Public Health & Safety
915 views | +0 today
Follow
 
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
onto Public Health & Safety
Scoop.it!

PA State Sen. Maria Collett to Introduce Bills to Lower Safe Levels of PFAS in Drinking Water

PA State Sen. Maria Collett to Introduce Bills to Lower Safe Levels of PFAS in Drinking Water | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Even before she was sworn in Tuesday, Sen. Maria Collett, D-12, of Lower Gwynedd announced that she would be introducing two pieces of legislation related to PFAS chemicals, which have contaminated public and private water wells in Horsham, Warminster, Warrington and some neighboring communities.

 

“After decades of unregulated PFAS use by the United States military in firefighting training on thee former bases ... in Bucks and Montgomery counties, PFAS have turned up in elevated levels,” Collett said in a prepared statement. “This is unfair and punitive. Our residents are innocent victims whose health and safety have been compromised through no fault of their own.”

 

PFAS are synthetic chemicals based on a carbon-fluorine bond, one of the most indestructible combinations in chemistry. They last for decades, and potentially much longer, in the environment, and accumulate in the bodies of animals and humans exposed to them. Studies have linked them to a variety of potential health issues, including high cholesterol levels, immunodeficiencies, reproductive effects, ulcerative colitis, thyroid disorders and some cancers.

 

Collett’s bills intend to address a growing area of concern among the public and lawmakers: Although the water systems in the three primarily affected towns have filtered out the chemicals, ratepayers continue to shoulder a large portion of the economic burden through surcharges and rate increases. Because the chemicals are largely unregulated at the state or federal levels, the towns are unable to recoup much of their costs from the military, and regulators are limited in their ability to stop pollution from continuing to leach off area bases.

 

Collett’s bills, which somewhat pick up where the efforts of her predecessor, state Sen. Stewart Greenleaf, left off, would seek to give local towns and state agencies more heft by formally regulating the chemicals. The first bill would establish a 10 parts per trillion (ppt) drinking water limit for four of the chemicals: PFOS, PFOA, PFHxS and PFNA.

 

That’s significantly lower than a 70-ppt advisory limit for just PFOS and PFOA currently put forth by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which the military is using as the basis of its response here. PFHxS is not even listed on many environmental reports issued by the military, although the chemical was found in high amounts in the blood of about 230 area residents who recently took part in a state sampling program.

 

“There are legitimate and reasonable concerns regarding this contamination as well as what the acceptable levels of PFAS should be,” Collett said in a memo to her colleagues asking for support for the bill. “It is time to lower the acceptable standard of PFAS levels in drinking water in Pennsylvania.”

 

Pennsylvania appears to be moving in direction of states such as California and New Jersey, which set their own standards, announcing last year it is seeking to hire toxicologists who can develop drinking water standards. However, the state has been unable to make a hire to date. [For more on that, read “For Lack of a Toxicologist, State Effort to Develop PFOA Standard is Stalled!”; http://sco.lt/7vSafJ ]

 

A second bill Collett is proposing may face fewer hurdles than a drinking water standard. It would add the four PFAS chemicals to the state’s designated list of hazardous substances, along with any chemicals “designated by executive order that poses a threat to public health and safety or the environment.”

 

Collett’s memo on the proposed legislation echoed arguments made by other advocates in the past: that designating PFAS as hazardous substances would open up legal avenues to “fully recoup remediation costs” from the military or another polluter.

 

Collett says the bill would also permit the governor to declare an emergency, similar to a natural disaster such as a flood, for water sources impacted by PFAS above 10 ppt. The governor could then establish drinking water or cleanup standards for the affected area, which could allow a more narrow approach than a statewide regulation such as a drinking water standard.

 

The bill also would make communities impacted by an emergency declaration eligible for state grants to pay for treatment, infrastructure, and other measures to address contamination.

 

Collett’s staff said Monday they didn’t have a firm date on when the legislation would be formally introduced and instead were focused on building additional bipartisan support in the coming weeks. Chief of Staff Correne Kristiansen called the efforts a “top priority.”

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Further Reading:

  • “PFAS From Tainted Water on Military Bases My Be Spreading to Other Towns in Bucks, Montco”; http://sco.lt/7Lillp
  • “EWG Report: Perfluorinated Pollutant (PFAS) Contamination of Water Spreading”; http://sco.lt/4xLDiD
  • “Newtown Artesian Water Report on PFAS to Newtown Board of Supervisors”; http://sco.lt/9AMQHR
  • “EPA, Department of Defense, White House Conspired to Put Clamps on Release of PFAS Safety Limits for Drinking Water, Says Union of Concerned Scientists”; http://sco.lt/87oNHN
  • “U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances Documents Call EPA’s PFAS Safety Numbers Into Question”; http://sco.lt/7umDCb
  • “Lower Makefield, Not Satisfied with PA American Water's Paid Ad, Seeks More Answers, Assurances in Wake of Water Emergency”; http://sco.lt/5Ojmbp
  • “U.S. Military Refuses to Test for PFAS in Fish in Horsham, PA & Other Areas”; http://sco.lt/6v9H6n
more...
No comment yet.
Public Health & Safety
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.
Your new post is loading...
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

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
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

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.”

 

More...

 

[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
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

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.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

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.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

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
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

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.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

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

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

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.

 

 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

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

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

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.

 

******

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.

******

 

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). 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

OxyContin Opioid Maker Purdue Pharma Reportedly Exploring Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

OxyContin Opioid Maker Purdue Pharma Reportedly Exploring Chapter 11 Bankruptcy | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma is exploring filing for bankruptcy to address potentially significant liabilities from thousands of lawsuits alleging the drug manufacturer contributed to the deadly opioid crisis sweeping the United States, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

The deliberations show how Purdue and its wealthy owners, the Sackler family, are under pressure to respond to mounting litigation accusing the pharmaceutical company of misleading doctors and patients about risks associated with prolonged use of its prescription opioids.

Purdue denies the allegations, arguing that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved labels for its opioids carried warnings about the risk of abuse and misuse associated with the drugs.

Filing for Chapter 11 protection would halt the lawsuits and allow the drug maker to negotiate legal claims with plaintiffs under the supervision of a U.S. bankruptcy judge, the sources said.

More than 1,000 lawsuits accusing Purdue and other opioid manufacturers of using deceptive practices to push addictive drugs that led to fatal overdoses are consolidated in an Ohio federal court. Purdue has held discussions to resolve the litigation with plaintiffs' lawyers who have often compared the cases to widespread lawsuits against the tobacco industry that resulted in a $246 billion settlement in 1998.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Further Reading:

  •  “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
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

Philadelphia PD Captain John L. Hearn Sworn in as Newtown Township's Police Chief

Philadelphia PD Captain John L. Hearn Sworn in as Newtown Township's Police Chief | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

At the February 27, 2019, Board of Supervisors meeting, John L. Hearn, the Commanding Officer of Philadelphia Police Department's 14th Police District, was sworn in as Newtown Township's new Chief of Police by  District Court Judge Mick Petrucci.

The 14th District in Northwest Philadelphia covers the Chestnut Hill and Germantown sections, as well as East and West Mt. Airy.

Hearn was selected by the Supervisors after an exhaustive process that involved screening over 20 applicants.

 

In my review I noted the following about Hearn: http://bit.ly/2HdkYsH 

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

FDA Inaction On Deadly Opioids 'Borders On Criminal,' Charges Head Of Advisory Panel

FDA Inaction On Deadly Opioids 'Borders On Criminal,' Charges Head Of Advisory Panel | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

The head of a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on opioids has accused the federal agency of looking out for pharmaceutical company income at the tragic cost of public lives, saying the behavior “borders on the criminal.”

 

“As I sit and listen to them in meetings, all I can think about is the clock ticking and how many people are dying every moment that they’re not doing anything,” Dr. Raeford Brown told The Guardian earlier this week. “The lack of insight that continues to be exhibited by the agency is in many ways a willful blindness that borders on the criminal.”

 

He said the FDA talks a “good game, then nothing happens.”

 

Brown’s angry attack comes as the Massachusetts attorney general is suing Purdue Pharma and members of the Sackler family who own the company that manufactures OxyContin, accusing them of being “personally responsible” for “deceptive sales tactics” that pumped their highly addictive drug into public hands.

 

Almost 400,000 people died from opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2017, according to statistics from the federal Centers for Disease Control. Some 47,000 people died of opioid overdoses in 2017, and 36 percent of those were attributed to prescription drugs.

 

The Sackler family pushed doctors to get “more patients on opioids, at higher doses, for longer, than ever before” while paying “themselves billions of dollars,” Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey told CBS This Morning on Thursday.

 

“They don’t want to accept blame for this. They blame doctors, they blame prescribers and worst of all, they blame patients,” Healey added.

 

Even as company managers were aware of how powerfully addictive their product was, former company president Richard Sackler urged pushing the blame for overdose deaths on the victims, according to Healey.

 

“We have to hammer on the abusers in every way possible,” Sackler wrote in an 2001 email revealed in the lawsuit. “They are the culprits and the problem. They are reckless criminals.”

 

In a lengthy statement to CBS, Purdue Pharma called the accusations “a rush to vilify” the drugmaker, and accused the lawsuit of “cherry-picking” emails. The company claims Healey’s complaint “irresponsibly ... casts every prescription of OxyContin as dangerous and illegitimate, substituting its lawyers’ sensational allegations for the expert scientific determinations of the ... FDA.”

johnmacknewtown's insight:

Further Reading:

  • “Is the FDA - Influenced by the Pharma Industry - Responsible for the Opioid Epidemic? "Without Question," Says Industry Insider.”; http://sco.lt/716pua
  • “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
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

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
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

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 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

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 
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

@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.
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

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.”

more...
johnmacknewtown's curator insight, March 27, 10:35 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.

Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

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
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

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
more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

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.”

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

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.

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

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!

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

Newtown Seeks to Hire FireFighter

Newtown Seeks to Hire FireFighter | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

$63,981 Starting Salary, plus Excellent Benefits

 

Details here: http://bit.ly/EMSjobPost

more...
No comment yet.
Scooped by johnmacknewtown
Scoop.it!

Got Unused Opioid Pills? Find Where to Dispose of Them and Other Drugs Using Google Maps on Your Phone. Protect the Environment, Help Save Lives!

Got Unused Opioid Pills? Find Where to Dispose of Them and Other Drugs Using Google Maps on Your Phone. Protect the Environment, Help Save Lives! | Public Health & Safety | Scoop.it

Just a little over one year ago, HHS held the HHS Opioid Code-a-Thon, a challenge competition to develop data-driven solutions to address the opioid overdose epidemic. Today, born from a winning solution at the Code-a-Thon, a new feature on Google Maps will make it easier to find drug disposal sites for unused prescription drugs.

 

The Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) National Prescription Drug Take Back Day is designed to help facilitate the return of unused or expired prescription drugs and to reduce the number of instances of opioid misuse. While these events serve to increase awareness –the DEA and its local partners collected 1.85 million pounds of returned medications/drugs at their events in 2018 – a single day is not nearly enough to address the scope of misuse in our communities. Regular access to drug disposal sites year-round is essential. Today marks a critical step as Google launches a pilot exit disclaimer icon to make drug disposal sites available on Google Maps.

 

This pilot on Google Maps makes it easier for Americans to find year-round options to dispose of unwanted prescription drugs – making every day a Take Back Day. Now, by searching “drug drop off near me” in Google, you will find drug disposal sites near you.

johnmacknewtown's insight:

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day will be Saturday, April 27, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. National Take-Back Day is a safe, convenient, and responsible way to dispose of unused or expired prescription drugs.

more...
No comment yet.