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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

Searching for the next Ebola in the Congo Basin.

The Congo Basin is a mecca for biodiversity, a giant lung for the earth and an important resource for the 40 million people who live along its borders. But the Congo Basin is also home to millions of viruses, many of which have yet to be identified.

The alternative universe in which BPA is a major health threat.

When one puts the tortured arguments of the BPA believers in the context of all of that is known about the effects of this compound, it’s hard to escape the impression that the dogged pursuit of BPA amounts to a professional neurosis.

Why receipts and greasy fingers shouldn’t mix.

An order of French fries may be bad for your health in ways that extend well beyond the outsize calorie count. According to a new study by scientists at the University of Missouri, people who used hand sanitizer, touched a cash register receipt and then ate French fries were quickly exposed to high levels of bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical widely used to coat receipt paper.

Asthma complaints increase in wake of East Harlem explosion.

A nonprofit health group in East Harlem says a sharp increase in referrals to its asthma program in the wake of last spring’s gas explosion in the neighborhood is raising concerns that the blast hurt the respiratory health of some residents.

Controversial chemical may leach into skin from cash receipts.

Touching cash register receipts can dramatically increase your body's absorption of a potentially dangerous chemical, bisphenol A (BPA), researchers report. The chemical is found in products ranging from plastic water bottles and food-can linings. It is also used as a print developer in thermal paper for airline tickets and store and ATM receipts, according to the researchers.

Chemicals used to make till receipts could raise the risk of developing diseases such as diabetes, obesity and cancer.

Alarming research suggests that a substance used to produce paper in store tills, credit card machines and ATMs could be absorbed into the blood stream. Researchers say the chemical bisphenol-A - widely known as BPA - can disrupt hormones, raising the risk of a wide number of health problems.

Hand sanitisers boost BPA absorption from receipts.

People handling shopping receipts on a regular basis may want to avoid using hand sanitiser. New research suggests the combination can increase absorption of the hormone-mimicking chemical BPA.

TB's even worse than we thought, WHO says.

A new examination of TB numbers shows there are more than 500,000 more cases globally than anyone thought. And no surprise - governments are not fully funding global health and so efforts to get it under control are failing.

US plans 21-day monitoring of people who arrive from Ebola-stricken nations.

Every airline passenger who arrives in the United States from one of the three West African nations hardest hit by Ebola will be monitored by state and local health authorities for 21 days, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

There are antibiotics in your fish.

When we think about food raised with antibiotics, we probably picture oversized chickens and plumped-up cows. But they’re also in our fish - both farmed and wild, finds a new study published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials.

Smog returns to Beijing with pollution levels set to worsen by weekend.

Beijing will be shrouded in smog until Saturday, forecasters have warned. Pollution returned to the capital on Thursday, with the official Air Quality Index standing at 155 at 10am – meaning it was at an “unhealthy” level.

Clean air? Don't hold your breath.

Intense air pollution is expected to strike China's northern cities twice more before November. Smog of moderate and intense levels settled in on Wednesday evening and will last until Saturday in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, the National Meteorological Center predicted on Tuesday.

Dirty air business as usual.

The soaring, grimy chimneys of a massive coal-fired power station have belched the last of their choking fumes into Beijing's air, authorities say, but experts doubt the plan will ease the capital's smog.

China tries to clear the air for its guests.

Official plans to cleanse the smog-choked skies of Beijing during an impending summit of Asia-Pacific leaders will require closing thousands of schools, ordering 50 per cent of cars off the capital’s roads and idling hundreds of factories for a week.

Asbestos bombshell: Govt knew about Mr Fluffy risk 25 years ago.

The Commonwealth received expert medical advice more than 25 years ago warning Canberra's death rate to mesothelioma would almost certainly rise if people lived with Mr Fluffy insulation and that children were particularly vulnerable to harm from the asbestos fibres.

Australians battling air pollution.

Kerry Radimey doesn’t need to read the latest air pollution data for his suburb to know things aren’t right. All the proof he needs is the black oily and dusty residue that coats the roof of his Enright Street house, its fence and outdoor furniture.

US plans 21-day watch of travelers from Ebola-hit nations.

Federal health officials Wednesday placed new restrictions on travelers from West African countries with Ebola outbreaks, requiring that they report their temperatures daily for three weeks, along with any other potential symptoms of the disease.

Ebola guidelines for doctors' offices are called vague and vary by region.

While federal officials have been preoccupied with revamping hospital protocols for handling Ebola patients, critics say guidelines for doctors' offices, walk-in clinics, blood-testing centers and other outpatient settings have remained spotty and vague.

Residents air silica sand plant concerns with commissioners.

A proposed D&I Silica sand plant has ruffled the feathers of a number of Wyoming County residents.

Coal plant plan seems depressingly familiar for Waukegan, Illinois.

Companies that profited while their pollution impacted lives and spoiled the environment ruined the Waukegan’s lakefront for a century. The trade of shortened lives for jobs no longer seems so worth the risk.

Airing concerns about sports in smoggy China.

When the starter's gun sounded for the 34th annual Beijing International Marathon on Sunday, air pollution measured 20 times worse than what the World Health Organization considers safe to breathe. Anywhere else in the world, this would have been a scandal worthy of collective soul-searching.

Considering health and climate change together.

On Oct. 8 I made the trek from Brattleboro to Burlington to hear how Vermont will tackle the health effects of climate change. As a physician deeply concerned about climate change and all its impacts, I was thrilled that Vermont is forward thinking enough to commit resources to such an important issue.

The US will collaborate with Cuba... on Ebola.

After wrestling for days with the diplomatically awkward reality that Cuba could turn out to be America’s best ally on the effort to stem the Ebola epidemic, the Obama Administration has belatedly come around to a sensible conclusion: It’s willing to coordinate with the Cuban medics.

How to defeat Ebola.

For all the fuss about our own borders, not nearly enough is being done where it counts most: in West Africa. Bravo to President Obama for pledging up to 4,000 troops to fight the disease there, but the United States and other countries must do far more - and quickly! - if Ebola is to be defeated.

How to make ‘an abundance of caution’ about Ebola work for you!

Despite the absence of a travel ban from West Africa, no one else appears to have contracted Ebola in the United States. Or, to put it in more colloquial math terms: More Americans have been Batman than gotten Ebola.

US revisiting 'broken' workplace chemicals regulation process.

The U.S. government will soon begin receiving public suggestions on how federal regulators should update their oversight of toxic chemicals in the workplace.

S.F. Fire Department joins study into breast cancer risks.

When San Francisco firefighters rush out the firehouse doors,they put their lives on the line in more ways than one. In responding to roughly 28,000 fire calls a year, firefighters are routinely exposed to flame retardants, diesel exhaust and other toxic chemicals.

Pollution choking China's inbound tourism industry.

China's inbound tourism market is still struggling to bounce back in the midst of rising concerns about issues such as air pollution, according to a new report from the China Tourism Academy.

'That stuff can get you so fast' - deadly gas on the rise in Texas oil fields.

Living with "sour gas" is an old story in West Texas, but it's beginning to happen in more oil-producing regions as the boom in onshore drilling pushes oil production into new places.

Republicans would target EPA power plant, ozone, water rules if Senate changes hands.

With fall elections just two weeks away, Republicans may be on the verge of wresting control of the Senate from Democrats who have blocked efforts to roll back environmental rules on carbon dioxide pollution from power plants, ozone and expanded Clean Water Act jurisdiction over U.S. waterways.