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Articles on Contamination

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Activists in Newark, N.J., offer tours that teach visitors about the city’s legacy of industrial pollution and environmental racism. Charles Rotkin/Corbis via Getty Images

The importance of shining a light on hidden toxic histories

Societies celebrate heroes and commemorate tragedies. But why is there so little public acknowledgment of environmental disasters?
Waterways and communities for miles around Idaho’s Bunker Hill mine were contaminated with lead after the 1973 fire. gjohnstonphoto/iStock/Getty Images Plus

50 years after the Bunker Hill mine fire caused one of the largest lead-poisoning cases in US history, Idaho’s Silver Valley is still at risk

A fire and decades of silver and lead mining created the largest contiguous Superfund site in the nation in what today is one of the fastest-growing states. It includes popular Lake Coeur d’Alene.
PFAS or ‘forever chemicals’ are found in fire-fighting foam, food packaging, waterproof cosmetics, non-stick pans, stain- and water-resistant fabrics and carpeting, cleaning products and paints. (Shutterstock)

Canada takes first step to regulate toxic ‘forever chemicals.’ But is it enough?

The Canadian government needs to regulate and, eventually, stop the continued release of toxic ‘forever chemicals’ into the environment and also prevent the creation of any toxic replacements.
One symptom of arsenic poisoning is the growth of plaques on the skin called arsenical keratosis. Anita Ghosh/REACH via Flickr

Arsenic contamination of food and water is a global public health concern – researchers are studying how it causes cancer

Millions of people worldwide are exposed via soil and water to arsenic, whether naturally occurring or related to pollution. Chronic exposure is linked to the formation of cancer stem cells.
Maywood Riverfront Park was built on the site of eight former industrial properties in Los Angeles County. Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Flood maps show US vastly underestimates contamination risk at old industrial sites

Climate change is colliding with old factory sites where soil or water contamination still exist, and the most vulnerable populations are particularly at risk.
Volunteers gather at a beach, to clean up plastic litter at a Lagos beach. PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP via Getty Images

Pan-African research networks are needed to manage continent’s plastic pollution threat

African government and international funding partners should focus on building laboratories in different parts of Africa to support plastic pollution research.
Some of North America’s groundwater is so old, it fell as rain before humans arrived here thousands of years ago. Maria Fuchs via Getty Images

Ancient groundwater: Why the water you’re drinking may be thousands of years old

As surface water diminishes in the Western US, people are drilling deeper wells – and tapping into older groundwater that can take thousands of years to replenish naturally.
One study found that 95% of baby foods tested contained at least one heavy metal. Plume Creative via Getty Images

How safe is your baby food?

Reports from baby food companies show questionable levels of arsenic, lead and other heavy metals. Here’s what parents need to know.
Homemade masks will not filter the SARS-CoV-2 virus, but may prevent transmission of droplets and spray between individuals. Nikola Stojadinovic/Getty Images

Making masks at home – what you need to know about how to reduce the transmission of coronavirus

At-home mask makers should carefully consider fit and fabric variables when designing face coverings to help prevent transmission of SARS-CoV-2.

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