Wednesday, June 04, 2014
1. Criticism Mounts Against POW Bowe Bergdahl | 2. Egyptian Democracy Put to the Test | 3. Mastering the Boston Accent is Wicked Hard | 4. China Announces 2016 Emissions Cap | 5. 25 Years After Tiananmen, Activist's Fight Goes On
Thursday, May 08, 2014
The former location of the Wolff-Alport Chemical Company in Ridgewood, Queens is the most radioactive spot in New York City. Today the EPA added the property to the list of federal Superfund sites. The other two superfund sites in the city are Newtown Creek and the Gowanus Canal. Nate Lavey video producer for The New Yorker talks about the history of the property and the risks to people who work there now.
Work began at the site nearly 100 years ago, with the production of rare earth metals as additives to steel and lighter flints. One of the byproducts of that industrial process is thorium – a radioactive element. “At that time they took their thorium byproduct and dumped it into the city’s sewer system,” said Lavey. “[The owners] would have known that thorium was radioactive…but they probably didn’t have a good idea of how dangerous the chemicals they were handling were.” The contamination is fairly localized to the site, but Lavey noted that the EPA is looking at nearby blocks as well.
Currently the site (at 1125-1129 Irving Avenue) houses an auto-body shop, a deli and a construction company. “The amount of residual radiation is pretty low, especially when you compare it to nuclear disasters we’re all familiar with” said Lavey. While radiation levels are low, they are still elevated. Working on the site is equivalent to getting about 30 chest x-rays a year, which is well below the amount of radiation exposure deemed safe for nuclear power plant workers. The risk to customers is minimal. The EPA has already installed some shielding at the site.
Although the site is now designated for Superfund remediation, it’s unclear how the cleanup will proceed and who will pay for it.
Thursday, March 06, 2014
"The problem is that the soil itself is saturated, at this point, with manure."
Friday, May 31, 2013
Mexico City is one of the most densely populated cities in the world, with close to 20 million people living within its borders. For its residents, it is also an incredibly polluted place to live.But as the population, and the pollution, grow, we ask: Will Mexico City, and all major global cities, survive the centuries? In recent years, there has been a push to make Mexico City a greener and more sustainable place to live.
Friday, May 24, 2013
Dan Fagin tells how a small New Jersey town was ravaged by industrial pollution. When a cluster of childhood cancers was scientifically linked to air and water pollution in Toms River, it spurred a decades-long struggle that culminated in 2001 with one of the largest legal settlements on toxic dumping. Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation is about the residents' fight for justice and about the pioneering scientists and physicians who first identified pollutants as a cause of cancer.
Tuesday, April 09, 2013
Dan Fagin tells the true story of a small New Jersey town ravaged by industrial pollution. When a cluster of childhood cancers was scientifically linked to air and water pollution in Toms River, it spurred a decades-long struggle that culminated in 2001 with one of the largest legal settlements on toxic dumping. Toms River: A Story of Science and Salvation is about the fight for justice and about the pioneering scientists and physicians who first identified pollutants as a cause of cancer.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Fabien Cousteau, a filmmaker, oceanographic explorer and grandson of Jacques Cousteau, and marine toxicologist Susan Shaw talk about the health of the oceans and conservation. Susan dove into the BP oil slick in May 2010 to assess the impact of oil and the chemical dispersants used to clean the spill, which had a devastating impact on marine life in the Gulf and human health.
Wednesday, January 02, 2013
Kate Orff, an assistant professor at Columbia University and founder of SCAPE, a landscape architecture studio in Manhattan, discusses the causes of sustained environmental abuse along the largest river system in North America. The book Petrochemical America combines Richard Misrach's photographs of Louisiana's "Chemical Corridor" with Orff's "Ecological Atlas"—a series of speculative drawings developed through intensive research and mapping of data from the region
Friday, November 16, 2012
By Janet Babin : Economic Development Reporter, WNYC News
Businesses along the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn fear toxic contamination may have tagged along with flood waters during Sandy’s vicious storm surge.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
By Kate Hinds
Researchers in California have translated air pollution into futuristic soundscapes.
The website Atlantic Cities reports that scientists at University of California-Berkeley collected air samples from different locations across the state, then assigned tones to the different chemicals they found.
The authors write: "You can actually hear the difference between the toxic air of a truck tunnel (clogged with diesel hydrocarbons and carcinogenic particulate matter) and the fragrant air of the High Sierras."
Give it a listen.
According to the researchers, Bakersfield -- a town situated in California's Central Valley -- sounds a lot like Oakland's Caldecott Tunnel. This is "the result of fresh hydrocarbons from a main trucking highway and oil and gas fields surrounding the sampling site."
Despite decades of progress, Southern Californians are among those at highest risk of death due to air pollution. The American Lung Association gives failing grades to more than half of California's counties.
Read more over at Atlantic Cities.