The Stream, October 20: Two Million Americans May Have Arsenic in Their Well Water, Study Finds

The Global Rundown

Two million people in the United States could be exposed to high levels of naturally-occurring arsenic in their well water, a study finds. Siberia’s Lake Baikal, home to one fifth of the world’s unfrozen freshwater, is devastated by algal blooms, poaching, and pollution. A “weather bomb” over the Atlantic Ocean is likely to bring heavy rains and coastal flooding to the United Kingdom. Recent wildfires raise concerns about drinking water quality in Napa County, California. An analysis of fossil coral reefs near Texas shows that sea levels rose in bursts during the planet’s last period of global warming.

“It’s always a concern when you have a fire in a runoff area.” –Mike Kirn, Calistoga Public Works Director, in reference to the potential contamination of water sources by wildfires in Napa County, California. Wildfires burned to the edges of several of the county’s reservoirs, depositing large amounts of ash along the way. Officials believe that ash and erosion from the blazes will pose water treatment challenges as California’s rainy season kicks in. Napa Valley Register

By The Numbers

2 million Number of Americans who could be exposed to high levels of arsenic in their well water, based on findings by the American Chemical Society. Long-term arsenic exposure can cause a wide range of health issues, including cancer. More than 44 million people in the United States draw their water from private domestic wells, which are mostly unregulated. Science Daily

3,600 Number of plant and animal species in Siberia’s Lake Baikal, many of which are endemic to the waterbody. In recent years, the lake’s ecosystem has been crippled by putrid algae, poaching, and pollution from wastewater runoff, causing the lake’s fish, sponges, and other species to die off. The Guardian

In context: Record heat in 2016 broke lake temperature too.

Science, Studies, And Reports

Researchers studied fossil coral reefs along the coast of Texas and found that during the planet’s last period of global warming, sea level rose in abrupt, punctuated bursts rather than gradually. The findings, published by Rice University, could reveal a “key storyline” as scientists attempt to predict future changes in sea level. Science Daily

On The Radar

Storm Brian is expected to inundate the coast of Britain over the weekend, with possible winds speeds of up to 70mph and rainfall totaling 60mm in certain areas. The storm, which will likely result in coastal flooding, is being caused by a “weather bomb” in the Atlantic Ocean. The Telegraph