Environmental Health in the News Archives

Stories previously listed on the EH News Homepage:

30 November 2012

Study finds multiple pollutants in women, can be passed on to babies
From: Allison Winter, ENN
Our bodies accumulate toxins and chemicals throughout our lifetime. From what we eat, to what we breath, environmental toxins like lead, mercury and PCBs that do not easily break down can be stored in our own fatty tissues. While it is unsure whether the co-exposure of these chemicals is more harmful that to each one separately, a new study shows that several risk factors are associated with a higher chance of median blood levels for these contaminants in an analysis of data on over three thousand women.

New Climate Model Reveals “Discernible Human Influence”
From: David A Gabel, ENN
The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is a federally funded research and development center located in Livermore, California. Their mission, in part, is to respond with vision, quality, integrity, and technical excellence to scientific issues of national importance. One such issue, which is tough to dispute, is the changing climate. The top-rate researchers at LLNL created a new climate model by comparing 20 different computer models to satellite observations. They found that tropospheric and stratospheric temperature changes are clearly related to human activities.

Study reveals extent of Mekong dam food security threat
From: Prime Sarmiento, Science and Development Network
The planned construction of hydropowered dams on the Mekong River in South-East Asia could jeopardise livelihoods, water access and food security for 60 million people, across Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, according to a study.

29 November 2012

Antarctic Melting and Sea Level
From: Andy Soos, ENN
Due to its location at the South Pole, Antarctica receives relatively little solar radiation. This means that it is a very cold continent where water is mostly in the form of ice or snow. This accumulates and forms a giant ice sheet which covers the land. New data which more accurately measures the rate of ice-melt could help us better understand how Antarctica is changing in the light of global warming. The rate of global sea level change is reasonably well-established but understanding the different sources of this rise is more challenging. Using re-calibrated scales that are able to weigh ice sheets from space to a greater degree of accuracy than ever before, the international team led by Newcastle University has discovered that Antarctica overall is contributing much less to the substantial sea-level rise than originally thought.

How to Protect Your Family from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
From: Editor, ENN
As the temperature drops, we are more likely to fire up our gas furnaces and wood-burning stoves to get extra cozy this winter. However, when we use our furnaces and stoves, and spend more time indoors, we are at increased risk of exposure to carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, invisible gas produced when gasoline, natural gas, propane, kerosene, and other fuels are not completely burned during use. The gas is one of the leading causes of poisoning death, with more than 400 victims in the United States each year. In addition, more than 4,000 Americans are hospitalized for carbon monoxide poisoning and 20,000 people get sick enough from exposure to visit an emergency room each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

27 November 2012

EPA Updates Recreational Water Quality Criteria
From: Allison Winter, ENN
Yesterday, the EPA recommended new recreational water quality criteria that will help protect peoples' health during visits to beaches and other waters. The last time the EPA issued recommendations for recreational waters was in 1986 so updating these criteria are important in the goal of protecting the public who partake in water related activities.

To Fight Tick-Borne Disease, Someone Has To Catch Ticks
From: Bradley Campbell, NPR
Most people try to avoid ticks. But not Tom Mather. The University of Rhode Island researcher goes out of his way to find them. He looks for deer ticks — poppy seed-sized skin burrowers — in the woods of southern Rhode Island. These are the teeny-tiny carriers of Lyme disease, an illness that can lead to symptoms ranging from nasty rashes to memory loss.

23 November 2012

Alarming Growth of Climate Emissions Says UNEP, But No Reason to Write Off 2°C Target Yet
From: Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development
Washington, DC – Global greenhouse gas emissions are moving in the wrong direction to meet the global goal of stabilizing temperatures at or below 2°C by the end of the century, according to the third edition of UNEP’s Emissions Gap Report developed by 55 scientists from 22 countries. According to the report released today, if all countries stick to the voluntary pledges they have already made, by 2020 greenhouse gas emissions will be at least 8 billion tons higher per year than the maximum allowed to meet the 2°C target.

A 4°C World Will Be Devastating But Can Be Avoided November 19, 2012
By: Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development
Washington, DC – Without further action to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions the world could be as much as 4°C warmer by 2060, threatening the world with devastating food shortages, extreme weather and sea-level rise, according to the World Bank in a new report published today on climate change titled Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided. This is the first climate report published under the new World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, signaling a new more aggressive focus on climate change.

21 November 2012

Climate Change Complexities in the Northern Hardwood Forests
From: David A Gabel, ENN
For residents of the northeastern United States, the abundant woodlands of the northern Appalachians provide an excellent getaway from the congested coasts. These woods are composed typically of hardwood trees like Oak, Ash, Maple, and Birch, changing to evergreen varieties at the higher elevations. Climatologists predict that the northeast will experience warmer and wetter conditions as the climate continues to alter. However, until now, there has been no exhaustive study conducted to see how the climate change will affect the biosphere of the northern hardwoods. A recent study found that this region will be susceptible to major disruptions to forest health, its maple syrup industry, the spread of wildlife diseases and tree pests, as well as changing timber resources.

Emissions Gap report warns of urgent need for climate change action
From: ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen
Action to tackle climate change needs to be urgently scaled up if the world is to have any chance of keeping a global temperature rise below 2 degrees C this century, according to UN Environment Programme (UNEP) research.

20 November 2012

After Brief Decrease Last Year, Sea Levels Resume Their Steady Rise
From: David A Gabel, ENN
It is no secret that for the last couple decades, as Earth's climate has been changing, sea levels have been steadily rising. But what is not so well known is that in 2011, sea levels throughout the world fell sharply. Of course, with a body of water as large as the world's oceans, a sharp fall only equates to one quarter of an inch (1 cm). It is nonetheless, a dramatic change in general trend which caught the eye of NASA and European researchers. Using advanced satellites, they were able to track average sea levels with precision accuracy. What they have found is that after this brief decrease in sea levels, the seas have been rising again and are now back on track with their trajectory of the last twenty years.

Climate change predicted to hit poorest hardest
From: EurActive
All nations will suffer the effects of a warmer world, but the world's poorest countries will suffer most from food shortages, rising sea levels, cyclones and drought, the World Bank’s new report on climate change says. Under new World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, a former scientist, the global development lender has launched a more aggressive stance to integrate climate change into development.

19 November 2012

Fast food restaurants add healthier options, but still do not address high-calorie foods
From: Allison Winter, ENN
With pressure from media, legislation, and a health conscious society, fast food companies have been coming up with new recipes and ideas for healthier menu options. From salads to oatmeal, fruit cups and apple slices, you might think fast food has become healthier. However, according to a new study, calorie counts remain the same for existing menu items, and while there are new healthy options, little is being done to address the high-calorie food items.

What History Teaches Us About Our Environmental Challenges
From: Roger Greenway, ENN
It seems that the environmental challenges we face are truly daunting. That we may never be able to survive them, even if we do our best to do so. A study by MIT professor Susan Solomon says it's often helpful — and heartening — to look to the past.

15 November 2012

Ocean-grabbing threatens the food security of entire communities
From: Olivier De Schutter, Ecologist
All over the world, food systems and the ecosystems they rely on are coming under pressure from the over-exploitation of natural resources. But nowhere are these impacts occurring as rapidly and dramatically as in the world's oceans.

New research finds mine waste could provide an effective CO2 trap
From: ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen
It's time to economically value the greenhouse gas-trapping potential of mine waste and start making money from it, says mining engineer and geologist Michael Hitch of the University of British Columbia (UBC).

13 November 2012

Ground Water Inundation
From: Andy Soos, ENN
Scientists from the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) published a study today in Nature Climate Change showing that besides marine inundation (flooding), low-lying coastal areas may also be vulnerable to groundwater inundation, a factor largely unrecognized in earlier predictions on the effects of sea level rise. Ground-water flooding or inundation occurs in low-lying areas when the water table rises above the land surface.

12 November 2012

Arsenic Contamination from Gold Mining found in India Villages
From: Archita Bhatta, Science and Development Network
Scientists have found high levels of arsenic in the soil and groundwater near a gold mine in the south Indian state of Karnataka, highlighting health hazards associated with mining the precious metal.

Does Healthy Living Add Years to Your LIfe?
From: Roger Greenway, ENN
How many articles have you read that tell you what to eat, why to exercise, and in general how to live a healthy life? Ever wonder, even though these things may help you feel more energetic and look more healthy, do they actually add years to your life?

8 November 2012

Scientists research plant-based insect repellent
From: Allison Winter, ENN
What do the US Department of Agriculture and the Department of Defense have in common? Besides being government departments, both want to improve technologies for killing pathogen-transmitting insects.

Europe is exporting more waste than ever as illegal trade grows
From: ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen
As waste is increasingly moving across EU borders for recovery or disposal, the European Environment Agency (EEA) is warning of a big rise in the export of hazardous waste to countries outside of Europe.

Open Air Fires
From: Andy Soos, ENN
For millenia mankind has used fires to keep warm and cook. What could be so wrong in burning a little wood? Expanding its focus on the link between the atmosphere and human health, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is launching a three-year, international study into the impact of open-fire cooking on regional air quality and disease. The study will break new ground by bringing together atmospheric scientists, engineers, statisticians, and social scientists who will analyze the effects of smoke from traditional cooking methods on households, villages, and entire regions.

6 November 2012

Combatting Indoor Air Pollution from Downtown Cities
From: Allison Winter, ENN
Air is constantly being circulated in large cities as air conditioning and heating units intake city air and use it to heat and cool their offices and residential buildings. As urban populations expand, and as downtown buildings grow higher and higher, we often forget about the growing pollution within the downtown areas. And because these buildings are so close together, neighboring buildings are often forced to intake polluted air into their indoor air systems. To combat this issue, researchers from Concordia University have modeled scenarios and have figured out a way to solve a portion of circulating polluted air.

Hurricane Sandy Highlights Stormwater Management, New Industrial Discharge Permit
From: Michael Bogin, Sive Paget & Riesel, P.C.
The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy highlights why coastal flooding and stormwater control can be expected to receive increased regulatory attention. As the New York metropolitan area struggles to regain its footing, regulators can be expected to take a closer look at plans to manage industrial stormwater runoff, which can carry chemicals, oil, and other pollutants. In fact, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“DEC”) has already made industrial stormwater runoff a high priority.

5 November 2012

The Lasting Health Effects of the Breakfast Sandwich
From: David A Gabel, ENN
People around this country love to eat their hot breakfast sandwiches like pork roll, sausage, or bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel or hard roll. While very delicious and quite satisfying, the iconic breakfast sandwich is also laden with a tremendous amount of fat. According to the head of cardiac science at the University of Calgary, eating just one of these a day, and "your blood vessels become unhappy." Diets associated with high-fat meals are associated with atherosclerosis, the narrowing of the arteries over a lifetime. But the new research shows that the ill effects of a high fat breakfast can be felt well before lunchtime of that very day.

2 November 2012

Hurricane Sandy and Potentially Hazardous Waters
From: Roger Greenway, ENN
When flood waters hit lubricating oils, heating oil, gasoline and diesel fuel and other potentially hazardous or toxic liquids, there is the potential for contamination of surface waters in ponds and rivers. The US Geological Survey is undertaking sampling of waters to see if contamination exceeds acceptable levels.

1 November 2012

Climate change mitigation 'far cheaper than inaction'
From: Daniela Hirschfeld, Science and Development Network
Tackling the global climate crisis could reap significant economic benefits for both developed and developing countries, according to a new report. The impacts of climate change and a carbon-intensive economy cost the world around US$1.2 trillion a year — 1.6 per cent of the total global GDP (gross domestic product), states 'Climate Vulnerability Monitor: A Guide to the Cold Calculus of A Hot Planet'.

30 October 2012

The Connection between Climate Change and Hurricanes
From: Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
While scientists are still debating some fundamental questions regarding hurricanes and climate change (such as: will climate change cause more or less hurricanes?), there's no debating that a monster hurricane is now imperiling the U.S. East Coast. A few connections between a warmer world and Hurricane Sandy can certainly be made, however: rising sea levels are likely to worsen storm surges; warmer waters bring more rain to increase flooding; and hotter temperatures may allow the hurricane to push both seasonal and geographic boundaries.

29 October 2012

Toxic chemicals used for leather production poisoning India’s tannery workers
From: Pter Bengsten, Danwatch, Ecologist
India’s tanning industry has started tackling environmental issues but its progress on worker safety is woeful. As Peter Bengtsen found out, illness and deaths linked to toxic tanning chemicals appear worryingly common. The day began as every other day for 32-year-old tannery worker, Ramu. He woke at five in the morning next to his wife, Tamil Arasi, and four children in the family’s one-room hut in a tiny rural village in southern India. After his usual breakfast of rice and lentils, he left to clean waste tanks at some of the hundreds of tanneries in Vaniyambadi. He never returned home.

26 October 2012

Researchers Emphasize the Need to Monitor Rivers for Triclosan
From: Allison Winter, ENN
Ever heard of triclosan? As an antibacterial and antifungal agent, it is used in everything from toothpaste, to soaps, socks and trash bags. While the US Food and Drug Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the European Union all regulate triclosan, the chemical is not monitored and often gets absorbed into sewage sludge after wastewater treatment.

Study Reveals High Levels of Formaldehyde in Child Day Care Centers
From: David A Gabel, ENN
In a comprehensive survey from University of California (UC), Berkeley, researchers analyzed the indoor environmental quality of day care centers. In general, the results were very similar to most indoor environments except for formaldehyde. This and several other contaminants were found to exceed California state health guidelines. The source is believed to be the cleaning and sanitizing products and furniture coatings.

25 October 2012

Reconstructing Communities with Green Building
From: Noelle Hirsch, Sierra Club Green Home
Green building is taking the construction industry by storm, and its benefits are perhaps best seen in disaster-related rebuilds. The pros of sustainable and energy-saving construction are easy for most to identify. Reducing energy consumption with efficient building materials, household appliances, and heating and cooling systems benefits the environment and saves the building owner money. Green buildings often last longer, too, meaning they won't require frequent updates and remodels.

18 October 2012

Limiting Overconsumption with "Economic Degrowth"
From: Cameron Scherer, Worldwatch Institute
If everyone lived like the average American, according to the Global Footprint Network, the Earth could sustain only 1.7 billion people—a quarter of today's population—without undermining the planet's physical and biological systems. Overconsumption in industrialized societies and among developing world elites causes lasting environmental and human impacts. In his chapter, "The Path to Degrowth in Overdeveloped Countries," Worldwatch Senior Fellow and State of the World 2012 Project Co-director Erik Assadourian describes the benefits and opportunities of proactive "economic degrowth"—defined as the intentional contraction of overdeveloped economies and more broadly, the redirection of economies away from the perpetual pursuit of growth.

Will we need to pull carbon out of the atmosphere to save ourselves?
From: Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
This year saw the Arctic sea ice extent fall to a new and shocking low, while the U.S. experienced it warmest month ever on record (July), beating even Dust Bowl temperatures. Meanwhile, a flood of new research has convincingly connected a rise in extreme weather events, especially droughts and heatwaves, to global climate change, and a recent report by the DARA Group and Climate Vulnerability Forum finds that climate change contributes to around 400,000 deaths a year and costs the world 1.6 percent of its GDP, or $1.2 trillion. All this and global temperatures have only risen about 0.8 degrees Celsius (1.44 degrees Fahrenheit) since the early Twentieth Century. Scientists predict that temperatures could rise between 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit) to a staggering 6.4 degrees Celsius (11.5 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century.

17 October 2012

One in eight people suffer from malnutrition
From: Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
In a world where technology has advanced to a point where I can instantly have a face-to-face conversation via online video with a friend in Tokyo, nearly 870 million people, or one in eight, still suffer from malnutrition, according to a new UN report. While worldwide hunger declined from 1990 to 2007, progress was slowed by the global economic crisis. Over the last few years, numerous and record-breaking extreme weather events have also taken tolls on food production. Currently, food prices hover just below crisis levels.

Sustainability Priorities For Global Companies
From: Editor, Justmeans
Results from the fourth annual “BSR/GlobeScan State of Sustainable Business Poll 2012,” released today, outline the progress global business has made on 14 key sustainability challenges over the past 20 years, the areas where business is likely to make the most progress over the next 20 years, and key priorities for the year ahead—including human rights and climate.

Meat-Free Product Sales Are Rising as Meat Consumption Falls
From: Kristie Middleton, Triple Pundit
With the annual Food Day approaching, it's hard to overlook the fact that people seem to be thinking more about where their food comes from every day. Food Day, which falls on October 24, is a nationwide celebration and movement for healthy, affordable and sustainable food, and a day of awareness about these issues couldn't be more important.

11 October 2012

Majority of Americans believe Climate Change is worsening extreme weather
From: Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
According to a new poll, 74 percent of Americans agree that climate change is impacting weather in the U.S., including 73 percent who agreed, strongly or somewhat, that climate change had exacerbated record high temperatures over the summer. The findings mean that a large majority of Americans agree with climatologists who in recent years have found increasingly strong evidence that climate change has both increased and worsened extreme weather events.

10 October 2012

Urban Cities' Greenhouse Gasses are Mapped
From: Dani Thé, ENN
Researchers at Arizona State University (ASU) and Purdue University have announced their new software system which enables the three-dimensional visualization of greenhouse gas emissions throughout urban landscapes. It notes where, when, and how carbon emissions are occurring. The software, named "Hestia" after the greek goddess of the home, is also capable of showing the hourly dynamics of CO2 emissions across street segments, down to individual buildings.

5 October 2012

The Next Pandemic will likely come from wildlife
From: David Quammen, Yale Environment360
Experts believe the next deadly human pandemic will almost certainly be a virus that spills over from wildlife to humans. The reasons why have a lot to do with the frenetic pace with which we are destroying wild places and disrupting ecosystems.

Diaz Superfund Site
From: Editor, ENN
Diaz Chemical was a manufacturer of specialty organic intermediates for the agricultural, pharmaceutical, photographic, color and dye, and personal care products industries. The Diaz Chemical product line varied over the years of operation but primarily consisted of halogenated aromatic compounds and substituted benzotrifluorides. The Diaz Chemical facility has a long history of spills, releases and discharges of various materials to the environment that dates back to about 1975. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has finalized a plan to clean up contaminated soil and ground water at the Diaz Chemical Corporation Superfund site in Holley, New York. The soil and ground water are contaminated with volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, which can cause serious damage to people’s health. The EPA’s cleanup plan uses a technology to treat six areas of soil and ground water that continue to cause contamination of ground water in a broader area.

4 October 2012

Rats Harmed by Great-Grandmothers' Exposure to Dioxin
By Brett Israel in Scientific American
Pregnant rats exposed to an industrial pollutant passed on a variety of diseases to their unexposed great-grandkids, according to a study published Wednesday. Washington State University scientists found that third-generation offspring of pregnant rats exposed to dioxin had high rates of kidney and ovarian diseases as well as early onset of puberty. They also found changes in the great-grandsons' sperm.

Scent of Danger: Are There Toxic Ingredients in Perfumes and Colognes?
in Scientific American
Ahhh...the sweet smell of petrochemicals! The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that, while many popular perfumes, colognes and body sprays contain trace amounts of natural essences, they also typically contain a dozen or more potentially hazardous synthetic chemicals, some of which are derived from petroleum. To protect trade secrets, makers are allowed to withhold fragrance ingredients, so consumers can’t rely on labels to know what hazards may lurk inside that new bottle of perfume.

3 October 2012

Would You Eat Lab-grown Meat?
From: Tom Levitt, Ecologist
Before the end of the year, Dutch scientists are promising a high-profile debut for a burger made from meat grown not on a farm but in their laboratory. Synthetic or lab-grown meat involves taking a small amount of cells from a living animal and growing it into lumps of muscle tissue in the lab, which can then, in theory, be eaten as meat by people.

Scent of Danger: Are There Toxic Ingredients in Perfumes and Colognes?
In Scientific American
Dear EarthTalk: I’ve always suspected that perfumes and colognes must not be too healthy simply because of the way the smell of most of them bothers me. Am I correct? Is there information available on this issue?—Lucinda Barry, Minneapolis Ahhh...the sweet smell of petrochemicals! The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reports that, while many popular perfumes, colognes and body sprays contain trace amounts of natural essences, they also typically contain a dozen or more potentially hazardous synthetic chemicals, some of which are derived from petroleum. To protect trade secrets, makers are allowed to withhold fragrance ingredients, so consumers can’t rely on labels to know what hazards may lurk inside that new bottle of perfume.

1 October  2012

Rat Study Sparks Furor over Genetically Modified Foods
By Declan Butler of Nature magazine in Scientific American
Europe has never been particularly fond of genetically modified (GM) foods, but a startling research paper published last week looks set to harden public and political opposition even further, despite a torrent of skepticism from scientists about the work.

Climate Change Offers Grim Long-Term Prognosis for Seafood
By Lauren Morello and ClimateWire in Scientific American
MONTEREY, Calif. -- Move over, polar bear. The white prowler of Arctic ice fields may now be an icon of climate change, but when it comes to ocean acidification -- the shift in ocean chemistry caused by rising carbon dioxide emissions -- it's the tiny Pacific Northwest oyster that dominates the discussion.

To Boost Gas Mileage, Automakers Explore Lighter Cars
By Julia Pyper and ClimateWire in Scientific American
When it comes to improving fuel economy, engines, powertrains, fuels and batteries seem to get all the attention. But what about the car's traditional steel side panel or rooftop? Using advanced lightweight materials on even the most basic car parts can improve overall fuel efficiency, too. According to the Department of Energy, reducing a vehicle's weight by 10 percent can improve fuel economy by 6 to 8 percent.

Tobacco Variable Toxicity
From: Andy Soos, ENN
Researchers from the University of Alicante in Spain have analyzed ten brands of cigarettes and found that the concentrations of certain harmful and carcinogenic substances vary significantly from one brand to another. Until now legislation has not covered these other toxic compounds and have only established limits for nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide. Scientists have also developed better catalysts/filters to reduce the harmful products in tobacco.

The Scientific Connection of Mental Health and Physical Activity
From: David A Gabel, ENN
Exercise is known for not only improving physical health, but also for improving mental health, such as alleviating depression or anxiety. A new scientific study from the Netherlands delves deep into the connection of exercise and mental health. The researchers explored if certain psychosocial factors may help explain the connection. The concept, psychosocial, refers to an individual's psychological development within, and interaction with, a social environment. The focus of the research study was on adolescents, an age group known for abundant psychosocial dysfunctions, such as self-image views and body weight perception.

Arctic Summers Warmest in 1,800 Years
From: Yale Environment360
Summer temperatures on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard in the High Arctic are now higher than during any time over the last 1,800 years, including a period of higher temperatures in the northern hemisphere known as the Medieval Warm Period, according to a new study. In an analysis of algae buried in deep lake sediments, a team of scientists calculated that summer temperatures in Svalbard since 1987 have been 2 to 2.5 degrees Celsius (3.6 to 4.5 degrees F) warmer than during the Medieval Warm Period, which lasted from roughly 950 to 1250 AD.

26 September 2012

Food Security, Grain Production, and Climate Change
From: Cameron Scherer, Worldwatch Institute
Global grain production is expected to reach a record high of 2.4 billion tons in 2012, an increase of 1 percent from 2011 levels, according to new research conducted by the Worldwatch Institute’s Nourishing the Planet project (www.worldwatch.org) for the Institute’s Vital Signs Online service. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the production of grain for animal feed is growing the fastest—a 2.1 percent increase from 2011. Grain for direct human consumption grew 1.1 percent from 2011, write report authors Danielle Nierenberg and Katie Spoden.

Ocean Acidification Occurring at Unprecedented Rates
From: Allison Winter, ENN
Ocean acidification is the process of decreasing pH in the Earth's oceans. This is mainly due to the absorption of carbon dioxide emitted by humans. As CO2 dissolves in seawater, hydrogen ion concentrations increase, thus lowering the ocean pH. Oceans are currently absorbing about a quarter of all CO2 that is released into the air and with the increasing acidity of these marine environments come many concerns about the future of these ecosystems.

6 June 2012

Kitchen air pollution is three-times higher than busy city centres
From: ClickGreen staff
The air inside homes can have pollutant levels three-times higher than in city centres and along busy roads, according to a new study by the University of Sheffield.  Researchers from the University's Faculty of Engineering measured air quality inside and outside three residential buildings with different types of energy use, including gas versus electric cookers.

Rio Environmental talks may collapse: WWF
From: Editor, WWF
Two weeks out from the 20-year reprise of the Rio Earth Summit, and two years after negotiations started, global conservation organization WWF issued a World Environment Day warning that failures of commitment, failures of process and failures of leadership could lead to the collapse of talks on achieving a long-term sustainable world.

5 June 2012

Asbestos Exposure Raises Cancer Rates in Lebanon
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Asbestos, linked directly to mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer, is still present in many products used daily in Lebanon. But there's no protection for workers or the population at large.

25 May 2012

CO2 Removal Catalyst
From: Andy Soos, ENN
There are several ways to remove CO2 from a stack gas. None have reached a commercial basis yet due to the expense of the processing. The current method of removing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) from the flues of coal-fired power plants uses so much energy that no one bothers to use it. So says Roger Aines, principal investigator for a team that has developed an entirely new catalyst for separating out and capturing CO2, one that mimics a naturally occurring catalyst operating in our lungs. With this success, the Laboratory has become a world leader in designing catalysts that mimic the behavior of natural enzymes.

Cookstoves and Carbon Credits
From: Jen Boynton, Triple Pundit
Take a region where charcoal is the cooking fuel of choice, switch it out for a cleaner burning fuel that doesn't contribute to global warming quite so dramatically, then, somehow, track the whole thing accurately enough that it’s possible to measure the tons of emissions the switch represents.

24 May 2012

Pollutants Mucking With Food Production
From: Sarah Simpson, Discovery News
Two manmade pollutants known best as threats to human health have just been charged with two more offenses: shifting rainfall patterns and mucking with food production.Black carbon and tropospheric ozone, both of which derive from the incomplete burning of fossil fuels, may be working in cahoots with greenhouse gases to expand Earth's tropical belt (highlighted above in red).

Majority of Americans Agree: Protecting the Environment Creates Jobs
From: Gina-Marie Cheeseman, Triple Pundit
The majority of Americans (58 percent) think that protecting the environment improves economic growth and creates new jobs. The results are from a recently released poll by Yale University and George Mason University's climate change communication program. Only 17 percent of the poll's respondents think that environmental protection hurts the economy and job growth, and 25 percent think there is no effect. When there is a conflict between protecting the environment and improving the economy, 62 percent think it is more important to protect the environment, and only 38 percent thought economic growth is more important.

22 May 2012

Climate Study: Extreme Rain Storms in Midwest Have Doubled in Last 50 Years, Often Leading to Worsened Flooding
From: Editor, NRDC
The kind of deluges that in recent years washed out Cedar Rapids, IA, forced the Army Corps of Engineers to intentionally blow up levees to save Cairo, IL, and sent the Missouri River over its banks for hundreds of miles are part of a growing trend, according to a new report released today by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization (RMCO) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Big storms, leading to big floods, are occurring with increasing frequency in the Midwest, with incidences of the most severe downpours doubling over the last half century, the report finds.

High Concentrations of Toxic Mercury in the Arctic from Circumpolar Rivers
From: David A Gabel, ENN
Environmental scientists have known that high levels of the toxic element, mercury, have been accumulating in the Arctic Ocean for some time. It was believed to be mostly caused by atmospheric sources stemming from the combustion of coal. However, a new study from the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and the Harvard School of Public Health has found that the great majority of Arctic mercury arrives via circumpolar rivers. Some of the largest rivers in the world flow north into the Arctic in Eurasia and North America.

21 May 2012

1,000 Years of Climate Data Confirms Australia's Warming
From: Editor, Science Daily
In the first study of its kind in Australasia, scientists have used 27 natural climate records to create the first large-scale temperature reconstruction for the region over the last 1000 years.  The study was led by researchers at the University of Melbourne and used a range of natural indicators including tree rings, corals and ice cores to study Australasian temperatures over the past millennium and compared them to climate model simulations.

18 May 2012

New Jersey Takes Slow, Steady Approach to Offshore Wind
From: Peter Asmus, Matter Network
Europe has been operating huge wind turbines offshore for more than a decade, while here in the U.S., this cutting edge clean technology seems perennially "five years off." The infamous project proposed offshore of Cape Cod, Massachusetts has been under deliberation for more than 10 years. During that time, Denmark, Germany, the United Kingdom, and seven other countries have already installed 53 offshore wind farms totaling 3,813 megawatts (MW) of carbon free electricity. That is enough power to keep the lights on for more than 2.8 million American homes, or a city larger than the size of Chicago.

Paper or Plastic?
From: Lilia Casanova, Science and Development Network
Cities in a number of Asian countries, including China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan, are currently on the warpath against plastic shopping bags. The cities have passed local laws that ban such bags, on the basis that they clog sewers and drainage canals, cause street flooding, choke animals and are responsible for other forms of environmental damage.

17 May 2012

Solar Paint Technology May Revolutionize the Renewable Energy Industry
From: Matthew Speer, Global Warming is Real
Lowering your carbon footprint and reducing greenhouse gasses may become as simple as painting your home or office, thanks to breakthrough research from the University of Notre Dame. The researchers, led by Professor Prashant Kamat, have created a new solar paint dubbed “Sun-believable,” which is laced with power producing nanoparticles capable of producing electricity. With the ability to generate renewable energy from this new, less invasive method, bulky solar panels as we know them today may soon become relics destined for the museum.

Natural sinks still sopping up carbon
From: Alexandra Witze, Science News
Earth's ecosystems keep soaking up more carbon as greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere, new measurements find. The research contradicts several recent studies suggesting that "carbon sinks" have reached or passed their capacity. By looking at global measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide, the new work calculates instead that total sinks have increased roughly in line with rising emissions.

16 May 2012

European Airlines provide early data on carbon emissions, show slight reduction
From: Staff, ClickGreen
Airlines operating in and out of European airports have complied with the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) and handed over data despite the refusal of carriers from China and India. ... And according to the latest information provided by Member State registries released today, emissions of greenhouse gases from all installations participating in the ETS decreased by more than 2% last year.

Radiation and DNA
From: Andy Soos, ENN
Radiation exposure is not too good for one's health and well being. But how much is enough and how much is deadly? A new study from MIT scientists suggests that the guidelines governments use to determine when to evacuate people following a nuclear accident may be too conservative. The study, led by Bevin Engelward and Jacquelyn Yanch and published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found that when mice were exposed to radiation doses about 400 times greater than background levels for five weeks, no DNA damage could be detected.

14 May 2012

Expect the Unexpected to happen with Climate Change
From: Guest Post, Global Warming is Real
An increasingly common fallback position once climate change "skeptics" accept that the planet is warming and humans are the dominant cause is the myth that climate change won't be bad. In fact, this particular myth comes in at #3 on our list of most used climate myths. It's an ideal fallback position because it allows those who reject the body of scientific evidence to believe that if they are wrong on the science, it's okay, because the consequences won't be dire anyway.

How Ambient Noise Affects Cognitive Ability
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Just as water pollution is contamination of the water, noise can be considered contamination of the air waves. From a cognitive standpoint, there exists an optimal level of ambient noise. Too far above or below this level will cause focus and creativity to drop off. In this sense, noise is like pollution of the mind. A new study from the University of Illinois shows that ambient noise is a major factor affecting creative cognitive abilities. It is something that advertisers and marketers should be especially attuned to in marketing their products to the public.

11 May 2012

The real 'Hunger Games': a million children at risk as Sahel region suffers punishing drought
From: Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM
The UN warns that a million children in Africa's Sahel region face malnutrition due to drought in region. In all 15 million people face food insecurity in eight nations across the Sahel, a region that is still recovering from drought and a food crisis of 2010. Un some countries the situation is worsened by conflict.

Alternative Fuels — Cars That Run on Natural Gas
From: ENN, May 11, 2012 08:22 AM
Find out how an alternative fuel used all over the world may find its way into American vehicles. Natural gas is abundant, clean and already a part of our everyday lives—and it may be the next big alternative fuel.

Capturing Car Emissions
From: Andy Soos, ENN
Cars do emit air pollutants. One aspect of this occurs during fueling of the vehicle. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that the systems used at gas station pumps to capture harmful gasoline vapors while refueling cars can be phased out. Modern vehicles are equipped to capture those emissions. This final rule is part of the Obama Administration’s initiative to reduce the economic burden of unneeded rules and requirements.

10 May 2012

Ground Water and Sea Level
From: Andy Soos, ENN
We use ground water for many purposes. Large-scale groundwater extraction for irrigation, drinking water or industry may result in an annual rise in sea levels of approximately 0.8 mm, accounting for about one-quarter of total annual sea-level rise (3.1 mm). According to hydrologists from Utrecht University and the research institute Deltares, the rise in sea levels can be attributed to the fact that most of the groundwater extracted ultimately winds up in the sea. The hydrologists explain their findings in an article to be published in the near future in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. Alternately severe ground water extraction near the sea will also tend to have the sea water replace the ground water table.

Federal Exercise Recommendations Prove too Rigorous for the Average American
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The United States government has issued recommendations on the proper amount of exercise required for adults to stay healthy. The recommendations were created by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP). They say that adults between ages 18 and 64 should get about four hours of physical activity each week. Of this, one hour and fifteen minutes should consist of vigorous activity such as running or muscle strengthening. The other 2.5 hours could be moderate exercise such as walking. A new study from researchers at Penn State and University of Maryland suggests Americans fall short of these recommendations, spending only about two hours per week on fitness activities.

4 May 2012

From: Andy Soos, ENN
The body mass index (BMI) is a heuristic proxy for human body fat based on an individual's weight and height. ... In addition to the many risk factors associated with poor health, reducing body mass index (BMI) will have a considerable and independent impact if you want to reduce the risk of developing ischemic heart disease (IHD). This is the key finding from new research, published in PLoS Medicine, which evaluated the causal relationship between BMI and heart disease in 76,000 individuals.

Are there toxic chemicals in your gardening equipment and supplies?
From: Akhila Vijayaraghavan, Triple Pundit
Spring time is here and a lot of people are indulging in gardening. But did you know that there are a lot of chemicals that may be harmful to your health in your gardening supplies?

30 April 2012

What You See is What You Eat
From: Andy Soos, ENN
How can you make someone eat healthier? College students wishing to eat healthier may want to invest in a clear fruit bowl says a recent article published in Environment and Behavior. The new study found that when fruits and vegetables are within arm's reach, students are more likely to eat them. Furthermore, making fruit and vegetables more visible increases the intake of fruit, but the same does not hold true for vegetables.

'Warming Hole' Delayed Climate Change Over Eastern United States
From: Editor, Science Daily
Climate scientists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have discovered that particulate pollution in the late 20th century created a "warming hole" over the eastern United States -- that is, a cold patch where the effects of global warming were temporarily obscured.

26 April 2012

Northern Canada Feels the Heat: Climate Change Impact On Permafrost Zones
From: Editor, Science Daily
Permafrost zones extend over 50% of Canada's land area. Warming or thawing of permafrost due to climate change could significantly impact existing infrastructure and future development in Canada's north. Researchers Jennifer Throop and Antoni Lewkowicz at the University of Ottawa, along with Sharon Smith with the Geological Survey of Canada, have published a new study, part of an upcoming special issue of the Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences (CJES), that provides one of the first summaries of climate and ground temperature relations across northern Canada.

Smoking and Acoustuc Neuroma
From: Andy Soos, ENN
Smoking is bad but nothing is completely bad. New research confirms an association between smoking and a reduced risk for a rare benign tumor near the brain, but the addition of smokeless tobacco to the analysis suggests nicotine is not the protective substance. The study using Swedish data suggests that men who currently smoke are almost 60 percent less likely than people who have never smoked to develop this tumor, called an acoustic neuroma. But men in the study who used snuff, which produces roughly the same amount of nicotine in the blood as smoking, had no reduced risk of tumor development.

23 April 2012

Drinking Soda Increases the Risk of Stroke
From: David A Gabel, ENN
Some of the most heavily marketed drinks around the world are sodas, ranging from your average cola to flavored colas to fruity colas. Their sweet sugary taste is irresistible for some, adding to their addictive quality. Unfortunately, sodas are perhaps the most unhealthy drink, besides alcohol. With the rise of obesity and diabetes around the world, sodas are taking a lot of blame. A new study from Cleveland Clinic's Wellness Institute and Harvard University has found that sodas also contribute to the risk of stroke. This also includes low-calorie soda.

Global Warming in a Nutshell
From: LarryM, Global Warming is Real
Occasionally it's good to step back from the details of global warming science and offer non-technical visitors a "Global Warming 101" perspective, sort of like The Big Picture, but starting from the very beginning and touching on many aspects of this broad topic. This article was revised and re-posted from Larry's website. The figures supplement the main text with key data, but they are mostly independent and reading the figures is not necessary for understanding the text, and vice versa.

20 April 2012

New Fracking Rules on Air
From: Andy Soos, ENN
It has been suggested by researchers that there are significant air emissions (primarily methane) associated with fracking wells. As a result and in response to a court deadline, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has finalized standards to reduce harmful air pollution associated with oil and natural gas production. The updated standards, required by the Clean Air Act, included feedback from a range of stakeholders including the public, public health groups, states and industry.

New Los Angeles Sewage Treatment Prevents Carbon Emissions
From: Courtney Hayden, Sierra Club Green Home
In Los Angeles, city engineers and policy makers are taking an innovative approach to treating waste and protecting water. In the past, the city relied exclusively on trucking waste to Kern County for treatment. Groundbreaking technology has moved Los Angeles away from traditional methods of waste storage and treatment. New methods are lowering green house gas emissions and reducing the risk of water contamination. How can the city affordably avoid the pitfalls of trucking waste long distances for treatment?

18 April 2012

Fast Food Companies Adjust their Salt Content for their Host Countries
From: David A Gabel, ENN
Public health advocates have been stressing for years that a reduction in the consumption of fast food in developed countries is necessary. Many fast foods are processed and contain high amounts of sodium that are unhealthy if consumed in excess. A new study has found that public health advocates have been more successful in some developed countries than others. A team of researchers has found that major fast food companies have adjusted the salt content of their products to be in line with the host country's salt reduction initiatives.

Climate change making conservation more costly
From: Editor, ARKive.org
Climate change will make conserving the world’s biodiversity — including the human benefits associated with conservation, such as clean air and water — much more challenging and expensive, research reveals.

16 April 2012

UN: Meat Consumption Must be Cut to Reduce Greenhouse Gases
From: David A Gabel, ENN
In the developed world, citizens take advantage of the enormous bounty of meat while shopping at markets and dining in restaurants. For some, a meal can only be classified as real if it contains some kind of meat in it. According to the UN, the attitude towards meat consumption has to change, and people must cut back. This is a necessary step in reducing one of the most potent greenhouse gases, nitrous oxide (N2O). A recent study by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests that the developed world needs to cut its meat consumption by 50 percent per person by the year 2050.

TSCA: E Filing as Opposed to Paper
From: Andy Soos, ENN
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced a proposed rule to require electronic reporting for certain information submitted to the agency under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). TSCA is a rule that requires chemicals to be registered and on new chemicals and some old ones there is mandatory reporting of hazards and toxicological tests. The action is an important milestone in the agency’s effort to increase transparency and public access to chemical information. Electronic reporting will increase the speed with which EPA can make information publicly available, increase accuracy, and provide the public with quick and easier access to chemical information.

13 April 2012

Forests and the Health of the Planet
From: Richard Matthews, Global Warming is Real
The health of our forests directly impacts the health of the planet. The importance of forests to the Earth’s ecosystems cannot be overstated. Research shows that forest die-offs are on the increase and this troubling trend is being linked to global warming. Heat and water stress associated with climate change are making forests vulnerable to insect attacks, fires and other problems.

12 April 2012

Balmy Weather Brought out the Bugs, but Was the Frost That Followed a Factor?
From: Editor, Science Daily
While many enjoyed a mild winter and an early spring with record-breaking temperatures, the warm weather also prompted many bugs to show up earlier than usual. The question is, will bug populations be larger this summer? "It depends," says Canisius College Biology Professor Katie Costanzo, PhD. Costanzo's research focuses on the evolutionary ecology of mosquitoes. "Some mosquitoes are dormant during the adult stage, while others are dormant during the egg stage," says Costanzo. "Our mild winter likely killed off less dormant adults and eggs, and the warm weather also facilitated an earlier end to the dormant stages. So, the warm weather caused the first batch of mosquito eggs to hatch early this year, and sped up development."

10 April 2012

It's Official: March was Warmest Ever in United States
From: David A Gabel, ENN
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has maintained records of weather and climate since the late 1800s. According to these records, the month of March, 2012 has set a new record as the warmest March ever for the contiguous United States. Across the nation, 15,000 local warm temperature records were broken. The average temperature was 51.1 degrees F, which is 8.6 degrees higher than the average 20th century March temperature. It is 0.5 degrees higher than the previous warmest March in 1910. The record high March also pushed the average temperature for the first quarter (January-March) to a new record high.

BPA Effects During Early Life
From: Andy Soos, ENN
BPA is controversial because it exerts weak, but detectable, hormone-like properties, raising concerns about its presence in consumer products and foods contained in such products. In testing the effects of the controversial chemical BPA on zebrafish, UWM (University of Wisconsin Milwaukee)scientist Daniel Weber found himself in familiar territory. The results he observed were similar to those he’d seen when exposing the fish to mercury during their early development — profound behavioral changes occurred not only immediately after hatching, but also in adulthood. Like developmental exposure to mercury, adult fish that had been exposed to tiny amounts of BPA as embryos had learning and memory problems, compared to fish that had not been exposed.

9 April 2012

EPA Proposes Carbon Dioxide Emissions Standards for New Fossil Fuel Power Plants
From: Vicki Shiah, Sive Paget & Riesel, P.C
On March 27, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) proposed a rule limiting carbon dioxide (“CO2”) emissions from new power plants fired by fossil fuels such as coal or natural gas. The rule applies to new fossil fuel-fired electric utility generating units in the continental United States; it does not apply to existing units or new “transitional” units that already have received preconstruction air emission permits and that start construction within 12 months of the proposed rule’s publication in the Federal Register.

5 April 2012

Pink on Green: How to Ignite the Second Electrical Revolution
From: Elisa Wood, Clean Techies
The electric industry is good at building things. That's how it solves problems. Is there a threat of blackouts? Develop a new natural gas-fired plant. Worried about climate change? Build wind and solar power. Does electricity cost too much? Install a transmission line to import cheaper power.  But build-to-solve represents only half of the equation in the new world of smart grid. The other half, the part that stumps the industry, is solve-without-building.

4 April 2012

Bottled water industry wages PR battle against tap water
From: Eifion Rees, The Ecologist
Bottled water is the totemic bête noire of the environmental world, a multibillion-dollar industry that takes what in the west is clean and readily available from the tap, packages it up in non-biodegradable plastic and sells it back to consumers at hugely inflated prices.

29 March 2012

IPCC predicts rise in extreme climate events
From: T.V. Padma, Science and Development Network
Climate change could mean unusually high temperatures occurring much more often in most parts of the world by the end of the century, according to a special report on extreme weather events from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Current Methods Exist to Prevent More than Half of All Cancers
From: David A Gabel, ENN
A new study released yesterday from public health researchers at the Siteman Cancer Center in St. Louis demonstrates that over half of all cancer is preventable. According to the American Cancer Society, over 1,638,000 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in the United States and over 577,000 Americans are expected to die of cancer this year. Cancer can be an enormous burden for individuals, families, and the health care system. The researchers argue that the greatest emphasis should be put into preventative measures. Unfortunately, there are many factors that stand in the way of making a significant dent in the number of cancer cases.

27 March 2012

Earth Warming Faster Than Expected
From: Sid Perkins, Science AAAS
By 2050, global average temperature could be between 1.4°C and 3°C warmer than it was just a couple of decades ago, according to a new study that seeks to address the largest sources of uncertainty in current climate models. That's substantially higher than estimates produced by other climate analyses, suggesting that Earth's climate could warm much more quickly than previously thought.

7 March 2012

Farms or Industry Pollution?
From: Andy Soos, ENN
What to do when everything cannot be done at the same time? In present day Europe farm pollution as opposed to industrial pollution is gaining more attention and effort. While factories were once the big concern, more attention is focusing on pollution from farming, which accounts for more than half of land use in the EU and is overall the biggest consumer of water. Industrial releases once dominated the attention such as the sludge that broke through containment walls in the Hungarian town of Ajka in October 2010, the immediate concern was the safety of hundreds of nearby residents. In the end 10 people died from exposure and the toxic muck spilled into waterways, including the Danube, prompting alarms downstream. These spills are relatively rare and industrial pollution in many European rivers has declined since the 1960s. Tougher treatment laws, international cooperation and EU policies like the 2000 Water Framework Directive and 2006 Groundwater Directive are credited with the improvements.

6 March 2012

Diesel Exhaust May Increase Lung Cancer Mortality
From: Sara Stefanski, ENN
In a study released by the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, heavy diesel exhaust (DE) exposure might increase mortality rates from lung cancer. The study officially began in the 1980's, where the relationship between diesel exhaust and lung cancer was investigated. By 1989, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified diesel exhaust as a probable carcinogen.

23 February 2012

Low Levels of Fallout from Fukushima Release
From: Andy Soos, ENN
There is always concern when something radioactive is released as to what its downwind effects might be. Certainly there are effects at the actual site but thousands of miles away? Fallout from the 2011 Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power facility in Japan was measured in minimal amounts in precipitation in the United States in about 20 percent of 167 sites sampled in a nationwide study released today. The U.S. Geological Survey led the study as part of the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP). Levels measured were similar to measurements made by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the immediate days and weeks following the March 2011 incident, which were determined to be well below any level of public health concern at the time by EPA.

22 February 2012

Fires and deaths from deforestation linked
From: R Greenway, ENN
A new study links smoke from the burning of wood waste from deforestation to deaths from the effects of breathing all that smoke.

17 February 2012

Mortality Rates Are Underestimated
From: Emily Sohn, Discovery News
Despite great medical advances that have lengthened human life spans, your chances of living a very long life may be lower than you'd hoped. That's the conclusion of a study by two longevity experts who reviewed the standard models that predict mortality rates and turned up a major error. Instead of confirming that death rates drop once people reach their 80s or 90s — as experts have assumed for many decades -- results showed that the risk of dying continues to increase each year, no matter how old people are.

Europe and US sign trade agreement over organic products
From: ClickGreen staff
The European Union and the United States has announced that organic products certified in Europe or in the United States may be sold as organic in either region.

15 February 2012

Coal Tar Sealant Health Hazards
From: Andy Soos, ENN
Coal tar is a brown or black liquid of extremely high viscosity, which smells of naphthalene and aromatic hydrocarbons. Coal tar is incorporated into some parking-lot sealcoat products, which are marketed as a means of protecting and beautifying underlying pavement. Sealcoat products that are coal-tar based typically contain 20 to 35 percent coal-tar pitch. Coal-tar-based sealants are emitting polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) into the air at rates that may be greater than annual emissions from vehicles in the United States, according to new reports by the U.S. Geological Survey, published in the scientific journals Chemosphere and Atmospheric Environment. Children living near coal-tar-sealed pavement are exposed to twice as many PAHs from ingestion of contaminated house dust than from food, according to a separate new study by Baylor University and the USGS, published in the journal Environmental Pollution.

States Gear Up Coastal and Environmental Conservation Initiatives as Studies Indicate Increasing Frequency of Intense Storms, Storm Surges
From: Andrew Burger, Global Warming is Real
A new MIT-Princeton University study examining the prospective impacts of extreme storms and storm surges based on a range of climate change scenarios indicates that what were once 100-year and 500-year events would become 3 to 20 and 25 to 240-year events. The study can help coastal planners, who typically design coastal seawalls, buildings and other structures with a 60 to 120-year usable lifespan, according to an MIT News report.

13 February 2012

Tetrachloroethylene Toxicity EPA RIsk Assessment
From: Editor, ENN
Tetrachloroethylene, also known under its systematic name tetrachloroethene and many other names, is a chlorocarbon. It is a colorless liquid widely used for dry cleaning of fabrics and is sometimes called "dry-cleaning fluid". It has a sweet odor detectable by most people at a concentration of 1 part per million (1 ppm). It is also used in the cleaning of metal machinery and to manufacture some consumer products and other chemicals. Confirming longstanding scientific understanding and research, the final EPA risk assessment characterizes this material as a likely human carcinogen. The assessment provides estimates for both cancer and non-cancer effects associated with exposure to it over a lifetime.

Innovative Wastewater Treatment Technology
From: CleanTechies
Israel’s Aqwise is proving to be a success story of international proportions in the arena of biological wastewater treatment. The Company began as a small start-up offering innovative biological treatment of urban wastewater, and today offers a variety of solutions for municipal and industrial customers, due to intensive R&D and expansion into new arenas of activity. . . .  Aqwise’s technology utilizes biomass carriers, which look like little colorful plastic balls, and mix in the water, and even though to the untrained eye the balls look small, actually they have a large surface area. The bacteria see this as a convenient area to grow on, and this manipulation enables greater biological activity in any given area. This is the secret which enables Aqwise to plan a compact new facility or to make an existing facility more efficient, in many cases without the need to physically enlarge the treatment area.

9 February 2012

Zebra Stripes as Bug Repellant
From: David A Gabel, ENN
On the plains of Africa, the zebra are not the only creature roaming in herds. There are a great number of other species, not least of all, the dreaded horsefly. Zebras, like all horse species, have large bodies which they cannot always reach with their mouths, hooves, or tails, making them an inviting prey for blood-sucking, flying insects. More than the lion, the horsefly is the bane of zebra's existence. This, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology, is why zebras evolved to having stripes. The black and white stripes effectively deter the horseflies by making the zebras less attractive.

6 February 2012

Deadly Malaria on the Decline
From: David A Gabel, ENN
A new research study has found that malaria is killing twice as many people that previously believed. However, as efforts to combat the deadly steam have picked up, the total number of deaths is declining. In 2010, 1.2 million people died of malaria, twice as much as the last survey suggested. Researchers from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington believe that the discrepancy is due to the previous studies assuming that malaria only kills children under age five. In actuality, 42 percent of malaria deaths are people aged five and older.

2 February 2012

Europe to target pharmaceutical pollution with new water quality rules
From: Click Green Staff
The European Commission has unveiled a new set of water pollution rules, which will for the first time include certain pharmaceutical products. The Commission is proposing to add 15 chemicals to the list of 33 pollutants that are currently monitored and controlled in EU surface waters. The popular pain-relieving drug Diclofenac is one of three pharmaceuticals to be put on the European water watch-list, which law-makers say is another step towards improving the quality of rivers, lakes and coastal waters. The 15 substances include industrial chemicals as well as compounds used in biocides and plant protection products. They have been selected on the basis of scientific evidence that they may pose a significant risk to health.

31 January 2012

NASA Confirms Man's role in Global Warming
From: ClickGreen Staff
A new NASA study confirms the fact that greenhouse gases generated by human activity - not changes in solar activity - are the primary force driving global warming. The study offers an updated calculation of the Earth's energy imbalance, the difference between the amount of solar energy absorbed by Earth's surface and the amount returned to space as heat. The researchers' calculations show that, despite unusually low solar activity between 2005 and 2010, the planet continued to absorb more energy than it returned to space.

Do Pollutants Cause Breast Cancer?
From: Paloma D’Silva, Sierra Club Green Home
Breast cancer is partly caused by toxic chemicals in the environment, according to a recent study by the Institute of Medicine (IOM). These pollutants are surprisingly common, and most women are exposed to them from a variety of sources. Carcinogenic pollutants come from radiation and from consumer products. They are in household cleaning products, microwaves, cosmetics, hairsprays, and refrigerators. These chemicals seep into water as runoff from landfills, affect people as well as animals, and have been shown to cause breast cancer in women. The Breast Cancer Action Foundation believes that the environmental factor has been overlooked in research, and that its influence has been grossly underestimated.

30 January 2012

Palm Oil Biodiesel and greenhouse gas emissions
From: Editor, MONGABAY.COM
Greenhouse gas emissions from palm oil-based biodiesel are the highest among major biofuels when the effects of deforestation and peatlands degradation are considered, according to calculations by the European Commission. The emissions estimates, which haven't been officially released, have important implications for the biofuels industry in Europe.

Dam About to Bust on Clean Hydrokinetic Energy
From: Tina Casey, Triple Pundit
A company called Verdant Power has won the first ever commercial license for a hydrokinetic tidal power facility in the U.S., and that could be just the first drop in a torrent of more than 100 new hydrokinetic projects that are still in the initial stages of permitting around the country. Verdant's project, called RITE for Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy, will tap the powerful currents of New York City's East River to generate clean electricity.  Hydrokinetic energy shows great promise for growth in the U.S., since the turbines can potentially be installed in industrial waterways such as wastewater treatment plants and food processing plants as well as natural waterways, but until recently the technology has been treading water, so to speak, in the research and development phase. The success of the RITE project could mean that hydrokinetic turbines are ready to cross over into mainstream commercial use.

27 January 2012

Nanotechnology Safety Strategies Need Improvement
From: Scott Sincoff, ENN
According to a report released by the National Research Council (NRC), human and environmental safeties of nanomaterials remain uncertain despite the spending of billions of dollars in nanotechnology research and development over the past ten years.

Fructose Effects
From: Andy Soos, ENN
Fructose, or fruit sugar, is a simple monosaccharide found in many plants. It is one of the three dietary monosaccharides, along with glucose and galactose, that are absorbed directly into the bloodstream during digestion. Fructose is generally regarded as being 1.73 times as sweet as sucrose. Fructose is a common sweetener used in many products such as soda as a result. There is now some new research evidence of cardiovascular disease and diabetes risk is present in the blood of adolescents who consume a lot of fructose, a scenario that worsens in the face of excess belly fat.

The Era Of Cheap Water Is Over: Deloitte
From: Editor, Justmeans
Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) today launched the Water Tight 2012 report, which explores the future of the global water sector in the year ahead. The report examines how major global trends such as population growth, increasing economic development, and urbanization, coupled with the changes in climate patterns, underscore the importance of effective public policy and private sector water stewardship in managing this finite and shared resource.

19 January 2012

Working in an office can damage your health, new study warns
From: ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen
In a first-of-its-kind study, scientists are reporting that the indoor air in offices is an important source of worker exposure to potentially toxic substances released by carpeting, furniture, paint and other items.  Their report, which documents a link between levels of these so-called polyfluorinated compounds (PFCs) in office air and in the blood of workers, appears in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology.

European Commission Aims to Cut Food Waste 50 Percent by 2020
From: David A Gabel, ENN
Europe may be facing much larger problem than what to do with its food waste. But being pushed through the European parliament is a bill that will have widespread significance. That is because food waste accounts for one of the largest sources of overall waste going to landfills. Per year, the average person throws away 300 kg (660 lbs) per year, and of this, two thirds is still edible. MEPs are railing against what they see as unsustainable levels of waste. The resolution being passed through parliament is set to be approved today.

18 January 2012

China Sets Historic Limits on GHG Emissions from Select Regions
From: David A Gabel, ENN
China is starting to get on board with the international push to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Last week, China's authoritarian government ordered five cities and two provinces to institute limits on GHG emissions. These areas will now have to submit proposals to the national government's National Development and Reform Commission on how they plan to achieve it.

NASA GISS Identifies 14 Air Pollution Control Measures to Slow Global Warming, Improve Health and Increase Crop Yields
From: Andrew Burger, Global Warming is Real
Fourteen air pollution control measures, if implemented today, could not only slow the pace of global warming, according to an intensive study by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), but also improve health and boost agricultural productivity. All regions of the world would benefit as a result, NASA found, but the biggest health and agricultural gains would be realized in Asia and the Middle East as a result of greenhouse (GHG) emissions reductions.

17 January 2012

Don't wait for wealth — better health needs basic tools
From: Charles Kenny, Science and Development Network
Encouraging demand for new and increasingly cheap interventions available now can boost health in developing countries, says Charles Kenny. The conventional wisdom is that wealthier is healthier: staying alive longer takes expensive stuff, and so a country's quickest way to better health for its people is economic development. There's a lot to that argument. Good nutrition, shelter, hospitals — they all cost money. And that's surely a big part of why life expectancies in high-income countries are twenty years longer than those in low-income countries worldwide, according to World Bank data. Even within countries, household surveys suggest richer families live longer and stay healthier than poorer ones.

13 January 2012

Small efforts to reduce methane, soot could have big effect
From: Devin Powell, Science News
Carbon dioxide may be public enemy number one in the fight against global warming. But taking aim at methane and soot has a better chance of keeping the planet cooler in the short run, a new study finds. Cutting the amounts of these two pollutants that are poured into the sky would diminish warming by half a degree Celsius by 2050, researchers report in the Jan. 13 Science. That could buy a little time for the world — slowing sea level rise, glacial melting and other problems caused by rising temperatures. Targeting these agents of climate change would also improve air quality, potentially preventing up to 4.7 million premature deaths every year, the researchers calculate.

Warmer summers causing colder winters
From: David Fogarty, Reuters, SINGAPORE
Warmer summers in the far Northern Hemisphere are disrupting weather patterns and triggering more severe winter weather in the United States and Europe, a team of scientists say, in a finding that could improve long-range weather forecasts.  Blizzards and extreme cold temperatures in the winters of 2009/10 and 2010/11 caused widespread travel chaos in parts of Europe and the United States, leading some to question whether global warming was real. Judah Cohen, lead author of a study published on Friday in the journal Environmental Research Letters, and his team found there was a clear trend of strong warming in the Arctic from July to September.

12 January 2012

US EPA issuing new Air Quality rules
From: Timothy Gardner, David Gregorio, Reuters
The Environmental Protection Agency is introducing its most ambitious clean air rules in decades, though it is making some concessions to election-minded Republicans who oppose them. The EPA, facing backlash from heavy industry, has delayed several of the rules and made adjustments in others. Some industry groups say the rules will cost companies billions of dollars and increase power bills for consumers.

List of natural disasters and extreme weather makes 2011 the worst on record
From: Click Green
A sequence of devastating earthquakes and a large number of weather-related catastrophes made 2011 the costliest year ever in terms of natural catastrophe losses. Estimates of around US$380 billion in global economic losses were nearly two-thirds higher than in 2005, the previous record year with losses of $220 billion. The earthquakes in Japan in March and New Zealand in February alone caused almost two-thirds of these losses. Insured losses of $105 billion also exceeded the 2005 record of $101 billion.

Green House Gases and Where They Are
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In January 2012, for the first time, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released greenhouse gas (GHG) data collected under the GHG Reporting Program. GHG is primarily Carbon Dioxide but includes many other other chemicals such as methane. The data shows 2010 U.S. GHG emissions from large industrial facilities, and from suppliers of certain fossil fuels and industrial gases. Reporting entities used uniform methods for estimating emissions, which enables data to be compared and analyzed. The data shows the larger GHG emitters are power plants followed by petroleum refineries. GHG data are now easily accessible to the public through the EPA’s GHG Reporting Program. The 2010 GHG data to be released includes public information from facilities in nine industry groups that directly emit large quantities of GHGs, as well as suppliers of certain fossil fuels and high global warming gases.

10 January 2012

New CO2 Sucker Could Help Clear the Air
From: Robert F. Service, Science AAAS
Researchers in California have produced a cheap plastic capable of removing large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air. Down the road, the new material could enable the development of large-scale batteries and even form the basis of "artificial trees" that lower atmospheric concentrations of CO2 in an effort to stave off catastrophic climate change.

06 January 2012

The Perils of Vacuum Cleaners
From: Andy Soos, ENN
Some vacuum cleaners — those basic tools for maintaining a clean indoor environment in homes and offices — actually contribute to indoor air pollution by releasing into the air bacteria and dust that can spread infections and trigger allergies, researchers report in a new study. It appears in the ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology. Lidia Morawska and colleagues explain that previous studies showed that vacuum cleaners can increase levels of very small dust particles and bacteria in indoor spaces, where people spend about 90 percent of their time. In an effort to provide more information about emission rates of bacteria and small dust particles, the scientists tested 21 vacuum cleaners sold in Australia.

EPA Report Identifies Toxic Contamination in Communities Across the Country
From: David A Gabel, ENN
Yesterday, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its annual report of the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI). The TRI consists of information on toxic chemical disposals and toxic air emissions, as well as waste management and pollution prevention activities. The EPA report covers neighborhoods all across the United States for the year 2010. Many of the facilities identified in the TRI are regulated by the EPA and state agencies through various programs such as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and Community-Right-to-Know (CRTK). Total toxic releases for 2010 were higher than the previous two years, but lower than 2007 and 2006.

05 January 2012

FDA Caves in to Lobbyists on Antibiotics, Putting Public Health at Risk
From: RP Siegel, Triple Pundit
The FDA is putting the brakes on plans to regulate the consumption of antibiotics by healthy livestock raised for human consumption. The news was conveniently announced during the low news period between Christmas and New Years, despite the fact that the agency has been stalling on their decision since October. They gave no reason for its action, stating only that it intends to "focus its efforts for now on the potential for voluntary reform and the promotion of the judicious use of antimicrobials in the interest of public health."

Study: Parasitic Fly to Blame for Honeybee Population Decline
From: David A Gabel, ENN
Populations of honeybee have been in a seemingly unstoppable downward spiral, and scientists are still grasping to find the cause. A new study from the San Francisco State University suggests that one factor may be a parasitic fly, Apocephalus borealis, which lays its eggs in the bees' abdomens. The parasitic eggs cause atypical behavior in the bees, causing them to abandon their hives. Like a scene out of Alien, the eggs eventually hatch and the newborn flies burst out of the bee, killing it in the process.

03 January 2012

Mercury in the Atmosphere
From: Andy Soos, ENN
Mercury is an extremely toxic material. It is known to emitted to the atmosphere but what happens to the Mercury after that? How is it removed or processed? Humans pump thousands of tons of vapor from the metallic element mercury into the atmosphere each year, and it can remain suspended for long periods before being changed into a form that is easily removed from the atmosphere. New research shows that the upper troposphere and lower stratosphere work to transform elemental mercury into oxidized mercury, which can easily be deposited into aquatic ecosystems and ultimately enter the food chain.

02 January 2012

Enjoy your portable music, but not TOO loudly, if you want to preserve your hearing!
From: Haaretz Translation by Tal Hefer, No Camels
According to a study conducted in the Department of Communication Disorders at Tel Aviv University, about a quarter of Israeli youth may develop hearing disorders due to prolonged exposure to music players and loud noise. 289 adolescents aged 13-17 participated in the study that examined the habits of music listening through headphones attached to MP3 players, mobile phones and computers.


Send mail to: ctreser@u.washington.edu
Last modified: 03/30/2006 10:05 am