A Deadly Mix For Boaters: Distractions, Alcohol And No Life Jacket

On a warm, slightly overcast Sunday afternoon last August 8, boaters near the Salmon River boat launch on the Connecticut River in East Haddam noticed a personal watercraft drifting without a rider. Less than an hour later, state environmental police recovered a man’s body floating nearby in a no-wake zone. Stephen Fabian, 59, of Moodus, had fallen off the watercraft and drowned. State environmental officials said his life jacket was ill-fitting and had slid up around his head, and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) reported that his blood-alcohol level was well over the legal intoxication limit. “The way he died was tragic,” his best friend, Dana Pitts of Westbrook, said.

Activists Say Climate Change Policies Fail To Factor In Risks To LGBTQ+ Community

When it comes to environmental vulnerability, one group of people society often marginalizes has started to act up in Connecticut. Activists say one major category is missing when policymakers look at climate change preparation: the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ+) community. An environmental activist movement for LGBTQ+ people has been building in the New Haven area for a few years. Those involved in the movement say evidence is beginning to accumulate that makes a clear connection between environmental threats, sexual orientation and gender identity. Their environmental vulnerability comes mainly from this group’s higher poverty rates.

Wet Summer Raises Risk Of Mosquito-Borne Illnesses In October

With mosquito levels at the highest in 20 years, three mosquito-borne illnesses are most dangerous to humans in October after being passed from birds to mosquitoes over the summer months. This year, the first report of Eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) occurred Sept. 23 in mosquitoes trapped in Voluntown, in southeastern Connecticut, as part of the state’s surveillance program. EEE is rare but kills one-third of those who catch it, according to the state Department of Public Health. Two years ago, three out of four people who caught EEE in Stonington died.

Medical Providers Are Taking Nature Therapy Seriously

Schools were closed and online learning was in full swing last March when a teenager and her mom arrived at Fair Haven Community Health Care in New Haven. The girl had been experiencing chest pains and her worried mother thought she should go to the emergency room, recalled Amanda E. DeCew, a Fair Haven clinic director and pediatric nurse. The girl “was spending her entire day inside and had been inside for like two weeks,” DeCew said. “But the more we got into her symptoms, the more I really felt like this was anxiety and nothing that she needed to go the emergency room for.”

But DeCew also knew that some kind of medical intervention was needed. “I’m going to write a park prescription for you,” she told the girl.

Beyond COVID-19: Waste Testing A Vast Public Health Frontier

As scientists measure the prevalence of COVID-19 in the sludge flowing from New Haven sewage treatment plants, they’re also finding that our biological waste can tell them much more about our collective pathologies. Between March 19 and June 30, a group of scientists tested waste that had previously been used to detect COVID-19, looking for drugs and chemicals. The researchers found significant increases in three opioids, four antidepressants, and other chemicals in sludge from New Haven. The analysis, by scientists from the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) and Yale University, offered the first glimpses of how the pandemic’s stay-at-home orders affected people’s behavior. It also underscored how important human waste can be as a resource for understanding public health and society’s habits.

State’s Efforts To End Use Of Toxic Firefighting Foam Slowed During Pandemic

The call came into the Lisbon fire department at 3:07 p.m. on Sept. 9: A vehicle was ablaze at a home on Bundy Hill Road. By the time the fire truck reached the scene, the flames had spread from the car to the side of the home and were moving rapidly. Firefighters immediately began spraying a fire suppression foam containing hazardous chemicals known as PFAS and had the blaze out within minutes. The homeowners were warned not to use or drink their well water, fearing the shallow well was likely contaminated by the toxic foam.

Wildfire Smoke Likely To Have Increasing Impact On Health Of Those Already At Risk

Connecticut’s weather on May 25, 2016, was hotter than usual for that time of year, reaching a high of 91 degrees. The winds were out of the northwest at about 10.5 mph and state air pollution officials weren’t expecting anything unusual. Then the state’s air pollution monitoring network went ballistic. Ozone sensors across Connecticut began recording “off-the-chart readings,” Paul Farrell, the director of air planning at the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, recalled. State experts were shocked.

A Dangerous Mix: High Ozone Levels And Obesity

For the 29% of Connecticut adults who live with obesity, summer brings a difficult form of air pollution. Ground-level ozone is the colorless, odorless gas formed when auto exhaust reacts with sunlight at temperatures above 80 degrees. Ozone can be dangerous for people who have higher body mass indexes. If the pandemic shutdown were now, those with obesity and others who suffer from the adverse effects of ground-level ozone might have caught a break. Officials know that other forms of pollution dropped significantly during the early spring.