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Drinking Water: Extreme Weather Events Threaten Quality, Says Report

The greatest risks to water quality come from cumulative impacts of extreme weather events that happen sequentially, like a drought followed by a wildfire followed by a flood, says joint Australian-US study. As climate change likely increases the frequency of extreme weather events, resilience must be built into the management of watersheds and water treatment systems for recovery to happen. [Sunday Morning Herald]

Report: Society's Water Safety Net Is Fraying

A new National Research Council report examines possible "tipping points" that might occur if the rate of groundwater pumping rapidly increases. As surface water-scarce regions get drier amidst climate change, early warning water and drought monitoring systems could be necessary to protect precious resources. [Circle of Blue]

Mississippi Basin Water Quality Declining Despite Conservation

Regardless of water conservation efforts practiced up and down the Mississippi, nitrate pollution in the River has risen due mainly to runoff from field crop fertilizers, animal manure, urban areas and discharges from wastewater treatment plants, USGS tests show. To curb pollution and the resultant dead zones, requirements for more monitoring and nitrogen reduction targets with teeth. [National Geographic]

Food Safety Rule Threatens Cows'

The FDA has proposed a rule that would hinder breweries from selling or donating wet grain as feed for livestock. By requiring further processing of spent grain prior to animal consumption, the rule would attach an additional, prohibitive cost to the grain, essentially condemning the waste to landfills. Wet grain feed, which has no associated health concerns, reduces food waste. [Politico]

NRDC Questions FDA Oversight, Safety of New Food Ingredients

In a new report, the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) called attention to food additive oversight failures, pointing out that food companies are allowed to deem additives as "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) without notifying the FDA. GRAS designations, some of which are made internally, require no premarket approval by the FDA, putting consumers at the mercy of manufacturers. [Food Product Design]

Tell the FDA What You Really Think About New Food Safety Rules

Comments on the Food Safety Modernization Act are due Friday November 15! Signed by President Obama in 2011, the act is finally getting its finishing touches before the FDA takes its new rules on the road. Many small, locally-distributing farmers are concerned about the impact certain rules will have on their businesses, especially rules intended for larger operations. [Grist]

Furloughed Inspectors Leave Gaps in Safety Oversight

The government shutdown is causing many safety inspectors to be sent home. The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, responsible for the safety of US nuclear plants, is set to furlough about 3,600 of its 3,900 employees. The employees retained are resident inspectors at reactors and those ready to respond to emergencies. [Bloomberg]

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