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Although the EPA is supposed to protect the environment and thus, the people and animals within it, they have taken many steps that puts the environment and many of its inhabitants in danger. Towards the beginning of the pandemic’s arrival in America, the EPA decided to loosen their enforcement of rules that are intended to reduce the amount of pollution that businesses cause to the environment.

They relaxed rules that keep manufacturers from polluting air and water, which could cause many health issues and environmental damage.

Similarly, just over a week ago, twenty states, several cities, and one county formed a coalition to sue the EPA for weakening the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule. This outrage is understandable considering that “MATS was the first-ever national policy to reduce hazardous pollutants such as mercury, arsenic, and lead, which are known to cause neurological damage and forms of cancer and lung disease.” The changes are especially dangerous considering the pandemic.

Data shows that 91 percent of power companies that were monitored “showed unsafe levels of one or more coal ash components in nearby groundwater compared to EPA standard.” Similarly, 52 percent showed unsafe levels of cancer-causing arsenic and 60 percent had an unsafe amount of neurological damage-causing lithium. The 2015 regulation, set by Obama, had much higher standards for groundwater monitoring, but Trump rolled back on them due to “strong pressure from utility and coal companies.” The decision to weaken MATS comes shortly after the February 20 announcement about regulating dangerous chemicals in drinking water that cause liver issues, low birth weights, and testicular and kidney cancers.

These changes put so many people’s water at risk of pollution. EPA, Andrew Wheeler, justified this dangerous action by saying that it would save between $28 and $31 million a year. Can we really put a price tag on clean water, especially considering the U.S. military budget is $732 billion? Clean water is a human right. Sign this petition to tell Andrew Wheeler to reverse the new regulations that allow the coal industry to get away with contaminating the U.S. water supply.

Demand that the EPA Stop the Coal Industry from Contaminating Our Water SupplyClick Here to Sign Petition

To continue speaking up, sign these other petitions as well:

  • Tell EPA to Protect Public from Harmful Algal Blooms
  • Tell the EPA Not to Stop Policing Mass Polluters During Pandemic
  • Protect the Clean Water Act!
  • Ask Congress to Fully and Permanently Fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund!

For more Animal, Earth, Life, Vegan Food, Health, and Recipe content published daily, subscribe to the One Green Planet Newsletter! Also, don’t forget to download the Food Monster App on iTunes — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest meatless, vegan and allergy-friendly recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy!

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Flu shot makers plan to supply record numbers of vaccine doses amid Covid-19 pandemic

A patient from New York is given a flu shot by a Medical Assistant in New York.Timothy A. Clary | AFP | Getty Images

Flu-shot manufacturers plan to ship record numbers of vaccine doses to the U.S. this year as public health officials prepare to urge as many Americans as possible to protect themselves amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Though we don't yet have a vaccine for Covid, we do have a tool to prevent influenza," said Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, in a recent podcast interview.

The four makers of flu vaccines have said they plan to ship almost 200 million doses to the U.S. this year, up almost 15% from last season.

"The both public and private demand for this upcoming season has been tremendous," said Elaine O'Hara, head of North America commercial operations for Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines unit of French drugmaker Sanofi.

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Fewer than half of American adults, and about 60% of kids, typically get the flu shot each year, CDC data show. Public health experts are aiming for higher numbers this year to try to reduce the burden on hospitals already strained by Covid-19.

"The last thing we want on top of that now is to have beds that could go to Covid patients be used for influenza patients, ventilators that may be needed for Covid patients now have to be also diverted to influenza," said Dr. Jose Romero, a pediatric infection diseases specialist and interim director of the Arkansas Department of Health.

Every year, the flu sickens between 9 million and 45 million Americans, causes at least 140,000 hospitalizations and leads to 12,000 to 61,000 deaths, according to the CDC.

And while the flu shot isn't perfect — it ranges from 20 to 60% effectiveness each season, depending on how well scientists are able to predict which strains will be circulating — the agency says the vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and thousands of hospitalizations and deaths from flu each year.

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And, experts note, the vaccine can also lead to milder disease.

"So while we may get a mild case of influenza, there'll be less of the severe cases of influenza that result in office visits that can overwhelm a doctor's office or in hospitalizations," said Dr. Leonard Friedland, vice president and director of scientific affairs and public health for GlaxoSmithKline vaccines.

As the pandemic has kept many from making routine doctors visits, Friedland, who's also a practicing physician, said GSK is starting an ad campaign to remind people to make sure they're up to date on their vaccines — for all vaccine-preventable diseases, not just flu.

Meanwhile, public health officials are bracing for the uncertainty of the coming flu season on top of Covid-19.

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"That's another reason for getting the flu vaccine this year," Romero said. "You don't want to get Covid on top of flu or flu on top of Covid. Because we don't know what the clinical manifestations will be. We can only surmise or guess that they could be additive and it could be detrimental."

Public health experts also say it's possible we could see a less severe flu season this year because of Covid-19-related social distancing, use of masks and increased hand hygiene — but only if we take those actions to protect ourselves and one another.

VIDEO5:1805:18Lilly tests Covid-19 antibody drug in nursing home facilitiesThe ExchangeRelated Tags
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