State plan to deregulate chemicals upsets environmentalists

Capital News Service
LANSING— The debate about environmental injustice has grown more serious in Michigan after the Department of Environment Quality (DEQ) recently proposed deregulating 500 chemicals. These possible changes to the air regulations concern the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) a lot. According to MEC, the department is going to propose a rule change requested by industry to deregulate 500 chemicals that have been subject to oversight in the past. The DEQ said the change is because the chemicals that have not been tested for their impact on public health. “Our primary concern is that the state will stop regulating certain toxics,” said James Clift, policy director for the MEC.

Concerns arise over pharmaceuticals in Great Lakes

Capital News Service
LANSING — The emerging threat of pharmaceuticals, everyday chemicals and personal care products in drinking water may be the most difficult that water treatment plants have faced, experts say. Lake Michigan takes 99 years to “turn over,” meaning chemicals that entered the lake a century ago may only just be exiting, according to the Alliance for the Great Lakes, which has offices in Grand Haven and Plymouth. Its new report says that surface water in Lake Michigan contains six of 20 “priority” chemicals, or emerging contaminants identified by environmental engineers from Michigan State University. They include flame retardants and a cholesterol-lowering drug. After treatment, only a fire retardant remained in ready-to-drink water.

Some honeybee deaths may be preventable, experts say

Capital News Service
LANSING — New research has linked honeybee colony deaths with insecticides used on corn and soybean seeds, but experts said it’s not the only thing wiping out bees that are essential for pollinating other crops. Purdue University researchers said that so-called neonicotinoid insecticides have been found in dead hives. Farmers use the chemicals to treat corn and soybean seeds prior to planting. The insecticides are spread through the release of talc that keeps the seeds from sticking together inside planters. The talc then settles on plants adjacent to the fields, like dandelions.

Chemical levels in male walleye worry scientists

Capital News Service
LANSING — Male walleye in Saginaw Bay contain three times more flame retardant chemicals than females, a new study shows, and animal tests suggest that the chemicals could damage people’s liver, thyroid and brain. The reason: Male walleye hang out in the wrong places. “Males use the Saginaw River and its tributaries to feed in and for habitat, while the females mostly stay out in the bay,” said Charles Madenjian, a fisheries biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey based in Ann Arbor, and the study’s lead author. The chemicals, polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDEs), have been used in plastics, foams and fabrics as flame-retardants since the 1970s, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The river empties into the bay near Essexville.