User: flenvcenter Topic: Environmental Health-National
Category: Environmental Health
Last updated: May 31 2016 19:58 IST RSS 2.0
 
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Miracle on the Potomac: The New Bipartisan Law Regulating Toxics 31.5.2016 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
With Donald Trump pushing fossil fuels, misunderstanding the Paris climate accord, but still promising to tear it up if--or as he says, "when"--he becomes president, it is easy to be pessimistic about our environmental future. Fortunately, presidential preference polling varies throughout election year, Donald's policy views are far from fixed, and last week Congress passed the first piece of major new environmental legislation in about a quarter century. A new law regulating toxic substances won huge bipartisan congressional majorities. Its passage reminded me of the 1970s and 1980s when bipartisan super majorities enacted most of our federal environmental policy framework. The new law is far from perfect, but it is a major improvement over the ineffectual 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act. Under that law, only five of the over 80,000 chemicals now in use have been banned or substantially restricted in use. Not much action in four decades. Under the new law, EPA must review all chemicals now in ...
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For public officials, accountability for Exide lead contamination has been scant 28.5.2016 LA Times: Commentary

California officials have talked tough about the contamination of up to 10,000 homes with lead from a battery recycling plant, calling it a regulatory failure, an environmental injustice and a public health disaster.

Yet accountability for years of pollution by Exide Technologies has been scant.

...
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Poisoning the Earth and Our Health 26.5.2016 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
Why the world must find an antidote to the deadly menace of lead acid batteries When animals began to die in a neighbourhood on the edge of Senegal's capital no one knew why. Then children began to die too. Mothers gave birth to stillborn children and toddlers stopped talking. Some said that the victims of the mysterious illness lived in homes that had been cursed. Others said the families themselves were cursed. But when doctors ran tests on the 18 dead children, they discovered the truth: that the children - all under the age of five - had been poisoned to death by lead. The tragedy crept up on the neighbourhood of Thiaroye-sur-Mer. For years, the uncontrolled recycling of car batteries had allowed large quantities of lead to seep silently into the ground, poisoning the earth around people's homes. When the price of lead sky-rocketed over a five year period, residents began to dig up the soil to collect the valuable metal, whipping up deadly dust clouds that sent tiny particles of lead into the air. If ...
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En Banc Review of the Clean Power Plan — What the Court Order Means, and Doesn’t Mean 26.5.2016 Climate 411 - Environmental Defense Fund
The litigation over the historic Clean Power Plan will now be heard on the merits by the full complement of active judges on our nation’s second highest court. Last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit issued an order providing for litigation about the Clean Power Plan to be reviewed en banc […]
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Study shows how air pollution fosters heart disease 25.5.2016 Environmental News Network
Long-term exposure to air pollution has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, but the biological process has not been understood. A major, decade-long study of thousands of Americans  found that people living in areas with more outdoor pollution —even at lower levels common in the United States — accumulate deposits in the arteries that supply the heart faster than do people living in less polluted areas.  The study was published May 24 online in The Lancet.
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Burned by Slow Government Response, Residents Mistrust Cleanup Efforts 25.5.2016 Truthout - All Articles
When residents don't trust the company who poisoned their water and soil, and they don't trust the government agencies mandated to stop the company, they'll either ignore everything and hope for the best, or they'll take matters into their own hands. Both reactions are in abundance in Vernon, California near the site of a now-shuttered battery recycling plant now owned by Exide Technologies. Exide and the plant's previous owners knowingly leached lead and other carcinogens into the soil, air and water in surrounding residential neighborhoods, a problem made much worse by inadequate government oversight. State regulators  repeatedly warned  Exide Technologies, which ran the Vernon battery smelting facility since 2000, and its previous owners that the plant was releasing dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere. Exide responded only by paying fines and continuing business as usual. The fines were small considering the scope of the damage.  A Los Angeles Times investigation  found that, over more than 15 ...
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UW-led study pinpoints how air pollution harms your heart 25.5.2016 Seattle Times: Local

Dr. Joel Kaufman of the University of Washington led a 10-year study of 6,000 people in six cities that found air pollution accelerates deposits of calcium in heart arteries, a known cause of heart attack and stroke.
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Volunteers of America open Salt Lake City youth center 25.5.2016 Salt Lake Tribune
It’s a new day for homeless youths in Salt Lake City as Volunteers of America-Utah opened its 30-bed shelter at 888 S. 400 West Tuesday. The $6 million, 20,000-square-foot facility will offer 24/7 support. Kathy Bray, the president and CEO of VOA-Utah, said the shelter will offer security to young people ages 15 to 22 and also will focus on health, education and employment. <iframe src="http://www.sltrib.com/csp/mediapool/sites/sltrib/pages/garss.csp" height="1" width="1" > </frame>
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Poor Air Quality Diseases Are Everyone's Responsibility 24.5.2016 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
Image source: PhotoDune When we think about public health, we think in terms of things like nutrition or exercise programs. Too often, we don't think about air quality, and the massive effect outdoor air pollution can have on our health. In 2012, the last year we have data for, outdoor air pollution caused 3.7 million premature deaths worldwide. About 80% of those deaths were related to heart disease and strokes, 20% of lung diseases and infections. While most of those deaths occur in low-income countries, there's trouble in the U.S., as well. The American Lung Association's 2015 " State of the Air " report shows that 47% of Americans are living in areas where pollution levels are dangerously high. Although air quality is better in the U.S. than it was in the days before the Clean Air Act, there's still a lot of progress that needs to be made. The two big hazards in the U.S. now are ozone and particulate pollution. The EPA's latest rules say that ozone levels should be under 70 parts per ...
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Chemical Reform Law Falls Short in Protecting Public Health, Environment 24.5.2016 Commondreams.org Newswire
Environmental Working Group issued the following statement ahead of expected passage today by the House on H.R.3576, the TSCA Modernization Act of 2016. EWG President Ken Cook: Passage of the first legislation to regulate toxic industrial chemicals in 40 years ought to be cause for celebration, and it is—for the companies that make those toxic chemicals. As for the rest of us, we should be mad as ...
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Dogs as sentinels: Blue-green algae brings toxic mystery to Minn. waters 24.5.2016 Minnesota Public Radio: Law & Justice
Across Minnesota each summer, sky-blue waters transform into pea-green soup, a sign of possible toxins. It's happening more often -- and farther north -- than ever before, suggesting that climate change is a key player.
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The False Trade-Off Between Economic Growth and Environmental Protection 23.5.2016 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
In an excellent piece in the New York Times , Erica Goode summarized a recent report from the World Health Organization (W.H.O.). According to Goode: The report, which compiled air quality readings from 3,000 cities in 103 countries, found that more than 80 percent of people in those cities were exposed to pollution exceeding the limits set by W.H.O. guidelines, above which air quality is considered to be unhealthy. And in poorer countries, 98 percent of cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants were out of compliance with the health organization's guidelines. Her story noted that while most of the disparity was between wealthy nations and poorer ones, Europe's dependence on diesel-fueled autos has resulted in pollution levels that are far higher than those in North America. In Europe, 60% of those living in cities breathed air that did not meet international standards; in North America, that number was 20%. The World Health Organization's report indicates that public policy and economic choices can lead ...
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Planters, Papa John's items recalled 23.5.2016 CNN: Top Stories
Products containing sunflower seeds from a Minnesota-based company are under a voluntary recall in at least 24 states.
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Longtime couples get in sync, in sickness and in health 22.5.2016 Minnesota Public Radio: Science
You like the same movies, drink the same beer -- and over time your health becomes more like that of your mate, researchers say.
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Longtime Couples Get In Sync, In Sickness And In Health 22.5.2016 NPR News
You like the same movies, drink the same beer — and over time your health becomes more like that of your mate, researchers say. Doctors might want to consider the couple when treating illness.
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How EPA's Haze Rule Can Help Keep Our Air Clear 21.5.2016 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
If our air isn't clean, our communities can't be healthy. I grew up just outside Gatlinburg, Tennessee, the gateway community to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, where my dad worked as the chief scientist. Growing up in the Smokies, clean air was essential to the health of the national park, visitors and local residents, and the economy. But on some summer days growing up, although you were in one of our nation's crown jewel national parks, it was unhealthy to go on a hike, and you couldn't see the next ridgeline, due to air pollution. Much of that pollution was coming from old, outdated coal-fired power plants nearby. We weren't alone - national parks and other special places around the country suffer from high rates of air pollution worse on some days than the pollution in our biggest cities . Why are our parks and communities suffering from this pollution? There is a federal standard in place called the Regional Haze Rule that was intended to ensure clean air in national parks and wilderness ...
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Solve homelessness by addressing its root causes 21.5.2016 Washington Post: Op-Eds
Mental-health and substance-abuse issues underlie the problem.
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Warnings of Food Safety Threats as Canada Green Lights 'Frankenfish' 21.5.2016 CommonDreams.org Headlines
Nadia Prupis, staff writer

Despite a sustained effort from public health and climate activists, genetically modified (GM or GMO) salmon has been officially sanctioned for sale in Canada.

And if that wasn't foreboding enough, a pending trade deal between Canada and the European Union means the country's first approved GMO food animal, known colloquially as the "Frankenfish," could soon be sold and eaten internationally.

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Congress OKs overhaul of chemical regulations 20.5.2016 Salt Lake Tribune
Washington • A bipartisan agreement reached by House and Senate negotiators would set new safety standards for asbestos and other dangerous chemicals, including tens of thousands that have gone unregulated for decades. A bill to be voted on as soon as next week would offer new protections for pregnant women, children, workers and others vulnerable to the effects of chemicals such as formaldehyde and styrene used in homes and businesses every day. If enacted into law, the bill would be the first ...
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Farms Cause More Pollution Than You Might Think 19.5.2016 Green on HuffingtonPost.com
It's not just factories that belch nasty pollutants into the atmosphere. Crop fields and cow pastures are major polluters too.  New research from Columbia University’s Earth Institute shows that farms are the biggest contributors to fine particle air pollution in much of the United States, Europe, China and Russia.  Farms don’t emit particulates directly. Animal poop and nitrogen-based fertilizers, which many farms rely on, generate ammonia fumes that rise into the atmosphere and mingle with nitrogen oxides and sulfates, often emitted from factories and vehicles, to produce nasty grit that can lodge in people’s lungs and contribute to heart and lung disease.  The largest of these fine particulates, PM 2.5, is responsible for 3.3 million deaths every year, according to a 2015 study in Nature . Overall, the health costs of ammonia emissions from U.S. farms run upwards of $30 billion a year, according to a  NASA study . So while it’s not just farming that produces fine particulates, farms do contribute over ...
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