You Can’t Wash Away Fracking’s Effects

José Lara just wanted a job. A company working in the natural gas fields needed a man to power wash wastewater tanks. Clean off the debris. Make them shining again. And so José Lara became a power washer for the Rain for Rent Co. “The chemicals, the smell was so bad. Once I got out, I couldn’t stop throwing up. I couldn’t even talk,” Lara said in his deposition, translated from Spanish. The company that had hired him didn’t provide him a respirator or protective clothing. That’s not unusual in the natural gas fields. José Lara did his job until he no longer could work. At the age of 42, he died from pancreatic and liver cancer. Accidents, injuries, and … Continue reading

Consumer Fact, Not Science Fiction: The Need To Keep Nanotechnology Products Safe

The release of the federal government’s new “Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) Research Strategy”for nanotechnology could be dismissed as just another obscure scientific paper. But that would be a big mistake. Nanotechnology, which is the engineering of products at an atomic scale, isn’t merely some concept out of science fiction that may happen decades from now. Manufacturers are already quickly including nanotechnology in the products they sell today — and there is a real question of making sure they are safe, both for consumers and for the environment overall. More than 1,000 nanotechnology-enabled products have been made available to consumers around the world, up from just 212 in 2006, according to one estimate. Health and fitness items comprise a major … Continue reading