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Feeding the world gets short shrift in climate change debate. Food is getting elbowed out of the discussion on climate change, which could spell disaster for the 1 billion people who will be added to the world’s population in the next 15 years. National Public Radio
Scientists call moratorium on study of deadly bird flu. In an almost unheard-of move, scientists who study the deadly H5N1 bird flu announced a 60-day voluntary moratorium on studying the virus to allow time \“to clearly explain the benefits of this important research and the measures taken to minimize its possible risks.\” Los Angeles Times [Registration Required]
Climate change: Coal plants dominate list of big emitters of greenhouse gases. Fed by a steady stream of coal barges, the aging power plants that loom over Chicago’s Little Village and Pilsen neighborhoods are by far the city’s largest industrial sources of climate change pollution. Chicago Tribune, Illinois.
Kids’ leukemia risk rose near French nuclear plants. While the U.S. government is investigating whether people who live in San Clemente are more prone to cancer – and whether their proximity to San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station has anything to do with anything — French scientists have come to their own disturbing conclusions. Orange County Register, California.
Lead exposure may increase lifelong pessimism, according to a new study. Researchers found that lead levels in aging men were associated with increased pessimism even after controlling for other important factors such as socioeconomic status. Lead is known to affect the nervous system and affect intelligence, memory and behavior. Research also shows it is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Dry-cleaning chemical can increase risk of bipolar disorder: Study. A new study has found early exposure to a chemical commonly used in dry-cleaning, tetrachloroethylene (also known as perchloroethylene or PCE), can increase the risk of developing bipolar disorder and post traumatic stress syndrome. Toronto Star, Ontario.
2011 was ninth-warmest year since 1880: NASA. The global average temperature last year was the ninth-warmest in the modern meteorological record, continuing a trend linked to greenhouse gases that saw nine of the 10 hottest years occurring since the year 2000, NASA scientists said on Thursday. Reuters
Fukushima people eating more cesium but not in danger, says study. The median daily intake of radioactive cesium from meals eaten by families in Fukushima Prefecture is more than 11 times the level in the Kanto region near Tokyo but still well within safety standards, according to a study. Asahi Shimbun, Japan.
A new study raises concern about children’s exposure to mercury through fish eating, tying it for the first time to hormone changes that increase chronic stress and associated immune system dysfunction. The highest mercury levels detected in the study had about 20-25 percent lower cortisol in saliva samples compared with lowest mercury levels. Mercury levels measured in the children were well below the levels considered a health risk by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Kaiser Permanente announced today that it is converting its IV medical equipment to alternatives free of PVC and DEHP, two industrial chemicals that the company says have been shown to harm human and environmental health. Kaiser Permanente has agreed to purchase IV solution bags that are 100 percent PVC- and DEHP-free and intravenous tubing that is 100 percent free of DEHP. PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and DEHP (di-2-ethyl hexyl phthalate) are both widely used in medical products, the company says.
The indoor pollution threat you may not have known existed. “Good Morning America” set out to investigate exactly what kind of threat indoor air pollution posed to the average person by setting up a child’s nursery with a new crib, changing table, rocker and decorations. Seven days of testing later, the results were in. The air in our new nursery contained 300 different chemicals — compared to just two right outside the same house. ABC Good Morning America
Honeybee problem nearing a ‘critical point’ Anyone who’s been stung by a bee knows they can inflict an outsized pain for such tiny insects. It makes a strange kind of sense, then, that their demise would create an outsized problem for the food system by placing the more than 70 crops they pollinate — from almonds to apples to blueberries — in peril.
The next generation of GMO’s could be especially dangerous Did a recent scientific study just change the way we should think about the safety of genetically modified foods? According to Ari Levaux at theAtlantic, the answer is a resounding yes.
Five packaged foods you never need to buy again. What did you resolve to do in 2012? Eat healthier? Avoid processed foods? Stay away from GMOs? Stop buying products foisted on you by the man? Reduce the size of your weekly garbage bag? Become a domestic god(ess)? Not sure where to start? Once you’ve made the switch with these basics, you may never go back.
Revived photo collection shows America during EPA’s infancy. \“Documerica\” is a project U.S. EPA commissioned 40 years ago to document the state of the environment when EPA was a fledgling agency. The project captured the country before most federal regulations, before widespread recycling and the controversy over \“green energy.\” Greenwire
Lower lead levels deemed harmful for kids. Without Rhode Island’s mandatory lead test, Liz Colon says her 16-year-old son, Sam, could be severely brain-damaged or dead. Such screening is facing a test of its own as Congress slashed from $29 million to $2 million the funds for a major lead-poisoning prevention program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. USA Today
The Business of Water - The world is dealing with a severe water crisis. Population growth and economic development continue to push water resources beyond natural limits, and demand will only continue to grow – projected to triple in the next 20 years. Yet, the earth’s water supply remains limited.
Containing Energy Expenses - Looking for ways to trim costs? Turn out the lights. That’s a common-sense concept, but failing to abide by it adds up to a substantial waste of energy at most hospitals and takes a significant bite out of their bottom lines. Lighting accounts for about 43 percent of energy consumption in healthcare facilities, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Simple reminders to staff and visitors and optimizing building automation systems can have a positive impact on expenses.
Departing words from EPA’s Anastas: We must design chemicals and manufacturing to be ‘less toxic and less polluting’. Paul Anastas, one of the fathers of green chemistry, is leaving his high-ranking post at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and returning to Yale University. In a Q and A with Environmental Health News, Anastas said \“it’s time for me to go home.\” Environmental Health News
La Niña ‘may abet’ flu pandemics. La Niña events may make flu pandemics more likely, research suggests. US-based scientists found that the last four pandemics all occurred after La Niña events, which bring cool waters to the surface of the eastern Pacific. BBC
Antibiotics breed drug-resistant bacteria in pigs. After giving pigs a low-dose of antibiotics for just two weeks, researchers detected a drastic rise in the number of E. coli bacteria in the guts of the animals. And those bacteria showed a large jump in resistance to antibiotics. Discovery Channel
How safe is cosmetic surgery? The revelation that up to 50,000 women in the UK may have defective breast implants containing industrial-grade, rather than medical-grade, silicone from the French company Poly Implant Protheses (PIP) has led to a public outcry and shone a light on the seedier side of the booming cosmetic surgery industry. Ecologist
US obesity rates have leveled off — but why? Americans may be as heavy as they’re going to get — at least for now, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Adult waistlines haven’t expanded since 2003, according to the study. Wall Street Journal [Subscription Required]
The top 10 smart cities on the planet. Crunching a list of variables about innovation and sustainability, we rank the world’s smartest cities - all supporting the low-carbon economy. Fast Company
Sprint to Require Green Certification for All Cell Phones - All cell phones sold through Sprint must go through the certification process for the UL-ISR 110 standard, although it’s likely that all phones won’t meet the standard, which Sprint helped to develop with UL Environment
4 tips on Guiding Employees to Greener Energy Habits - Your employees’ behavior can make the difference between whether your company’s energy strategy produces outstanding results or insignificant savings. In a report published this week, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy distills five case studies on the subject to offer advice. ACEEE Senior Researcher Shui Bin took a look at the federal \“Green the Capitol\” program in the United States, the Empire State Building’s energy management program for tenants, and programs in Canada at a utility, a government building and a university-owned hospital.
Apple juice made in America? Think again. Did it blow you away that low levels of a fungicide that isn’t approved in the U.S. were discovered in some orange juice sold here? Or was it the news that Brazil, where the fungicide-laced juice originated, produces a good portion of the orange pulpy stuff we drink? Associated Press
Scientists link mass death of British bees to farm pesticides. Nicotine-based pesticides in widespread use by farmers are implicated in the mass deaths of bees, according to a new study by US scientists. The authoritative, peer-reviewed research undermines the pesticide industry’s long-repeated arguments that bees are not being harmed. Glasgow Herald, United Kingdom.
Captured by NASA space satellite: Thick blanket of pollution covering much of China. An image showing the shocking extent of pollution in China has been released by the space agency NASA. The image was taken on January 10 and captures a haze taking over most of the North China Plain. Visibility on the day was down to just over 200 yards. London Daily Mail, United Kingdom.
A new study found that higher in utero and childhood exposure to a solvent known as PCE, or tetrachloroethylene, increased the risk of cigarette, drug, and alcohol use as a teenager and young adult. These results are consistent with previous animal and human studies reporting that PCE can affect both behavior and cognition in animals and humans. This is the first study to evaluate the behavioral consequences of early life PCE exposure in adulthood.
Programmed to be fat? Controversial new science is raising suspicion that chemicals in the environment may be programming us to be fat. And it starts before we’re even born. Scientists suspect that, starting in the womb, man-made chemicals may be triggering changes to our metabolism that result in life-long weight gain. The Nature of Things, CBC-TV.
Polluted air ‘puts Olympic athletes at risk.’ Olympic athletes could suffer impaired performance times and become ill as a result of London’s unacceptably high levels of air pollution, leading respiratory scientists are warning. London Independent, United Kingdom.
Michael Mann: The climate scientist whom deniers have in their sights. He is one of the most vilified men in the highly vilified field of climate science, yet Professor Michael Mann is surprisingly jolly. Despite being the focus of a brutal campaign orchestrated by the fossil-fuel industry, Mann’s cheery stoicism is positively infectious. London Independent, United Kingdom.
Climate change skepticism seeps into science classrooms. A flash point has emerged in American science education that echoes the battle over evolution, as scientists and educators report mounting resistance to the study of man-made climate change in middle and high schools. Los Angeles Times [Registration Required]