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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

Songbirds dying from DDT in Michigan yards; Superfund site blamed.

Jim Hall was mowing the town’s baseball diamond when he felt a little bump underneath him. “And there it was, a dead robin,” he said. Just last week, he found another one. “Something is going on here,” said Hall, who has lived in this mid-Michigan town of 7,000 for 50 years.

Tour de France sees protest over toxic waste nobody wants.

French environmentalists used the Tour de France to protest plans of Australian chemical manufacturer Orica to ship dangerous waste to Europe from Sydney, where it's been for three decades, raising questions of just where it will end up.

Born too soon: Can pollution lead to premature births?

Last year, one-tenth of all births in the United States came before the pregnancy’s 37th week, premature by current standards. Many of the infants survive; prematurity is no death sentence. But it can bring a complicated life: blindness, cerebral palsy, autism.

Mercury poisoning report kept secret, Ontario tribe says.

The people living in a northern Ontario community near where a toxic dump of 10 tonnes of mercury occurred five decades ago are still suffering the neurological effects of mercury poisoning, and a report about the effects of the poisoning was never made public, First Nations leaders say.

Groups press New York state to ban poisons that kill wildlife.

For years, wildlife and conservation groups have raised alarms that a class of poisons used to kill rats in New York has been indiscriminately killing wildlife in places like Central Park. Relying on fresh evidence from post-mortem examinations, six groups are pressing for a statewide ban.

Not in my backyard: US sending dirty coal abroad.

Coal from Appalachia rumbles into this port city, 150 railroad cars at a time, bound for the belly of the massive cargo ship Prime Lily. The ship soon sets sail for South America, its 80,000 tons of coal destined for power plants and factories, an export of American energy — and pollution.

Maryland's manure-burning power plant in limbo.

The project seemed simple enough — build a waste-to-energy plant on the Eastern Shore fueled by poultry manure, keeping it from flushing into and polluting the bay, while creating green jobs and boosting Maryland's fledgling renewable energy industry But 18 months after it was heralded by Gov. Martin O'Malley, the $75 million project has been stymied after prospective sites and a potential partnership fell through.

In Illinois, residents demand answers about coal plant’s future.

Ameren paid Dynegy to take over financially flailing coal plants. Given trends affecting coal plants nationwide, including pending EPA carbon rules, many environmentalists and energy experts think the E.D. Edwards plant and other aging coal plants may close in coming years.

Antarctic lead pollution traced to 19th century.

The first lead pollution in Antarctica occurred more than 20 years before explorers reached the South Pole, scientists have found. Data from 16 ice cores collected from all over the frozen continent show that lead concentrations begin in the 1890s and increase rapidly until 1975.

Big Mac banished in Shanghai as meat scare prompts probe.

If you want a burger from McDonald’s in China’s biggest cities, you’ll have to get one made from fish. The latest scare is fueling concerns that China has yet to gain control over the safety of its food supply, despite years of government investigations and penalties.

Trial in salmonella outbreak from peanuts to begin.

Three people accused of scheming to manufacture and ship salmonella-tainted peanuts that killed nine people, sickened more than 700 and prompted one of the largest food recalls in history are set to go to trial this week in south Georgia.

2,500 Ground Zero workers have cancer.

More than 2,500 Ground Zero rescuers and responders have been diagnosed with cancer, and a growing number are seeking compensation for their illnesses. The grim toll has skyrocketed from the 1,140 cancer cases reported last year.

As Ebola, MERS and HIV/AIDS make headlines, what are the biggest risks to the world's health?

The World Health Organisation, a UN body that exists to protect and advise the international community about threats such as Ebola and MERS, have raised concerns about the “striking changes in the communicable disease situation”.

Boston University’s biohazard lab is an empty fortress.

It is highly unlikely that BU’s lab will result in some neighborhood-threatening accident. But the question of why it needs to open there doesn’t have a great answer. Certainly, America needs to understand avian flu, but should that really be happening on Albany Street?

Oil drilling in North Dakota raises concerns about radioactive waste.

Most oil companies dump drilling waste into thousands of pits by their wells, but North Dakota, the second-largest oil-producing state behind Texas, does not test the pits' contents or monitor nearby groundwater for contamination.

Fukushima-area river declared Japan's cleanest.

Fukushima Prefecture’s Arakawa River has been deemed to be the cleanest river in Japan by the federal Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism. The ministry awarded the designation despite not announcing any tests for radioactivity in water, sediment, plants, or fish.

Fish before fields to improve Egypt’s food production.

Less than four percent of Egypt’s land mass is suitable for agriculture, and most of it confined to the densely populated Nile River Valley and Delta. With the nation’s population of 85 million expected to double by 2050, government officials are grappling with ways of ensuring food security and raising nutritional standards.

Pope Francis renews attack on mafia in Italian region scarred by toxic waste.

Pope Francis called for nature to be protected from criminal abuse on Saturday during a visit in the southern Italian town of Caserta, near Naples, in a region long blighted by illegal toxic waste dumps and the pervasive grip of the Camorra mafia.

In Chesapeake Bay waters warmed by summer sun, a deadly pathogen lies in wait.

The last thing Rodney Donald was expecting during his family’s vacation on the Chesapeake Bay was to almost lose a leg to an aggressive bacteria growing in the brackish waters.

USGS halts research on mountaintop removal’s public-health effects.

Last year, the Obama administration quietly put the brakes on any new field work to gather data on the potential public-health threats posed by mountaintop removal.

Lawsuit secrets related to West explosion keep public in dark.

Secrets wrapped up in lawsuits over the 2013 explosion of the fertilizer plant in West could keep valuable health and safety information hidden from the public forever.

Motions seek to blame Texas city of West for devastating explosion.

In recent motions aiming to designate the city of West as a “responsible third party” in the lawsuits, El Dorado Chemical and CF Industries contend the city failed to properly train the first responders and had insufficient protocols in place to battle the blaze at West Fertilizer Co.

Cleaning up contaminated lands a long, complex process.

Cleaning up thousands of tons of illegally dumped contaminated material, such as that found at four sites in Islip and Babylon, can take months to complete -- and fill deposited in fragile wetlands presents an even more complicated challenge, experts said.

Feds failing to act on antibiotic resistance despite grave threat, health advocates warn.

Public health advocates are fuming over a new court ruling that they say could hasten the coming of the next pandemic.

In hunt for red abalone, divers face risks and poachers face the law.

Abalone is an edible mollusk, a snail-like, single-shell gastropod found in coastal waters around much of the globe. But the red abalone is the biggest and the most prized, found only on the west coast of North America. In California, with a litany of restrictions to protect its fragile population, the hunt for wild red abalone is permitted only north of San Francisco, and only for sport.

Street lights shining into bedrooms 'could stop breast cancer drugs from working.'

Street lights shining through curtains at night could stop breast cancer drugs from working effectively, new research has suggested.

Life with Lyme disease.

Kiersten Hathaway of Panora had a rash last fall. She wondered whether it was Lyme disease, a bacterial infection transmitted by deer tick bites. She looked at pictures online, but didn't think her outbreak matched the red bull's-eye associated with Lyme disease. She didn't have a doctor check her hypothesis. She regrets that.

US doctor treating patients in Liberia tests positive for Ebola.

A Texas physician treating Ebola patients in Liberia has tested positive for the deadly virus, the Christian charity for which he works reported Saturday. The incident has heightened fears of a spread of Ebola in some of Africa's most densely populated cities.

Twists, curveballs continue in federal response to West Virginia chemical spill.

After showing little initial interest, federal officials ordered more studies on animals affected by chemicals that sullied drinking water for 300,000 people in January. For West Virginia, it's the latest curveball of federal follow-up to the massive Freedom Industries chemical spill.

It's time to get it right with oil train safety.

Railroad companies are, by federal law, required to ship legal commodities, and oil is among them. But there's nothing in federal law that says the practice shouldn't be reasonably and affordably safe – or that states shouldn't protect their best interests.