Pain, cancer, death: Michigan families devastated by toxic chemicals in their water

Residents had actually for years been consuming water polluted by unsafe PFAS chemicals and the effect has actually been ruthless

I n the years prior to 2017, Sandy Wynn-Stelt and her hubby had suspicions about the water they drew from a well on their House Street home in the Michigan town of Belmont. She associated the bad taste to it being well water, however the “odd movie” on their early morning coffee was challenging to describe.

By June 2017, state authorities signaled her that PFAS from a close-by, decades-old dump coming from Wolverine World Wide, a shoe giant best understood for the Hush Puppy brand name, had actually infected their well.

Tests discovered stunning levels. The Environmental Protection Agency’s PFAS advisory water limitation is 70 parts per trillion (ppt). Health authorities discovered levels in the well as high as 90,000 ppt.

Wynn-Stelt informed the Guardian she now thinks the PFAS-laden item Wolverine utilizes to make its shoes water and stain resistant lagged that unusual movie.

“I now understand it was most likely Scotchgard,” she stated.

Wynn-Stelt and her next-door neighbors in this little west Michigan neighborhood are amongst the PFAS crisis’s human toll– those suffering the scaries that wait for human beings with excessive of the poisonous chemical in their bodies.

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl compounds, are a class of about 5,000 fluorinated substances called “permanently chemicals” since they do not naturally break down and there’s no recognized method to damage them. They’re discovered in whatever from food product packaging to clothes to eye liner to firefighting foam. The chemicals are likewise highly connected to cancer, low birth weight, autoimmune conditions, thyroid problems, and a series of other major illness.

By the time Wynn-Stelt discovered of the contamination, it was far too late. She and her spouse, Joe Stelt, had actually been consuming unsafe levels of PFAS for several years, and Stelt had actually passed away from liver cancer in March 2016. The level of PFAS in Wynn-Stelt’s blood skyrocketed to 750 times that of the nationwide average. She now struggles with frequent thyroid issues and established gout, and more major problems are most likely. She has actually been left “frightened to death” and overwhelmed.

“I’m sitting here loaded with this things and not understanding what it’s going to do to me 5 years, 10 years from now,” she stated. “I lost my spouse, my house deserves absolutely nothing. I could not provide it away this near a harmful dump … or after they disposed harmful waste on my land.”

As the chemicals collect around the world, public health authorities have actually discovered more than 700 polluted websites and waterways around the nation, and the PFAS crisis’s breadth is entering into focus. Scientist just recently determined unsafe levels in rain , and locations around military bases are frequently infected . By some price quotes, 21 million Americans are consuming PFAS-contaminated water– in the fall, an ecological group discovered the chemicals in California and Kentucky’s water products.

However, no state has more infected websites than Michigan, although authorities state that’s since the state is performing more tests to search for PFAS. Biosolids infected with it were found 2 years earlier in Lapeer, where a chrome plating center released the chemicals into the Flint River. A couple of hours north in Oscoda, the flying force is declining to tidy up contamination from a shuttered base , while authorities have actually discovered infected wells at schools and day care centers throughout the state.

Still, PFAS production and usage is unabated in the state as Republicans in Michigan , Congress and the White House have effectively obstructed more stringent guidelines.

Meanwhile, those coping with the contamination call life an “outright headache”. Wynn-Stelt stated next-door neighbors have actually dealt with cancer, miscarriages, autoimmune conditions and other health concerns. That consists of Jen Carney, whose kids, ages 15 and 11, are amongst 22 kids living near your house Street dump.

The household’s well evaluated as high as 600 ppt while a next-door neighbors’ hit 11,000 ppt. The Carneys all have raised PFAS levels in their blood, and in the years prior to the discovery, Carney and next-door neighbors struggled with inexplicable twitching, eye discomfort, migraines, distorted vision and numb limbs.

“I was, at the time, 38, and I was believing, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to remain in a wheelchair quickly,'” Carney stated.

Once the household changed from PFAS-contaminated water to tidy water, the problems disappeared. Carney’s kid, nevertheless, hasn’t been so lucky. He withstands serious intestinal issues that required him to miss out on a lot school that Carney now homeschools him. She stated she hopes time will ease his signs.

Though it’s apparent to households in the location that PFAS lag their disorders, the chemicals have not been clinically shown to trigger them, so their health problems can’t be utilized in the claim that regional households have submitted versus Wolverine.

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PFAS-laden animal conceals camouflaged with moss near Meaghan Schweinzger’s house. Picture: Courtesy Meaghan Schweinzger

“I understand in my heart that it’s linked, and my medical care medical professional thinks it’s linked, however we need to have it clinically linked,” Carney stated. “Unfortunately, up until we do that, we can’t hold the polluters responsible.”

The 76-acre House Street land fill most just recently functioned as a Christmas tree farm, and community locals didn’t understand Wolverine had actually formerly utilized it to discard hazardous animal hides treated with 3M’s Scotchgard at its tannery in neighboring Rockford.

The chemicals not just streamed a couple of hundred feet to House Street’s wells, however far beyond. That plume and 6 others from close-by Wolverine garbage dumps now stretch 25 miles and have actually brought PFAS to the state’s waterways. The EPA, state and Wolverine are carrying out a huge clean-up effort. Far, the business has actually set up about 700 whole-home filters and excavated loads of soil in the location. As part of a settlement in a suit coming from the contamination, Wolverine will pay $69.5 m to extend community water service to those around House Street who have personal wells.

“Wolverine will likewise continue the clean-up and removal efforts it started [last] fall around its previous tannery and House Street websites in cooperation with the EPA,” the business stated in a declaration. It’s likewise taking legal action against 3M for presumably hiding Scotchgard’s threats from it and other consumers.

The clean-up effort reaches locations outside Wolverine’s previous garbage dump where it unlawfully discarded. Home Street resident Meaghan Schweinzger’s kids utilized to camp out, sled, and have bonfires in a cleaning at the edge of the woods behind their house. In 2017, Schweinzger was frightened to find that Wolverine had actually likewise left barrels loaded with harmful waste and PFAS-laden animal conceals now camouflaged with moss in the brush simply a couple of feet from where her kids played.

Schweinzger, Wynn-Stelt, and others aren’t taking it resting. They’ve appeared in front of the Michigan legislature, Congress, and spoken at a variety of occasions and conferences to assist put a face on the crisis and share the upsetting unpredictability. Wynn-Stelt stated she believes during the night about Joel Stelt’s bout with cancer, and how she faces what might be a tough health problem without him.

“To understand how agonizing that was for him, and how I actually needed to bring him to the restroom, and how I could not leave his side– it was dreadful to see, and now I believe, ‘Who’s going to do that for me'”? she stated.

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Woman Illustrates The Reality Of Women Who Suffer From Endometriosis

Lily Williams was 12 when she got her duration. It took her another 14 years to discover what’ s incorrect with it.

Williams came from 10% of females of reproductive age who struggle with Endometriosis. In spite of being among the most typical gynecological conditions, this gruesome disease still takes a stunning average of 7.5 years to get identified.

Eventually, Lily got the medical attention that her condition needed. Not without going through years and years of living hell. Hoping that more ladies like her gain access to the resources they require to improve, she developed a comic about the battles she went through.

Williams stated endometriosis entirely took control of her. “ It did its finest to destroy my life throughout those 14 years that I went undiagnosed, ” she informed Bored Panda . “ I established lots of signs that would remain daily, not simply when I was menstruating. I had persistent tiredness, established brand-new food allergic reactions, chest discomfort, severe queasiness, sciatica, pelvic discomfort, bloating, discomfort with workout, leg pains and more. My life got so bad it harmed me to do one of the most standard things like walk, sit, and consume.”

The female had the more extensive LAPEX excision surgical treatment (versus the more typical laparoscopic ablation) and she took a complete month off of work. “ I invested a great deal of time putting down and taking small strolls every day. Taking this much time off of work was hard since I am self-employed and in the middle of the due date on my graphic unique Go With The Flow (no paid authorized leave for me!). There is no treatment for endometriosis and even being a year out of LAPEX excision surgical treatment with an endometriosis specialist, I am and still handling physicians and physiotherapists to deal with the adverse effects that all those endometriosis signs have actually had on my body from going undiagnosed for so long. Endometriosis will constantly belong of my life.”

Williams ’ brand-new graphic book is called Go With The Flow. She highlighted and co-wrote it with Karen Schneemann, and it’ s about their good friends in high school developing a menstrual transformation. There’ s likewise a teenage lady called Brit who’ s attempting to find out if she has endometriosis. “ It has resources in the back for those who believe their durations may not be ‘ regular ’. My hope is that it assists somebody find out that their discomfort isn’ t typical far earlier than I did. I got identified and had my surgical treatment in the middle of making this book! If anybody reads my comic and believes they have endometriosis, I would advise signing up with the Facebook group called Nancy’ s Nook Endometriosis Education

Here’ s what individuals stated after checking out Lily’ s story

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29 Heartbreaking Pictures Of Heroic People Saving Animals From Fires In Australia

We’ve done our best to cover the Australian bushfires and to raise awareness about this unprecedented disaster. And the thing that struck us most was just how much this horrible situation brought out the very best in some people. We can say with some certainty that Australia is full of heroes who don’t hesitate to rescue animals in distress. It’s time to meet some of them.

Scroll down, upvote the stories that inspired you, and remember to share this post with your friends. When you’ve finished this article, have a read through Bored Panda’s previous posts about teens who drive around saving koalas, a dog that rescues koalas, and a dog that saved a flock of sheep from fire.

In case you want to support the Australian people, here are some recovery efforts and disaster relief organizations that you can donate to: the Red Cross, St Vincent de Paul Society, and the Trustee for NSW Rural Fire Service & Brigades Donations Fund. If you know of any other similar charities, please share some info about them in the comments.


Teenagers Filling Their Car With Koalas To Save Them From The Flames


The Kangaroo Is Drenched In Water After Approaching A Human For Help


This Fire Fighter (And All Ff’s) Saving The People, Animals, And Homes In Australia

Bored Panda reached out to Demi, who goes by the pseudonym CarbonChic online, about the wraps she made for the baby orphan bats of the Aussie bushfires. “There are a lot of confused, injured and scared animals in Australia right now. Even more dead ones. And fire is one of those things that is really hard to control when it escalates to this level.”

“I’m not someone who can be on the front line fighting fires but I felt like I still needed to do something. Not just donate money, but put my back into it, make something that would directly affect an animal, and not have anything skimmed off the top or have some kind of uncertainty as to where it’s going,” Demi said. “The things I make are going directly toward helping the more helpless victims of the bushfire.”


Since The Fire Has Passed Through Mallacoota This Amazing, Selfless Young Guy Has Been Out Searching For Injured Wildlife. This Is One Of 7 Koalas He’s Saved So Far


Koalas In A Home In Cudlee Creek, South Australia, After Being Rescued From Fires In A Garden. Local Firefighters Helped A Woman Move Them Into Her House


Bear The Koala Detection Dog Saving Koalas During The Australian Bushfires

Demi said that she livestreams on Twitch and it took her an entire stream to get the bat wraps done. “About 6 hours for 18. I made 21 joey pouches in today’s stream. In total, I’ve also raised about $300 during these streams, too for the Animal Rescue Craft Guild, which feels like a pittance compared to celebrities like Celeste Barber but every little bit counts.”

“I’m lucky to be living in the heart of Brisbane, so we are safe. The worst I’ve gotten is a few asthmatic symptoms from the smoke in the air, which comes and goes depending on where the fires are,” Demi said. “Everyone is pretty nervous still about the continued destruction, it just looks like it’s never-ending! I am really sad about the loss of life and will continue making pouches and wraps until my supplies run out.”


I’m So Proud Of My Country, Our Volunteer Firefighters Are Legends In Their Own Category


Picture Of My Cousin Who Is Fighting The Fires In Victoria Saved This Joey


Since Half A Billion Animals Were Potentially Lost In Australian Bushfires, The Irwin Family Stepped In And Already Helped Over 90,000 Animals

We’re seeing people helping their neighbors and the local wildlife left and right in Australia. It’s a true testament to bravery that they’re putting the safety of animals above their own.

For example, the staff working at the Mogo Zoo in New South Wales protected all of their 200 animals from danger. The team set a very precise plan into motion. First of all, they removed everything flammable from the area. Secondly, they’d prepared hundreds of thousands of liters of water in advance. Thirdly, they relocated the larger animals to night enclosures. Zoo director Chad Staples, who called the situation “apocalyptic” and compared it to “Armageddon,” opened up his home to some of the smaller animals.

“Right now in my house there’s animals of all descriptions in all the different rooms,” Staples told the media. Meanwhile one of the zookeepers even took a tiger home with them (temporarily, of course).


Tonight I Got To Meet The Baby Orphan Bats Of The Aussie Bushfires That I Made The Wraps For

I’m not even sorry for the “selfie”. I am sorry for the bad lighting because it was night time and street lamps are really unflattering but LOOK AT THEM. Massive kudos to Rachael from the Bat Conservation and Rescue Qld for bringing some babies along for me to meet. I had to be mindful of how much screaming I was doing because they were very sleepy but I was pretty much losing my mind the whole time. I think Rachael was pretty amused at my reactions but I had just never met one this close before. They have two noses and wiggly ears and are just so much cuter than you can imagine, I couldn’t believe it. Shipped up from NSW, their mommas are long gone but they seem to enjoy chewing and snuggling in their brand new wraps. It’s such an incredible feeling knowing that something I’ve done is out in the world doing some good. There’s nobody taking out administration fees or skimming a bit off the top or anything, the things I made are 100% just for the bats. (And will be loved and used by many babies before they’re reduced to shreds from all the claws and teeth.)


Australian Zookeeper Saves Animals From Terrible Fires By Taking Them Home


Dog Saves Flock Of Sheep From Australia’s Raging Bushfires

There’s also a place for laughter in the darkest of times (maybe even especially during them). Firefighters with the Urunga Rural Fire Service in New South Wales saved Paul Sekfy’s home from the blaze and left him a wholesome note: “It was our pleasure to save your house… P.S.— we owe you some milk.”

That’s right. The people who risked their lives to battle the elements apologized for drinking the man’s milk. Kale Hardie-Porter, who left the note, later had this to say to Sekfy: “I’m happy to know my note got to you in one piece! We took refuge in your house and that’s when we discovered the fridge. It was our pleasure to do a little good in such horrendous conditions.”

Dear Pandas, if you’re currently in Australia, stay safe. And let us know in the comments how you, your friends, family, and neighbors are helping each other and the local wildlife out.


Travel Filmmaker Saved This Little Baby Kangaroo That Was Left By Its Self


A Koala Drinks Water Offered From A Bottle By A Firefighter During Bushfires In Cudlee Creek, South Australia


A Group Of Baby Koalas Were Rescued From The Adelaide Hills Fire Zone Area In Australia And Being Looked After By A Team Of Professional Volunteers


Distressed At First, Dolly Calmed Down Quickly. We Needed To Get Her Still Hot Feet Cooled Down Fast So Made Do With Fresh, Clean Water In A Wheelbarrow. Dolly Appreciated A Big Drink And Pain Relief Before Being Transferred To Our New And Temporary Koala Emergency Centre At Paradise


Woman Saves Koala From Bushfire


Weighing Less Than A Bag Of Sugar And Snug As A Bug In His Wee Knitted Pouch, This Adorable Koala Joey Called Haze Survived The Raging Australian Bushfires Thanks To The Extraordinary Efforts Of A Firefighter Who Saved Her Life


A Dehydrated And Injured Koala Receives Treatment At The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital


The Koala Named “Tinny Arse” That Was Rescued By Damian Campbell-Davys From A Bushfire Zone Sits In His Water Tanker


Wildlife Information, Rescue And Education Volunteer And Carer Tracy Dodd Holds A Kangaroo With Burnt Feet Pads After Being Rescued From Bushfires In Australia’s Blue Mountains Area


Over 600 Bats Were Transported From Caring Facilities Evacuated In New South Wales Due To Fire. Our Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital Has Treated Over 100 Of These Beautiful Little Souls. I Wanted To Share With You Some Of The Sweet Faces That Are Getting A Second Chance At Life


Tracy Burgess Holds A Severely Burnt Brushtail Possum


Koala Being Rescued

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Lucky Koala Is Saved From Sa Bushfires


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Kangaroos Gather On A Home’s Lawn In Berrara Beach, Nsw, As Bushfires Spread

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Testing drivers for cannabis is hard. Here’s why

San Francisco (CNN Business)As a growing variety of states legislate marijuana, health authorities are progressively sounding the alarm for innovation that can rapidly figure out when motorists are stoned.

Still, others fast to warn the response is not that basic. Critics keep in mind the innovation needs to discover current marijuana usage and likewise show that marijuana in an individual’s system hindered his/her driving. A marijuana breathalyzer that does both of those things has actually shown evasive, due to the fact that, unlike alcohol, marijuana can remain in individuals’s bodies long after their “high” has actually worn away.
“We’re using the alcohol guidelines to a compound that does not play by them,” stated Nick Morrow, a retired Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department narcotics detective who now functions as a skilled witness in locations such as drug symptomology and field sobriety screening.

    After an individual blows into the portable Hound gadget for 2 minutes, the cartridge reads in a different bay that imitates a tiny mass spectrometer, which can determine the mass and concentration of particular particles. If THC is found, the word “caution” will show on the screen. If somebody taken in marijuana in the two-to-three hours prior to screening, the Hound gadget is meant to record and determine small particles of THC in human breath to assist figure out.
    “We aren’t determining disability, we’re determining THC in breath where it lasts a really brief time period, supplying unbiased information about THC in breath to police and companies to utilize in combination with other info they have actually collected,” stated Hound Labs creator Mike Lynn, an emergency clinic physician, reserve deputy constable and investor.

    The issues with screening motorists for marijuana

    Cannabis substances, significantly THC, do not act like alcohol carries out in the body. Alcohol is categorized as a depressant that can decrease the nerve system. It’s rapidly soaked up in the blood and metabolized rapidly, according to the CRS report .
    Cannabis has a complicated interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system, and its results can be either instant or postponed depending upon the kind of intake. THC effectiveness can differ in stress and in items. Hybrid pressures can be reproduced to improve specific impacts such as discomfort relief, stress and anxiety decrease and muscle spasticity, Morrow stated, including that individuals can have various responses to marijuana’ results.
    Minimal research study exists on how marijuana impacts driving. Some of the most noteworthy marijuana research study has actually happened in Israel , there are longstanding grievances that federal research study in the United States has actually been prevented by poor-quality and low-potency marijuana samples.
    It’s yet to be identified precisely how the numerous other substances in the marijuana plant might possibly impact the screening procedures.
    Further making complex matters are mindsets that it’s more secure to drive while high than it is intoxicated.
    It’s been hard to catch and find THC in breath, causing some suspicion about the precision of the early phase breathalyzers. A battery of peer-review research studies revealing the gadgets in action would go a long method, stated Brian Clowers, an associate teacher of chemistry at Washington State University.
    The elephant in the space stays that the gadgets do not figure out disability. Somebody might possibly utilize or take in a little dosage without being high, yet still might have THC found in their breath.
    Because pass-fail tests do not show problems, that can produce issues for clients in the more than 30 US states where marijuana is a legal medication, stated Benton Bodamer, an M&A, personal equity and marijuana lawyer at Dickinson Wright’s workplace in Columbus, Ohio.
    “That’s a dish for a public health catastrophe,” he stated. “There’s not a pass/fail opioid breathalyzer, so why would some various guidelines use in the context of medical marijuana?”
    Additionally, even the apparently reliable alcohol and drug tests have not been totally sure-fire and some states have actually tossed driving-under-the-influence convictions for innovation failures such as bad calibration.
    “Scientific accuracy needs the lack of predisposition, for instance,” he stated. “One take a look at the mass prosecution, conviction, and imprisonment of neighborhoods of color for easy non-violent drug belongings demonstrates how that specific story ends.”
    And the problem of problems is not restricted to marijuana.
    “Anybody who thinks you’re going to take a look at alcohol or other drugs in a vacuum is incorrect,” stated Sheriff Justin Smith, of Larimer County in northern Colorado. Smith stated that his workplace continues to see more occurrences in which suspects were under the impact of numerous drugs.
    Some polydrug tests have actually been significantly embraced following marijuana legalization. That’s held true for health care business Abbott’s SoToxa fast mobile drug screening test. The portable gadget, which examines a saliva sample in 5 minutes, is being utilized in Canada, Spain and US states such as Michigan, Alabama and Oklahoma, stated Fred Delfino, Abbott’s senior police intermediary.
    “Because cannabis isn’t the only drug that can trigger disability, Abbott has actually crafted SoToxa to identify if somebody has actually likewise just recently utilized drug, opiates, benzodiazepines, amphetamines, and methamphetamine, in addition to cannabis,” he stated through e-mail.
    Colorado and other states that legalized marijuana are likewise relying on Drug Recognition Experts, police officers that go through unique training to assist figure out if an individual is too impaired to drive.

    When marijuana breathalyzers will appear

    Research is continuous. Some researchers are taking a look at less-invasive and non-traditional roadside techniques to identify disability from marijuana and other compounds.
    “There’s an actually strong push in the field to see what we can do to much better figure out disability and behavioral function instead of simply depend on fluid steps,” stated Thomas Marcotte, the co-director of the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research at UC-San Diego.
    In the state-funded research study at UCSD, researchers are looking into whether cognitive evaluations on an iPad might help in field sobriety tests for cannabis-impaired driving. Other scientific trials under method consist of the facility of cannabis-specific field sobriety tests and the advancement of virtual-reality-enabled eye-movement sensing units.
    Research requires time, however there’s a kneejerk response to wish to carry out recently developed gadgets, stated Morrow, the previous narcotics detective. Innovation and toxicology are not constantly the responses, he stated.
    “Under the impact indications are not always evidence of disability. Usage of cannabis is not a criminal offense. You can drive with bloodshot eyes. You can drive smelling like cannabis. You can drive with a raised pulse or a little dilated students,” he stated. “Under the impact indications together with clear proof of psychological and physical problems adequate to impact the operation of an automobile are what is needed to effectively suggest an individual suffers due to a specific compound.”
    If the Hound breathalyzers make their method to market early next year as revealed, they at first might see more usage on task websites than the roadside. Business throughout a range of markets — and specifically those in which employees utilize lorries or heavy equipment — revealed interest in the gadget, Lynn stated.
    Hound Labs’ digital drug sniffer is promoted as leading the pack, however other breathalyzer gadgets appear not to be far behind.
    Earlier this year, University of Pittsburgh scientists revealed they advanced an innovation formerly utilized to determine and evaluate breath biomarkers for diabetes, bad breath and asthma. Professors Alexander Star and Ervin Sejdic utilized carbon nanotubes and artificial intelligence to search out THC particles in breath.

    The portable gadget is created to determine the electrical resistance of semiconductor-enriched carbon nanotubes that are 100,000 times smaller sized than a human hair and are proficient at performing electrical energy. THC and other substances bind to the surface area and alter the electrical acoustics.
    A mathematical algorithm was used to progressively choose THC over other more unstable elements discovered within breath such as carbon water, ethanol and dioxide. The Pitt team’s findings were released in the American Chemical Society’s ACS Sensors journal in July.
    “The gadget is basically prepared [for a business to advertise it],” Sejdic stated.
    Drug screening business Lifeloc Technologies ( LCTC ) allocated real-time drug tests, especially a THC breathalyzer, as a leading concern for research study and advancement dollars. Drger, a market leader in the drug screening field, was enjoying carefully regarding how this location establishes, Brian Shaffer, a business representative, informed CNN Business last fall.
        And a number of breathalyzer innovations are under advancement in Canada, where adult-use marijuana was legislated in 2018 . Nanotechnology is the foundation for start-up SannTek Labs’ portable breath test. Cannabix Technologies ( BLOZF ) is partnering with scientists at the University of Florida and the University of British Columbia to establish 2 THC breathalyzer gadgets, consisting of one that possibly might be 3D-printed.
        “It’ll likely be that there will not be one de facto innovation,” stated Rav Mlait, Cannabix’s president.

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