WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Chemicals

A new report suggests the Environmental Protection Agency should consider lowering the legal limit in drinking water for nitrates, a chemical often connected to fertilizer use.

People who drink water with elevated, but not illegal, levels of nitrates could be at an increased risk of kidney, ovarian and bladder cancer, the nonprofit Environmental Working Group asserts. But a University of Iowa researcher who studies nitrate contamination says the connection to cancer is inconsistent and other chemicals may be involved.

The U.S. House has overwhelmingly approved legislation to change the way the Environmental Protection Agency reviews and evaluates potentially toxic and dangerous chemicals used in commerce.

The existing Toxic Substances Control Act, written in 1976, is seen as a failure by many business and environmental organizations. Members of Congress say it has built-in weaknesses and unnecessary complexities that prevent the EPA from doing its job.

New Super Chemical to Fight Super Weeds

Dec 18, 2014
Farmers first saw herbicide resistant Pigweeds, like the one pictured here, emerge in Georgia in the nineties.
(Amy Mayer/Harvest Public Media)

Resistant pigweeds are a problem.

Pigweeds can grow up to seven feet tall and produce more than half a million seeds per plant, per season.