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Coronavirus traces found in Massachusetts wastewater at levels far higher than expected
Friday, 10 April 2020 10:20

https://nypost.com/2020/04/09/coronavirus-traces-found-in-massachusetts-wastewater/

Coronavirus was detected in Massachusetts sewage at higher levels than expected, suggesting there are many more undiagnosed patients than previously known, according to a new study.

Researchers from biotech startup Biobot Analytics collected samples from a wastewater facility for an unnamed metropolitan area in late March, according to a report Tuesday on medRxiv.

Eric Alm, one of the authors of the study, which has not yet been peer reviewed, stressed that the public is not at risk of contracting the virus from particles in the wastewater, but they may have the potential to indicate how widespread the virus has become, Newsweek reported.

“Even if those viral particles are no longer active or capable of infecting humans, they may still carry genetic material that can be detected using an approach called PCR (polymerase chain reaction), which amplifies the genetic signal many orders of magnitude, creating billions of copies of the genome for each starting virus,” Alm told the outlet.

The researchers, along with a team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, analyzed the samples and found the number of coronavirus particles equated with 2,300 people being infected with the virus.

But at the time of tests, there were only 446 confirmed cases in the region, according to the study.

“It was interesting that our estimation was definitely higher than the number of confirmed cases in the area,” said Mariana Matus, CEO and co-founder of Biobot, according to Stat News.

The researchers shared their findings with local health officials, who said it was plausible there were hundreds of undetected cases.

“They could believe that [our] numbers could be correct and not out of the realm of possibility,” Matus told the outlet.

 
EPA Expands COVID-19 Disinfectant List, Adding Nearly 200 Additional Products
Monday, 16 March 2020 13:24

(Lenexa, Kan., March 16, 2020) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing an expanded list of EPA-registered disinfectant products that have qualified for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The list contains nearly 200 additional products—including 40 new products that went through the agency’s expedited review process. The agency also made key enhancements to the web-based list to improve its usefulness.

“During this pandemic, it’s important that people can easily find the information they’re looking for when choosing and using a surface disinfectant,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “With this expanded list, EPA is making sure Americans have greater access to as many effective and approved surface disinfectant products as possible and that they have the information at their fingertips to use them effectively.”

While disinfectant products on this list have not been tested specifically against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19, they are expected to be effective against SARS-CoV-2 because they have been tested and proven effective on either a harder-to-kill virus or against another human coronavirus similar to SARS-CoV-2.

The product list has also been updated to include the product’s active ingredient and the amount of time the surface should remain wet to be effective against the given pathogen.

To make the list more consumer friendly, information in the table is now sortable, searchable and printable, and can be easily viewed on a mobile device.

These additions make it easier for consumers to find surface disinfectants and instructions for using them effectively against SARS-CoV-2.

To view the list of EPA-registered disinfectant products, visit https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2

 
Beer waste saves Montana town $1 million on water treatment
Wednesday, 12 February 2020 08:24

Beer waste saves Montana town $1 million on water treatment
Brewery waste can throw off the microbes that wastewater plants rely on to remove nitrogen and phosphorus. At least two communities in Montana are using it strategically to treat their water.

Read in NPR: 
https://www.npr.org/2020/02/12/804586191/beer-waste-saves-montana-town-1-million-on-water-treatment

 
U.S. drinking water widely contaminated with 'forever chemicals'
Wednesday, 22 January 2020 07:47

U.S. drinking water widely contaminated with 'forever chemicals': report
The contamination of U.S. drinking water with man-made "forever chemicals" is far worse than previously estimated with some of the highest levels found in Miami, Philadelphia and New Orleans, said a report on Wednesday by an environmental watchdog group.

Read in Reuters: 
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-water-foreverchemicals/u-s-drinking-water-widely-contaminated-with-forever-chemicals-report-idUSKBN1ZL0F8

 

The Houston Ship Channel reopened Sunday as crews continued to clean up the scene of a collision Friday between two vessels, which spilled an estimated 9,000 barrels of gasoline blend into the busy waterway.

Read the full Houston Chronicle article

 
Notre Dame's melted roof leaves astronomical lead levels
Friday, 10 May 2019 06:07

Notre Dame Cathedral's melted roof has left astronomically high lead levels in the plaza outside and adjacent roads.

Read full story at SF Gate


 
Maine Bans Styrofoam Containers, Becoming the First State to Do So
Tuesday, 07 May 2019 05:57

Maine became the first U.S. state to ban plastic foam containers, commonly referred to as Styrofoam, with a bill signed into law Tuesday, April 30th.

The new law prohibits businesses such as convenience stores, grocery stores and restaurants from selling or distributing plastic foam containers, which are made out of a substance called polystyrene. The list of banned items includes cups, take-out containers, plates and bowls.

Read the full article at Weather.com

 
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