The Stream, June 12, 2019: Nitrate Pollution in U.S. Drinking Water May Cause 12,500 Cancer Cases Annually

The Global Rundown

Nitrate pollution in U.S. drinking water could be linked to more than 12,000 cancer cases annually. A severe cyclone closes in on the Indian state of Gujarat, forcing 300,000 people to evacuate. Officials in Norway say they still haven’t found the cause of water contamination that sickened dozens on the island of Askoey. Australia cuts its wheat production forecast as drought continues to grip the country. A proposal to build a power plant on the Nile River in Uganda is met with backlash.

“It’s just unacceptable to even start discussing the destruction of the most powerful waterfalls in Uganda for the sake of 360 MW.” –Amos Wekesa, a Ugandan tour operator, in reference to a proposed power plant on the Nile’s Murchison Falls. The Falls are part of a popular national park, and critics of the plant warn that it could devastate tourism and damage wildlife habitats. Reuters

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By The Numbers

300,000 Residents of Gujarat, India, who are preparing to evacuate as Storm Vayu barrels toward the country’s western coast. Meteorologists warn that the large cyclone could further disrupt India’s monsoon rains, which are already a week behind average. Reuters

55 People who have been hospitalized on the Norwegian island of Askoey due to water contamination. In total, 2,000 people have fallen ill from the contamination, which involved Campylobacter and possibly E. coli bacteria. The source of the contamination has not been found. Associated Press

Science, Studies, and Reports

A new study by the Environmental Working Group warns that nitrate pollution in U.S. drinking water may be causing 12,500 cancer cases a year. The organization says that the cost of treating these cases, which are likely tied to the nitrates in fertilizer and manure runoff, could top $1.5 billion annually. EWG

In context: More Evidence of Nitrate Cancer Risk in Drinking Water.

On the Radar

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) cut their wheat production forecast by 11 percent for the 2019-20 harvest as drought continues to affect growing conditions. The predicted yield of 21.2 million tonnes is 14 percent below the 10-year average. Reuters

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