The Hidden Dangers of Soil Contamination

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REmtl.ca

A few years ago, I developed a site locating on a map all contaminated sites in Montreal, Canada. This was done in an open data hackathon, with a team made of open data specialists as well as McGill University professors specialized in urban development.

I was surprised to discover that data is available for all, at municipal, provincial and federal level. I was also surprised to see that in what appears to be a highly livable Canadian city like Montreal, there were old contaminated sites everywhere. I checked a few addresses. One for example showed on Google Street View a nice colorful kids’ playground, but in fact used to be a contaminated gas station. So we have infants, kids and parents playing on top of chemicals, because the city decided the location wasn’t fit for construction. Nice!

On the southern parts of the city named Griffintown, developers were building luxury condominiums where used to be industrial plants, with Bisphenol A (BPA) and PorpolyChlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) contamination. These chemicals are highly toxic and remain in the environment for a long time, impacting the cardiovascular system, neuronal, cognition and also increases cancer risk.

And this is not limited to Montreal. You can go on Vox’s excellent lead exposure risk map, and discover that many cities like New York City or Philadelphia are blanketed with lead poisoning. This is an acute issue for children. Children that are lead poisoned are at risk of decreased IQ, delayed language acquisition, partial illiteracy, behavioral issues, organ failure, and even death. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention asserts that there is no amount of lead exposure that is considered safe for children.

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Map showing areas with extreme risk “10” in NYC

So why don’t we speak about this?

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Healthier alternatives to coffee

Brewed coffee, black or green tea are the healthier alternatives to your espresso.

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Like cars, work schedules and taxes, coffee is ever so present in modern daily lives. Many cannot work without it, let alone start their day. Big and small fortunes are built in delivering espressos or brewed coffee to workers on weekdays. As such, I consider coffee as the biggest recreationally available drug of our times.

Yet health impacts of coffee and are not well-known.

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Drink black tea to lower stress

Drinking black tea can lower by 52% cortisol or stress.

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Health-conscious people tend to prefer green tea over other drinks. Green tea is a potent antioxidant, improves insulin sensitivity, protects against myocardial injury, and also has antiviral properties. It is  indeed a good idea to drink on a regular basis green tea to lower risk of cancer, diabetes or liver disease.

Black tea is less popular. However, research shows that black tea lowers significantly stress. In subjects performing highly demanding and stressful tasks, consumption of black tea can decrease by half cortisol and bring back the body to equilibrium.
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