Bottled water isn’t any safer than tap water, and could actually be more dangerous, according to a report from the Government Accounting Office. The big difference lies in the government regulator: tap water is covered by the Safe Water Drinking Act, administered by the aggressive and powerful Environmental Protection Agency, while bottled water falls under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act overseen by the powerless anything-goes industry-lovers over at the Food and Drug Administration.
Call it the Twilight phenomenon. The EPA held its first ever “bed bug summit” last week, to discuss the rise in infestations of the tiny nocturnal bloodsuckers. There was talk of more ‘bed bug task forces’ in big cities, possible federal research into new technology such as steaming or freezing the bugs, and lots of icky close-ups of parasites.
President Obama has ordered the EPA to allow states set their own fuel-efficiency standards (fourteen states had begun the process when President Bush put a stop to it a couple of years ago.) He’s also asked the DOT to “develop higher fuel-efficiency standards automakers would have to follow.” [USA Today]
The EPA has announced that it intends to ban a pesticide, carbofuran, from both domestic and imported food because of the danger it poses to “general population” particularly small children. The pesticide isn’t commonly used in the United States but is popular in developing nations and is sprayed on “crops including rice, bananas, coffee and sugar cane,” according to the Washington Post.
Apparently, Scotts forgot that they were supposed to register their fertilizer with the EPA because they were caught selling products that not only had never been registered, they had “invalid” registration numbers printed on the packages and some products had misleading labels with inadequate safety instructions. Whoooops.
In regards to a headline grabbing AP investigation that found the drinking water of major cities contained trace amounts of an array of pharmacopoeia, the deputy commissioner of New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection, “A person would have to drink one million glasses of water to get the dose of even one over-the-counter ibuprofen tablet or the caffeine in one cup of coffee…Even at eight glasses of water per day, this would take the average person over 300 years to consume.” So for those of you hoping to replace your medicine cabinet just by draining the Brita, sorry Charlie. However, there are no studies on the long-term effects to human of small exposure to a vast array of drugs, although, the Times notes, they have been shown to cause mutations in fish.
AP: 41 Million Americans Drink Water Contaminated With Antibiotics, Anti-Convulsants, Mood Stabilizers, And Sex Hormones
A soup of pharmaceutical waste spews from the faucets supplying drinking water to 41 million Americans, according to a disturbing study from the Associated Press. At least 24 major cities are affected, including New York, Washington, Boston Chicago, and Los Angeles.
Here are some of the key test results obtained by the AP:
Today California sued the EPA over its refusal to let states enact their own greenhouse-gas laws. “Fifteen states plan to intervene on California’s behalf, including 13 of those that have either adopted or are in the process of adopting the rules. Delaware and Illinois, which have not passed the standards, also are part of the lawsuit.” [New York Times]
“We have no rules regarding restrooms,” U.S. Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Mosley said, suggesting that the Environmental Protection Agency be asked.
A California man shocked that his Honda Civic Hybrid’s gas efficiency didn’t match EPA estimates has decided to file a class action suit against Honda for false advertising. John True spent an extra $7,000 on the hybrid model after seeing advertisements that claimed average city fuel efficiency of 49 mpg. True was horrified to discover that after 6,000 miles of driving, he only averaged 32 mpg.
The lawsuit claims American Honda Motor Co. has misled consumers in its advertisements and on its Web site. The suit notes that while the Environmental Protection Agency and automobile window stickers say “mileage will vary,” some Honda advertisements read “mileage may vary.” That implies that it’s possible to get the mileage advertised, said William H. Anderson, a Washington, D.C., attorney for True.
The EPA has proposed a rule that would allow drivers of fuel-efficient vehicles to use the high occupancy vehicle lanes without bringing along those pesky carpoolers. Most states require at least two occupants for a vehicle to travel in the HOV lane.
If you purchased a Honda between 1995 and 1997, you may be eligible for a free repair and tune up. Way back, during the age of Clinton, the EPA sued Honda for disabling part of the emission control system, which could lead several vehicle models to emit pollutants without issuing an engine warning to the driver. The EPA spanked Honda with a $12.6 million penalty, and the automaker agreed to spend at least $250 million repairing the defective systems. Here is where you come in.