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January 5, 2011 04:56 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
Under the High Production Volume (HPV) Challenge Program, companies are "challenged" by EPA to make health and environmental effects data publicly available on chemicals produced or imported in the United States in the greatest quantities. HPV chemicals are classified as those chemicals produced or imported in the United States in quantities of 1 million pounds or more per year. As of June 2007, companies have sponsored more than 2,200 HPV chemicals, with approximately 1,400 chemicals sponsored directly through the HPV Challenge Program and over 860 chemicals sponsored indirectly through international efforts. The U.S. EPA is issuing a final rule under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) requiring manufacturers of 19 high production volume (HPV) chemicals to test the health and environmental effects of the chemicals and submit the data to the agency. EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has made assuring the safety of chemicals one of her top priorities.
Gulf of Mexico Coral
January 5, 2011 04:23 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
A team of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and academic scientists are analyzing samples of coral and surrounding sediments from an area damaged near the Deepwater Horizon site in the Gulf of Mexico. These samples, collected in December, are being used to investigate how and why the corals on these reefs died. There are many potential causes of coral death. This particular case may be related to the oil release from Deepwater. Coral colonies may live for decades or centuries. Some causes are predation by other sea creatures such as Sea Stars. Global warming is a potential cause as well as other human related activities.
Gold and Mercury
January 4, 2011 01:47 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
In order to maximize gold extraction, mercury is often used to amalgamate with the metal. The gold is then produced by boiling away the mercury from the amalgam, a process which is hazardous owing to the toxicity of mercury vapor. Mercury is effective in extracting very small gold particles, but should be reclaimed in an effective and safe process. With the price of gold at record levels. the small-scale mining sector, much of it illegal and unregulated, is expanding worldwide faster than at anytime in history and, with it, the health threats posed by mercury. This global gold rush began in Brazil in the late 1970s, before sweeping South America, Asia, and Africa, with an estimated 15 to 20 million prospectors now active in more than 60 countries. Poverty driven miners rely on inexpensive, outdated, polluting technologies and chemicals because it is what they can afford. Mercury can vaporize and exposure to concentrations above o.1 mg/m3 can be harmful. At this level, humans cannot detect the Mercury and can be exposed until harmed.
No Coal-Fired Power Plants Built in Past Two Years
January 4, 2011 10:32 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
The Washington Post has announced that in 2010, not a single new coal-fired power plant was constructed in the United States. This marks the second year in a row in which this has occurred. Coal remains the most abundantly used source of electricity, accounting for half of all power generation. However, a number of factors, such as the economy, lower natural gas prices, and environmentalist opposition, have effectively halted the growth of the coal industry.
January 3, 2011 05:10 PM - Andy Soos, ENN
An electrical ballast is a device intended to limit the amount of current in an electric circuit. Ballasts vary greatly in complexity. They can be as simple as a series resistor as commonly used with small neon lamps or light-emitting diodes (LEDs). A more complex type is one that uses reactance. Losses in the ballast due to its resistance and losses in its magnetic core may be significant, on the order of 5 to 25% of the lamp input wattage. Practical lighting design calculations must allow for ballast loss in estimating the running cost of a lighting installation. Prior to 1980 in the United States, PCB-based oils were used as an insulating oil in many ballasts to provide cooling and electrical isolation. Older buildings (including schools and commercial operations) will often have PCB ballasts in their fluorescent lights even today because the ballast will work a longer than the bulb. he U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today released guidance recommending that schools take steps to reduce potential exposures to PCBs from older fluorescent lighting fixtures. The guidance, part of EPA’s ongoing efforts to address potential PCB exposures in schools, is based on evidence that the older ballasts contain PCBs that can leak when the ballasts fail, leading to elevated levels of PCBs in the air of schools that should not represent an immediate threat but could pose health concerns if they persist over time.
New Year’s Resolution: Exercise to Prevent Colon Cancer
January 3, 2011 09:36 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
A healthy rear end is essential for a happy life. So for this New Year, a good resolution is to protect it from all threats foreign and domestic. One of its biggest threats is the dreaded cancer of the colon. However, according to a new study, there is a reliable way to keep colon cancer from getting the better of you. Researchers have found that consistent exercise is associated with a lower risk of colon cancer death.
NOAA Website Contains Detailed History of Gulf Oil Disaster
December 30, 2010 12:39 PM - David A Gabel, ENN
Yesterday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) made public a new website, the NOAA Deepwater Horizon Library. The site contains a treasure trove of information relating to the oil disaster in the gulf oil disaster. This includes reports on the incident itself, scientific reports on the wildlife affected, and a detailed history of the response and cleanup efforts undertaken by governments, private companies, and individuals. It also describes ongoing efforts to rebuild the coast and the Gulf ecosystem.
Buried Secrets in the Heart of Tel Aviv
December 29, 2010 11:32 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
Archaeologists from Tel Aviv University have unearthed some very interesting historical artifacts at an ancient fortress in the city. The fortress, Tel Qudadi, located at the mouth of the Yarkon River, was first excavated over 70 years ago, but the finds were never published. New evidence from the site indicates a linkage between ancient Israel and the Greek island of Lesbos.
Tis the Season: Holiday health ideas
December 24, 2010 01:40 PM - University of California
From overeating to exercise and alcohol, UC San Diego Health System nutritionists, trauma specialists and poison experts offer insights for a health holiday. Food for thought The holidays make it so easy to overeat. Hanukkah celebrations kick off with Auntie's latkes. Grandma’s sweet potatoes are a Christmas tradition. And then we wash it all down with one of Dad's annual eggnog creations. Sound familiar? UC San Diego Health System nutrition experts say, "Savor the seasonal offerings — just do it sensibly." "Being healthy doesn’t have to be boring," said Cheryl Rock, Ph.D., RD, professor of family and preventive medicine at UCSD School of Medicine. "Include seasonal veggies in your meals and holiday dishes. Items such as squash, pumpkin and apples add flavor and interest to salads and baked goods, and they're good for you." Dr. Santiago Horgan, director for the Center for the Treatment of Obesity, points out that using time off from work during the holidays to exercise is a great way to get a head start on New Year resolutions. "Gyms are usually not crowded this time of year." - Plan ahead before you go to a party. Eat a sensible snack, such as an apple, to curb your hunger so that you are not overly hungry when faced with fattening food. - Sip sparkling water — it's filling and hydrating. - Keep emotional eating in check. Are you really hungry, or did you grab that handful of cookies because shopping is stressful? - Think about and control your portions by using a salad-sized plate for your entree and side dishes. Eat a salad on an entree-sized plate before the main meal. - Recognize when you’re full. It takes a good 20 minutes before your stomach signals you brain that it's full, so eat slowly; the second you start feeling satisfied, stop eating. - Reduce the amount of fat in holiday meals. For example, use fat-free chicken broth or low-fat milk instead of butter when you prepare mashed potatoes. When sautéing celery and onions for the stuffing, use non-stick spray in the pan.
Major Breakthrough in the Fight Against Melanoma
December 23, 2010 09:55 AM - David A Gabel, ENN
Melanoma is one of the less common types of skin cancer, but responsible for 75 percent of skin cancer related deaths. The World Health Organization reported that 48,000 people die from malignant melanoma every year. It is more frequently found in women and particularly common among Caucasians who live in sunny climates. A new study from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine may have found a breakthrough in the fight against this deadly disease. Researchers have discovered that the gene responsible for cancer growth can be suppressed by a specific protein.