Archive for the ‘Pollution’ Category

PFAS investigation now a scientific paper

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The work of the Forever Pollution Project, of which Watershed is a part, has been published in the scientific journal, Environmental Science and Technology. It sets out the methodology used to map PFAS contamination in Europe and the lessons learned from this pioneering expert-reviewed journalism project.

With thanks to Stephane Horel, Alissa Cordner, Phil Brown, Ian Cousins, Martin Scheringer, Derrick Salvatore, Kimberly Garrett, Gretta Goldenman, Luc Martinon, Catharina Felke, Gary Dagorn, Raphaelle Aubert, Nadja Tausche, Daniel Drepper, Gianluca Liva, Sarah Pilz, Ana Tudela Flores, Antonio Delgado, Emmanuel Morimont, Romane Bonneme.

Cancer-causing PCB chemicals still being produced despite 40-year-old ban

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Industry could be producing more cancer-causing PCB chemicals today than at any other point in history, despite their production having been banned more than 40 years ago. Research seen by the Guardian and Watershed Investigations shows that PCBs are being produced as byproducts in chemical reactions, which means small proportions of them are present in many chemicals used today.

Abandoned pipelines could release poisons into North Sea

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Decaying oil and gas pipelines left to fall apart in the North Sea could release large volumes of poisons such as mercury, radioactive lead and polonium-210, notorious for its part in the poisoning of Russian defector Alexander Litvinenko, scientists told Watershed Investigations.

Mersey suffers from major PFAS pollution

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Watershed’s article in The Times reports that cancer-causing chemical loads flowing through the River Mersey catchment are among the largest recorded in the world and most of it is coming from sewage works. 

Compared with a number of river basins across the world, only the Tokyo basin carries more PFOA per square kilometre of land. For PFOS, the Mersey catchment is the third worst, after the Tokyo basin and Cape Fear in the US. The discovery was made by hydrologist Dr Patrick Byrne from Liverpool John Moores University, who monitored the Mersey for a year and calculated the forever chemical load travelling through the catchment.  

Why Britain is running out of sea

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For the Sunday Times, Watershed mapped the demands on the seabed around Britain from energy companies to industrial fishing to conservation, highlighting the need for each of the interests to work together to create a win-win for climate, wildlife and people.

‘Forever chemical’ in English tap water samples carcinogenic, WHO rules

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PFAS found in hundreds of drinking water samples across England has been categorised as carcinogenic by the  World Health Organisation. The move will increase pressure on the UK government to take action on “forever chemicals”.

PFOA has been linked to cancer for some time but a growing body of evidence means it has now been upgraded to “category one”, which means it is “carcinogenic to humans”, according to the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

A recent report from the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI) shows that approximately 12,000 samples taken from drinking water sources contain at least one PFAS of some kind.

 

‘Forever chemicals’ found in drinking water sources across England

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Potentially toxic “forever chemicals” have been detected in the drinking water sources at 17 of 18 England’s water companies, with 11,853 samples testing positive, something experts say they are “extremely alarmed” by.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) – a group of 10,000 or so human-made chemicals widely used in industrial processes, firefighting foams and consumer products – were found in samples of raw and treated water tested by water companies last year, according to the Drinking Water Inspectorate (DWI), the Guardian and Watershed Investigations has found.

Scientists call on ministers to cut limits for ‘forever chemicals’ in UK tap water

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Acceptable levels of “forever chemicals” in drinking water should be reduced tenfold and a new national chemicals agency created to protect public health, the Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) has told the UK government.

The RSC has produced a map using data published in the Guardian with Watershed Investigations in February, revealing that a “third of the watercourses tested contain medium- or high-risk levels of PFAS, according to the DWI’s own classification system”.

Watershed at Labour Party Conference 2023

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Rachel Salvidge gave a speech on chemical threats to rivers and seas at the Labour Party Conference, alongside shadow environment minister Ruth Jones and Francesca Ginley from the Marine Conservation Society at an event hosted by Labour’s environment campaign, SERA.

Unmonitored toxic road runoff polluting rivers

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A toxic cocktail of damaging chemicals created by road pollution is flowing into England’s rivers and no regulator is monitoring the scale of its impact on wildlife or public health.

More than 18,000 outfalls, such as pipes, and about 7,700 soakaways managed by National Highways discharge rainwater potentially contaminated with heavy metals, hydrocarbons, microplastics and other chemicals from the main road network into rivers and on to land.

Watershed - Investigative Journalism