Unsafe levels of toxic chemicals found in drinking water of 33 states

first_imgLevels of a widely used class of industrial chemicals linked with cancer and other health problems — polyfluoroalkyl and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) — exceed federally recommended safety levels in public drinking-water supplies for 6 million people in the United States, according to a new study led by researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS).The study was published Aug. 9 in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters.“For many years, chemicals with unknown toxicities, such as PFASs, were allowed to be used and released to the environment, and we now have to face the severe consequences,” said lead author Xindi Hu, a doctoral student in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard Chan School, Environmental Science and Engineering at SEAS, and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. “In addition, the actual number of people exposed may be even higher than our study found, because government data for levels of these compounds in drinking water is lacking for almost a third of the U.S. population — about 100 million people.”PFASs have been used over the past 60 years in industrial and commercial products ranging from food wrappers to clothing to pots and pans. They have been linked with cancer, hormone disruption, high cholesterol, and obesity. Although several major manufacturers have discontinued the use of some PFASs, the chemicals continue to persist in people and wildlife. Drinking water is one of the main routes through which people can be exposed.The researchers looked at concentrations of six types of PFASs in drinking-water supplies, using data from more than 36,000 water samples collected nationwide by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from 2013 to 2015. They also looked at industrial sites that manufacture or use PFASs; at military fire-training sites and civilian airports where firefighting foam containing PFASs is used; and at wastewater-treatment plants. Discharges from these plants — which are unable to remove PFASs from wastewater by standard treatment methods — could contaminate groundwater. So could the sludge the plants generate, which is frequently used as fertilizer.The study found that PFASs were detectable at the minimum reporting levels required by the EPA in 194 out of 4,864 water supplies in 33 states across the United States. Drinking water from 13 states accounted for 75 percent of the detections: California, New Jersey, North Carolina, Alabama, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Georgia, Minnesota, Arizona, Massachusetts, and Illinois, in order of frequency of detection.This map is based on data from the EPA. Areas highlighted in blue indicate zip codes where PFASs were detected in one or more water samples from 2013 to 2015 that were at or above the minimum reporting levels required by the EPA. Zip codes that are elevated in PFASs do not represent all drinking water sources in that region. Individuals concerned about their drinking water should consult with their local water suppliers. More detailed maps based on the EPA data are available from the Environmental Working Group.Sixty-six of the public water supplies examined, serving six million people, had at least one water sample that measured at or above the EPA safety limit of 70 parts per trillion (ng/L) for two types of PFASs, perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Concentrations in some locations ranged as high as 349 ng/L for PFOA and 1,800 ng/L for PFOS.The highest levels of PFASs were detected in watersheds near industrial sites, military bases, and wastewater treatment plants — all places where these chemicals may be used or found.“These compounds are potent immunotoxicants in children and recent work suggests drinking-water safety levels should be much lower than the provisional guidelines established by EPA,” said Elsie Sunderland, senior author of the study and associate professor at both the Harvard Chan School and SEAS.Other Harvard Chan authors of the study included Philippe Grandjean and Courtney Carignan. Funding for the study came from the Smith Family Foundation and a private donor.From the authors of the study: We have mapped watersheds in the United States that have potentially high concentrations of PFASs based on U.S. EPA data. This does not mean that all drinking water supplies within the highlighted regions contain high PFAS concentrations, but that at least one sample from at least one water supply was reported to be at or above levels considered safe by the U.S. EPA between 2013 and 2015. However, no measurements have been made in many water supplies across the country. We recommend increased monitoring of these contaminants in our drinking water. For more information, please contact the EPA: Cathy Milbourn, [email protected], or Monica Lee, [email protected] PFASs and reduced immune responseAnother Harvard Chan School study, led by Grandjean, adjunct professor of environmental health, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, also suggested negative health impacts of PFAS exposure. That study looked at a group of about 600 adolescents from the Faroe Islands, an island country off the coast of Denmark. Those exposed to PFASs at a young age had lower-than-expected levels of antibodies against diphtheria and tetanus, for which they had been immunized. The findings suggested that PFASs, which are known to interfere with immune function, may be involved in reducing the effectiveness of vaccines in children.Savelast_img read more

Neli Casares-Maher’s quiet leadership and return from injury boosts Syracuse’s lineup

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ In the top of the eighth inning against Louisville on March 17, Head Coach Shannon Doepking challenged her shortstop, Neli Casares-Maher.“Do you want this at-bat?” Doepking asked after walking up to her.Casares-Maher accepted: “I want it.”Before that interaction, Doepking said she would sub the shortstop out in extra innings with the Cardinals and Orange tied at two. At the time, Casares-Maher was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts. But Doepking listened to the sophomore, who stepped into the box and hit the fourth pitch off the left field wall for a leadoff double. Hannah Dossett doubled in Caseras-Maher later in the inning and the Orange won 4-2.Casares-Maher is one of the quieter players in the Syracuse locker room, multiple players said, but those three words — “I want it” — represent her “lead by example” attitude toward softball.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe shortshop has missed 14 games in 2019, and Syracuse has scrambled its defense and lineup to replace her. Within a week of her return to the middle of SU’s lineup on April 19, Casares-Maher hit two home runs in a win over Binghamton last Tuesday. The Orange’s offense scored just nine runs in the four games prior to her return, but has rebounded to average more than six runs per game with the shortstop.Amy Nakamura | Senior Design Editor“She doesn’t say much,” Doepking said on March 20. “It’s hard to get her kind of get a read on where she’s at. Somebody with her caliber of athleticism, she’s super competitive … she’s uber-talented.”At a national softball tournament two weeks before coming to Syracuse, Casares-Maher collided with three other players in the infield and broke her foot.It was the first of multiple injuries that would set Casares-Maher back. In her freshman year at SU, she missed 19 games from a strained quad. Entering 2019, Casares-Maher played the first 26 games of the season before straining her calf against Boston College on March 23.Growing up in Orange, California, no one in her family played softball. Her closest older sibling, 28-year-old Tiffany, played soccer. Casares-Maher tried to join in, but soccer wasn’t for her — Casares-Maher preferred softball. Her parents didn’t know much about softball, but they signed her up for a co-ed league, and Casares-Maher started when she was five years old.“This little quiet girl who idolized her older siblings wanted to have her own identity,” her mother Sharon said.Unlike central New York, where former SU head coach Mike Bosch once said there are about “three good months” of softball, California regards softball as a year-round sport. Her tee ball team practiced once a week, but Casares-Maher constantly asked her parents to go to the field and practice. Her parents would spend time in the outfield, shagging balls as Casares-Maher hit them.Casares-Maher attended Mater Dei High School in California, a few miles from her home. As a freshman, Sharon said that Casares-Maher was under five feet tall. She was “skinny, tiny, little,” yet she finished high school with a .460 batting average.When the time came to find a college, Casares-Maher looked at schools exclusively on the east coast.“I wanted a new experience,” Casares-Maher said. “Coming here to this program brought something completely new, but there aren’t that many big adjustments.”Before coming to Syracuse, Casares-Maher and her mother, father, step-father and sister rented an RV to drive across the country. After dropping Casares-Maher off at SU, they planned to spend multiple weeks touring the country. Instead, they went straight home and Sharon cried the entire trip home.When Casares-Maher joined Syracuse alongside second baseman Gabby Teran, Syracuse started two freshman infielders. With Sammy Fernandez at shortstop, Casares-Maher spent most of her healthy time last season at third base. In 31 games last season, she hit .241 and had just six extra-base hits.Now under Doepking, in Casares-Maher’s second season, Casares-Maher has started 34 games, with a .284 average and a .930 OPS, second-highest of regular players. Only Alexis Kaiser has more home runs (6) than Casares-Maher’s five.“I’m not sure we’ve done anything,” Doepking said of how SU improved Casares-Maher. “You’ve just been able to see what she is capable of doing when she’s healthy.”When Casares-Maher missed 19 games this season, senior Alicia Hansen slotted in at shortstop. Now that Casares-Maher is healthy, she’s reclaimed her spot in the middle of the infield.Said Hansen: “Neli is hands down the best infielder I have ever seen in my life.” Comments Published on April 29, 2019 at 9:55 pm Contact Anthony: [email protected]last_img read more