LindaParton/iStock(FLINT, Mich.) — Some Flint, Michigan, residents who may have been affected by lead in their water during the 2014 crisis may now be exposed to radiation in an effort to get a share of the $641.25 million water crisis settlement. Anyone exposed to lead at that time can receive a higher settlement if they submit proof of excessive lead levels, through blood or bone tests, or show evidence of injury, according to court documents.Some attorneys in the case are using portable X-ray devices in an effort to detect excessive levels of lead in claimants’ bones, but some health officials and medical experts question whether the use of these machines is unnecessary and poses any unjustifiable risk.“The risk of the treatment or some test that’s medically approved has to be less than the benefit,” Dr. Lawrence Reynolds, Flint city health adviser and a pediatrician, said in an interview with ABC News.He said the use of radiation outside of medical necessity is unethical, and that the X-ray devices being used were not designed for this purpose.“Why would you subject your child or yourself or a pregnant woman to the risk, no matter how small the radiation, if there’s no benefit?” Reynolds said.Claimants can demonstrate proof of injury in one of three ways: an excessive blood level test taken prior to August 2016; medical records demonstrating cognitive impairment or one of several physical conditions; or excessive lead levels in a bone test conducted through April 2021. According to court filings, attorneys from the offices of Levy Konigsberg, LLP and Napoli Shkolnik PLLC are using portable X-ray fluorescence devices to help complainants determine if they meet the excessive lead levels in the bone test option.Thousands of people have been exposed to lead and other contaminants through the city of Flint’s water supply since 2014. Lawsuits were filed against the local government as well as city officials for switching the city’s water source to the Flint River, which resulted in sending contaminated water to the homes and businesses of thousands.The lawsuits were resolved in a settlement that forced the city to pay more than $600 million to affected residents. The court decision stated that residents’ concerns about the public health crisis were “ignored” and “downplayed,” while solutions were “ignored” since the crisis first made headlines.Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the pediatrician who helped expose the Flint water crisis, told the Detroit Free Press that she doesn’t recommend the use of these scans for children — there are between 6,000 to 12,000 children who were affected by the lead poisoning, according to Genesee County officials — or for pregnant woman.The newspaper reported that a Flint woman who was 28 weeks pregnant was given a bone scan by the Napoli Shkolnik law firm, but she said was never asked whether she was pregnant. The law firm has not responded to requests for comment on the allegation.Dr. Brian Choi, professor of medicine and radiology at The George Washington University and co-director of advanced cardiac imaging in the division of cardiology, said, “Children have more rapidly dividing cells so if a child is exposed to a lot of radiation, that’s gonna be more problematic than like a 60-year-old being exposed to a lot of radiation.”In February, other attorneys in the case filed a motion to have use of the devices suspended, but the motion was quickly withdrawn after a court hearing.Attorneys Corey Stern and Hunter J. Shkolnik then wrote a letter to the court defending the safety and validity of the testing devices. Although the devices are typically used on dirt, metal and similar materials, the two attorneys have said that modifications have been made under guidance of experts in the field to ensure that they are suitable for use on humans and that the devices pose no risk of exposure to children or adults.“We emphasize that under no circumstances would we ever expose our clients or others in the community to risk of harm,” the attorneys stated in court filings. “The expert physicians and physicists who have developed and supervised the scanning process have published many studies and analyses that provide assurance that the process is without risk and, as discussed below, have received approvals from Purdue University and Harvard University to utilize the technology on humans.”The letter also said that the medical director overseeing the use of the devices is a renowned expert in pediatric neurotoxicity and that the amount of radiation exposure is the equivalent of nine hours of sun exposure and less than one-thirtieth of that received in a chest X-ray.However, medical experts like Reynolds remain hesitant, some noting that the device has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.Choi said that FDA approval is important to ensuring quality and safety for patients.“The No. 1 thing is that in the medical setting all of the radiation-producing equipment that we expose our patients to has to be FDA-approved because that assures a certain level of reliability and testing to make sure that the dose that patients receive is what you expect it to be,” Choi said. “It’s very important to make sure that they’re getting the appropriate dose necessary to make a proper diagnosis when it comes to radiology images.”Radiation is potentially dangerous because the more that one is exposed, the more likely DNA damage is to occur, which can cause cancer, according to Choi. He said that being exposed to a lot of radiation is a problem, but it’s unknown how much of a risk smaller amounts of radiation can be.Choi said that if the device isn’t FDA-approved, radiologists simply wouldn’t be permitted to use them.“Any time a patient is exposed to radiation or a person is exposed to radiation you have to weigh the risks and benefits,” Choi said. “If the risk exceeds the benefits, even if there are theoretical risks, what’s the good in that?”In their letter to the court, Stern and Shkolnick asserted that FDA approval is not required for this use of the XRF devices because they are not being used to diagnose, prevent or treat any disease, rather the “sole purpose of the test is to quantify lead exposure for the purpose of settlement.”The law firms of Levy Konigsberg and Napoli Shkolnik have not responded to ABC News’ request for comment.Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Long Island’s housing options are woefully inadequate, yet we’re doing little to address this ever-growing problem.If you ask LI’s developers, they would say that the answer is the creation of developments that “meet the needs of seniors who are downsizing and young adults looking for more affordable rentals, as well as to create ‘vibrant’ destination communities that attract workers and retain young people,” as representative of Uniondale-based RXR Realty, Virginia-based AvalonBay Communities, Inc. and The Engel Burman Group in Garden City told the Long Island Regional Planning Council at a recent meeting in Hempstead.That sounds good to any rational resident. On paper.But nobody is talking about the rents in these developments, nor the marked disconnect between what is getting approved and built, as well as what this region truly needs to thrive: high-paying economic opportunities for the region’s eager and educated younger workforce, and housing they can actually afford.The new rentals are telling. Avalon Bay claims it wants to provide housing options that will keep the Island’s millennials here. It charges $1,840 a month for a one-bedroom apartment in Coram, $2,670 a month for a one bedroom in Garden City or $2,748 a month for a one bedroom in Long Beach.These rents are higher than most single-family home mortgages. For Avalon Pines in Coram to be considered “affordable,” which means less than 20 percent of the household income going toward rent, its occupants would need a combined income of $110,000 per year. And that’s to live in Coram, where the closest Long Island Rail Road train station is roughly six miles away.Statistically, it’s unlikely that workers residing that far out east in Suffolk County would utilize the LIRR anyway to commute to Manhattan, but the developers still call it a walkable, transit-oriented community regardless. Avalon Huntington Station, about a mile from the train station, is charging $2,285 a month, which would require a joint salary of $135,000 for it to be considered “affordable.”In 2013, the average rent in Suffolk for a one-bedroom was $1,490 a month, according to The New York Times, while the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says that the average fair market rent for a one-bedroom is $1,324. For the Nassau-Suffolk region, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom is $1,437. The average median family income for the region in 2015 was $109,000.In western Suffolk, housing prices declined 12 percent in the wake of the recession from 2008 through 2013, while rents in one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments rose 19 percent. Nassau saw even larger price disparities. Housing prices declined by 7 percent, but rents went up 27 percent for one-bedroom apartments, and 28 percent for two-bedrooms. From 2011 to 2013, Long Island’s rents increased between 7 percent and 10 percent, yet housing prices only grew 3 percent to 4 percent.Not to pick on Avalon Bay, but it is just one example of how many developers tout their desire to supply what the Island needs, yet the economics prevent them from doing it because it doesn’t make fiscal sense. To acknowledge the need for affordable workforce housing for the next generation and the elderly, while charging $1,840 a month to live 60 miles from New York City is ludicrous. Compare this situation to Queens. As the MNS Real Estate Services reported in December 2015, average rent in Astoria, complete with easy subway access and a more vibrant neighborhood than most suburban areas, was a mere $2,057 a month for a one-bedroom apartment, while Forest Hills and Rego Park came close with $2,014 and $2,038 respectably. Although familial ties to LI are strong for many young people who grew up here, is it worth their paying $750 a month more to live in Nassau County instead of renting in Queens, or should they just pay the $20 train ticket on the weekends to visit their parents?Herein lies the problem. Developers and their vested nonprofit buddies often get so caught up in the convenient narrative that, yes, Long Island needs more multifamily housing projects, yet few actually build them at price points to suit the needs of our many young people who want to move out of their childhood homes. The Island needs more apartments, but few builders, if any, are actually building them for the markets they claim to be supplying.Of course, builders don’t have it easy. From NIMBY protests over community fears that are sometimes legitimate and often imagined, LI’s development climate is difficult and easy at the same time.But to grandstand to a regional planning group about what we need is wrong considering what they are providing. The LIRPC should be telling developers what housing options Long Island needs, not the other way around. For too long, planning efforts on the Island have been spearheaded by vested interests and specialized groups instead of serious data-backed study driven by public participation.Further, the LIRPC should be taking more of a leadership role in confronting the economics of why, exactly, many of these developers are building projects with rents well above the median rent levels in Suffolk.Instead of focusing on squeezing every bit of density into the last bastions of open space on the Island, the emphasis should be on how to repurpose our existing, underutilized disturbed sites to meet our region’s needs. The LIRPC must usher LI into a new economy that allows for sustainable economic growth by unifying the patchwork system of our Industrial Development Agencies, and stop trying to compete with Manhattan and the outer boroughs for apartments, and complement what the city has to offer.By playing to Long Island’s strengths, instead of trying to urbanize Nassau and Suffolk here and there, we will get the jobs we need, and the housing options will follow.Rich Murdocco writes about Long Island’s land use and real estate development issues. He received his Master’s in Public Policy at Stony Brook University, where he studied regional planning under Dr. Lee Koppelman, Long Island’s veteran master planner. Murdocco is a regular contributor to the Long Island Press. More of his views can be found on www.TheFoggiestIdea.org or follow him on Twitter @TheFoggiestIdea.
“Lifelong Liverpool fan Paul ‘Diddler’ Dillion from Donegal recently lost his brave battle with Motor Neurone Disease.”That was part of a touching tribute to die-hard fan of Liverpool Football Club, Paul Dillion – or better known to his family and friends as ‘Diddler’ – who was featured in Liverpool’s matchday programme for the match against Tottenham Hotspur at Anfield on Sunday last.The 45-year-old father-of-three from Ballybegley passed away in September after a short battle with Motor Neurone Disease. During his funeral, some of them carried their brother, friend and colleague to his final place of rest as You’ll Never Walk Alone – the anthem of his beloved Liverpool – rang out.And on Sunday last, thousands of fellow Liverpool fans got to read a poignant tribute about the loving father, the athlete, the butcher, the GAA coach, the anything and everything to those who knew him.Concluding, the tribute read: “Cheering the Reds always, he will be sorely missed by his family and friends. YNWA.”Liverpool remembers ‘Diddler’ with touching programme tribute was last modified: November 3rd, 2019 by Staff WriterShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)
QPR face Newcastle at Loftus Road tonight. How much do you know about the history involving the two clubs? Test your knowledge by seeing how many of these five questions you can answer correctly. See also:Trialist features again in QPR U23 gamePolter and Luongo doubtful, but QPR trio availableQPR v Newcastle: five key battlesQPR v Newcastle – as it happenedFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebook
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Things get busy in Delaware County in Mid-September, as the county fair begins its festivities. Usually, the way it times out, it is also the start of harvest season for The Skinners at Hardscrabble Farms. The Ohio Ag Net’s Ty Higgins hopped in the cab with Brian Skinner to talk about the recent Symphony on the Farm event, hosted by the Skinners. They also talk about early harvest progress and upcoming fair activities.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The National Corn Growers Association this week urged farmers to submit comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, following publication of the Agency’s draft Ecological Risk Assessment for atrazine, an herbicide used for weed control in growing corn and other crops. If it stands, EPA’s recommendation would effectively ban the use of atrazine in most farming areas in the U.S.“Atrazine is a safe and effect crop management tool. If EPA succeeds in taking away this option, it will be sending farming practices back decades – and hurt the environment in the process,” said Maryland farmer Chip Bowling, President of NCGA. “As a farmer and a conservationist, I can’t let this go unanswered. That’s why I’m urging farmers to contact the EPA and make their voices heard.”Atrazine is a widely used herbicide proven to combat the spread of resistant weeds, while also reducing soil erosion and improving wildlife habitats. When farmers have access to atrazine, they do not have to do as much tilling, or turning up of the soil – a practice that erodes soil and leads to water and nutrient loss. Studies suggest farming without atrazine could cost corn farmers up to $59 per acre.As part of the assessment, EPA recommends reducing the aquatic life level of concern (LOC) from 10 parts per billion (ppb) on a 60-day average, to 3.4 ppb. Scientific evidence points to a safe aquatic life LOC at 25 ppb or greater.Visit www.ncga.com/atz to submit your comments to the EPA. The deadline to submit comments is August 5. For more information on atrazine, visit agsense.org.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest A frontal boundary is working through the state today, and will bring good moisture to 80% of the state. WE expect rain totals to be .25″-.75″. Action will be done by late afternoon/evening, and we clear out overnight. This front will be by far the best organized round of moisture over the next 10 days.Sunny and dry tomorrow, then partly sunny on Wednesday. Temps will be normal to slightly above normal, but not even remotely close to the warmth of this past weekend. Overnight Wednesday night through midday Thursday we have to keep an eye out for a few scattered showers. These will have potential for only a few hundredths to .3″ and only 70% coverage. Most of that will be in the norther half of the state, but we wont rule it out in other areas.Dry to finish the week next week, next weekend and through Monday the 30th. Temps will continue to be mostly normal to a bit above.A front next Tuesday (1st) through Wednesday (2nd) has the potential for scattered showers from I-70 north. This is a slow, sagging front, but it does not have an inordinate amount of moisture with it…so rains are not that impressive. A few hundredths to .4″ look to be the most likely totals for the time being. Coverage will be 70% from I-70 north.10 day rain potentialThe extended period shows cooler air headed toward the region and slightly more frequent chances of moisture. However, we still only see one well organized, strong front, and that is likely early in the 11-16 day window, around Thursday the 3rd into early Friday the 4th.
If it’s so good, why does the Code keep changing?The answer is…to get even better! Essentially the code changes to improve a (regulatory) process, reduce cost, allow new or different ways of doing something, or sometimes to increase safety. A change in the building code can be suggested by anyone who has a legitimate suggestion to improve it. While that may sound simple, it’s a bit more complex. Anyone who cares to can submit a code change to the International Code Council, along with substantiation and supporting rationale, through forms found at the ICC website.Proposed changes in the model code follow a government consensus process where a mixture of stakeholder interests are represented during the initial code development hearings by a committee. Then, at the final action hearings only governmental members have a vote.The proposal will be considered during a public hearing by a committee whose interests focus on specific code provisionsâ€• architectural, structural, plumbing, mechanical, fuel gas, etc. The committee votes to recommend or refute the proposal and will sometimes tweak the proposed change. To ensure accountability, floor members with voting rights (building officials) who disagree with the decision of the committee, can ask for a floor action that would reverse the committee’s recommendations. The decisions made are published for anyone’s review. Then, during a subsequent public comment period, anyone can suggest alternative wording to the proposed code change.All of the proposals are presented to the voting membership of the ICC in what’s called Final Action Hearings. Those proposals passing this hurdle are then compiled into a new published code (IRC, IBC, etc) on three year intervals. This new book is called the model code. Its contents don’t become law until an authority having jurisdiction (city, state or county) adopts it. In almost all cases this comes with amendments or changes to that model code. The locality usually modifies the code to reflect local or regional interests. So, for all the items discussed in national publications like Fine Homebuilding, the adopting jurisdiction has the final word in the enforceable language in any Code.A mixture of changes range from semantics or terminology to very substantial requirements. Many times the changes are to explain the code provision better…to better clarify the intent. Sometimes the change is to improve grammar or punctuation. Sometimes the code change reduces a requirement. Sometimes, based on a national trend, a requirement is added to respond to a perceived unsafe condition. For example, a recent change in the 2009 IRC will require every home built to have fire sprinklers after January 1, 2011.Technology allows for a safety measure that didn’t exist before. For example, Carbon Monoxide detectors, unheard of 20 years ago, will now be required in new homes. However, changes also allow for new materials to be used such as insulated concrete forms, light gauge steel framing or air admittance valves. Significant changes that affect green building are common in the last several code editions. In the most recent edition (2009), the IRC increased energy efficiency requirements about 15% overall and specified that half of all lamps be energy efficient type (CFLs).If you have a good idea for a code change, I would encourage you to seek support from the local chapter of the International Code Council. Each state or locality has an organization that is a chapter member of ICC. Their support will be important if not essential. The final vote for or against a proposed code change falls to the governmental members; states, cities and counties who enforce these same codes.
Energy usually gets top billing in the green building community. It has a huge impact on the environment. We sometimes pay a significant amount for it (although most of us don’t pay enough to motivate serious change, but that’s another story). We can do energy modeling and home energy ratings. Plus, it’s just really interesting!But water deserves a lot of attention, too, and green builders in New Mexico are innovating a way to move water to the fore.Meet the WERSIf you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ve no doubt heard of a HERS rating. It stands for Home Energy Rating System, and it includes calculations that produce a HERS Index, a number whose main reference point is 100. The lower the number, the more energy efficient the home. A HERS Index of zero would be a net zero energy home.Likewise, the WERS stands for Water Efficiency Rating Score1 and has a 0 to 100 scale, with lower numbers being better. Created by the Green Builder Coalition in cooperation with Build Green New Mexico (BGNM), Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association (SFAHBA), and members of the City of Santa Fe Water Conservation Committee (SFWCC), the WERS is a software-based program that tells you how efficiently your home uses water.You may be wondering why they felt the need to create this when the US EPA already has a water efficiency program, WaterSense. There’s a big difference between the two, though. WaterSense is actually two things. First, it’s a label for products like toilets and faucets, similar to the Energy Star label for things like computers and refrigerators. Second, it’s a program for new homes. (Check out program details at the WaterSense website.)So, the WaterSense new homes program is based on a checklist. WERS is a rating system, similar to HERS.Calculating a WERSThe New Mexico folks have done a lot of work to put this rating system together, and it’s in the pilot stage now. The inputs and calculations are done in a spreadsheet (see Image #2, below), and it’s not that difficult to use. In fact, it’s easier than doing a home energy rating because you have a lot fewer inputs.In Image #2, which shows one of several tabs in the WERS spreadsheet, you can see the inputs needed for the calculation. For toilets, faucets, and other indoor water appliances and fixtures, you enter the water consumption rate. The spreadsheet then calculates the water savings for each one compared to the industry baseline and prescriptive path requirements for water efficiency programs.The “Minimum Prescriptive Indoor WERS” box at the bottom left shows the WERS for a home with the same inputs as you see in the “Program Minimum Prescriptive Path Units” column. In the example above, that would be 85.4. The box to the right of that shows the WERS for the home as rated, using the numbers in the “Proposed or Actual Units” column.Currently the WERS includes only indoor water use, but it can be reduced by reusing greywater or rainwater. There is a checklist, however, for outdoor water use, and the plan is eventually to incorporate it into the WERS, too.But doesn’t a HERS rating include water?The short answer is no. Not like the WERS, anyway. Yes, a HERS rating includes hot water, but it’s only the energy use associated with it. And it doesn’t include anything about water use in toilets, faucets, and other water fixtures. The HERS rating is just about energy.Once the new ANSI standard HERS protocols go into effect, the HERS rating will be better about hot water use. According to hot water efficiency guru Gary Klein, the thinking behind modeling hot water in a HERS rating now has shifted to put water efficiency and time efficiency (how fast does it get to the fixture?) first and the energy impact second.But it’s not a WERS.Scaling water efficiencyOne of the best things about the WERS is the 0 to 100 scale. As with the HERS Index, it gives builders, home buyers, and anyone else who’s interested a way to compare houses. Kim Shanahan is Executive Officer of the Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association and one of the people responsible for making WERS a reality. “The zero to 100 scale of the WERS program plays right into the competitive nature of builders and the marketplace,” he said.2The fledging program in New Mexico is off to a great start. There’s a lot of interest in it there, and they’re also having discussions with the EPA and others about taking it national. I think you’ll be hearing more and more about WERS in the coming years. Allison Bailes of Decatur, Georgia, is a speaker, writer, energy consultant, RESNET-certified trainer, and the author of the Energy Vanguard Blog. Check out his in-depth course, Mastering Building Science at Heatspring Learning Institute, and follow him on Twitter at @EnergyVanguard.Footnotes1. There’s one thing I wish they had done differently, though. WERS stands for Water Efficiency Rating Score. (At least that’s what it is in most places I’ve seen it defined.) What that means is that it’s going to become the next Grrrrrrrrrr-inducing term like ATM, PIN, and ECM because everyone is going to want to say WERS score the way they say ATM machine, PIN number, and ECM motor. I’m feeling it already. Grrrrrrrrrr!2. Yes, “he.” Kim is a perfectly respectable man’s name. Which reminds me: In case you haven’t heard, I’ve started a new movement to get parents to reclaim names that were traditionally boys’ names but which have since been co-opted by girls. Come on, parents! Don’t be afraid to name those boys Allison or Kim or Kelly or Mary Ann. Well…maybe not Mary Ann, but did you know that John Wayne’s original name was Marion Robert Morrison?
England captain Eoin Morgan said his team is full of confidence heading into their opening World Twenty20 match against West Indies on Wednesday. England have failed to make it past the second round since winning the title in 2010 but Morgan said his players had a positive mindset after winning warm-up matches against New Zealand and a Mumbai Cricket Association XI.”We are in a really good place mentally,” Morgan told reporters on Tuesday.”As long as we execute our plans and go about our business the way we normally do I think we’ll be in a stable position.”England have struggled in recent times against quality spin bowling but Morgan did not expect spin to play a major role in the first two matches against West Indies and South Africa, both at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium. England’s next Group 1 matches – against Afghanistan and Sri Lanka – will be staged in New Delhi.”It’s normally a good batting surface here,” he said. “It’s another challenge for a bowler to try and emphasize taking wickets and holding momentum throughout the innings.”England defeated Pakistan in the Twenty20 series on slow wickets in the United Arab Emirates earlier this year but arrived in India after losing both T20s against South Africa last month.Morgan said England’s batsmen have learnt from their mistakes in South Africa and hope they will play with more positive intent in India.”We learnt a lot particularly about our batting which stuttered a bit in South Africa,” he said. “We are a young and developing side and we will gain experience by playing smarter cricket.”advertisementTop three batsmen Alex Hales, Jason Roy and Joe Root all scored in both warm-up matches while seamers Liam Plunkett, Reece Topley, David Willey and Chris Jordan were among the wickets.”It’s important to gain momentum as early as possible in the tournament because Twenty20 is very funny in regard to confidence and momentum,” Morgan said. “It’s very easy when you have it (momentum), but when you try to gain it back it could become a difficult challenge.”