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Environmental Health News

Environmental Health News is published daily by Environmental Health Sciences, a not-for-profit organization founded in 2002 to help increase public understanding of emerging scientific links between environmental exposures and human health.

Environmental Health News aggregates links to articles in the world press about environmental health, with daily updates. Topics carried include a broad array of issues in environmental health, including: chemical contamination, water quantity and quality, air pollution, sewage, Mad Cow disease, and genetic engineering, etc. as well as climate change and biodiversity stories with a health dimension. We make a special effort to find media coverage of new scientific findings related to these issues. We do not cover pure energy, 'critter stories,' or animal rights. Anything covered should have, at least implicitly, a link to human or ecosystem health.


Website: http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/


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Secret to Slowing Global Warming Lies Beneath the Waves
October 14, 2009 02:46 PM - Frank Pope, The Times, Environmental Health News

Life in the ocean has the potential to help to prevent global warming, according to a report published today. Marine plant life sucks 2 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere every year, but most of the plankton responsible never reaches the seabed to become a permanent carbon store. Mangrove forests, salt marshes and seagrass beds are a different matter. Although together they cover less than 1 percent of the world’s seabed, they lock away well over half of all carbon to be buried in the ocean floor. They are estimated to store 1,650 million tons of carbon dioxide every year — nearly half of global transport emissions — making them one of the most intense carbon sinks on Earth. Their capacity to absorb the emissions is under threat, however: the habitats are being lost at a rate of up to 7 per cent a year, up to 15 times faster than the tropical rainforests. A third have already been lost.

Drought Disaster looms in East Africa
October 4, 2009 08:10 AM - Daniel Howden, The Independent, London, Environmental Health News

On the plains of Marsabit the heat is so intense the bush seems to shiver. The leafless scrub, bleached white by the sun, looks like a forest of fake Christmas trees. Carcasses of cattle and camels are strewn about the burnt red dirt in every direction. Siridwa Baseli walks out of the haze along a path of the dead and dying. He passes a skeletal cow that has given up and collapsed under a thorn tree. A nomad from the Rendille people, he is driving his herd in search of water.

Antarctica's hidden plumbing revealed
September 20, 2009 10:58 AM - New Scientist from, Environmental Health News

The first complete map of the lakes beneath Antarctica's ice sheets reveals the continent's secret water network is far more dynamic than we thought. This could be acting as a powerful lubricant beneath glaciers, contributing to sea level rise. Unlike previous lake maps, which are confined to small regions, Ian Joughin at the University of Washington in Seattle and colleagues mapped 124 subglacial lakes across Antarctica using lasers on NASA's ICESat satellite (see map).

Sea Levels Rose as Much as Two Feet This Summer in U.S. East

Sea levels rose as much as 2 feet (60 centimeters) higher than predicted this summer along the U.S. East Coast, surprising scientists who forecast such periodic fluctuations. The immediate cause of the unexpected rise has now been solved, U.S. officials say in a new report (hint: it wasn't global warming). But the underlying reason remains a mystery.

Climate-change technology risks 'catastrophic' outcome
September 3, 2009 06:50 AM - Alun Thorne, Birmingham Post, Environmental Health News

Risky and unproven climate-changing technologies could have "catastrophic consequences" for the earth and humankind if used irresponsibly, according to a new report.

Our best guess about global warming may be wrong
September 2, 2009 06:40 AM - Moises Velasquez-Manoff, The Christian Science Monitor, Environmental Health News

Fifty-five million years ago, the world was a much warmer place. The poles were ice-free year-round. Palm trees grew in Alaska. Forests stretched right into the Arctic Circle. There, swamps like those in today’s southeastern United States hosted alligators, snakes, and giant tortoises. Scientists call this time in Earth’s history the Eocene, the dawn of the age of mammals. And climatologists have naturally taken a keen interest in how it began. They know that a dramatic spike in carbon dioxide associated with rapid climate change kicked off the epoch – called the "Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum" (PETM). But what scientists don’t understand about the PETM may hold the most relevant lessons for where the world’s climate is headed today.

New study backs UN panel on ocean rise
July 28, 2009 06:47 AM - AFP, Environmental Health News

The UN's climate panel has been backed over a key question as to how far global warming will drive up sea levels this century, a study published on Sunday says. The UN experts are right that the oceans are unlikely to rise by an order of metres (many feet) by 2100, as some scientists have feared, it says. But, its authors caution, low-lying countries and delta areas could still face potentially catastrophic flooding if the upper range of the new estimate proves right.

Deserts crossing Mediterranean
June 27, 2009 07:08 AM - ANSA.It, Environmental Health News

The Sahara Desert is crossing the Mediterranean, according to Italian environmental protection group Legambiente which warns that the livelihoods of 6.5 million people living along its shores could be at risk. "Desertification isn't limited to Africa," said Legambiente Vice President Sebastiano Venneri. "Without a serious change of direction in economic and environmental policies, the risk will become concrete and irreversible."

Desert icon Joshua trees are vanishing, scientists say
June 21, 2009 07:50 AM - JANET ZIMMERMAN The Press-Enterprise, Environmental Health News

The ancient plants are dying in the park, the southern-most boundary of their limited growing region, scientists say. Already finicky reproducers, Joshua trees are the victim of global warming and its symptoms -- including fire and drought -- plus pollution and the proliferation of non-native plants. Experts expect the Joshuas to vanish entirely from the southern half of the state within a century.

Green energy overtakes fossil fuel investment, says UN

Green energy overtook fossil fuels in attracting investment for power generation for the first time last year, according to figures released today by the United Nations.

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