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Chromium-6 in some wells more than 1,000 times above state goal. Hexavalent chromium, a potentially cancer-causing heavy metal, is found in drinking water supplies throughout most of the Coachella Valley at 150 to more than 1,000 times above California’s public health goal, a Desert Sun review of local water agencies’ well-testing results found. Palm Springs Desert Sun, California.
Scientists find new dangers in tiny but pervasive particles in air pollution. Fine atmospheric particles were identified more than 20 years ago as the most lethal of the widely dispersed air pollutants in the US. But more recently, scientists have learned that a subset of these particles has a greater total mass and is thus more dangerous. New York Times [Registration Required]
Land-based pathogens discovered in marine mammals. A slew of pathogens typically found in livestock and domestic animals is increasingly being found in marine mammals. Harbour seals found in urban areas have been found to carry strains of E. coli and Enterococcus that are resistant to eight different antibiotics used in livestock. Vancouver Sun, British Columbia.
Children still not tested for mercury. Despite a judge’s order more than a year ago, the children who inhaled toxic mercury vapors in the infamous former Kiddie Kollege day care still have not been monitored for potential medical problems. Philadelphia Inquirer, Pennsylvania. [Registration Required]
Journals warned to keep a tight lid on diesel exposure data. A protracted legal battle over an $11.5-million health study into whether diesel exhaust damages the lungs of miners has suddenly widened to take on scientific peer review. Four editors received a threatening letter from a mining industry legal group warning them not to publish data on the study. Science
Long-awaited dioxins report revealed. After 21 years of wrangling over health threats, uncertain science and industry pressure, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday released its assessment of dioxins defining how toxic they are. Environmental Health News. 17 February 2012.
Canadian government is ‘muzzling its scientists.’ The Canadian government has been accused of “muzzling” its scientists. Speakers at a major science meeting being held in Canada said communication of vital research on health and environment issues is being suppressed. BBC
Citizen science goes ‘extreme.’ An emerging field described as the ‘new wave’ of citizen science is addressing air-pollution assessments in Europe and chimpanzee counting in Tanzania. The next generation of citizen science attempts to make communities active stakeholders in research that affects them, and use their work to push forward policy changes. Nature
Chemicals and health. It’s taken nearly a quarter of a century but the EPA has finally concluded that the chemical perchloroethylene is a likely human carcinogen. ‘Perc’ is just one of more than 62 thousand industrial chemicals that were presumed safe back in 1976. But still today, most have never been investigated for health effects. Instead they were grandfathered in. Living On Earth
Air pollution ups risk of stroke, impaired memory. Several studies have found that particles that are in the air, like those seen in smoke and smog can actually get into the brain. And once there, they can cause inflammation, which may be involved in the pathogenesis or progression of dementia. Science Friday, NPR.
Controversy brews over scientists’ creation of killer viruses. Should scientists be allowed to create extremely aggressive and highly infectious influenza viruses? Dutch virologists have done it and, in the process, triggered a fierce debate over the risks of bioterrorism and the potential release of deadly viruses. Der Spiegel
Will Malaysians get cancer for your iPhone or Prius? Some Malaysians suspect that Lynas, a rare earths mining company based in Australia, is choosing to refine in Malaysia in order to sidestep more stringent environmental regulations at home. Mother Jones
Dying yellow cedars. Something is killing the majestic Yellow Cedars of southeastern Alaska and parts of British Columbia. Scientists have been baffled for decades but now they have an answer: global warming is causing these trees to freeze. Living On Earth
Is radiation actually good for some of us? By age 10, most people are exposed to enough radiation to be at risk, but the science is so complicated that exposure could even have benefits. Miller-McCune
Studies: Health risk from toxic pavement sealant greater than previously believed. When you think of pollution, you might picture an industrial center in New Jersey. But new research shows that when it comes to a potent class of cancer-causing toxic chemicals, many American parking lots are a lot worse. Investigate West
Plotting a road map for a low-carbon future. Last June, a high-powered group of scientists and thinkers gathered in Ontario to explore how science and technology could contribute to a more sustainable energy future and avoid the worst climate impacts. On Sunday, the results of their collective effort – the Equinox Blueprint – will be released. Globe and Mail, Ontario.
Sprawling nitrogen footprint could incrase with climate change. Scientists have found humanity’s nitrogen footprint in places once thought pristine. These findings show that natural nitrogen equilibriums have shifted drastically and are now driven largely by human factors. This world awash in nitrogen can have devastating effects on health, ecology and the climate. ClimateWire
US won’t allow more fungicide in orange juice: FDA. The US Food and Drug Administration on Thursday declined to raise the levels it will accept of an illegal fungicide commonly used in the Brazilian orange juice industry. Reuters
Older children have higher levels of Teflon-related chemicals called PFCs - used in products to prevent staining and sticking - than younger children, although their levels are lower than a decade ago. PFCs have been used in food packages, non-stick coatings, fire-fighting foams, carpet coatings, and cosmetics and lotions. Children can be exposed via their mothers before birth and when breastfeeding. More…
New study finds arsenic in infant formula, cereal bars. Arsenic has been found in some foods that use organic brown rice syrup as a sweetener, including infant formula and cereal bars, according to a new study by researchers at Dartmouth College. Consumer Reports
New-car smell: Find out how toxic the interior of your new car is. Hop in a new 2012 Honda Civic and you’ll be breathing easy; drive off a car lot in a 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander and you’ll choke on toxic fumes, according to a new consumer’s report that ranks pollution found in new car interiors. International Business Times
Chinook salmon could be a health hazard. Orcas are being poisoned by their own prized prey, the chinook salmon, scientists say. Natives eat a lot of this fish too. Are they getting contaminated as well? Ernie Crey, a senior policy adviser to the Sto:lo Tribal Council, wants to know. Georgia Straight, British Columbia.
Leak offers glimpse of campaign against climate science. Leaked documents suggest that an organization known for attacking climate science is planning a new push to undermine the teaching of global warming in public schools, the latest indication that climate change is becoming a part of the nation’s culture wars. New York Times [Registration Required]
U.S. will lead new effort to cut global warming from methane, soot. With global efforts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions stalled, the United States and five other countries are launching a new program to cut other pollutants — including methane, soot and hydrofluorocarbons — that also contribute to global warming. Washington Post [Registration Required]
How secure are labs handling world’s deadliest pathogens? Labs whose experiments on dangerous pathogens are funded by the U.S. government must follow specific rules to keep the microbes from escaping, but those rules are not enforceable for researchers working with private funds. Outside the country, security and safety requirements vary widely. Reuters
Urinary tract infections linked to contaminated chicken. Urinary tract infections are common conditions that occur when bacteria from the intestines enter the urinary tract. New research, however, suggests that the bacteria causing these infections may come from contaminated food—especially chickens. Los Angeles Times [Registration Required]
Hearts and air pollution: Five deadly air pollutants on five continents. Around the world, breathing a variety of air pollutants – in some cases for a single day – increases the chance that people will suffer heart attacks, according to a new analysis published Tuesday. For the first time, scientists analyzed previous studies from five continents to verify and quantify the links between air pollution and heart health. They found that short-term exposure – less than seven days – to all major air pollutants except ozone was associated with an increase in heart attacks. Environmental Health News
EPA oversight: Weighing the parts, ignoring the whole. Each year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gives the green light for a score of agricultural chemicals to come to market. But after pesticide makers win approval for specific active ingredients, they then mix those chemicals with other chemicals. The result is a far different formulation that has bypassed government safety reviews. 100Reporters
China’s pollution costs $112B in annual health care. China’s unprecedented growth is carrying a steadily steeper price tag as its air pollution hikes the nation’s health care costs, finds a new study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. USA Today
Environmental Protection Agency issues polyvinyl chloride pollution rules. Six facilities in Louisiana come under the new regulations that expand the number of pollutants these plants need to control and reduce how much can be released. Baton Rouge Advocate, Louisiana.
Maine groups press for BPA ban after chemical found in baby and toddler food. Since January, baby bottles, sippy cups and reusable food containers in Maine have been free of the chemical hardening agent Bisphenol-A. Now, environmental health activists want the state to eliminate BPA from infant formula, baby and toddler foods. Maine Public Broadcast Network, Maine.
Study links climate change to increased risk of storm surges. Studies of climate change and its impact on coastal communities usually focus on rising sea level. Now, scientists from MIT and Princeton University have developed a method to examine how multiple effects of climate change – including the combination of sea-level rise and stronger hurricanes—will affect storm surges that wash over sea walls and inundate communities, damaging buildings and infrastructure. Boston Globe, Massachusetts.
Leak exposes how Heartland Institute works to undermine climate science. The inner workings of a libertarian thinktank working to discredit the established science on climate change have been exposed by a leak of confidential documents detailing its strategy and fundraising networks. The Guardian, United Kingdom.
Keystone XL: Five stories not told. In the media storm surrounding TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline, news outlets have largely focused on the employment impacts of the project, often parroting discredited industry statistics in the process. But jobs are only a part of the story. Media Matters
Monterey County supervisors urge governor to re-examine fumigant. With dozens of area farm workers looking on, many wearing headphones to hear a Spanish translation of the proceedings, the Monterey County of Supervisors on Tuesday urged Gov. Jerry Brown to take another look at a controversial, highly toxic agricultural fumigant. Salinas Californian, California.
400 lipsticks found to contain lead, FDA says. Four hundred of the nation’s most popular lipsticks contained trace levels of lead when tested recently by the federal government, confirming similar results of earlier analyses but on a much wider scale and at higher levels than previously detected. Washington Post [Registration Required]
Public bans mean smokers also light up less at home. Smoking bans in offices, restaurants and other public places don’t drive smokers to light up more at home, but in fact prompt them to impose their own extra restrictions on the habit, according to a European study published on Tuesday. Reuters
Eating even relatively modest levels of rice - about a half a cup of cooked rice a day - can significantly contribute to arsenic exposure in the U.S. population, reports a study of pregnant women who live in New Hampshire. Women who were exposed through both eating rice and drinking water had on average twice the level of arsenic in their urine than women who did not eat rice and were exposed only through water. More…
University of Wisconsin study sees dietary tie to early puberty in girls. Girls today may be reaching puberty as much as four years earlier than generations before them because their diets are higher in calories, research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison suggests. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Wisconsin.
Canada dropping the ozone ball, scientists warn. Leading atmospheric scientists are warning that Canada’s cuts to its ozone monitoring program are already having effects on the world’s ability to monitor air quality and ozone depletion. CBC Canada
Study: Coal tar-based pavement sealants expose children to toxic chemicals. Children living next to driveways or parking lots coated with coal tar are exposed to significantly higher doses of cancer-causing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons than those living near untreated asphalt, according to a study that raises new questions about commonly used pavement sealants. Chicago Tribune, Illinois.
Monsanto found liable for weedkiller poisoning in France. A French court has found Monsanto legally responsible for poisoning Paul Francois and ordered the company to compensate him “entirely,” marking the first time a farmer has successfully sued the company over claims of the health problems caused by pesticides. Washington Post [Registration Required]
With fresh clout, White House likely will continue clean energy spending push. All indications suggest President Obama will continue forging ahead into the political minefield of hefty clean energy investments when he rolls out his fiscal 2013 spending wish list for the Energy Department and other federal agencies. E&E Daily
Dry cleaning solvent Is likely carcinogen, EPA concludes in first update since 1988. The Environmental Protection Agency formally concluded Feb. 10 that a widely used dry cleaning solvent, perchloroethylene, is a likely human carcinogen, paving the way for the agency to reconsider drinking water and other standards for the chemical. Bloomberg BNA
Air pollution tied to stroke, memory loss. Living in a crowded city or near a busy highway may be tied to a higher chance of having a stroke or losing your memory, new research suggests. Reuters
Southern Californians at risk of death from air pollution, EPA says. Southern Californians are among those at highest risk of death due to air pollution, according to recent U.S. Environmental Protection Agency research published in the journal Risk Analysis. California Watch
The continent where climate went haywire. From floods to cyclones to fires of unimaginable ferocity, climate
change has unleashed a host of plagues on Australia. But catastrophe has
spawned a national rebirth. Discover
Cancer-causing chemicals found on uniform of World Trade Center responder. Cancer-causing asbestos and dioxins have been found on the uniform worn by a cop who survived being buried in World Trade Center debris on 9/11. Police union officials hope the discovery will prompt the NYPD to release the list of cops who worked at Ground Zero to scientists trying to determine the cancer rate among first responders. New York Daily News, New York.
EPA probing shale gas operations in Pennsylvania. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is investigating whether specific Marcellus Shale drilling and compressor station operations in Washington County have caused environmental damage that violates federal regulations. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pennsylvania.
Monsanto court case stirs French pesticide debate. A legal battle pitching a French farmer against the world’s largest seed company could lend weight to health claims against pesticides if a court finds on Monday that Monsanto was at fault in a case of chemical poisoning. Reuters