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Sustainability Program

UC San Francisco has a robust sustainability program covering sustainability activities across the entire campus and medical center.  Formal and grassroot efforts are happening in many areas of the organization.  Find out more about these efforts at the Sustainability Dashboard located in the Review Metrics & Annual Report links above.


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Environmental Health News

Obama to introduce sweeping new controls on ozone emissions.

The Obama administration is expected to release on Wednesday a contentious and long-delayed environmental regulation to curb emissions of ozone, a smog-causing pollutant linked to asthma, heart disease and premature death.

Canada reaches out to thalidomide victims.

Federal Health Minister Rona Ambrose says she is prepared to meet with a group seeking long-term compensation for victims of the drug thalidomide. Nearly 100 victims, almost all in their early 50s, are still suffering the crippling effects of a federally approved drug their mothers took in the early 1960s.

26 killed in state-owned coal mine fire in Northeast China.

A coal mine fire killed 26 workers and injured 50 others in Northeast China's Liaoning province early Wednesday, according to the state-owned Liaoning Fuxin Coal Corporation.

Being too fat causes cancer in 20,000 people every year.

Excess body weight is causing nearly 20,000 extra cancer cases each year in Britain, according to research. The study, which ranks countries around the world, shows that the UK is among those with the highest proportion of cancer cases linked to people being overweight.

Chikungunya: Ebola pushes South American epidemic out of the spotlight.

The mosquito-borne Chikungunya virus has infected almost one million people since it first emerged in South America and the Caribbean less than a year ago. The virus has rapidly spread across the Americas, causing huge pressure on health services in some of the poorest countries in the hemisphere.

Supreme Court to hear challenge to rules on mercury from power plants.

The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to hear a major challenge to the limits set by the Obama administration on emissions of mercury and other toxic pollutants from coal-fired power plants. It is the latest effort by industry groups to roll back regulations that would reduce emissions like mercury, soot, sulfur, smog and carbon dioxide.

Poison’s legacy hangs heavy over adult lives.

Chad Hinds can run from Boolaroo but he can’t hide – the toxic legacy of his first 10 years in the town haunts him every day.

Metrolink health study released, but residents want more.

Almost a year and half after they agreed to conduct the study, Metrolink has released the results of its long-awaited Health Risk Assessment report on its Central Maintainance Facility. The report has found promising results, but residents say the study hasn't gone far enough.

The fight of their lives: After years of neglect, Canadian thalidomide survivors make a plea for help.

The thalidomide scandal caused a furor in Canada in the early sixties, shocking a nation that trusted in the safety of medications and the federal gatekeepers who were supposed to screen them. The story has been largely forgotten, but its victims have never escaped it.

Air pollution costs EU up to 189 billion euros: EU agency.

Air pollution, chiefly from coal-fired power plants, cost society up to 189 billion euros ($235 billion) in 2012 - equal to the gross domestic product of Finland, the European Environment Agency said in a report published on Tuesday.

St. Louis, Michigan, Mayor Jim Kelly gives DEQ a piece of his mind.

First, St. Louis Mayor Jim Kelly thanked the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for its work on behalf of the city. Then he blasted the agency on a number of issues, in particular, the neighborhood clean-ups, which will leave nearly half the contaminated soil in place.

The resilient thalidomide survivors are in great need as they age.

Canada’s thalidomide victims are resilient, but now time is catching up with them. We have the money to make the remaining years of our 95 thalidomide victims bearable and dignified. We should do it, and do it quickly.

Was GE’s PCB dumping legal and permitted? Not always.

As General Electric Co. nears the completion of the required portions of its PCB dredging project, a debate is heating up over whether the company should have to remove additional contaminated sediment within the upper Hudson River.

Statins: Widely used drugs may protect people from air pollution.

One of the most widely prescribed drugs in the United States may have an extra benefit: protecting people from air pollution. Statins, prescribed to lower cholesterol and reduce risks of heart attacks and strokes, seem to diminish inflammation that occurs after people breathe airborne particles.

Where oil and politics mix.

North Dakotans do not like to make a fuss. Until recently, those few who dared to challenge the brisk pace of oil development, the perceived laxity of government oversight or the despoliation of farmland were treated as killjoys. They were ignored, ridiculed, threatened, and paid settlements in exchange for silence. But over the past year and some, the dynamic seemed to be shifting.

In Delhi, pushing through the wall (of air pollution).

They wore turbans, headbands, crazy wigs and baseball caps, but almost none of the runners in this city’s annual half-marathon wore masks Sunday despite air pollution levels that were among the worst in the world.

Despite persecution, guardian of Lake Tai spotlights China’s polluters.

Seven years after a toxic algae bloom forced millions of people who depended on the lake to find alternative sources of drinking water, Lake Tai, which straddles two provinces in the Yangtze River delta, remains a pungent symbol of China’s inability to tackle some of its most serious environmental problems.

Bonsoy toxic soy milk victims on track for share of $25m payout; thought to be record-setting settlement.

Hundreds of Australians allegedly poisoned by toxic soy milk are set to share in a $25 million settlement. It was alleged one glass of milk contained 50 times the recommended daily intake of iodine.

Can we overcome our disgust long enough to eat bugs?

Studies have shown that bugs are high in protein, calcium, zinc, iron and vitamin A. They are also easier to farm than livestock, use less water and emit fewer greenhouse gases. Getting insects on Westerners’ plates, though, is no easy task.

Rising UV radiation prompts skin cancer fears in Chile.

Cancer experts in Chile are warning people to limit their exposure to the sun as dangerously high levels of ultraviolet radiation are expected over the next few months. A recent report indicates the a hole in the ozone layer, which is normally situated over Antarctica, is moving towards the South American country.

The downside of the boom.

Though the oil industry now disposes of oil field brine primarily by injecting it deep underground, it still needs to be transported to disposal wells and remains a stubborn pollution problem. For every barrel of oil, about 1.4 barrels of brine is produced, state officials say, and far more of it spills than does oil.

Deadly DuPont leak exposes safety, response failures.

Investigations are ongoing, but already it's clear that the response to last Saturday's DuPont emergency was inadequate and slow, and that DuPont failed to reveal to first responders how much was at risk. One of the chemicals in the building was the same one that caused the Bhopal tragedy in 1984, killing more than 2,200 people.

Asbestos in Australian schools needs urgent removal demands WorkSafe.

Teachers and principals have made an election-eve plea for asbestos to be fully removed from all Victorian schools after a secret state government audit found some are so plagued with the material that buildings need to be cordoned off or cleaned up immediately.

Bad chemistry took over in California Central Valley’s terrible air siege.

An early November pollution siege left people coughing, sneezing, rubbing their eyes and scratching at rashes. It kicked off the Valley’s most dangerous air pollution season - November through the end of February - when fireplace soot, diesel specks and chemical debris can hang in the air for weeks at a time.

Do you know how many toxic chemicals are in your shampoo, your lipstick, your toothpaste?

Egyptians first started using scented oils and ointments to clean and soften skin. They were also the first to use toxic chemicals in their beauty products, with lead and arsenic being common ingredients.

Chemicals in sunscreen 'may impair male fertility.'

A study reports that chemicals commonly found in sunscreen, which filter out UV rays, can impair male fertility. Experts warned when these chemicals are absorbed by the skin, they can interfere with the body's hormones.

Britain left 'exposed' to more floods and heatwaves.

The U.K. is dangerously "exposed" to increasingly extreme weather brought about by climate change, a leading adviser to the Government has warned.

Recordings: Kilgore College official broke asbestos laws, covered it up.

In secretly recorded conversations, a Kilgore College official admits to covering up asbestos violations and talks about withholding environmental reports from the public.

North Carolina farmers largely in favor of sludge, while local residents remain starkly opposed.

Two distinct sides have formed in arguments over the merits and disadvantages of Charlotte Mecklenburg Utilities spreading sludge on Rowan County farmland.

Rice can contain traces of arsenic.

Rice cereal. Rice cakes. Rice milk. What's not to like? Arsenic, apparently. Officials have long known that rice - and, therefore, rice products - contains traces of arsenic. The problem is that, compared with other plants, rice is a champ at absorbing arsenic.