Little was known about people's exposure to such compounds from drinking water, so Shane Snyder and colleagues at the Southern Nevada Water Authority in Las Vegas screened tap water from 19 US water utilities for 51 different compounds. The surveys were carried out between 2006 and 2007.
The 11 most frequently detected compounds - all found at extremely low concentrations - were:
The Department of Homeland Security has sued The Nature Conservancy to condemn land in a South Texas nature preserve for the border fence.
The conservancy's Lennox Foundation Southmost Preserve, which includes more than 1,000 acres along the Rio Grande near Brownsville, is home to a rare grove of native sabal palms, a South Texas native plant nursery for reforestation projects and habitat for the endangered ocelot and jaguarundi.
The government offered the conservancy $114,000 for a strip of land that would leave three-quarters of the preserve, including the property manager's home, in the no-man's land between the fence and Mexico, according to court records filed earlier this month.
The Nature Conservancy's preference is no fence and no compensation, but the offer failed to take into account the impact to the rest of preserve, Laura Huffman, The Nature Conservancy's state director, said Monday.
Now the life vein of the Southwest faces another threat: Energy companies are sucking up the Colorado's water to support increased development of oil, natural gas and uranium deposits along the river's basin. The mining and drilling will likely send more toxins into the waterway, which provides drinking water for one out of 12 Americans and nourishes 15 percent of the nation's crops along its journey from Wyoming and Colorado to Mexico.
A coal ash spill that blanketed residential neighborhoods and contaminated nearby rivers in Roane County, Tenn., earlier this week is more than three times larger than initially estimated, the Tennessee Valley Authority said on Thursday.
Coal ash, a byproduct of burning coal, contains toxic heavy metals like arsenic, lead and selenium that can cause cancer and neurological problems.
What may be the nation's largest spill of coal ash lay thick and largely untouched over hundreds of acres of land and waterways Wednesday after a dam broke this week, as officials and environmentalists argued over its potential toxicity.
Federal studies long have shown coal ash to contain significant quantities of heavy metals such as arsenic, lead and selenium, which can cause cancer and neurological problems. But with no official word on the dangers of the sludge in Tennessee, displaced residents spent Christmas Eve worried about their health and their property and wondering what to do.
The spill reignited a debate over whether the federal government should regulate coal ash as a hazardous material. Similar ponds and mounds of ash exist at hundreds of coal plants nationwide.
A coalition of environmental groups including Kentucky Waterways Alliance has sued the Interior Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, seeking to overturn a new rule that will make it easier for mining companies to dump waste rock into streams.
The revisions, made final Dec. 12, will let mining companies disregard a 100-foot stream buffer zone if they are able to convince regulators that no other option was available and that they had taken steps to minimize harm to the environment.
"The notion that coal mining companies can dump their wastes in streams without degrading them is a fantasy that the Bush administration is now trying to write into law," said Judith Petersen, executive director of Kentucky Waterways Alliance.
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