News Recap for 2-19-21
RealClear Education: Public Schools are Ignoring Science and Harming Special Needs Students — In this op-ed, Center CEO Joseph Annotti and Independent Women’s Forum’s Julie Gunlock analyze the debate surrounding school reopening through a scientific lens. “Following ‘the’ science means assessing the most accurate, objective, and unbiased scientific evidence developed by qualified and independent researchers and applying those findings to our daily lives. That does not mean eliminating every risk—that is a fool’s errand. It does mean managing the risks we all face in a way that provides the greatest benefit to the most people while limiting potential damage. Since late summer, ‘the science’ has been urging school leaders to open—in some fashion.”
Arizona Daily Star: New University of Arizona studies looking at possible PFAS-COVID-19 link — Three new University of Arizona-led studies are trying to determine if “forever chemicals” known as PFAS compounds increase the risk of contracting COVID-19 or weaken vaccines’ ability to protect against the disease. The federally financed studies, now underway, are examining whether PFAS in blood serum can increase COVID-19 risk for firefighters, other first responders, health-care workers and others, including teachers, who hold what are considered essential jobs. So far, the one study to find a link between PFAS and COVID-19 was led in Denmark by researchers at Harvard University’s School of Public Health. That study concluded that more work must be done to determine questions of PFAS-COVID-19 links in populations with elevated exposures.
Bloomberg Law: EPA Dumps Trump-Era Chemical Analysis Approach After Rebuke — Sharp criticism from the federal government’s top science advisory institute on Tuesday prompted the EPA to drop a method developed during the Trump administration to analyze chemicals. The “systematic review” method developed by the Environmental Protection Agency’s chemicals office in 2018 isn’t comprehensive, workable, objective, or transparent, and it “does not meet state-of-practice standards,” according to the report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The EPA chemicals office is now working with its research office to incorporate strategies developed by the research office’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) Program—strategies that the academies recommended in their report, the agency said.
National Law Review: PFAS Water Utility Lawsuit Shows An Increasing Trend — In the latest PFAS water utility lawsuit, the Pennsylvania-American Water Co. (“PAWC”) sued numerous PFAS manufacturers over allegations that the companies knowingly or negligently allowed the contamination of the drinking water in the state of Pennsylvania. Now, the PAWC alleges, it will need to spend significant amounts of money to remediate drinking water sources, which many estimate will be alleged to be hundreds of millions in alleged damages sought by the PAWC. While the lawsuit by the water utility is certainly not the first of its kind, it is nevertheless significant due to the fact that the PAWC owns and controls 67 public water systems and over 100 groundwater wells throughout Pennsylvania, which provide drinking water to approximately 2.4 million citizens, making the scope of the impact and potential remediation costs some of the largest to date.