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    Showing posts with label Green News. Show all posts

    Hormone-Disrupting Chemicals Found At Fracking Sites Linked To Cancer, Infertility: Study

    Hormone-disrupting chemicals linked to cancer, infertility and a slew of other health problems have been found in water samples collected at and near hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," sites in Colorado, according to a new study published in the journal Endocrinology this week.

    Researchers say they found elevated levels of these chemicals -- known as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) -- in surface water and groundwater samples collected in the state's Garfield County, a fracking hotspot with more than 10,000 natural gas wells.

    Water samples taken from the Colorado River, a drainage basin for the region, were also found to have significantly higher-than-normal levels of EDCs, the researchers said.

    EDCs, which have the ability to interfere with normal hormone action, have been linked to a number of health issues. Last year, the World Health Organization issued a report highlighting the health risks associated with the chemicals, including cancer, infertility and impaired neural and immune function. Previous studies have also suggested that EDCs may have adverse effects on the reproductive system in both women and men.

    "With fracking on the rise, populations may face greater health risks from increased endocrine-disrupting chemical exposure," Susan Nagel, a veteran endocrinologist at the University of Missouri School of Medicine, told the Los Angeles Times. Nagel was the lead author of the recent study on fracking and EDCs.

    In 2010 and again in 2012, Nagel and a team of researchers collected several water samples at five natural gas sites in Garfield County, where fracking wastewater spills are known to have occurred in the last few years. The researchers then tested the samples for four different classes of EDCs. "Of the 39 unique water samples, 89 percent, 41 percent, 12 percent, and 46 percent exhibited estrogenic, anti-estrogenic, androgenic, and anti-androgenic activities, respectively," the report says. The team also gathered water samples from the Colorado river, as well as from areas in Garfield County that are located a significant distance away from natural gas wells. Other samples came from an area in Missouri where there is no fracking.

    The researchers said water samples collected from the spill sites and the Colorado river had significantly higher levels of EDCs than those gathered from the control sites in Garden County and Missouri.

    Water can contain small amounts of estrogenic substances naturally. However, "Nagel said that although estrogenic substances can be found naturally occurring in water, she did not know of similar sources of anti-estrogenic or anti-androgenic chemicals," the Times reports.

    2013 Alaska Heat Wave Record-Breaking Temperatures Bake 49th State

    A heat wave hitting Alaska may not rival the blazing heat of Phoenix or Las Vegas, but to residents of the 49th state, the days of hot weather feel like a stifling oven — or a tropical paradise.

    With temperatures topping 80 degrees in Anchorage, and higher in other parts of the state, people have been sweltering in a place where few homes have air conditioning.

    They're sunbathing and swimming at local lakes, hosing down their dogs and cleaning out supplies of fans in at least one local hardware store. Mid-June normally brings high temperatures in the 60s in Anchorage, and just a month ago, it was still snowing.

    The weather feels like anywhere but Alaska to 18-year-old Jordan Rollison, who was sunbathing with three friends and several hundred others lolling at the beach of Anchorage's Goose Lake.

    "I love it, I love it," Rollison said. "I've never seen a summer like this, ever."

    State health officials even took the unusual step of posting a Facebook message reminding people to slather on the sunscreen.

    Some people aren't so thrilled, complaining that it's just too hot.

    "It's almost unbearable to me," said Lorraine Roehl, who has lived in Anchorage for two years after moving here from the community of Sand Point in Alaska's Aleutian Islands. "I don't like being hot. I'm used to cool ocean breeze."

    On Tuesday, the official afternoon high in Anchorage was 81 degrees, breaking the city's record of 80 set in 1926 for that date.

    Other smaller communities throughout a wide swath of the state are seeing even higher temperatures.

    All-time highs were recorded elsewhere, including 96 degrees on Monday 80 miles to the north in the small community of Talkeetna, purported to be the inspiration for the town in the TV series, "Northern Exposure" and the last stop for climbers heading to Mount McKinley, North America's tallest mountain. One unofficial reading taken at a lodge near Talkeetna even measured 98 degrees, which would tie the highest undisputed temperature recorded in Alaska.

    That record was set in 1969, according to Jeff Masters, meteorology director of the online forecasting service Weather Underground.

    Sea Lamprey Photo? Scary Creature Pulled From New Jersey River

    When it comes to stocking up on material for nightmares, it's hard to beat this photo of what appears to be a monstrous sea lamprey.

    Reddit user jlitch uploaded the picture in mid-February with the deceptively innocent tagline, "Friend... caught this fishing in NJ."

    According to a set Facebook photos, this eellike creature was caught in the Raritan River, somewhere in northern New Jersey.

    Perhaps most frightening, the rings teeth of displayed in the photo have a very clear purpose: Sea lampreys latch onto their prey, then secrete digestive fluids that slowly eat away and break down the host. The Great Lakes Fishery Commission reports a sea lamprey can be expected to kill upwards of 40 pounds of fish over the course of its life. Survival rates for particular species of host fish can be as low as 15 percent.

    Unfortunately, we can't be completely certain this photo really does depict a sea lamprey. "The photo doesn't allow counting of gill openings (seven per side for sea lampreys), but based on size alone, this does appear to be a sea lamprey,” a New York Department of Environmental Conservation spokeswoman told Outside Magazine, according to the New York Daily News.

    The species typically grows to 2.5 feet in length, but some sea lampreys have been documented at sizes of up to 3 feet long, reports the Gulf of Maine Research Institute.

    Sea lampreys are a native to the Atlantic Ocean and are found along the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and the coast of Europe, as well as in the Great Lakes, where it is considered an invasive species.

    Sportsmen Alliance for Marcellus Conservation: Fishermen, Hunters Take On Fracking

    Fishermen are gearing up and hunters are taking aim – for Marcellus Shale gas drilling. A new coalition of outdoors groups is emerging as a potent force in the debate over natural gas drilling. The Sportsmen Alliance for Marcellus Conservation isn't against the process of fracking for gas, but its members want to make sure the rush to cash in on the valuable resource doesn't damage streams, forests, and the various creatures that call those places home.
    The movement grew out of grass-roots anger as passionate outdoorsmen found their questions about drilling and wildlife brought few answers from local or state officials.
    "Either we didn't get a response or the answer we got didn't seem feasible or acceptable. It didn't seem like the people who were in charge had their pulse on what was actually happening," said Ken Dufalla of Clarksville, Pa.
    Energy companies have identified major reserves of natural gas throughout the Marcellus Shale, which underlies much of New York and Pennsylvania, and parts of Maryland, Ohio and West Virginia.
    More than 3,300 wells have been drilled across Pennsylvania in just the last few years. The boom has raised concerns about the use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a drilling technique in which water, sand and a small amount of chemicals are used to open gas-bearing shale formations deep underground.
    Already, preliminary water testing by sportsmen is showing consistently high levels of bromides and total dissolved solids in some streams near fracking operations, Dufalla said. Bromide is a salt that reacts with the chlorine disinfectants used by drinking water systems and creates trihalomethanes. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says trihalomethanes can be harmful to people who drink water with elevated levels for many years.
    Dufalla stands alongside Whiteley Creek, a little mountain stream in Greene County. But something is wrong. The grass is lush and the woods are green, but the water is cloudy and dead-looking.
    "It used to be a nice stream," teeming with minnows, crawfish and other aquatic life, he told The Associated Press. No more, said Dufalla, a former deputy game and fish warden for Pennsylvania.

    Minot, North Dakota Flooding: Thousands Flee As Officials Warn City Could Be Under Water Soon

    Residents still remaining in Minot, North Dakota rushed to pack up their belongings and leave town Wednesday as sirens wailed throughout the city, a warning of what is expected to be the worst flooding the city has seen in over 40 years.

    The Souris River -- heavy with intense snowmelt and rain -- overtopped levees 5 hours ahead of an evacuation deadline, the AP reports. Those still remaining of the 11,000 in the Minot evacuation zone were prompted to leave their homes and head for higher ground immediately.

    From the AP:

    The resulting deluge is expected to dwarf a historic flood of 1969, when the Souris reached 1,555.4 feet above sea level. The river is expected to hit nearly 1,563 feet this weekend – eventually topping the historical record of 1,558 feet set in 1881.

    Residents in Minot were told to evacuate earlier this month before the river hit 1,554.1 feet. They were later allowed to return, but were warned to be prepared for the possibility of another evacuation.

    According to Reuters, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plans to increase releases from the Lake Darling Dam to 15,000 cubic feet per second on Thursday, and officials have said flood defenses in Minot were rated to around 9,500 cubic feet per second.

    Amtrak has temporarily disabled services in Minot and other areas in North Dakota due to the flooding.

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