Southern California environment news and trends

Study: Toxic chemicals found in water hoses, gardening tools

Talk about a summer bummer. As reported by the Huffington Post, a new study by the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor, MI, has found that the water from general garden hoses is often toxic and potentially dangerous. The study, which also tested gloves, kneepads and other gardening tools, discovered a host of chemicals, including cadmium, BPA and lead at levels considered of “high concern” in over two-thirds of the products. All of the hoses tested positive for phthalates, a plasticizer that’s been connected to hormone disruption, genital birth defects in boys and breast cancer, among other illnesses.

“Even if you are an organic gardener, doing everything you can to avoid pesticides and fertilizers, you still may be introducing hazardous substances into your soil by using these products,” said Jeff Gearhart, research director at the Ecology Center in a press release. “The good news is that healthier choices are out there. Polyurethane or natural rubber water hoses, and non-PVC tools and work gloves, are all better choices.”


Toxic discharge in California waterways measured

David McNew/Getty Images

An eye-opening new study by Environment California finds that 2.6 million pounds of toxic chemicals were released into the state’s waterways in 2010. The Santa Monica Bay ranked 2nd in the state for the most toxic discharge at 750,000 pounds. That number was only surpassed by the San Pablo Bay, which clocked just over 1 million pounds of toxic discharge.

“California’s waterways are a polluter’s paradise right now," said Sean Carroll, a federal field associate with Environment California in the Pacific Palisades Patch. "Polluters dump 2.6 million pounds of toxic chemicals into California’s lakes, rivers and streams every year. We must turn the tide of toxic pollution by restoring Clean Water Act protections to our waterways.”

Among the offending toxins include Arsenic, Mercury and Benzene, which have been linked to cancer, reproductive disorders and other health and developmental issues.


New report on the state of California water due this week

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Mark Dadswell/Getty Images

The waters of California are swirling. As we reported recently, the controversial Water Reliability Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives, but heavy-hitting senators like Dianne Fienstein and Barbara Boxer are mobilized against it going any further. We also reported on the sobering new report from UC Davis regarding water contamination in California’s farm regions.

Now there’s a new report from Environment California expected tomorrow (which, coincidentally, is World Water Day) that will detail exactly the “total amount of toxic chemicals released by industrial facilities into California’s rivers, lakes, and streams, as ranked by waterway, watershed, type of pollution, polluter, and state.”

As outlined in a press release, this new report will explain the “total figures for direct releases of chemicals that cause cancer, reproductive, and developmental harm.” In short, it’s something that most of us will be eager to see. We will be sure to bring you those figures as they arrive.


New petition seeks to regulate lead in hunting ammunition

Marc P Jones/Flickr

A golden eagle.

A wide-ranging band of environmental groups have come together to formally request that the Environmental Protection Agency consider banning or limiting the use of lead in hunting ammo. As reported by the New York Times, the coalition argues that lead poisoning is contaminating both wildlife and humans who consume animals killed with lead bullets and buckshot.

"The EPA has taken steps to address toxic lead in almost every available product from gasoline to plumbing to toys," said Jeff Miller of the Center for Biological Diversity to the Huffington Post. "The one source of lead that is still causing significant lead exposure is hunting ammunition and fishing tackle."

While a similar petition was denied in 2010, Miller believes that this larger and more diverse coalition of groups (which now includes hunting organizations) and more extensive research showing the link between toxic levels of lead in hunting ammo and “significant” poisoning of birds like condors and eagles around the country.