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Contamination

FEATURES
Tim Wheeler | January 18, 2013
A new federal report finds toxic contamination remains widespread in the Chesapeake Bay, with severe impacts in some places, which health and environmental advocates say lends support to their push in Annapolis for legislative action on pesticides and other hazardous chemicals. The 184-page report, recently posted on the website of the Environmental Protection Agency's Chesapeake Bay program , notes that nearly three-fourths of the bay's tidal waters are "fully or partially impaired" by toxic chemicals, with contamination severe enough in some areas that people are warned to limit how many fish they eat from there.  The chemicals tainting fish are mainly mercury and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs.  Once widely used in electrical equipment, PCBs were banned years ago over health concerns, but residues linger and continue to show up in fish tissue.  "They may be coming down - I can't say they're not - but we know they're not coming down quickly," said Greg Allen, an EPA scientist and the lead author of the interagency report, which was produced in cooperation with the U.S. Geological Survey and the Fish and Wildlife Service . Contamination is severe in a handful of "hot spots" around the bay, including Baltimore's harbor, largely a legacy of past industrial and shipping activity.
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NEWS
January 1, 2013
A recent editorial accused the oil and natural gas industry of hoping "the next administration will be less protective of the environment and the health of Western Maryland's residents," a claim supported by zero evidence ("No study, no fracking," Dec. 27). Regulators from across the country have confirmed that developing natural gas from shale has not resulted in emissions levels that pose a threat to human health. Similarly, they note they have never once seen a confirmed case of hydraulic fracturing causing groundwater contamination.
HEALTH
By Andrea K. Walker, The Baltimore Sun | December 21, 2012
Four patients treated at Johns Hopkins Hospital are likely to have contracted hepatitis C from a rogue medical technician accused of stealing drugs and leaving contaminated needles behind, lab tests have confirmed. Special molecular testing on blood specimens done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the patients were infected with strains of hepatitis C closely related to infections linked to David Kwiatkowski, state health officials said Friday. The new cases bring to five the number of people in Maryland believed infected by Kwiatkowski.
NEWS
By Arthur Hirsch, The Baltimore Sun | November 29, 2012
On good days, the Tiber Hudson tributary of the Patapsco is a pleasant part of the scenery in Historic Ellicott City as it flows through a stone channel by Tonge Row, beneath Tiber Alley alongside Main Street and past the B&O Railroad Museum before it spills into the river. It's a troubled waterway nonetheless, not considered able to support life, paved over in spots and surrounded by lots of asphalt. The urban and suburban surroundings that drain into the Tiber Hudson - its "watershed" - will be inspected early in December by teams of consultants and volunteers as part of a continuing private, county and state effort to improve the streams and rivers that ultimately flow into the Chesapeake Bay. Focusing on areas some distance from its channel, the crew of about 15 will spend four days driving around, looking for possible pollution sources and ways to better protect the Tiber Hudson.
FEATURES
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | November 28, 2012
Elevated levels of a toxic industrial solvent have been found in three more residential wells near Salisbury, the Maryland Department of the Environment reported Wednesday, as an investigation continues into ground-water contamination affecting dozens of homes in the area. Of 77 homes just south of the city that recently had their wells tested, trichloroethylene was found in seven, and three had levels of concern to health officials, according to MDE spokesman Jay Apperson. Bottled water has been provided to the three with elevated levels, he said.
NEWS
By Andrea K. Walker, The Baltimore Sun | October 26, 2012
The Massachusetts pharmacy at the heart of a probe into a deadly meningitis outbreak may have violated federal health laws, U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigators said Friday, saying mold and bacteria were found in areas where drugs were mixed. Cases of fungal meningitis have reached 28 states, including Maryland, where 19 people have been sickened and one has died. The report came as Maryland health officials criticized the oversight of "compounding" facilities like the one in Massachusetts, which make specialized drugs.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | October 18, 2012
Alan Hudson, the farmer at the center of a environmental law case that could shake up the Eastern Shore chicken business, took the stand in federal court Wednesday to tell his side of the story. Hudson testified that as a 19-year-old, he built the chicken houses at issue in the case, on the Berlin-area farm that has been in his family for at least a century. "That was going to be my contribution to getting my foot in the door farming with them," the 37-year-old Hudson said, adding that the farm needed a new stream of revenue after its dairy closed down a few years before.
NEWS
By John E. McIntyre and The Baltimore Sun | September 27, 2012
Writing at Johnson,  Robert Lane Greene mentions a BBC article on Americanisms infiltrating British usage . This is familiar reader bait. Nothing in Britain gets those empurpled wattles jiggling more reliably than alarums about Americanisms. Though it's usually done in something a little more downmarket than the Beeb. Often, examination of the complaints will demonstrate that the despised expression ( gotten  rather than got  used to be a favorite) is actually a British usage older than Gammer Gurton's grandam.  Meanwhile, Ben Yagoda has been patiently cataloging British expressions that have slyly crossed the Atlantic to embed themselves in good American prose.   Gone missing  is the one he focuses on in Slate . I suppose it crept in under the radar as I was watching John Thaw as Inspector Morse on PBS or reading Reginald Hill's Dalziel-Pascoe mysteries.
NEWS
By Candus Thomson, The Baltimore Sun | August 8, 2012
Grout used to protect steel support cables in the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, which carries Interstate 95 over the Potomac River, may be contaminated with an excessive level of chloride, a corroding substance known to accelerate rusting. The Federal Highway Administration warned 21 states — including Maryland — that as many as three dozen bridges were built with possibly defective grout manufactured in Ohio between November 2002 and March 2010. Chloride-contaminated grout was blamed in the collapse of a pedestrian walkway at Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C. in 2000, injuring more than 100 fans.
FEATURES
Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | July 9, 2012
Perched atop a weathered navigational marker near Rocky Point in Back River, the osprey shifted nervously, screeched and flew off as a boat full of people approached. With the raptor circling overhead, Rebecca Lazarus climbed onto the marker and peered into its nest, a tangled heap of tree branches and scraps of plastic. "She's got one chick in here," called out Lazarus, a doctoral student at the University of Maryland, College Park. The osprey had laid two eggs, but only one hatched.
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