water pollution http://michiganradio.org en One congressman has kept us in the dark about the health risks of arsenic http://michiganradio.org/post/one-congressman-has-kept-us-dark-about-health-risks-arsenic <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Arsenic occurs naturally, and Michigan is one of a handful of states with unusually high arsenic concentrations in groundwater.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Arsenic was also used in insecticides for many years and it's still being used in some weed killers.</span></p><p>David Heath is a senior reporter at the Center for Public Integrity, and <a href="http://www.publicintegrity.org/2014/06/28/15000/how-politics-derailed-epa-science-arsenic-endangering-public-health">he investigated</a> why a health assessment on arsenic from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been delayed.</p><p><strong style="line-height: 1.5;">Why does this health assessment matter?</strong></p><p>Heath said when the EPA first wants to determine how dangerous a toxic chemical is, they first do the science. These assessments can take a long time and the arsenic assessment has been going on for more than a decade.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">"It's not until they have done the science to figure out exactly how dangerous a chemical is that they can really take action on it," Heath said. "So it really does come down to 'this is how they protect your health.'"</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A single member of Congress, Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, was able to intentionally delay the EPA's health assessment for years.</span></p><p> Fri, 04 Jul 2014 12:30:00 +0000 Rebecca Williams 18159 at http://michiganradio.org One congressman has kept us in the dark about the health risks of arsenic These places in Michigan are still working on getting arsenic out of their drinking water http://michiganradio.org/post/these-places-michigan-are-still-working-getting-arsenic-out-their-drinking-water <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">There’s no way to tell if arsenic is in your water without testing it. Arsenic has no taste and no smell.</span></p><p>Certain parts of Michigan have higher than average levels of arsenic in groundwater. That’s especially true in the Thumb region and a few other counties in southeast Michigan. And that can be a problem if you’re on a private well.</p> Thu, 03 Jul 2014 12:30:00 +0000 Rebecca Williams 18173 at http://michiganradio.org These places in Michigan are still working on getting arsenic out of their drinking water Politics, profits delay action on arsenic in drinking water http://michiganradio.org/post/politics-profits-delay-action-arsenic-drinking-water <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Arsenic is nearly synonymous with poison. But most people don't realize that they consume small amounts of it in the food they eat and the water they drink.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Recent research suggests even small levels of arsenic may be harmful. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been prepared to say since 2008 that arsenic is 17 times more toxic as a carcinogen than the agency now reports.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Women are especially vulnerable.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">EPA scientists have concluded that if 100,000 women consumed the legal limit of arsenic each day, 730 of them eventually would get lung or bladder cancer.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The EPA, however, hasn’t been able to make its findings official, an action that could trigger stricter drinking water standards. The roadblock: a single paragraph inserted into a committee report by a member of Congress, an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity found.</span></p><p> Wed, 02 Jul 2014 14:33:00 +0000 David Heath 18220 at http://michiganradio.org Politics, profits delay action on arsenic in drinking water There's arsenic in Michigan's well water, but not a lot of people are talking about it http://michiganradio.org/post/theres-arsenic-michigans-well-water-not-lot-people-are-talking-about-it <p>Parts of southeast Michigan – especially in the Thumb – have higher than average levels of arsenic in the groundwater.</p><p>Arsenic can cause cancer. It’s been linked to bladder, lung and kidney cancer, and other serious health effects.</p><p><span id="docs-internal-guid-e14e77a3-d979-2790-28f6-af073b4e125b">If you’re on city water, there’s a federal regulation that limits the amount of arsenic in it, but if you’re on a private well, it’s up to you to find out whether there’s too much arsenic in your water.</span></p><p> Wed, 02 Jul 2014 12:30:00 +0000 Rebecca Williams 18169 at http://michiganradio.org There's arsenic in Michigan's well water, but not a lot of people are talking about it Michigan’s arsenic problem is among the worst in the nation. Here’s why that matters. http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-s-arsenic-problem-among-worst-nation-here-s-why-matters <p><span style="font-family: Calibri; font-size: 15px; line-height: 1.1500000000000001; white-space: pre-wrap; background-color: transparent;">If you’re on city water, your drinking water has to comply with a federal regulation that limits the amount of arsenic in it, but if you’re on a private well, the&nbsp;federal and state governments do not limit the amount of arsenic in your well.</span></p> Tue, 01 Jul 2014 12:00:00 +0000 Rebecca Williams 18160 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan’s arsenic problem is among the worst in the nation. Here’s why that matters. Interview: High levels of arsenic could be in your well water http://michiganradio.org/post/interview-high-levels-arsenic-could-be-your-well-water <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Arsenic is a deadly poison, and there are people in Michigan getting arsenic at levels high above federal standards every time they drink the water coming from their taps.</span></p><p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Michigan Radio's "The Environment Report" is presenting a five-part series this week called "Michigan's Silent Poison," in partnership with The Center for Public Integrity and the public radio show&nbsp;"Reveal."</span></p><p>The Environment Report’s Rebecca Williams spoke on Stateside today, along with David Heath from the Center for Public Integrity.</p><p>“No organ system goes untouched by arsenic,” Williams said.</p><p>Extremely high doses of arsenic can kill you. Smaller doses have been linked to lung, bladder, skin, prostate, and liver cancers. You can also get arsenic poisoning with symptoms such as nausea, headaches, gastrointestinal pains, vomiting, and diarrhea.</p><p>Arsenic can be found in rice, apple juice, beer and wine, and drinking water. The levels are exceptionally high in private wells at people's homes, mostly in the thumb region of Michigan.</p><p> Mon, 30 Jun 2014 21:16:49 +0000 Stateside Staff 18204 at http://michiganradio.org Interview: High levels of arsenic could be in your well water Here's how to test and treat your drinking water well for arsenic http://michiganradio.org/post/heres-how-test-and-treat-your-drinking-water-well-arsenic <p>In some parts of the U.S., arsenic in the groundwater is just a natural part of the geology. Michigan is one of several states where elevated levels of arsenic in ground water can be found.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">This map shows the counties where these elevated levels have been found, but experts caution, elevated arsenic levels in well water can be found just about </span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">anywhere&nbsp;</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">in Michigan:</span></p><p></p><p>There was a big push to educate people about the dangers of arsenic poisoning around a decade ago, but in some places in Michigan, people still don't know much about it.</p><p>And in some other cases, people know about it, but choose to ignore it, for one reason or another.</p><p> Mon, 30 Jun 2014 13:00:00 +0000 Mark Brush 18099 at http://michiganradio.org Here's how to test and treat your drinking water well for arsenic You pay about a penny per gallon of gas to clean up pollution, but is that money spent well? http://michiganradio.org/post/you-pay-about-penny-gallon-gas-clean-pollution-money-spent-well <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Every time you fill up, you pay seven-eighths of a cent per gallon of gas for a “regulatory fee” that was originally set up to help clean up the thousands of old underground storage tanks in Michigan.</span></p><p>Those pennies you pay at the pump add up to a $50 million pot of money each year.</p><p>It’s called the Refined Petroleum Fund. The fund worked initially. The money helped remove tens of thousands of old underground storage tanks in Michigan. When those old tanks leak, they can pollute the soil and ruin nearby water sources.</p> Thu, 10 Apr 2014 18:57:21 +0000 Mark Brush 17193 at http://michiganradio.org You pay about a penny per gallon of gas to clean up pollution, but is that money spent well? More action needed to clean up Lake Erie, says international agency http://michiganradio.org/post/more-action-needed-clean-lake-erie-says-international-agency <p>Massive algae blooms and dead zones in Lake Erie: T<span style="line-height: 1.5;">hese used to be major environmental problems around the most urbanized Great Lake back in the '</span>60s<span style="line-height: 1.5;"> and '</span>70s<span style="line-height: 1.5;">, but they are problems once again.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Now, an international agency that keeps an eye on the health of the Great Lakes is calling for more action.</span></p> Thu, 27 Feb 2014 17:43:42 +0000 Mark Brush 16640 at http://michiganradio.org More action needed to clean up Lake Erie, says international agency White Lake could become Michigan’s first to come off U.S-Canada list of pollution hot spots http://michiganradio.org/post/white-lake-could-become-michigan-s-first-come-us-canada-list-pollution-hot-spots <p>An inland lake north of Muskegon is expected to reach a major milestone this year. Officials anticipate White Lake will be removed from a list of the most-polluted places surrounding the Great Lakes this year.</p><p><a href="http://www.epa.gov/glnpo/aoc/whitelake/index.html">According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency</a>, most of the pollution in White Lake was caused by a chemical company that dumped waste into the water.</p> Mon, 27 Jan 2014 15:46:40 +0000 Lindsey Smith 16187 at http://michiganradio.org White Lake could become Michigan’s first to come off U.S-Canada list of pollution hot spots Can sewage treatment plants protect fish from the chemicals in the water? http://michiganradio.org/post/can-sewage-treatment-plants-protect-fish-chemicals-water <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">S</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">o you know the saying, right? </span><span style="line-height: 1.5;"><em>Stuff </em>flows downhill?&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Myron Erickson knows a lot about that "stuff."</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">He heads up the sewage treatment plant that sits along the Grand River in Wyoming, Michigan (right next to Grand Rapids).</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The screening room is where they take out the "grit." Erickson calls them "knick knacks."</span></p> Thu, 16 Jan 2014 14:38:51 +0000 Mark Brush 16047 at http://michiganradio.org Can sewage treatment plants protect fish from the chemicals in the water? What should we do about the trace chemicals found in drinking water? http://michiganradio.org/post/what-should-we-do-about-trace-chemicals-found-drinking-water <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Before I talk about the small bits of chemicals often found in drinking water, I want to direct some attention to the national water contamination story going on now because I think it reveals something.</span></p><p><strong>The water is bad in West Virginia</strong></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The nation has its eyes on a nine-county area in West Virginia that’s under a state of emergency.&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">A coal-processing chemical leaked into a river and poisoned the drinking water there. Cleanup is ongoing. As they attempt to flush the chemical out of their drinking water systems, officials are trying to determine what level of the chemical is safe.</span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Ken Ward&nbsp;Jr. of the <a href="http://www.wvgazette.com/News/201401130090">West Virgina Gazette reports </a>that local and federal officials are saying that "1 part per million" of &nbsp;crude 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol&nbsp;(the coal processing chemical) is safe for people to drink. </span></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">But Ward is having a tough time finding out what they based that number on:</span></p><p> Tue, 14 Jan 2014 14:05:15 +0000 Mark Brush 16004 at http://michiganradio.org What should we do about the trace chemicals found in drinking water? Michigan health officials release report on impacts of Enbridge oil spill http://michiganradio.org/post/michigan-health-officials-release-report-impacts-enbridge-oil-spill <p><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small; line-height: normal;">The Michigan Department of Community Health released its public&nbsp;health assessment of the waters and fish affected by the 2010 Enbridge&nbsp;oil spill.</span></p><p><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small; line-height: normal;">You can read their report <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdch/Enbridge_Surface_Water_and_Fish_PHA_435112_7.pdf">here</a>.</span></p><p>They conclude the spill is &quot;not harmful to health&quot;:</p><blockquote><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;">MDCH has concluded that no long-term harm to people&rsquo;s health is expected from contact with chemicals in the surface water during recreational activities, such as wading, swimming, or canoeing. However, contact with oil sheen and globules in the river may cause temporary effects, such as skin irritation.</span></p><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;">Fish from the Kalamazoo River and Morrow Lake were tested for oil-related chemicals, as well as chemicals that were previously found in fish there. Fish from areas impacted by the oil spill, including Ceresco Impoundment and Morrow Lake, had similar levels of oil-related chemicals as fish caught in Marshall Pond (upstream of the spill). All oil-related chemical levels were very low. Mercury and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) levels were similar to levels measured in fish caught before the oil spill.</span></p></blockquote><p style="font-family: arial, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-family: arial, helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: small;">The MDCH has released previous reports on the oil spill&#39;s effects on <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdch/Enbridge_drinking_water_PHA_FINAL_413797_7.pdf">drinking water wells</a>, and on the <a href="http://www.michigan.gov/documents/mdch/Enbridge_Sediment__BLUE_FINAL_5-23-2012_387874_7.pdf">effects of submerged oil in the sediments</a> of the Kalamazoo River.</span></p><p></p><p> Mon, 30 Sep 2013 17:39:17 +0000 Mark Brush 14644 at http://michiganradio.org Michigan health officials release report on impacts of Enbridge oil spill Study finds 32 different drugs in Lake Michigan http://michiganradio.org/post/study-finds-32-different-drugs-lake-michigan <p>We excrete these drugs or dump them down the drain, and they find their way into our water.</p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Pharmaceuticals and personal care products (</span>PPCPs<span style="line-height: 1.5;">) in rivers and lakes <a href="http://michiganradio.org/post/study-chemical-anti-bacterial-soap-turning-freshwater-lakes">have been documented before</a>, but this research finds levels in Lake Michigan that could have deleterious effects on the ecosystem.</span></p><p>Thirty-two different drugs were found - 14 of them were found at levels "of medium or high ecological risk."</p><p>The study was published in the journal <a href="http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0045653513010412">Chemosphere</a>:</p><blockquote><p><span style="color: rgb(46, 46, 46); font-family: 'Arial Unicode MS', 'Arial Unicode', Arial, 'URW Gothic L', Helvetica, Tahoma, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20px; text-align: justify; word-spacing: -1px;">The environmental risk of </span>PPCPs<span style="color: rgb(46, 46, 46); font-family: 'Arial Unicode MS', 'Arial Unicode', Arial, 'URW Gothic L', Helvetica, Tahoma, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20px; text-align: justify; word-spacing: -1px;"> in large lake systems, such as the Great Lakes, has been questioned due to high dilution; however, the concentrations found in this study, and their corresponding risk quotient, indicate a significant threat by </span>PPCPs<span style="color: rgb(46, 46, 46); font-family: 'Arial Unicode MS', 'Arial Unicode', Arial, 'URW Gothic L', Helvetica, Tahoma, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 20px; text-align: justify; word-spacing: -1px;"> to the health of the Great Lakes, particularly near shore organisms.</span></p></blockquote><p>Brian Bienkowski wrote about the study for <a href="http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2013/drugs-in-lake-michigan">Environmental Health News</a>. Of the 14 chemicals found in concentrations of concern, Bienkowski&nbsp;writes triclosan has been studied the most.</p><blockquote><p style="margin-right: 5px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 5px; padding-bottom: 10px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">...it has proven acutely&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15746894">toxic to algae</a>&nbsp;and can act as a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20821571">hormone disruptor in fish</a>.</p><p style="margin-right: 5px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 5px; padding-bottom: 10px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">“You’re not going to see fish die-offs [from pharmaceuticals] but subtle changes in how the fish eat and socialize that can have a big impact down the road,” said Kolpin, who did not participate in the study. “With behavior changes and endocrine disruption, reproduction and survival problems may not rear their ugly head for generations.”</p></blockquote><p style="margin-right: 5px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 5px; padding-bottom: 10px; font-family: Arial, Helvetica; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal;">The four most commonly found drugs were:</p><p> Fri, 06 Sep 2013 20:59:56 +0000 Mark Brush 14316 at http://michiganradio.org Study finds 32 different drugs in Lake Michigan Ann Arbor, facing water contamination, urges state to step up http://michiganradio.org/post/ann-arbor-facing-water-contamination-urges-state-step <p>As a plume of contaminated ground water keeps expanding in Ann Arbor, the city council wants the state to move faster to protect people from harmful exposure.</p><p>To be clear: Ann Arbor drinking water is safe.</p><p>But growing swaths of the city’s ground water is no longer a good idea to ingest (and again, the city is NOT getting their water from those areas,) thanks to chemical runoff from years ago.</p><p>That chemical compound is 1,4 dioxane and it seeped into ground water between the 1960's and 1980's when a manufacturer stored it in unlined lagoons.</p> Thu, 05 Sep 2013 17:37:01 +0000 Kate Wells 14285 at http://michiganradio.org Ann Arbor, facing water contamination, urges state to step up Hunting for plastic pollution in the Great Lakes http://michiganradio.org/post/hunting-plastic-pollution-great-lakes <p></p><p>A research expedition recently set sail from Chicago to search for a Great Lakes garbage patch.</p><p>So-called "garbage patches" or islands are actually collections of tiny plastic particles that are choking up regions of the world’s oceans. The expedition has been testing the waters of Lakes Huron and Michigan for a similar phenomenon.</p><p>I met up with expedition organizer Asta Mail at a marina in downtown Chicago. It’s a hot day, and a street vendor immediately offers us bottled water.</p><p>Mail points down at a plastic bottle in Lake Michigan. It’s pretty easy plastic hunting.</p><p> Thu, 29 Aug 2013 13:00:00 +0000 Lewis Wallace 14131 at http://michiganradio.org Hunting for plastic pollution in the Great Lakes Assessing the health of Michigan's rivers and inland waters http://michiganradio.org/post/assessing-health-michigans-rivers-and-inland-waters <p>It's been nearly a year since we launched <em>Stateside</em>, and we've put a lot of focus and attention on issues regarding our Great Lakes.</p><p>Today, we shifted our attention to another essential part of Michigan's water wonderland: our rivers and inland waters. How healthy are they? And what do we need to do as a state to preserve and protect them?</p><p>Laura Rubin, executive director of the Huron River Watershed Council of Southeast Michigan, joined us today.</p><p> Mon, 22 Jul 2013 21:54:11 +0000 Stateside Staff 13629 at http://michiganradio.org Assessing the health of Michigan's rivers and inland waters Stateside for Monday, July 22nd, 2013 http://michiganradio.org/post/stateside-monday-july-22nd-2013 <p>On this Monday, July <span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 17px;">22</span>, four days after Detroit made history by filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, we spent the first half of the show breaking things down and figuring out where things stand in the nation's largest municipal bankruptcy ever.</p><p>And, we looked at what needs to be done to preserve and protect Michigan's rivers and lakes.</p><p>But, back to Detroit and what we know right now. A judge in Lansing will take a week to sort through arguments on whether the state Constitution protects Detroit’s pension funds from losses if the city goes bankrupt.</p><p>Ingham County Circuit Judge Rosemary Aquilina says she will decide next Monday whether Detroit's bankruptcy filing violates the state Constitution, and its protections for pension benefits.</p><p>Assuming the Chapter 9 bankruptcy goes forward, Detroit will have to figure out how to reduce billions of dollars of debt. Creditors, of course, will push for the most money they can get, which means they're eyeing some of the city's most valuable and treasured assets.</p><p> Mon, 22 Jul 2013 21:50:15 +0000 Stateside Staff 13634 at http://michiganradio.org Stateside for Monday, July 22nd, 2013 Ford Airport proposes new system to prevent bacterial slime in nearby creek http://michiganradio.org/post/ford-airport-proposes-new-system-prevent-bacterial-slime-nearby-creek <p>The main airport in Grand Rapids is<a href="http://www.flygrandrapids.org/SWStudy.php"> proposing to build a new system </a>to prevent the buildup of a bacterial film in a nearby river. The system would be the first of its kind at airports in Michigan.</p><p>In the winter, airplanes across the state are sprayed down with a fluid to prevent the buildup of snow and ice.</p><p>At Gerald R. Ford International Airport, roughly a third of that de-icing fluid makes its way into a small creek nearby. Bacteria in the creek can easily break down the fluid but they create a smelly film in the process.</p><p>The state considers the bio-slime a nuisance, not a human health risk. But it does deplete the oxygen, choking out aquatic life.</p><p> Tue, 18 Jun 2013 13:07:40 +0000 Lindsey Smith 13100 at http://michiganradio.org Ford Airport proposes new system to prevent bacterial slime in nearby creek Stateside for Thursday, May 16th, 2013 http://michiganradio.org/post/stateside-thursday-may-16th-2013 <p>Democrats in the state House have introduced a range of measures addressing women's health in Michigan. We talked to a state Representative about why she thinks it is time government gets involved in female health.</p><p>And, a fight over American Indian-themed school mascots could result in a $3 million budget cut for the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.</p><p>And, the Community Chorus of Detroit has been working hard on its mission to build and strengthen ties is Southeastern Michigan through song.</p><p>Also, the former bomber plant in Willow Run could become the new home of the Yankee Air Museum.</p><p>And, as prom-season is upon us, Michigan singer/songwriter Allison Downey of The Living Room brought us her memory of the big dance, a prom night that didn't quite go to plan.</p><p>First on today’s show, a subject that most of us would just as soon not spend much time thinking about but it is crucial to our health and well-being: septic fields.</p><p>Writer Jeff Alexander took a closer look at failed septic fields and the ways they're polluting our precious water, and his reporting is in the current issue of Bridge Magazine.</p><p>Jeff joined us from Grand Haven to discuss the issue. Thu, 16 May 2013 21:35:32 +0000 Stateside Staff 12609 at http://michiganradio.org Stateside for Thursday, May 16th, 2013