Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Chloramine+Lead Pipes+Fluoride=Contaminated Tap Water

From an  article by Olga Naidenko, Environmental Working Group Senior Scientist

American water utilities are increasingly switching to chloramines, a mixture of chlorine and ammonia, for final disinfection of drinking water. Chloramine was supposed to be a "safer" water disinfectant than chlorine because it reduces formation of toxic chlorination byproducts. A 2005 survey by the American Water Works Association found that approximately a third of all utilities now use chloramines. Water disinfection byproducts are associated with increased risk of cancer and possibly adverse effects on the development of the fetus, so minimizing their levels in drinking water is a good thing. Yet, chloramines drastically increase the leaching of lead from pipes.

Two thirds of the U.S. municipal water supply is artificially fluoridated in an effort to prevent tooth decay. But fluoridation additives in tap water are not the same form of fluoride as found in toothpaste. Typically, water is fluoridated with fluorosilicic acid (FSA) or its salt, sodium fluosilicate, collectively referred to as fluorosilicates. In contrast, fluoride in toothpaste is usually in form of simple sodium fluoride salt, NaF.

Fluorosilicates have a unique affinity for lead. In fact, lead fluorosilicate is one of the most water-soluble forms of lead.  When fluorosilicates in water pass through lead-containing pipes and metal fixtures, the fluorosilicates extract high levels of soluble lead from leaded-brass metal parts. Researchers have found that the mixture of the two chemicals: disinfectant (whether chlorine or chloramine) with fluorosilicic acid has a drastically increased potency, leaching amazingly high quantities of lead. This lead goes into our drinking water and right on into our bodies, where they wreak havoc by poisoning our heart, kidneys and blood, causing irreversible neurological damage and impairing reproductive function.

Chlorine and chloramine are probably here to stay for some time. On the other hand, fluoride, or, specifically, water fluoridation with fluorosilicates, is quite dispensable. There is clear evidence that fluoride dental products significantly reduce the incidence of cavities. In contrast, a substantial and growing body of peer-reviewed science suggests that ingesting fluoride in tap water does not provide any additional dental benefits other than those offered by fluoride toothpaste and may present serious health risks.

In case of fluoridation and chloramines, what emerges at the end of the pipe (our faucets) is a potentially highly hazardous mixture of fluorosilicates, lead, and residual levels of disinfectants. To protect the health of our families today, we can buy a water filters to remove heavy metals and disinfection byproducts from my drinking water with a simple pitcher filter.

Water treatment chemistry is still insufficiently understood by scientists and specific water quality outcomes depend on the particular chemical interactions found in each water treatment and distribution system. To protect the health of the entire nation, we really need to consider if our current methods of water treatment can withstand scientific scrutiny, or whether they should be re-assessed so as to provide safe, healthy tap water to all Americans. (EWG EnviroBlog, 7/13/2009)

Monday, September 27, 2010

National Urban League Celebrates Centennial Founders Day

The National Urban League and more than 70 affiliates across the country are launching their second century of economic empowerment leadership at a Centennial Founders Day Celebration on Wednesday, September 29, 2010.

Shell Oil Company is sponsoring the National Urban League Founders’ Day Reception. According to Shell, they support the Urban league because it is a, "partnership that closely aligns with Shell’s firm commitment to diversity and inclusiveness at all levels throughout our organization.” The Founders’ Day Reception is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday, September 27, at Le Parker Meridien Hotel, 119 W. 56th St. in New York. Actress and comedienne Phyllis Yvonne Stickney is the mistress of ceremonies, and entertainment will be provided by jazz flutist Sherry Winston.

Among other activities, the New York Urban League has scheduled an Open House and Neighborhood Day; the Charleston, S.C. affiliate will receive a proclamation from the mayor; and the Urban League of Columbus, GA, will rally to get out the vote. The Urban League of Chattanooga, TN, has a full day of activities planned, including a scholar’s fair, a Federal Reserve Bank listening tour and an open house.

To contact an affiliate for more information

Media wishing to attend the New York reception should contact Teresa Candori or call at 646-319-0891.

Report on the Secondary Market for RGGI CO2 Allowances

Now Available at RGGI.org‏

The states participating in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) today published the first quarter 2010 report on the secondary market for RGGI carbon dioxide (CO2) allowances. The report was prepared by Potomac Economics, the independent market monitor retained to evaluate the RGGI CO2 allowance market.

The Report on the Secondary Market for RGGI CO2 Allowances: First Quarter 2010 is part of Potomac’s ongoing monitoring of the RGGI auctions and the secondary markets where CO2 allowances trade. The report, which addresses the period from January to April 2010, is based on data reported to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the Chicago Climate Futures Exchange (CCFE), and the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX), as well as other data.