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Entries in lung cancer (2)


IBM Still Paying For Toxic Chemicals Effects On Upstate New York Town Old Former Repair Site

The Southern District Court of New York ruled that IBM must reimburse the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for past costs incurred by the agency for the toxic waste cleanup of the East Fishkill area of Dutchess County, N.Y.

Water pollution effects from IBM waste. Photo by Laws.com.

The pollution contaminated local drinking water which resulted from the company’s use of a contracted facility (J. Manne Inc.) to clean and repair its computer chip racks.

The majority of the cleanup has been the responsibility of IBM, with oversight from the EPA. So far, the company has spent approximately $46 million on cleanup of the area.

Between 1965 and 1975, J. Manne Inc. operated a facility that used industrial cleaning solvents containing chemicals including tetrachloroethene (PCE) and trichloroethene (TCE), which are volatile organic chemicals whose exposure can cause serious health impacts.

The NYS Department of Health says that short-term exposure to PCE can affect the central nervous system causing problems including dizziness, headaches, sleepiness, lightheadedness, and poor balance.

Long-term exposure to PCE can lead to health impacts including liver and kidney damage, reduced red blood cells, as well as effects on the immune system, such as increasing white blood cell count and antibodies.

The NYS Department of Health has also associated PCE exposure to several types of cancers including bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and multiple myeloma. Limited studies have also shown links to cancers of the esophagus, kidneys, lungs, liver, cervix, and breasts.

In addition, the NYS health agency looked at the effects of TCE and also found that short-term exposure was liked to problems associated with the central nervous system including effected motor coordination, nausea, headaches, dizziness, sleepiness, confusion, blurred vision, and fatigue.

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Indoor Radon Gas Exposure Is the Leading Cause of Lung Cancer Second Only to Smoking

Graphic courtesy of the World Health Organization.

Several federal agencies are planning to meet sometime by the end of this month to discuss measures for reducing radon risk in housing and buildings that they either operate or regulate.

Last November, agencies that included the U.S. Environmental Protection (EPA), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Veterans Administration (VA) met for a Federal Radon Summit to address growing concern over potentially high levels of radon.

Right now, homes and buildings operated and regulated by government agencies are not required to undergo mandatory testing for radon, and HUD doesn’t require radon testing of homes that are being insured under the U.S. Federal Housing Administration (FHA) mortgage insurance program.

The concerns come because the EPA now calculates that, “Nearly one out of every 15 homes in the United States is estimated to have elevated radon levels,” in its Citizens Guide to Radon.

Radon is a colorless and odorless radioactive gas. It comes from naturally decaying uranium, which is found in most soil. The way that radon gets into a home or building space is that it travels up through the ground to the air above and enters through cracks or holes in the foundation.

When trapped indoors, radon builds up and the problems begin. The EPA estimates that about 21,000 annual lung cancer deaths are radon related. The agency also found that indoor radon increases the risk of a smoker developing lung cancer.

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