By the numbers: The massive toll of the Animas River spill

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Three million gallons of heavy-metal filled waste water spilled into the EPA spill turns Animas River orangeAnimas River as the result of a leak during the treatment of contaminated water in Gold King mine in southern Colorado. The EPA has taken full responsibility for the spill. The spill, which caused the river to turn yellow, crossed multiple state lines. A water sample taken briefly after the accident noted that lead levels in the water were 12,000 times higher than normal, and contained very high levels of arsenic, cadmium, beryllium and mercury as well.

The states most affected by the spill are Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. Attorney generals of those states have suggested they might pursue litigation individually or collectively, though it is too early to determine whether it is appropriate. More>>

Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine currently conducts interdisciplinary research on environmental health topics. Learn more about Tulane research projects.

 

 

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Warning Sounded on Heavy Metals in Chocolates

A consumer action group is taking legal action against several chocolate producers for (Photo: stock.xchng.)failing to report on potentially harmful levels of lead and cadmium in their products. “As You Sow,” a group based in Oakland California, has put sixteen manufacturers on notice for violating California’s Proposition 65 — which requires warnings on products containing chemicals that cause cancer, birth defects or other reproductive harm. The group originally ordered testing on forty-two products for lead and cadmium, both of which are labeled as reproductive and developmental toxins. Twenty-six products were identified as having above threshold levels of heavy metals without the appropriate warning labels.

Prop. 65 actions can result in legal action, often as agreements to post warning labels or penalties. If the parties do not reach an agreement, then the action may continue on to court. Eleanne van Vliet, As You Sow’s director of toxic chemical research hopes that this action will improve consumer awareness and push manufacturers to develop safer food practices. More >>

Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine currently conducts interdisciplinary research on lead and other environmental health topics. Learn more about Tulane research projects.