more…]