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California utility may cut power in 30 counties in a dramatic step to prevent wildfires

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In the wake of one of the deadliest wildfire seasons in California history, Pacific Gas & Electric is considering taking a dramatic step to prevent another fire—preemptively cutting off power to 600,000 homes and businesses across 30 counties, including swaths of Napa and the Bay Area.

“This is shaping up to be one of the most severe dry wind events we’ve seen in our territory in recent years,” the utility said in a statement. “We want our customers to be prepared for an extended outage that may last several days.”

The preemptive power shutdowns will hopefully prevent power lines from sparking wildfires during the dry and windy weather. According to San Francisco’s ABC affiliate, the power cuts would begin early Wednesday and last through Thursday midday, the utility said, which is when wind gusts and dry air are expected across the already dry region, raising the likelihood that a wildfire could be ignited.

The power company is considering what the SF Chronicle dubs an “unprecedented move,” days after a new report from the nonprofit group Next 10 and the firm Beacon Economics revealed that the 2018 wildfires were not only devastating for humans, but also for the environment. The fires, which burned nearly two million acres of land, may have produced more carbon emissions “than the commercial, residential or agriculture sectors did in 2017.” Those emissions could make it difficult for the normally green state to hit its goal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40% below 1990s levels by 2030.

This isn’t the first time that PG&E has ordered a power cutoff to prevent wildfire, but the cutoff in June was much smaller, involving thousands of customers in the Northern California counties instead of hundreds of thousands. While losing power for a few days is undoubtedly frustrating, the alternative is far worse.

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Toxic Metals Found in 95% of Baby Foods

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Baby Foods

Rice-based products were found to have the highest levels of arsenic, the study commissioned by Healthy Babies Bright Futures found

A disturbing new study might have parents triple-checking the labels of their baby food.

Commissioned by Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF) and conducted by Abt Associates, the study found that of the baby foods it tested, 95 percent were found to contain toxic chemicals, including arsenic and lead.

Of the popular store brands tested, one in four contained toxic chemicals, the study found. In addition to arsenic and lead, cadmium and mercury were also found.

Of the 168 baby foods tested for the study, rice-based products posed one of the biggest threats.

“Puffs and other snacks made with rice flour contain arsenic, lead and cadmium at relatively high levels compared to other baby foods,” the study said, while “teething biscuits and rice rusks often contain arsenic, lead, and cadmium.”

But the number one culprit for arsenic in infants’ diets? Infant rice cereal, the study found.

“Rice is a leading source of arsenic exposure for young children,” the report stated, suggesting parents instead serve their children “other grains like oats, wheat and barley instead of rice to help cut their family’s exposures.”

But if parents are using rice-based foods, it is suggested that the rice be cooked in extra water “that is poured off before serving,” which can “cut the arsenic levels by up to 60 percent, according to FDA studies (FDA 2016).”

Basmati rice grown in California, India, and Pakistan has the lowest arsenic levels, while rice from Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, “or simply ‘U.S.’” has the highest levels, the study said. That data was based on testing by Consumer Reports, the study said.

In addition to rice-based products, other problematic foods included apple, pear, grape and other fruit juices as well as carrots and sweet potatoes, which “contain higher levels of lead and cadmium than other fruits and vegetables, on average.”

HBBF encouraged parents to provide their children with tap water and a variety of fruits and vegetables to avoid risk of exposure to the harmful toxins.

The organization warned that the chemicals in question “can permanently alter the developing brain, erode IQ, and affect behavior.”

 

Source people.com

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3 killed in multi-vehicle crash on I-80 in NJ: authorities

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Accident • Christopher Columbus Highway

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Three people are dead after a major multi-vehicle crash on the Interstate 80 highway in New Jersey early Friday, authorities confirmed.

State troopers responded around 1:45 a.m. for a crash involving at least two vehicles in the eastbound express lanes of I-80 in Parsippany-Troy Hills in Morris County, according to the New Jersey State Police.

Authorities confirmed there were at least three fatalities in the crash but had no further information about the deadly incident or the victims’ identities.

The eastbound express lanes remain closed while authorities investigate the accident.

PIX11 News was on the scene early Friday and witnessed two cars that were involved, including one turned on its side with extensive damage.

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Potential Tropical Cyclone 16 likely to become tropical storm today; warnings issued for parts of Florida

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Potential Tropical Cyclone

A disturbance in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, Potential Tropical Storm 16, strengthened overnight and is expected to become a tropical or subtropical storm today, the National Hurricane Center said Friday.

At 5 a.m. (EDT) Friday, the disturbance was located about 390 miles southwest of the mouth of the Mississippi River with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph. The system was moving toward the northeast at 14 mph.

“The disturbance is expected to develop into a tropical or subtropical storm later today, and a slow strengthening is then anticipated. An Air Force plane will investigate the disturbance again in a few hours,” Senior Hurricane Specialist Lixion Avila wrote in Friday morning’s advisory.

Typically, a maximum sustained wind speed of 39 mph is when a tropical storm is designated, but so far “there is no evidence that a well-defined center has formed yet,” the hurricane center said.

If and when it becomes a tropical storm, and if no other storms form elsewhere in the Atlantic sooner, it would be named Nestor.

“On the forecast track, the system will approach the northern Gulf Coast later today and tonight, and then move over portions of the southeastern United States on Saturday,” Avila wrote. By early Saturday, the system is expected to be approaching the western Part of Florida’s Panhandle.

That part of Florida is still recovering from the devastation wrought by the Category 5 Hurricane Michael, which obliterated Mexico Beach a year ago, in October 2018.

As of Friday morning, a tropical storm warning was in effect from the Mississippi-Alabama border to the Ochlockonee River in Florida. The mouth of the Ochlockonee River is about 30 miles south of Tallahassee.

A tropical storm warning was also in effect from Grand Isle, Louisiana, about 50 miles south of New Orleans, to the mouth of the Pearl River at the Mississippi-Louisiana border.

A tropical storm watch was in effect from the area east of the Ochlockonee River to Yankeetown, Florida.

Tropical storm warnings mean that tropical storm conditions are expected. Watches mean that tropical storm conditions are possible.

 

Source sun-sentinel.com

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