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Northampton Makes Tri-Hampton Rescue Sole EMS Squad

[This article was published on August 26, 2018.] Citing costs and a potential tax increase for emergency services, Northampton supervisors unanimously approved a resolution Wednesday making Tri-Hampton Rescue Squad its primary emergency medical service provider.

 

Newtown Ambulance Squad had covered approximately one quarter of the town, but supervisor Chairperson Barry Moore said Friday the change could mean more revenue for Tri-Hampton. The increase could help the township avoid a tax hike for emergency services, he said.

 

Moore added the township had no complaints about Newtown Ambulance’s quality of service, and that officials spoke with local police and emergency managers to be sure response times would not suffer as a result of the change.

 

With Tri-Hampton responding to a larger number of calls than the Newtown station, Moore said Tri-Hampton felt they could absorb the area with little impact in response or costs.

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These Scoops are excerpts from articles published in local newspapers and other sources. They focus on public health issues such as opioid addiction, water and air quality, emergency services, traffic, crime, etc. Please click on the "From" link to access the full original article. Any opinions and "insights" appended to these article summaries are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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"Keep Bucks County Clean - Say No to Elcon," Urges Activist Steve Cickay

"Keep Bucks County Clean - Say No to Elcon," Urges Activist Steve Cickay | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

[Tracking air pollution is extremely technical and complex, but the general rule is that pollution affects a 30-mile radius from the source, guided by the prevailing wind. The red circle in the map above shows the roughly 30-mile radius that could be affected by toxic fumes emitted from an Elcon incinerator. Source.]

 

I love Bucks County. I moved here in 1985, raised my family here, and will most likely stay here the rest of my life. I love the Delaware River and am always awed by the fact that since some famous general named George crossed that river long ago on his way to Trenton to fight our enemy, we now have a great democracy.

But I believe a new enemy is attacking our precious river today. A faraway company called ELCON wants to come to Falls Township and build a hazardous waste processing site right near our precious river. About 20 truckloads of poison will be shipped to this site on our roads every day causing great potential harm to our air, our land, and our water.

Some of you may think this is just a Falls Township problem. Well, it isn’t. Many municipalities (Bensalem, Bristol, Chalfont, Doylestown, Falls Township, Hilltown, Lower Makefield, Lower Southampton, Middletown Township, Morrisville, New Britain, New Hope, Newtown, Solebury, Telford, Tullytown, Warrington, West Rockhill and Yardley) are served potable water by a public water supplier that withdraws water directly from the Delaware River. If there is an accident at the Falls ELCON site, the poison will of course flow downstream, but also upstream for 12 miles. And of course dumping tons of burned toxic residue into the air we all breathe is a good thing? The benefit is ELCON makes money, and we risk our air, land and water. Does that sound like a good deal to you?

Luckily you live in a democracy and have a chance to influence our local leaders. The Falls Township supervisors, led by Bob Harvie, are conducting a special public meeting about ELCON on Tuesday, April 30 at 7 p.m. The public will have almost two hours to voice their concerns. Please attend and tell the Falls Township supervisors to vote against ELCON coming to our treasured Bucks County. The meeting is at Pennsbury High School West at 608 Olds Boulevard, Fairless Hills, PA 19030.

I hope to see you there, but if you can’t make the meeting, email the Falls Township supervisors. Their addresses can be found at https://www.fallstwp.com/government/board-of-supervisors.aspxt

Let’s keep Bucks County a great place to live for you, your families and future generations. Let’s send ELCON on a free trip somewhere else far away. And let’s keep those truckloads of poison far away from the beautiful Bucks County we all love. See you at the meeting Tuesday.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Related:

  • “Opponents Keep Pressure on Falls Supervisors to Reject Elcon's Proposal to Build Incinerator”; http://sco.lt/4vJzDU
  • “John Mack Lists the Air Pollutants the ELCON Hazardous Waste Treatment Plant Would Be Allowed to Emit”; http://sco.lt/8qcY8e
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PA Senator Maria Collett Introduces Two PFAS Bills - Classifying PFAS as Hazardous Substances & Lowering "Safe" Limits in Drinking Water to 10 ppt vs EPA's 70 ppt 

PA Senator Maria Collett Introduces Two PFAS Bills - Classifying PFAS as Hazardous Substances & Lowering "Safe" Limits in Drinking Water to 10 ppt vs EPA's 70 ppt  | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Sen. Maria Collett, D-12, of Lower Gwynedd, introduced two bills Monday that she says would help Pennsylvania tackle problems relating to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS.

 

As told in a special report Sunday, five years after the unregulated chemicals were discovered in local drinking water supplies, the contaminants still are causing issues for impacted municipalities and residents. Collett’s first bill, S.B. 581, would create an interim drinking water standard for four types of PFAS at 10 parts per trillion, which is just a fraction of a 70 ppt health advisory level put forth by the Environmental Protection Agency.

 

The interim standard would remain in place until either the EPA or the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection creates an official standard. The EPA has said it intends to announce whether it will pursue an official standard for the chemicals by the end of the year, but that setting it would take several additional years. The DEP has said it will set a standard, but could take two years or more.

 

A second bill offered by Collett, S.B. 582, classifies PFAS as a hazardous substance under Pennsylvania’s Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act. Experts say such a move could help impacted residents and communities recoup costs related to PFAS contamination and potentially give them legal standing to make polluters clean up the chemicals, particularly if a drinking water standard is also in place.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Further Reading:

  • “Editorial: EPA Spins Its Wheels on Setting Maximum Contaminant Level for PFAS”; http://sco.lt/5uSirA
  • “As EPA Launches National PFAS Plan, Pennsylvania Says Its People “Can’t Wait” for Federal Government & Launches Its Own Plan to Set Lower Health Limits for PFOA and PFOS”; http://sco.lt/7EkKRc
  • “PFAS From Tainted Water on Military Bases My Be Spreading to Other Towns in Bucks, Montco”; http://sco.lt/7Lill
  • “Perfluorinated Compounds Detected in Newtown Township's Water Supply”; http://sco.lt/70ujU9
  • “Senators From BOTH Parties Press EPA to Develop Enforceable Standards Limiting PFOA and PFOS in Drinking Water”; http://sco.lt/8NQUwz
  • “U.S. House Launches Bipartisan PFAS Task Force That Promises to Set Formal Drinking Water Standard for PFAS”; http://sco.lt/6JjI4P
  • “NJ Department of Environmental Protection Set to Regulate PFOS, PFOA in Drinking Water. Safe Limits Will Be Much Lower Than Recommended by the PA DEP.”; http://sco.lt/63DJ8T
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The Giants at the Heart of the Opioid Crisis: “How Do the C.E.O.s of These Companies Sleep at Night?”

The Giants at the Heart of the Opioid Crisis: “How Do the C.E.O.s of These Companies Sleep at Night?” | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

There are the Sacklers, the family that controls Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin. There are the doctors who ran pill mills, and the rogue pharmacists who churned out opioid orders by the thousands.

 

But the daunting financial muscle that has driven the spread of prescription opioids in the United States comes from the distributors — companies that act as middlemen, trucking medications of all kinds from vast warehouses to hospitals, clinics and drugstores.

 

The industry’s giants, Cardinal Health, McKesson and AmerisourceBergen, are all among the 15 largest American companies by revenue. Together, they distribute more than 90 percent of the nation’s drug and medical supplies.

 

New civil suits from the attorneys general in New York, Vermont and Washington State accuse distributors of brazenly devising systems to evade regulators. They allege that the companies warned many pharmacies at risk of being reported to the Drug Enforcement Administration, helped others to increase and circumvent limits on how many opioids they were allowed to buy, and often gave advance notice on the rare occasions they performed audits.

 

 

Three-fourths of prescriptions at a Queens pharmacy supplied by Amerisource were written by doctors who were later indicted or convicted, the New York complaint said. For more than five years, Cardinal shipped to a pharmacy with the highest oxycodone volume in Suffolk County, N.Y., despite continually flagging its orders as suspicious. McKesson kept shipping to two pharmacies six years after learning that they had been filling prescriptions from doctors who were likely engaging in crimes. The shipments stopped only last year, after the doctors were indicted.

 

“How do the C.E.O.s of these companies sleep at night?” Bob Ferguson, Washington’s attorney general, said at a recent news conference.

 

Read the complete article published in the NYT…

johnmacknewtown's insight:

[According to the Civil Lawsuit by Newtown Township against Opioid manufacturers and distributors, “Rather than abide by their non-delegable duties under public safety laws, the Distributor Defendants, individually and collectively through trade groups in the industry, pressured the U.S. Department of Justice to "halt" prosecutions and lobbied Congress to strip the DEA of its ability to immediately suspend distributor registrations. The result was a "sharp drop in enforcement actions" and the passage of the "Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act" which, ironically, raised the burden for the DEA to revoke a distributor's license from "imminent harm" to "immediate harm" and provided the industry the right to "cure" any violations of law before a suspension order can be issued.”]

 

Related stories:

  •  “Newtown Township Supervisors Vote to File Civil Lawsuit Against Drug Manufacturers Over Opioid Crisis”; http://sco.lt/7Wibjd 
  • “OxyContin Opioid Maker Purdue Pharma Reportedly Exploring Chapter 11 Bankruptcy”; http://sco.lt/8OuLIG 
  • “Purdue #Pharma Doesn't Want Court to Unseal Oxycontin Marketing Documents. What's It Hiding?”; http://sco.lt/6wb24f 
  • “OxyContin's 12-hour Problem: Misrepresentation of Efficacy Leads to Addiction & Purdue Knew It”: http://sco.lt/8RfD5F 
  • “The History of Purdue's Marketing of Oxycontin & Its Connection to the Opiate Epidemic”: http://sco.lt/6RajLd 
  • “Doctor with Ties to Purdue #Pharma Helped Develop Canadian Opioid-Prescribing Guidelines”: http://sco.lt/7f1iin 
  • “FDA to Determine if Oxymorphone, Produced by KVK Tech in Newtown, is More Likely to Be Abused Than Other Opioids”; http://sco.lt/5OUnaa 
  • “Opioid Sales Reps Swarmed New York at Height of Crisis – ‘Just Like Dorito's,’ Said Mallinckrodt Pharma Exec. ‘Keep eating,’ he added, ‘we’ll make more.’”; http://sco.lt/95yL0C 
  • “Teva & Cephalon Try to Prevent Release of Internal Marketing Plan for Fentora - an Opioid Drug”; http://sco.lt/5U5R3Z 
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Study Shows PFAS Levels in Residents’ Blood Higher the Closer They Live to Horsham Air Guard Station

Study Shows PFAS Levels in Residents’ Blood Higher the Closer They Live to Horsham Air Guard Station | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Gov. Tom Wolf’s PFAS Action Team met with residents in Abington, Pa. on Monday to update them on plans to test water sources across the state for contamination by a toxic class of chemicals known as PFAS.

 

But many residents expressed frustration at a regulatory process they say is taking too long.

 

At the meeting, state health officials also announced the continuation of pilot study that looked at blood samples from exposed residents in Bucks and Montgomery counties. That study found elevated levels of PFAS in the blood serum of the 235 residents it surveyed.

 

Now, the health department will collect urine, dust and water samples from those residents to try to better understand the health effects and routes of exposure.

 

State Epidemiologist Sharon Watkins said the Department of Health is continuing to analyze the blood samples taken last year and, in a multivariate analysis, has concluded that higher blood PFAS levels were correlated with a person’s drinking water source.

 

“Even considering all other things,” Watkins said, “it did matter which public water system you were getting your drinking water from.”

 

The highest serum PFAS levels were found in those who received their water from the Horsham Water and Sewer Authority, which is closest to the Horsham Air Guard Station. The lowest levels were found in North Wales and Warrington Township – the farthest from the bases.

 

The Department of Health will hold a meeting April 29 in Horsham to discuss that analysis in more detail.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Further Reading:

  • “Editorial: EPA Spins Its Wheels on Setting Maximum Contaminant Level for PFAS”; http://sco.lt/5uSirA
  • “As EPA Launches National PFAS Plan, Pennsylvania Says Its People “Can’t Wait” for Federal Government & Launches Its Own Plan to Set Lower Health Limits for PFOA and PFOS”; http://sco.lt/7EkKRc
  • “Perfluorinated Compounds Detected in Newtown Township's Water Supply”; http://sco.lt/70ujU9
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Opioid Sales Reps Swarmed New York at Height of Crisis - "Just Like Dorito's," Said Mallinckrodt Pharma Exec. “Keep eating,” he added, “we’ll make more.”

Opioid Sales Reps Swarmed New York at Height of Crisis - "Just Like Dorito's," Said Mallinckrodt Pharma Exec. “Keep eating,” he added, “we’ll make more.” | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Disclosures in the latest filings in the New York case:

■ Purdue employees knew as early as 1999 that people were abusing OxyContin and knew the ways they were doing so. In an internal email to a senior executive, an employee disputed the claim that some abusers of the drug “shoot,” or inject, it, saying that they crushed the tablets and snorted the powder. “Injection is not too popular because the waxy junk in the tablets can mess up the user’s veins,” the employee wrote. “At least, that’s what I’ve read,” the email said. “I understand that OxyContin is the preferred drug,” the email said.

■ Purdue Pharma spent $68 million from 2006 to 2016 on opioid education, much of it directed to front groups, and $1.5 million in New York in roughly the same period to push its message “through seemingly legitimate sources,” according to the complaint.

■ Mallinckrodt paid $300,000 to a Kansas doctor, Sri Nalamachu, who was featured in a brochure in which “he criticized efforts to restrict access to pain prescription medication due to concerns” about opioid abuse, the complaint said. The payment was never disclosed, in the brochure or elsewhere.

■ An executive at a regional drug distribution company asked a Mallinckrodt executive to keep supplying the opioid oxycodone. It’s “like people are addicted to these things. Oh, wait, people are,” the first executive wrote. The Mallinckrodt executive responded that it was “just like Doritos.”

“Keep eating,” he added, “we’ll make more.”

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Related stories:

 

  • “Newtown Township Supervisors Vote to File Civil Lawsuit Against Drug Manufacturers Over Opioid Crisis”; http://sco.lt/7Wibjd 
  • “OxyContin Opioid Maker Purdue Pharma Reportedly Exploring Chapter 11 Bankruptcy”; http://sco.lt/8OuLIG 
  • “Purdue #Pharma Doesn't Want Court to Unseal Oxycontin Marketing Documents. What's It Hiding?”; http://sco.lt/6wb24f 
  • “OxyContin's 12-hour Problem: Misrepresentation of Efficacy Leads to Addiction & Purdue Knew It”: http://sco.lt/8RfD5F 
  • “The History of Purdue's Marketing of Oxycontin & Its Connection to the Opiate Epidemic”: http://sco.lt/6RajLd 
  • “Doctor with Ties to Purdue #Pharma Helped Develop Canadian Opioid-Prescribing Guidelines”: http://sco.lt/7f1iin 
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On Earth Day, April 22, View "The Devil We Know" Documentary About PFAS at the County Theater in Newtown. FREE!

On Earth Day, April 22, View "The Devil We Know" Documentary About PFAS at the County Theater in Newtown. FREE! | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

The BuxMont Coalition for Safer Water presents this eye-opening documentary in honor of Earth Day. The citizens of Parkersburg, West Virginia rise up against the forces that polluted their town, filing one of the largest class action lawsuits in the history of environmental law. But the story reaches further, revealing that as many as 110 million Americans may be drinking water tainted with PFAS chemicals.

 

FREE! Register here: countytheater.org

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Further Reading:

  • “Editorial: EPA Spins Its Wheels on Setting Maximum Contaminant Level for PFAS”; http://sco.lt/5uSirA 
  • “As EPA Launches National PFAS Plan, Pennsylvania Says Its People “Can’t Wait” for Federal Government & Launches Its Own Plan to Set Lower Health Limits for PFOA and PFOS”; http://sco.lt/7EkKRc 
  • “Perfluorinated Compounds Detected in Newtown Township's Water Supply”; http://sco.lt/70ujU9 
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@Newtown_Police Share Uber's Safety Tips for Ride Sharing Services

@Newtown_Police Share Uber's Safety Tips for Ride Sharing Services | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

The tragic murder of University of South Carolina student Samantha Josephson unfortunately makes us look at our own lives and how we can better protect ourselves when using Uber, Lyft and other ride sharing services available in the area. Please take this time to help you and your family members to be safe when utilizing these services by taking a few moments to review the below safety tips. Uber worked with law enforcement to create this list of tips to help you stay safe while riding with Uber.

 

  1. Plan ahead. Before you request a ride, think about where you’re headed and review the safety features in the app so you know how to use them.

 

  1. Request your ride inside. Avoid spending unnecessary time outside alone with your phone in your hand. Instead, wait indoors until the app shows your driver has arrived.

 

  1. Get in the right car. Before you get in the car, check that the license plate, driver photo, and driver name all match what’s listed in the app. Uber rides can only be requested through the app, so never get in a car with a driver who claims to be with Uber and offers a ride.

 

  1. Be a backseat rider. If you’re riding alone, sit in the backseat. This ensures you can safely exit on either side of the vehicle to avoid moving traffic, and it gives you and your driver some personal space.

 

  1. Buckle up. The Centers for Disease Control reports that seatbelt use is the most effective way to save lives and reduce injuries related to car accidents.

 

  1. Share your trip details with a friend. While en route, tap “Share status” in the app to share your driver’s name, photo, license plate, and location with a friend or family member. They can track your trip and see your ETA without downloading the Uber app.

 

  1. Protect your personal information. There’s no need to share your phone number or other contact information with your driver. If a rider and driver need to contact each other, the Uber app automatically anonymizes both phone numbers to protect everyone’s privacy.

 

  1. Follow your intuition. Trust your instincts and use your best judgement when riding with Uber. And if you ever feel you’re in an emergency situation, call 911 immediately.

 

  1. Be kind and respectful. As outlined in our community guidelines, please respect your driver and his or her car.

 

  1. Give feedback on your trip. Your feedback helps us improve the Uber experience for everyone. Our 24/7 global support team reviews feedback and will follow up with appropriate action on any reports of conduct that violate our community guidelines.
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To Avoid Bankruptcy, Purdue Pharma Said to Plead Guilty to Illegally Marketing Opioids

To Avoid Bankruptcy, Purdue Pharma Said to Plead Guilty to Illegally Marketing Opioids | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Purdue Pharma LP has agreed to settle the state of Oklahoma’s claims that its illegal marketing of the Oxycontin painkiller caused financial devastation to local communities, the first accord in a recent wave of lawsuits stemming from the U.S. opioid crisis, according to people familiar with the matter.

 

The settlement comes two months before the scheduled start of a trial against Purdue Pharma, Johnson & Johnson and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. in Norman, Oklahoma. Terms of the deal, which covers only Purdue, weren’t immediately available.

 

 Oklahoma claims the three opioid makers understated the risks of prescription painkillers and overstated their benefits, fueling an epidemic that’s costing its communities tens of millions of dollars for treatment and policing. Those companies and others are also battling claims by three dozen other states and 1,600 U.S. cities and counties, but those suits are pending in another court and the first trial isn’t until the fall.

 

The settlement is the first in the most-recent group of opioid lawsuits against Purdue. More than a decade ago, West Virginia settled a case against Purdue over its marketing of Oxycontin, which came on the U.S. market in 1996.

 

Related:

  • “Newtown Township Supervisors Vote to File Civil Lawsuit Against Drug Manufacturers Over Opioid Crisis”; http://sco.lt/7Wibjd
  • “OxyContin Opioid Maker Purdue Pharma Reportedly Exploring Chapter 11 Bankruptcy”; http://sco.lt/8OuLIG
  • “Purdue #Pharma Doesn't Want Court to Unseal Oxycontin Marketing Documents. What's It Hiding?”; http://sco.lt/6wb24f 
  • “OxyContin's 12-hour Problem: Misrepresentation of Efficacy Leads to Addiction & Purdue Knew It”: http://sco.lt/8RfD5F 
  • “The History of Purdue's Marketing of Oxycontin & Its Connection to the Opiate Epidemic”: http://sco.lt/6RajLd
  • “Doctor with Ties to Purdue #Pharma Helped Develop Canadian Opioid-Prescribing Guidelines”: http://sco.lt/7f1iin 
johnmacknewtown's insight:

As published in the Washington Post (3/27/2019): “The reckoning for the worst drug epidemic in U.S. history began Tuesday, with Purdue Pharma and the state of Oklahoma agreeing to a $270 million out-of-court settlement in the first major test of who will pay for more than two decades of death and addiction sparked by prescription opioids.”

 

“Under the terms of the Oklahoma settlement, Purdue will immediately contribute $102.5 million to establish a new foundation for addiction treatment and research at Oklahoma State University. Members of the Sackler family, who own the company but were not defendants in the case, will pay an additional $75 million in personal funds over five years. Purdue also will provide $20 million worth of treatment drugs, pay $12 million to cities and towns and cover about $60 million in litigation costs.”

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johnmacknewtown's curator insight, March 27, 6:35 AM

As published in the Washington Post (3/27/2019): “The reckoning for the worst drug epidemic in U.S. history began Tuesday, with Purdue Pharma and the state of Oklahoma agreeing to a $270 million out-of-court settlement in the first major test of who will pay for more than two decades of death and addiction sparked by prescription opioids.”

 

“Under the terms of the Oklahoma settlement, Purdue will immediately contribute $102.5 million to establish a new foundation for addiction treatment and research at Oklahoma State University. Members of the Sackler family, who own the company but were not defendants in the case, will pay an additional $75 million in personal funds over five years. Purdue also will provide $20 million worth of treatment drugs, pay $12 million to cities and towns and cover about $60 million in litigation costs.”

 

If Newtown's case against Purdue and other opioid drug companies results in a settlement, this is how I'd like to see the money spent: on TREATMENT programs.

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Elcon Opponents Propose Clean Air Ordinance in Falls - Will It Pass?

Elcon Opponents Propose Clean Air Ordinance in Falls - Will It Pass? | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

An ordinance proposed by local environmental group Bucks Power our Water & Air sought to have Falls enact clean air requirements in an effort that some believe could prevent the proposed Elcon Recycling Services LLC facility from opening on a 23-acre parcel of land previously owned by U.S. Steel in the township.

 

Elcon officials have said the facility would treat up to 193,000 tons of hazardous and pharmaceutical waste per year while maintaining safe air standards with “state-of-the-art” pollutant-reducing technology.

 

Critics of the proposal, several of whom spoke at Tuesday’s 45-minute public comment period at the Falls Board of Supervisors meeting, have likened the plans to a simple incinerator that will leak harmful pollutants into the air.

 

Supervisor Chairman Bob Harvie said Tuesday night Township Solicitor Michael Clarke reviewed the draft law and found state laws pre-empted the township from enacting it.

 

“Our attorney and his firm took a look, several times, at this issue and had discussions with other attorneys ... but we do not have the ability to pass a clean air ordinance,” Harvie said.

 

The ordinance, drafted by attorney Mike Ewall, founder of the Energy Justice Network of Philadelphia, would enact monitoring, access to testing results and fines upward of $50,000 and jail time for each violation.

 

The draft ordinance provide by Ewall, a Bensalem native, would give any Falls “resident or taxpayer” the ability to sue Elcon for violating the ordinance.

 

Ewall said Wednesday he not only drafted the Falls ordinance, but also the ordinances referenced at the meeting.

 

An ordinance in New Milford Township, Susquehanna County, was enacted in 2017, and Ewall said the opinion issued by the state in that case ultimately had no real legal weight.

 

The 2013 Allentown ordinance had a complicated legal history that ultimately ended with a judge siding against the ordinance.

 

Harvie added the township’s planning commission will meet at 7 p.m. on March 26 to review the project, in the township building at 188 Lincoln Highway.

 

The meeting is expected to draw a large crowd similar to the hundreds who showed up to a DEP informational meeting earlier this month.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Further Reading:

  • “John Mack Lists the Air Pollutants the ELCON Hazardous Waste Treatment Plant Would Be Allowed to Emit”; http://sco.lt/5y8LUu
  • “Elcon Reapplies to DEP for Toxic Waste Facility Located Next to Delaware River”; http://sco.lt/88Ru3l
  • “A Crowded Meeting Pits Citizens Against the PA DEP Regarding the Elcon Proposal”; http://sco.lt/56CrQ0
  • “It May Take Lawsuits to Stop the Elcon Toxic Waste Incinerator”; http://sco.lt/68dz7p
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John Mack Lists the Air Pollutants the ELCON Hazardous Waste Treatment Plant Would Be Allowed to Emit

At the March 13, 2019, Board of Supervisors meeting, John Mack called for the Board to re-affirm its opposition to the ELCON hazardous waste treatment plant proposed to be built in nearby Falls Township. Mack listed all the air pollutants that the PA Department of Environmental "Protection" may allow to be emitted from the plant.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Further Reading:

  •  “Elcon Reapplies to DEP for Toxic Waste Facility Located Next to Delaware River”; http://sco.lt/88Ru3l
  • “A Crowded Meeting Pits Citizens Against the PA DEP Regarding the Elcon Proposal”; http://sco.lt/56CrQ0
  • “It May Take Lawsuits to Stop the Elcon Toxic Waste Incinerator”; http://sco.lt/68dz7p
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Pentagon “Pushes” U.S. EPA for Weaker Standards on PFAS Contaminating Drinking Water. As If Pushing Was Necessary!

Pentagon “Pushes” U.S. EPA for Weaker Standards on PFAS Contaminating Drinking Water. As If Pushing Was Necessary! | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

[Excerpted from a report by Eric Lipton from Washington, and Julie Turkewitz from Denver.]

 

Facing billions of dollars in cleanup costs, the Pentagon is pushing the Trump administration to adopt a weaker standard for groundwater pollution caused by chemicals that have commonly been used at military bases and that contaminate drinking water consumed by millions of Americans.

 

The Pentagon’s position pits it against the Environmental Protection Agency, which is seeking White House signoff for standards that would most likely require expensive cleanup programs at scores of military bases, as well as at NASA launch sites, airports and some manufacturing facilities.

 

Despite its deregulatory record under President Trump, the E.P.A. has been seeking to stick with a tougher standard for the presence of the chemicals in question in the face of the pressure from the military to adopt a far looser framework. [Is the EPA serious? Read “Editorial: EPA Spins Its Wheels on Setting Maximum Contaminant Level for PFAS”; http://sco.lt/5Inazo and “Guest Opinion: EPA Playing Us for Fools Regarding PFAS in Local Drinking Water, Says Warminster Resident”; http://sco.lt/5Inazo].

 

How the administration resolves the fight has potentially enormous consequences for how the United States is going to confront what a top official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has called “one of the most seminal public health challenges” of the coming decades.

 

PFAS, as the chemicals are most commonly called, are present in a vast array of products, including food packaging, nonstick pans, clothing and furniture. They have been linked in recent years to cancers, immune suppression and other serious health problems.

 

But since the 1970s, the Defense Department has been one of the most frequent users of PFAS. The chemicals are a key ingredient in firefighting foam employed at bases nationwide, with military crews spraying large amounts during training exercises (and on emergency calls) into unlined basins that drain into the soil and then into groundwater.

 

Further study by the Pentagon concluded that the PFAS contamination had turned up in drinking water or groundwater in at least 126 of [401 known military facilities in the United States firefighting foam was used], with some of them involving systems that provide water to tens of thousands of people both on the bases and in nearby neighborhoods. In some instances, the Defense Department is providing temporary replacement water supplies.

 

The E.P.A., [Senator Thomas R. Carper, Democrat of Delaware] said, proposed that contaminated sites be cleaned up to a level equivalent to the E.P.A.’s current drinking water health advisory of 70 parts per trillion of PFOS and PFOA, citing information provided to his office.

 

But the Pentagon, in a report to Congress last year, indicated that it believed that an appropriate cleanup level for PFAS would be 380 parts per trillion, or nearly six times the proposed E.P.A. advisory drinking water level. That 380 parts per trillion is also more than 30 times a level suggested as safe for drinking water by the Department of Health and Human Service’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. (One part per trillion is equivalent to one drop of water in 20 Olympic-size swimming pools.)

 

The Pentagon has agreed to clean up groundwater to the 70 parts per trillion standard, if contamination of either of the chemicals at a site is found above 400 parts per trillion, according to Mr. Carper’s letter. That would mean many sites that would have been subject to cleanup requirements based on the E.P.A.’s original proposal would now be able to avoid such remediation efforts — and costs — potentially polluting drinking water in the future.

 

“Many of these sites have languished for years, even decades. How can these Americans prosper if they cannot live, learn, or work in healthy environments?” Mr. Carper said in his letter, quoting Andrew Wheeler, the E.P.A. administrator, in his own words during Mr. Wheeler’s recent confirmation hearing, as Mr. Carper urged Mr. Wheeler not to give in to pressure from the Pentagon.

 

“Please take prompt action to finalize groundwater clean-up guidelines for PFAS that live up to your stated objectives and reject efforts by other federal agencies to weaken them,” Mr. Carper wrote.

 

Frustration is only increasing across the United States as the Trump administration moves slowly to confront the challenge.

 

Just Wednesday, the Vermont Senate voted 29 to 0 in favor of legislation that would create a new limit on PFAS in drinking water that at 20 parts per trillion is far tougher than even the current E.P.A. drinking water advisory standard. The legislation will also require annual testing by public water systems in the state.

 

In Oscoda, Mich., a community near the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base, use of the chemicals has polluted drinking water, lakes, rivers and wildlife, and toxic foam now froths on community beaches. The town and the state are battling with the military over how much cleanup should be done.

 

Aaron Weed, an Air Force veteran who is now Oscoda’s town supervisor, called the response “disgraceful.”

 

“It’s just been constant pushback,” he said. “‘It’s not a big deal, it’s going to cost too much, the technology isn’t there,’ Every cause they can think of.”

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House Bill 424, the "Warm Handoff Bill," Aims to Improve Access to Addiction Treatment

House Bill 424, the "Warm Handoff Bill," Aims to Improve Access to Addiction Treatment | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

A House committee chaired by state Rep. Gene DiGirolamo heard testimony this week on two bills that would establish an online registry to track available beds in detox and rehabilitation facilities, as well as a warm handoff program to connect people who have survived an overdose with treatment.

 

The bills, both sponsored by Rep. Doyle Heffley, R-Carbon County, would establish an online registry to track available beds in detox and rehabilitation facilities, as well as create a warm handoff program to connect people who have survived an overdose with treatment.

 

“Obviously this is an issue that affects every county, every part of the state, rural and urban, and it is something that we need to continue to address,” Heffley added before introducing several individuals who provided testimony on House Bill 596, which would establish the bed registry, and House Bill 424, the warm handoff bill, which was inspired by the Blue Guardian program in Lehigh County.

 

Under Blue Guardian, police and other first responders notify the program when they respond to an opioid overdose. Then later, an officer and a certified recovery specialist, specially trained individuals who often have personal experience with addiction, visit the person to follow up and discuss treatment options.

 

The county currently is working on expanding the BCARES program to make sure recovery specialists are available 24/7, according to Diane Rosati, executive director of the Bucks County Drug and Alcohol Commission.

 

Data show more than 90 percent of people agree to go to the hospital after an overdose, Rosati said. And for the people who don’t agree, first responders leave behind information kits and doses of naloxone, the opioid overdose reversal drug.

 

Adding a program like Blue Guardian could strengthen the efforts, Rosati said, and she believes some police departments in the county would be in favor of it, as would the county.

 

[Read more about the success of the warm handoff approach here: http://sco.lt/5naSdl]

 

Further Reading:

  • “AMA Analysis Shows Mixed Results in PA’s Effort to Combat Opioid Epidemic”; http://sco.lt/5naSdl
  • “PA State Rep. Gene DiGirolamo Urges Governor to Improve Access to Opioid Addiction Treatment: Calls for 10% Tax on Sales of Opioids”; http://sco.lt/5OCnYG
johnmacknewtown's insight:

Merely leaving behind information kits and Narcan for overdose victims who don't agree to go to hospital is not adequate IMHO. With followup by trained professionals and a better way to track available treatment beds, more lives can be saved. I know that our police officers who may rescue the same person on multiple occasions would welcome help from programs like Blue Guardian.

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A Crowded Meeting Pits Citizens Against the PA DEP Regarding the Elcon Proposal

A Crowded Meeting Pits Citizens Against the PA DEP Regarding the Elcon Proposal | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

The majority of a three-hour meeting on the controversial hazardous waste treatment plant was spent with audience members asking questions of Department of Environmental Protection officials.

 

The meeting, hosted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, closely mirrored one held at the same location in 2015 when the proposal was still in its infancy. Dozens of speakers professed their concern over potential toxic emissions from the facility, the potential for an accidental spill at the facility or area roadways, and frustration with the efficacy of state environmental regulations.

 

Proposed by Elcon Recycling Services, the plant would process between 150,000 to 210,000 tons of chemicals and pharmaceutical waste each year, according to the company’s past filings. The company aims to build the facility on a 23-acre site in the Keystone Industrial Port Complex, an approximately 3,000-acre industrial park encompassing the former footprint of U.S. Steel’s Fairless Works operation.

 

Over the past several years, the proposal has ping-ponged, as Elcon submitted proposal materials and the DEP temporarily rejected them for deficiencies. But the latest version, submitted last July, cleared an initial bar, putting DEP on track to issue an intent to approve or deny in May.

 

James Wentzel, the DEP’s regional manager for the waste management program, said Elcon’s application materials say it would not take radioactive, reactive, fracking, or solid PCB waste, as well as no dioxin or cyanide waste. With the exception of some specific types of medical wastes, the facility could take any other type of waste.

 

Several speakers expressed concern over the DEP’s lack of discretionary powers, and Cain consistently redirected them to elected officials. Concerns over spills on area roadways and zoning should be directed to township level officials, while concerns over state and federal regulations should be directed to lawmakers at appropriate levels, Cain said.

 

Cain detailed what’s left in the Elcon process. The facility has three applications before the DEP: one for waste, one for air, and one for stormwater. The waste permit is the most robust, with the DEP slated to make a proposed recommendation by May 26. That kicks off a 45-day public comment period, after which the DEP will have a discretionary amount of time to create a response document that would be published simultaneously with its final decision.

 

Further Reading:

  •  “Elcon Reapplies to DEP for Toxic Waste Facility Located Next to Delaware River”; http://sco.lt/88Ru3l
  • “It May Take Lawsuits to Stop the Elcon Toxic Waste Incinerator”; http://sco.lt/68dz7p
johnmacknewtown's insight:

I was surprised about the amount of toxic pollutants the proposed permit would allow to be released into the air. Proposed “emission limits” in the application: nitrogen oxides – 23.4 tons per year; carbon monoxide – 36.6 tons per year; sulfur oxides – 24.2 tons per year; volatile organic compounds – 10.1 tons per year; particulate matter – 10.5 tons per year; for hydrochloric acid – 6.3 tons per year!

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Bucks County Gets An 'F' For Air Quality

Bucks County Gets An 'F' For Air Quality | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

More than 40 percent of Americans live in areas with unhealthy air, according to a new report published Wednesday by the American Lung Association, and Bucks County residents are among them.

Bucks County received an "F" grade for high-ozone days and an incomplete grade for particle pollution in the report.

Harold Wimmer, the group's president and CEO, said that after years of progress, there's clear evidence of a "disturbing trend," with many Americans seeing their air quality worsening due to wildfires and weather patterns. Climate change is fueling that trend, he said.

"This increase in unhealthy air is eye-opening, and points to the reality that the nation must do more to protect the public from serious, even life-threatening harm," Wimmer said in a news release. "There is no clearer sign that we are facing new challenges than air pollution levels that have broken records tracked for the past twenty years, and the fact that we had more days than ever before when monitored air quality reached hazardous levels for anyone to breathe."

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Related:

  • “John Mack Lists the Air Pollutants the ELCON Hazardous Waste Treatment Plant Would Be Allowed to Emit”; http://sco.lt/5y8LUu
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Feds Arrest of Opioid Drug Distributor CEO Features a “Perp Walk.” Now How About Going After the Really BIG Fish?

Feds Arrest of Opioid Drug Distributor CEO Features a “Perp Walk.” Now How About Going After the Really BIG Fish? | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Federal prosecutors charged drug distributor Rochester Drug Cooperative and its former CEO with drug trafficking charges Tuesday -- the first criminal charges for a pharmaceutical company and executives in the nation's ongoing opioid crisis.

 

The charges signify a groundbreaking move by the government to try to combat the opioid epidemic, which kills 130 Americans every day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For the first time, a pharmaceutical company and white collar executives were charged like street dealers and traffickers.

 

“This prosecution is the first of its kind: executives of a pharmaceutical distributor and the distributor itself have been charged with drug trafficking, trafficking the same drugs that are fueling the opioid epidemic that is ravaging this country. Our Office will do everything in its power to combat this epidemic, from street-level dealers to the executives who illegally distribute drugs from their boardrooms,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman said in a statement.

 

RDC agreed to a non-prosecution consent decree and agreed to pay a $20 million penalty. It will be monitored by the government for the next five years.

 

According to court records, from 2012 through 2016, RDC filled more than 1.5 million orders for controlled substances from its pharmacy customers, but reported just four suspicious orders to the DEA. In reality, there were at least 2,000 suspicious orders in those four years, federal prosecutors said.

 

"From 2012 to 2016, RDC’s sales of oxycodone tablets grew from 4.7 million to 42.2 million – an increase of approximately 800 percent – and during the same period RDC’s fentanyl sales grew from approximately 63,000 dosages in 2012 to over 1.3 million in 2016 – an increase of approximately 2,000 percent. During that same time period, Doud’s compensation increased by over 125 percent, growing to over $1.5 million in 2016," the U.S. Attorney's office said.

 

Opioid manufacturers are facing over 1,700 lawsuits over their role in the current crisis. Paul Hanly, co-lead counsel for the plaintiffs in the federal litigation, which he said includes 2,000 cases, welcomed the move by U.S. prosecutors.

 

"The charges make the civil case against RDC easier to try and provide a potential road map to evidence that may prove the civil claims against other distributors," Hanly told ABC News on Tuesday

johnmacknewtown's insight:

According to the Civil Lawsuit by Newtown Township against Opioid manufacturers and distributors, “Rather than abide by their non-delegable duties under public safety laws, the Distributor Defendants, individually and collectively through trade groups in the industry, pressured the U.S. Department of Justice to "halt" prosecutions and lobbied Congress to strip the DEA of its ability to immediately suspend distributor registrations. The result was a "sharp drop in enforcement actions" and the passage of the "Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act" which, ironically, raised the burden for the DEA to revoke a distributor's license from "imminent harm" to "immediate harm" and provided the industry the right to "cure" any violations of law before a suspension order can be issued.”

 

Speaking of “Big Fish,” read “The Giants at the Heart of the Opioid Crisis: ‘How Do the C.E.O.s of These Companies Sleep at Night?’”; http://sco.lt/56Tub2

 

Related stories:

  • “Newtown Township Supervisors Vote to File Civil Lawsuit Against Drug Manufacturers Over Opioid Crisis”; http://sco.lt/7Wibjd
  • “OxyContin Opioid Maker Purdue Pharma Reportedly Exploring Chapter 11 Bankruptcy”; http://sco.lt/8OuLIG
  • “Purdue #Pharma Doesn't Want Court to Unseal Oxycontin Marketing Documents. What's It Hiding?”; http://sco.lt/6wb24f
  • “OxyContin's 12-hour Problem: Misrepresentation of Efficacy Leads to Addiction & Purdue Knew It”: http://sco.lt/8RfD5F
  • “The History of Purdue's Marketing of Oxycontin & Its Connection to the Opiate Epidemic”: http://sco.lt/6RajLd
  • “Doctor with Ties to Purdue #Pharma Helped Develop Canadian Opioid-Prescribing Guidelines”: http://sco.lt/7f1iin
  • “FDA to Determine if Oxymorphone, Produced by KVK Tech in Newtown, is More Likely to Be Abused Than Other Opioids”; http://sco.lt/5OUnaa
  • “Opioid Sales Reps Swarmed New York at Height of Crisis – ‘Just Like Dorito's,’ Said Mallinckrodt Pharma Exec. ‘Keep eating,’ he added, ‘we’ll make more.’”; http://sco.lt/95yL0C
  • “Teva & Cephalon Try to Prevent Release of Internal Marketing Plan for Fentora - an Opioid Drug”; http://sco.lt/5U5R3Z
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Opponents Keep Pressure on Falls Supervisors to Reject Elcon's Proposal to Build Incinerator

Opponents Keep Pressure on Falls Supervisors to Reject Elcon's Proposal to Build Incinerator | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Residents opposed to a hazardous waste treatment facility in Falls continued pressuring township officials to reject Elcon’s proposal ahead of a planned special supervisors meeting later this month to consider the application.

 

About 10 people spoke out Tuesday against Elcon Recycling Services’ proposed plant that could process between 150,000 to 200,000 tons of chemicals and pharmaceutical waste a year.

 

The plans were not an item under consideration for the board this week, but residents and others have been using the public comment at recent meetings to keep Elcon on that forefront of officials’ minds.

 

Representatives of the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and Protect Our Water and Air have urged residents to continue commenting at public meetings leading up to a potential vote on Elcon’s plans at the end of the month.

 

Supervisors will hold a special meeting and possible vote on Elcon’s plans on April 30 in Pennsbury High School West’s Keller Hall, 608 S. Olds Blvd. beginning at 7 p.m.

 

The township’s planning commission voted not to recommend the plans be approved by supervisors during March meeting.

 

The comments at Tuesday’s meeting were similar to past objections to the plant, and the township has posted the meeting video on it’s YouTube channel.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Related:

  • “John Mack Lists the Air Pollutants the ELCON Hazardous Waste Treatment Plant Would Be Allowed to Emit”; http://sco.lt/8qcY8e
  • “A Crowded Meeting Pits Citizens Against the PA DEP Regarding the Elcon Proposal”; http://sco.lt/56CrQ0
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As Lawsuits Mount, Philly-area Endo Pharmaceuticals Reports 20,000 Opioid-related Deaths to FDA

As Lawsuits Mount, Philly-area Endo Pharmaceuticals Reports 20,000 Opioid-related Deaths to FDA | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

[In 2017] — and engulfed in nationwide lawsuits and investigations about the marketing of opioids — Endo Pharmaceuticals suddenly began to tell the FDA about a tidal wave of fatalities associated with [the opioid] Opana [aka oxymorphone – which is the #1 selling product of KVK Tech located in Newtown Township], and painkillers made by other companies. From November 2017 through August 2018, Endo reported 20,115 deaths to the FDA, a review of the agency’s public database of adverse events shows.

 

Before 2017, the company reported approximately 250 deaths, over a 10-year stretch, in which Opana was a suspect drug.

 

The thousands of deaths span roughly two decades, and entries for individual fatalities, in some cases, list more than a dozen different opioids. Endo began submitting the reports two months after it voluntarily pulled Opana ER, a top-selling painkiller, from the market — following a 2017 request by the FDA to do so, because of abuse. Together, Opana and Opana ER, first launched in 2006, generated more than $2 billion in sales.

 

Endo — which also makes the opioid Percocet — has publicized other changes in light of the opioid crisis: It got rid of its U.S. sales force for pain products, and says on its website that it “discontinued the research and development of new opioid products.”

 

In 2014, the City of Chicago became one of the first local governments to sue opioid makers. The suit accused Endo and others of downplaying the risk of addiction, even as they had access to data — including adverse-event reports — that “demonstrated the widening epidemic of opioid abuse and addiction.”

 

The Chicago suit has since been consolidated with about 1,600 opioid cases in federal court in Cleveland, where the first trial is scheduled to start in October.

 

Endo allegedly gave millions of dollars in grants, and used speaker programs and front groups to spread the message that Opana had a low risk of addiction.

 

In 2016, the company reached a $200,000 settlement with the New York Attorney General’s Office, which found that Endo trained its sales reps to “distinguish addiction from ‘pseudoaddiction’” — a concept that “has never been empirically validated.”

 

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[Note: ENDO is a defendant in the suit filed by Newtown against opioid manufacturers.]

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Related stories:

  • “Newtown Township Supervisors Vote to File Civil Lawsuit Against Drug Manufacturers Over Opioid Crisis”; http://sco.lt/7Wibjd
  • “OxyContin Opioid Maker Purdue Pharma Reportedly Exploring Chapter 11 Bankruptcy”; http://sco.lt/8OuLIG
  • “Purdue #Pharma Doesn't Want Court to Unseal Oxycontin Marketing Documents. What's It Hiding?”; http://sco.lt/6wb24f
  • “OxyContin's 12-hour Problem: Misrepresentation of Efficacy Leads to Addiction & Purdue Knew It”: http://sco.lt/8RfD5F
  • “The History of Purdue's Marketing of Oxycontin & Its Connection to the Opiate Epidemic”: http://sco.lt/6RajLd
  • “Doctor with Ties to Purdue #Pharma Helped Develop Canadian Opioid-Prescribing Guidelines”: http://sco.lt/7f1iin
  • “FDA to Determine if Oxymorphone, Produced by KVK Tech in Newtown, is More Likely to Be Abused Than Other Opioids”; http://sco.lt/5OUnaa
  • “Opioid Sales Reps Swarmed New York at Height of Crisis – ‘Just Like Dorito's,’ Said Mallinckrodt Pharma Exec. ‘Keep eating,’ he added, ‘we’ll make more.’”; http://sco.lt/95yL0C
  • “Teva & Cephalon Try to Prevent Release of Internal Marketing Plan for Fentora - an Opioid Drug”; http://sco.lt/5U5R3Z
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Newtown Township Police Crack Down on Aggressive Driving!

Newtown Township Police Crack Down on Aggressive Driving! | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

The Newtown Police Department along with 63 other municipal police departments in surrounding counties are participating in a campaign to crack down on aggressive driving. The campaign officially started on March 18, 2019 and will continue through April 28, 2019.

 

As a result of that campaign, there were a total of 305 traffic citations issued by the Newtown Police Department in March, 63 (20%) were in Wrightstown. Over 50% of those citations were for speeding (31 on Swamp Road).

 

Click here to see a summary of the March 2019 Newtown Township Police Report to the Board of Supervisors.

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INCIDENT BLOTTER: MARCH 22 - 27, 2019 | Newtown Township Police Department

INCIDENT BLOTTER: MARCH 22 - 27, 2019 | Newtown Township Police Department | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

At 3:00 pm a Lower Silver Lake Road resident contacted police to report that she found what she believed to be a human bone on her property. Police responded and advised the complainant that she had actually found the rear metatarsal bone of a white tailed deer.

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Public Citizen Critical of FDA Commissioner Gottlieb’s “Misleading” Senate Testimony Regarding FDA’s Regulatory Approach to Dangerous Opioids

Public Citizen Critical of FDA Commissioner Gottlieb’s “Misleading” Senate Testimony Regarding FDA’s Regulatory Approach to Dangerous Opioids | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Scott Gottlieb, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner, today testified about opioids at a U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies.

 

Gottlieb's “misleading” comment:

 

"During the last two years, the FDA worked to change our approach to this crisis. We've committed to act more quickly as we confront new risks and to take a much more aggressive approach to regulatory action." But this isn't true. Gottlieb on Nov. 2 approved the superpotent fentanyl-like Dsuvia (sufentanil) in violation of FDA laws and regulations and multiple National Academies' recommendations against approving such abusable opioids. This constituted an "aggressive" but reckless and wrong approach to this crisis.

 

One of the reasons Public Citizen petitioned the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for an immediate moratorium on approving new or reformulated opioids is that at as long as the existing, dangerously inadequate regulatory process for opioids exists and until the new framework is in place, the incentives to the opioid industry will be to keep developing dangerous but approvable Dsuvia-like opioids with little incentive for developing non-opioid alternatives without such a moratorium.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Related:

  • “FDA Manipulates Review Process and Approves Dsuvia: A Powerful Opioid Pill That's 10 Times Stronger Than Fentanyl!!!!!”; http://sco.lt/7ukTnE
  • “FDA Commissioner Gottlieb Dead Wrong on Newly-Approved Lethal, Highly Addictive Opioid Medication, Says Public Citizen”; http://sco.lt/6z7LE0
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Sen. Maria Collet Proposes a Bill to Allow Towns to BAN Firearms on Public Property

Sen. Maria Collet Proposes a Bill to Allow Towns to BAN Firearms on Public Property | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

A proposed bill from a Montgomery County lawmaker would let towns ban firearms on public property without fear of a lawsuit from organizations like the National Rifle Association.

 

Sen. Maria Collett, D-12, of Lower Gwynedd, said this week her bill primarily gives local officials authority to keep firearms out of public meeting spaces, but would not effect private gun ownership.

 

The bill, for which Collett is currently seeking co-sponsorship from other senators, came after a letter from Horsham’s council in January.

 

The letter from Horsham referenced a shooting in Paradise Township, in Pocono County, in November and another 2013 shooting in Ross Township, Monroe County.

 

David Green, 72, confessed to shooting and killing Paradaise Zoning Officer Mike Triptus, 65, the morning of Nov. 27 in Triptus’ office.

 

Rockne Newell, a Ross Township resident with a long-running feud with officials over a property he owned, was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences – one for each victim – after opening fire at a supervisors’ meeting on Aug. 5, 2013.

 

“In light of these recent tragedies and amidst a groundswell of public support, it is clearly time to update our laws to bolster local elected officials’ ability to keep their constituents safe,” Collett said in a news release earlier this month.

 

The letter points out that state courthouses and the General Assembly prohibit guns, and says local governments should have the same ability.

 

“Guns are not permitted in Pennsylvania courthouses, nor are they permitted in the Capitol Building in Harrisburg,” the letter states.

 

“Is the protection of our judges and legislators of more concern than the protection of the children who use our parks and libraries?” [Not to mention Township Supervisors!]

 

Collett said her bill was an an answer to Horsham’s question, and it was “a resounding ‘no’.”

 

Municipalities locally and statewide repealed firearm ordinances following the passage of Act 192 in 2015; a law primarily aimed at penalizing scrap metal theft, but included a clause allowing organizations to challenge local gun laws.

 

The provision essentially said the state’s firearm laws preempted municipal ordinances, and Horsham was one of many towns to repeal its ordinance banning firearms in parks to avoid a potential lawsuit.

 

Further Reading:

  • “Newtown Township Passes Gun Safety Resolution After Emotional Student Testimony”; http://sco.lt/5tmtpA
  • “Governor Wolf Responds to Newtown Township's Gun Safety Resolution”; http://sco.lt/6ijkGn
  • “State Rep. Perry Warren's House Bill 1400 Would Strengthen Gun Background Check System”; http://sco.lt/7bEjFB
johnmacknewtown's insight:

From Senator Maria Collett (source: Senate Co-Sponsorship Memorandum): Pennsylvania law currently prohibits local governments from regulating the possession and transportation of firearms and ammunition. In light of recent tragedies in Paradise and Ross Townships and a groundswell of public support, it is clearly time to update our laws. To quote the members of Horsham Council, a municipality in my district: "Is the protection of our judges and legislators of more concern than the protection of the children who use our parks and libraries?" I believe we must answer their question with a resounding no.

 

Everyone in our communities should be able to access a trail, play at a park, learn in a library, or have their voice heard at a meeting of their local government without the fear of becoming another victim of gun violence. The Commonwealth shouldn’t stand between local elected officials and their constituents on matters of public safety.

 

This legislation will only apply if a political subdivision elects to restrict the presence or use of firearms and posts public notices of such restrictions at every public entrance to the facility or property. This legislation will bolster the freedom of local governments and help to keep all Commonwealth residents safe without impeding on Second Amendment rights.

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Newtown Police Launch Crackdown on Aggressive Driving

Newtown Police Launch Crackdown on Aggressive Driving | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

More than 60 area police departments, including police in Newtown Borough and Newtown Township, have launched a campaign to crack down on aggressive driving throughout the Philadelphia region. The campaign goes through April 28 and will target drivers who are seen speeding, violating school bus laws, running red lights and more.

During the enforcement campaign, 64 municipal police departments from Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties will be watching out for motorists exhibiting various aggressive-driving behaviors.

Law enforcement will use traffic enforcement zones, saturation patrols, speed enforcement details, corridor enforcement, work zone enforcement and multi-jurisdictional patrol strategies to identify and cite aggressive drivers.

Unsafe behaviors such as distracted driving, failing to stop at stop signs, ignoring work zones and more will also be targeted, authorities from PennDOT said in a news release.

According to PennDOT data, there were 1,482 crashes and 17 fatalities in 2017 in Bucks, Chester, Delaware, and Montgomery counties in which aggressive-driving was a factor.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

In 2018, in Newtown Township & Wrightstown Township, there were 482 accidents (“incidents”), 1 fatality, and 133 injuries due to accidents. Not sure how many involved “aggressive-driving.” See chart above, and read “February 2019 Police Report”; https://www.johnmacknewtown.info/blog/?viewDetailed=201903141205

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Study Finds Longer Duration Per Prescription of Opioids from 2006 through 2017 in PA and Other States.

Study Finds Longer Duration Per Prescription of Opioids from 2006 through 2017 in PA and Other States. | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

The recent decline in US life expectancy is attributed, in part, to premature deaths from opioid overdose. Prescription opioids were involved in approximately 36% of all deaths in the United States associated with opioid overdose in 2017. The risk of opioid use disorder (commonly called addiction), overdose, and death increases as prescription opioids are taken in higher dosages, for longer periods of time, or as extended-release and long-acting formulations. Duration of use is the strongest predictor of opioid use disorder and overdose. Each additional week of use has been associated with a 20% increased risk for the development of an opioid use disorder or occurrence of an overdose.

 

In this study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, across 12 years, the mean duration and prescribing rate for long-term prescriptions of opioids increased.

 

 

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U.S. Navy to Begin Pilot Study to Test Effectiveness of Filter Technology to Remove Toxic PFAS from Local Drinking Water

U.S. Navy to Begin Pilot Study to Test Effectiveness of Filter Technology to Remove Toxic PFAS from Local Drinking Water | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

[Excerpt from a report by  Kyle Bagenstose]

 

The U.S. Navy will begin piloting an experimental treatment study for toxic chemicals at the former Naval Air Station-Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove in Horsham, officials said at a meeting Thursday night.

 

For several years, the Navy and Air National Guard, which operates the adjacent Horsham Air Guard Station, have studied the presence of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, in area water systems. The chemicals were used for decades in firefighting foams at the bases, leading to some of the highest contamination levels anywhere in the country.

 

While the military has worked to provide clean drinking water for any water supplies impacted above a 70 part per trillion (ppt) drinking water advisory put forth by the Environmental Protection Agency, it has been repeatedly criticized by municipal officials and residents for not doing more to stop the spread of contaminated ground and surface water from leaving the base and entering area waterways [Read: “Frustrations Grow at the Pace and Effectiveness of PFAS Cleanup at Local Military Bases”; http://sco.lt/5tbYky].

 

Enter the Navy’s announcement Thursday that it will launch this spring a six-month pilot program, where it will extract groundwater from the most contaminated part of the base, run it through a series of four carbon and ion exchange filters, and evaluate the technology’s effectiveness.

 

“We want to understand how we can best extract it and treat it,” said Willie Lin, environmental coordinator for the Navy.

 

Lin said the project is a Navy funded program. In addition, the base will play host to several separate studies receiving a total of $5.6 million through a Department of Defense research program, Lin said. That program will team with academic researchers from schools such as Clemson, Auburn and Drexel universities, as well as the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, to study additional treatment systems and how the chemicals move through the environment. [Read: “Temple Researcher, Local Group Awarded Grant to Support Research Into Health Effects of PFAS in Drinking Water”; http://sco.lt/7YYrkv]

 

While some audience members said they appreciated signs of progress from the military, others were critical of what they said was infrequent sampling and a lack of urgency to stop the flow of the chemicals from leaving the base.

 

Chris Crockett, chief environmental officer with water supplier Aqua PA, accused the Navy of cherry picking some data that purported to show PFAS levels decreasing in off-base waterways. Crockett said the company had collected its own data that showed when adjusting for weather conditions, high levels have remained steady over the past several years.

 

“Please be very careful when you say you’re improving,” Crockett said. “We do not see the same trend you’re seeing ... you have to have proof behind it.”

 

State Rep. Todd Stephens, R-151, of Horsham, expressed frustration that the Navy hadn’t sampled streams carrying contaminated water from the bases since June 2018. After an EPA official said the agency had since requested and the Navy had agreed to quarterly sampling, Stephens remained critical.

 

“Why hasn’t that happened before now?” Stephens countered.

 

One resident expressed concern that nearby townships also had PFAS showing up in drinking water and asked if officials still considered the situation an emergency. 

 

Rick Rodgers, with the EPA’s regional office in Philadelphia, said PFAS were used for a variety of purposes and didn’t believe its presence throughout the region could all be attributed to the bases. However, he tempered expectations by saying regardless of the source, PFAS will not be disappearing from area waterways anytime soon.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Meanwhile, the NYT reports that the “Pentagon Pushes for Weaker Standards on Chemicals Contaminating Drinking Water”; https://nyti.ms/2O440Oy

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Warminster Township Joins Newtown and Other Bucks Towns in Suing Opioid Manufacturers & Distributors

Warminster Township Joins Newtown and Other Bucks Towns in Suing Opioid Manufacturers & Distributors | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Bucks County and several of its municipalities have gone to court to seek damages incurred from the local impact of the opioid crisis.

 

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Other Bucks municipalities that have pursued opioid lawsuits include Bristol Township, Bensalem, Middletown, Morrisville and Newtown Township (read “Newtown Township Joins Suit Against Opioid Manufacturers and Distributors”). Those opioid lawsuits have been filed either in county court or as part of a federal action consisting of hundreds of consolidated county and municipal cases.

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Warminster recently became the latest town to join the movement, filing an 169-page lawsuit in county court Tuesday against 26 pharmaceutical companies and executives — a “who’s who” list of entities officials say have documented histories of unscrupulous marketing and distribution practices, with no regard for the ripple effect stemming from the township becoming “flooded” with prescription opioids.

 

Officials are seeking damages in excess of $50,000 “sufficient to compensate (Warminster) for all its damages,” past and future, as proven at a trial.

 

Included are manufacturers like Purdue Pharma and seven members of its founding Sackler family, Insys Therapeutics, and Insys founder and CEO John Kapoor, who is on trial in federal court accused of scheming to pay kickbacks to doctors who prescribed Subsys, his company’s fentanyl-based spray. Also on the list of defendants are distributors including AmerisourceBergen, Cardinal Health and McKesson.

 

Bucks County experienced an 88.6-percent increase in drug overdose deaths between 2015 and 2017, with 123 and 232 people fatally overdosing in those respective years. Federal data showed there were approximately 66 opioid prescriptions for every 100 Bucks residents in 2016.

 

Though Warminster’s lawsuit does not include figures for the township’s specific death rate, it points to a variety of local impacts, ranging from Narcan training and public awareness campaign costs to a spike in drug-induced vandalism at township parks. There also has been lost productivity from township employees on account of addiction-related medical issues or family members suffering from similar issues, the lawsuit says.

 

“Warminster Township has been battling the opioid epidemic that has been plaguing this community and the people of Pennsylvania,” said township Supervisor Dan McPhillips in a release Thursday. “Warminster Township intends to hold the defendants responsible for what they have done to our community.”

 

Further Reading:

  • “OxyContin Opioid Maker Purdue Pharma Reportedly Exploring Chapter 11 Bankruptcy”; http://sco.lt/8OuLIG
  • “FDA Inaction On Deadly Opioids 'Borders On Criminal,' Charges Head Of Advisory Panel”; http://sco.lt/5Z1184
johnmacknewtown's insight:

At the December 12, 2018, Newtown BOS meeting, when Supervisors voted to sue opioid manufacturers, I said: "I do wish other bad players were on the list of defendants. Including those companies who have illegally provided kickbacks to physicians to overprescribe their opioid products." Watch the video of this meeting here (my comments are at the 46 minute mark). One bad player on my mind at the time was Insys Pharmaceuticals whose founder was Indicted for Bribing Docs to Illegally Prescribe Fentanyl (see here). 

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