Sea salt around the world has been contaminated by plastic pollution, adding to experts’ fears that microplastics are becoming ubiquitous in the environment and finding their way into the food chain via the salt in our diets ... Some researchers...now believe sea salt could be more vulnerable to plastic contamination because of how it is made, through a process of dehydration of sea water.

A growing body of research has established the presence of microscopic plastic pollution in the world’s oceans, freshwater, soil and air. This study is the first, however, to show plastic contamination in tap water from sources around the world ... The contamination defies geography and income: The number of fibers found in a tap water sample from a washroom sink at the Trump Grill was equal to that found in samples from Quito, Ecuador.

The volume of oil being shipped by rail across most of the rest of the nation has plummeted, as low oil prices and more pipeline capacity have reduced the need for trains. The number of rail cars carrying petroleum is down about 40 percent from the peak in 2014 ... trains have continued to rumble through Oregon and Washington... the idea that the Northwest is now bearing a disproportionate burden of energy transport risk has accelerated local efforts to stop the trains or make them safer.

diarrhoea-causing protozoa can travel 150 metres or more in the high groundwater...to contaminate even deep tube wells, which are thought safer than shallow tube wells and open ponds... full latrine coverage in high water table areas would reduce contamination in open ponds, but increase it in tube wells... recommended safeguards may reduce contamination a little, but won’t eliminate it... Drinking-water aquifers are already seriously polluted with...pathogens from the existing stock of latrines

poor rural towns and communities of color often become the dumping ground for our nation’s toxic waste. Residents of affected areas claim state regulators are slow to respond to their complaints—if they do anything at all—because their communities are poor and black. But even when the state health department dispatches a flotilla of epidemiologists to knock on doors, track down former residents, scour medical records and dutifully take samples of air, soil and water, they’re usually stumped.

As early as 1993...the Philadelphia district knew that the water could be contaminated with lead. But it wasn’t until 1999 that the district was forced by the EPA to test the water in nearly 300 schools ... Now, as school districts from Newark, New Jersey to Flint, Michigan shut down water fountains amid lead contamination concerns, one of America’s oldest cities shows how difficult it can be to remove lead from the water children drink.

The EPA instructs that sampling should be done every three years ... It is not a difficult calculation to make. To determine whether a city water system is in compliance with federal lead restrictions, tests are run on a set of homes every three years. If 90% of the homes contain water with less than 15 parts per billion of lead, the city is declared to be in compliance. It’s a simple spreadsheet calculation

This is hardly the first time a gap has opened up between an Olympic sales pitch and its actual execution. Sydney struggled to meet cleanup targets in its famous harbor before the 2000 Games and is still waging the battle. Beijing 2008 was deemed "the most polluted Olympics in history"...because of its smog, despite the Chinese government's mandate that idled cars and shut down factories. The upshot? No permanent improvement in air quality, yet Beijing will host the 2022 Winter Games.

When people in Baltimore talk about “lead checks” they are not talking about the inspections that are supposed to ensure that children aren’t endangered by lead poisoning; they are talking about the settlement payments that come after the damage is done ... Although there have been dramatic reductions in lead poisoning in Baltimore over recent decades...more than 4,900 children have been affected by lead in the last decade – 129 in the last year alone.

worthy of examination is how a wealth of other data and information, gathered by the city’s residents, was largely ignored. When the county declared a public health emergency on Oct. 1, 2015, it was not a revelation for many residents. They had been fighting for months to convince officials that something was wrong ... If it weren’t for a few dozen residents and a handful of crusading experts who pushed back against the official narrative, we still wouldn’t know the truth.