The Daily Grist: Feb. 18

To Leach His Own
Nalgene Water Bottles May Be Hazardous to Your Health

Here's some bummer news for the outdoorsy set: Recent studies have shown that polycarbonate plastics, including the kind used in popular Nalgene water bottles, may leach one of their constituent chemicals into water. The chemical in question, bisphenol-A, has been shown to cause chromosomal disorders and endocrine disruption and to have adverse effects on prostate development and tumors, breast tissue development, and sperm count -- in rodents. Nalgene says that no health problems have been demonstrated in human beings. Still, John P. Meyers, environmental health expert and coauthor of a book on endocrine disruptors, says, "I personally recommend avoiding polycarbonate plastics -- don't let them come into contact with your food or water. I think the science is strong enough to justify precautionary measures today." What's next -- carcinogenic Therm-a-Rests? Is nothing sacred?

I've Got You Under My Skin
Study Finds MTBE Can Be Absorbed Through Skin

A U.S. EPA study released yesterday concludes that the controversial fuel additive MTBE can be absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin, a finding likely to, ahem, fuel calls for further study and regulation. While the EPA was careful to say that the health effects of MTBE skin absorption are still unknown, enviros were quick to make hay from the study. "It's one more piece of evidence that MTBE is not something you want in your water," said Tom Curtis of the America Water Works Association. A provision to shield MTBE manufacturers from legal liability is one of the sticking points holding up passage of the Bush administration's energy bill; a recent effort to remove the provision drew table-pounding resistance from House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas). The EPA's study is likely to add ammunition to what has become, for congressional Republicans, a bit of a circular firing squad.

Put Down the Drills and Back Away Slowly
Enviro Groups Sue to Stop Alaska Drilling

A coalition of seven environmental groups filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to stop a plan to open 8.8 million acres of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska to oil and gas development. The groups -- including the National Audubon Society, Wilderness Society, Natural Resources Defense Council, Alaska Wilderness League, and Sierra Club -- do not want to block all development. Rather, they want the plan reconsidered in light of federal protections for wildlife and habitats, and they want an adequate study of the likely environmental impact. Interior Secretary Gale Norton -- named in the suit alongside the Interior Department, the Bureau of Land Management, and Henri Bisson, the bureau's Alaska director -- defends the plan as environmentally sensitive. Au contraire, says Audubon Society President John Flicker -- in fact, the plan "failed to give permanent protection to even one acre of wildlife habitat in the reserve and failed to evaluate any reasonable alternatives that would have done so," he argues.

For more environmental news and humor visit Grist Magazine

Understand the importance of honest news ?

So do we.

The past year has been the most arduous of our lives. The Covid-19 pandemic continues to be catastrophic not only to our health - mental and physical - but also to the stability of millions of people. For all of us independent news organizations, it’s no exception.

We’ve covered everything thrown at us this past year and will continue to do so with your support. We’ve always understood the importance of calling out corruption, regardless of political affiliation.

We need your support in this difficult time. Every reader contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference in allowing our newsroom to bring you the stories that matter, at a time when being informed is more important than ever. Invest with us.

Make a one-time contribution to Alternet All Access, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.

Click to donate by check.

DonateDonate by credit card
Donate by Paypal

Don't Sit on the Sidelines of History. Join Alternet All Access and Go Ad-Free. Support Honest Journalism.