How PFAS Contaminated Our Water: “EPA Sat On Information About Its Dangers”

Source: Emerging Chemical Risks In Europe – ‘PFAS’, December 2019, European Environmental Agency

This is a follow-up to my previous post about the EPA sitting on risk reports it receives from chemical companies.

EPA Withheld Reports Of Substantial Risk Posed By 1,240 Chemicals, The Intercept, 1 November 2021

In 2019, The Intercept used the ChemView database to find 40 new PFAS compounds that had been the subject of 8(e) reports. Among the health effects listed in the animal studies the companies sent the agency were neurotoxicity; developmental toxicity; decreased conception; severe convulsions; bleeding in the lungs; tooth problems; post-natal loss; hair loss; depression of sperm function; abnormal development of skulls, ribs, and pelvises; and testicular, pancreatic, and kidney cancers. Despite the concerning reports, all 40 PFAS compounds were allowed onto the market and remain unregulated.

Last week, more than 15 years after DuPont submitted the first of those reports and more than five years after The Intercept first reported on them, the EPA took action on GenX using the 8(e) reports. On October 25, the agency released new toxicity assessments that found two closely related chemicals, both known as GenX, to be very toxic. The assessments were based largely on the information that DuPont sent the EPA in 8(e) reports years earlier. They also included information from a letter Chemours sent the EPA as an 8(e) report in March, which noted that approximately 80 percent of blood samples taken from workers at one of its plants outside the U.S. had tested positive for one of the two GenX compounds.

Yet in the years between the EPA’s receipt of the information about GenX’s toxicity and the assessment, the chemical was released into the drinking water of more than 1 million people in North Carolina. As happened with PFOA and many of the new PFAS compounds introduced after GenX, the chemical was allowed to contaminate the environment and harm countless people — all while the EPA sat on information about its dangers.

* 8(e) reports: These are reports companies must give the EPA which contain any evidence they possess that a chemical presents “a substantial risk of injury to health or the environment.”

Chemours told the EPA that they found toxic PFAS in people’s blood. Chemours ended their letter by reminding EPA that:

” … disclosure of the information is likely to cause substantial harm to the competitive position of my company.”

Not harm to the people exposed! Where does the EPA’s allegiance lie?

I’m telling you … PFAS are a problem. The EPA is not doing their job in preventing release. And once these chemicals are released into the environment, there’s no going back. “Forever Chemicals”

I will have more to say about this in later posts.

Proud Mary, Ike And Tina Turner, 1970

Ike & Tina Turner perform an excerpt of “Proud Mary” on The Ed Sullivan Show, 11 January 1970. It was a single from their 1970 album “Working Together.”

50 years ago. Half a century. The energy!

This is their original, longer version. It won them a Grammy Award.

“Proud Mary” was written by John Fogerty and first recorded by his band Creedence Clearwater Revival, released in Janaury 1969. It became a hit a couple months later. … In a 1969 interview, Fogerty said that he wrote it in the two days after he was discharged from the National Guard.

“Proud Mary’s” singer, a low-wage earner, leaves what he considers a “good job,” which he might define as steady work, even though for long hours under a dictatorial boss. He decides to follow his impulse and imagination and hitches a ride on a riverboat queen, bidding farewell to the city. Only when the boat pulls out does he see the “good side of the city”—which, for him, is one in the distance, far removed from his life. Down by the river and on the boat, the singer finds protection from “the man” and salvation from his working-class pains in the nurturing spirit and generosity of simple people who “are happy to give” even “if you have no money.” The river in Fogerty and traditionally in literature and song is a place holding biblical and epical implications. … Indeed, the river in “Proud Mary” offers not only escape but also rebirth to the singer.
– John Fogerty: An American Son, Thomas M. Kitts, 2015

Campbell’s Soup Cans, Andy Warhol, 1962

These were all the soups that Campbell made in 1962. (This image is a compilation of 32 separate art works by Warhol.)

I grew up with these. I liked many of them but I had a favorite. Did you? (Click to enlarge.)

Campbell’s Soup Cans, Andy Warhol, 1962, Museum of Mocern Art, New York

When asked why he chose to paint Campbell’s soup cans, Warhol offered a deadpan reply: “I used to have the same lunch every day, for twenty years, I guess, the same thing over and over again.” That daily meal is the subject of this work consisting of thirty-two canvases—one for each of the flavors then sold by Campbell’s—using a combination of projection, tracing, painting, and stamping. Repeating the nearly identical image, the canvases at once stress the uniformity and ubiquity of the product’s packaging and subvert the idea of painting as a medium of invention and originality.

Trump’s EPA Withheld Information On Toxic Chemicals. Biden’s EPA Hasn’t Changed That.

EPA Withheld Reports Of Substantial Risk Posed By 1,240 Chemicals, The Intercept, 1 November 2021

By law, companies must give the EPA any evidence they possess that a chemical presents “a substantial risk of injury to health or the environment.”

Companies are giving those risk assessments to the EPA. But the EPA stopped making them public during the Trump administration:

The Environmental Protection Agency has withheld information from the public since January 2019 about the dangers posed by more than 1,200 chemicals.

I just assumed that the EPA was protecting us. That’s their job?

“I would think most people in the public would assume that when we would get these reports, we give them incredible scrutiny and say, ‘Oh no! What are we going to do about this?’ But basically, they are just going into a black hole,” said one of the two [whistleblower] scientists. “We don’t look at them. We don’t evaluate them. And we don’t check to see if they change our understanding of the chemical.”

Why not?

It is not easy to keep selling your chemicals when people know they likely cause cancer or other serious disease,” said Eve Gartner, an attorney who manages the toxic exposure and health program at Earthjustice. “It makes perfect sense that in an EPA that was largely controlled by industry, chemical manufacturers would lobby to get EPA to stop releasing significant risk studies, and EPA would agree to keep this basic health and safety information secret.”

It’s been almost 2 years and Biden’s EPA has not acted on this.

It’s [hard] to understand why the Biden administration, which has repeatedly expressed its commitment to scientific integrity, has not already fixed the problem and made this backlogged health and safety information available to the public.

You don’t have to release 1,240 reports in a day, but you can release one, and then one tomorrow, and the next day.

By the way, when I searched “EPA Toxic Chemicals” on an image search, Duck Duck Go returned this Intercept article twice on the first line; it was absent on a Google image search.

Grocery Stores Have Changed. A Photo Essay.

While looking around for photos for my last post I came across this:
How Grocery Stores Have Changed Over the Years, Good Housekeeping, November 2020

It’s a gallery of 42 images of how grocery shopping used to be. I couldn’t resist commenting on a few of these.

With the advent of personal shoppers, pick-up, and delivery during the covid lockdowns, we have come full circle! Except now we pay for it.

How about that.

Everything had a sticker. Unless it fell off. Then, chaos!

Dried fruit was raisins. They were sold either with produce or in the baking aisle. During the Holidays they stocked the fancy golden ones too.

The beginning of food deserts.

Everything was in a can! Canned creamed corn. Canned peas. Canned fruit cocktail. Canned juice. (We didn’t grow up drinking soda, only in restaurants.) Canned ham. Canned fish (tuna, sardines). Every single canned soup Campbell’s made. If you put it in a can, my mother bought it. Frozen wasn’t a thing until later.

This was a big one. Stores were closed on Sundays for religious services and a day of rest. The Blue Laws. Where I lived in PA stores began opening for a few hours on Sunday starting in the late 1970s. Going out on Sundays though was still frowned upon. (Saturdays at the grocery store was a nightmare.)

My mother never had a driving license. Not unusual. And most places were closed by the time my father came home from work. So, there were milk and bread and ice deliveries during the day. I remember the Bond Bread truck and the Stroehman truck and begging my mother for donuts.

Nothing was organic. But, in a way, everything was organic because factory farms and mass pesticide spraying hadn’t taken off yet. We didn’t pay extra for it either.

Now that was a walk down memory lane.

Study: “Walking. A Method For Rapid Improvement Of Physical Fitness”

Photo by Andre Benz at Unsplash.

This is an older study. I have learned that just because a study is old does not mean its finding is not relevant. Indeed, since newer studies focus more on pharmaceuticals than lifestyle, much can be gleaned from the oldies:

Walking. A Method For Rapid Improvement Of Physical Fitness, Journal of the American Medical Association, May 1980

This study shows that it is possible to improve substantially aerobic physical fitness in three weeks by walking daily with a light backpack load. This program is most useful for people who have low initial aerobic work capacity.

Walking is safe and comparatively harmless. Moreover, it can easily become a way of life and be recommended as a popular method of physical activity, even for elderly people.

And this …

In our study, the main determinant of the rapid increase in VO2max was not the speed or duration of walking, but the increase of the weight of the backpack load.

I must increase my aerobic work capacity in winter for the extra weight I carry in clothes. Boy do I pack it on!

By the way, I did a search on Google for this study, “Walking. A Method For Rapid Improvement Of Physical Fitness” and it did not find it. At all. Yet, it was the top return when I searched for it on Duck Duck Go. This isn’t the first time I couldn’t find what I was looking for on Google. I depend on them less these days. Something is going on with their search engine.