New York Times Finds Routine Violations of Clean Water
A study of EPA records by the New York Times shows an
alarming increase in violations of clean water laws, the paper
reported. According to an article by Charles Duhigg published
Sept. 13, EPA has documented over 500,000 violations by
workplaces in the past five years. Duhigg reports that about 60
percent of violations were serious, including illegal dumping of
carcinogenic chemicals, and that approximately 10 percent of
Americans have been exposed to drinking water containing
dangerous chemicals. The Times study indicates that only 3
percent of Clean Water Act violations have resulted in fines or
other punishment by EPA.
The article, part of a Times series on water pollution, is
available at www.nytimes.com. The Times website also includes
an interactive database that contains data from over 200,000
facilities that discharge pollutants.
Study Identifies Job Insecurity as Major Health Threat
Researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of
California at Los Angeles have found that job insecurity is more
detrimental to worker health than actual job loss, according to
an Aug. 31 article from United Press International. The re-
searchers based their findings on an analysis of data collected
from approximately 1,700 men and women over a period of
several years. People who were employed but worried about job
loss demonstrated more significant health difficulties than peo-
ple who had lost their jobs. The study was published in the
journal Social Science and Medicine.
Handheld Electronic Nose Shows Promise
Researchers have developed a prototype of an inexpensive electronic “nose” that can sense the presence of toxic chemicals.
Using LED indicators, flatbed scanners, and an inexpensive
camera, the device can detect within minutes a range of industrial toxins by recognizing their unique molecular fingerprints.
A marketable device is expected within a few years.
The research team was led by Kenneth S. Suslick of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and supported by the
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The device
was featured in the Sept. 13 advanced online edition of Nature
Chemistry and the Sept. 28 issue of NIH Research Matters.
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