Health

Children kept indoors as Beijing fog turns to smog
October 26, 2007 12:17 PM -

BEIJING (Reuters) - Beijing's weather office warned children and the elderly to stay indoors on Friday as heavy fog blanketed the host city of the 2008 Olympics, exacerbating its chronic air pollution, Chinese state media reported.

Fog caused severe delays at Beijing airport and reduced visibility in the centre of the city to less than 200 meters.

"The fog will not only affect the traffic but also harm humans' respiratory system. I suggest old people and children avoid going outdoors or wear a mask," Sun Jisong, the city's chief weatherman, told the official Xinhua news agency.

With fires waning, California assesses the damage
October 26, 2007 12:13 PM - Dan Whitcomb, Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Four burned bodies found in the path of California's fierce wildfires raised the death toll to at least 12 people, even as firefighters won the upper hand and officials turned on Friday toward assessing the damage.

Though more than 20 fires raged across Southern California into a sixth day, some 8,000 firefighters had brought most of them under control and no more homes were in imminent danger.

Some lost everything to the flames but most of the 500,000 people forced to flee in California's largest evacuation were expected to be back in their homes by the weekend.

Sarkozy promises a green revolution for France
October 25, 2007 07:48 PM - James Mackenzie, reuters

PARIS (Reuters) - President Nicolas Sarkozy promised a green revolution on Thursday, unveiling a mix of tax measures and investment pledges that he said would put France in the vanguard of the war against global warming.

"France isn't late but France wants now to be in the lead," he said in a speech wrapping up a special environmental policy conference seeking ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions and help change attitudes to the environment.

The congress was one of the highest profile green initiatives ever launched in France and fulfilled an election campaign promise by Sarkozy, who has said his government will emphasize sustainable development.

U.N. says world in dire straits
October 25, 2007 07:42 PM - Jeremy Lovell

LONDON (Reuters) - Two decades after a landmark report sounded alarm bells about the state of the planet and called for urgent action to change direction, the world is still in dire straits, a U.N. agency said on Thursday.

While the U.N. Environment Program's fourth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-4) says action has been successfully taken in some regions and on some problems, the overall picture is one of sloth and neglect.

"The global trends on climate, on ozone, on indeed ecosystem degradation, fisheries, in the oceans, water supplies ... are still pointing downwards," UNEP head Achim Steiner said in a short film accompanying the report's release.

Study: Mercury Pollution Threatens Idaho Children
October 25, 2007 03:37 PM -

Reno, Nevada - New emissions data, obtained from the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection (NDEP), show that northern Nevada gold mines are still under-reporting substantial amounts of mercury air pollution. It also reveals that a number of mines that were previously considered small sources of mercury air pollution are actually very large sources, yet these mines have few pollution controls in place. Until 2006, mines were not required to actually measure mercury releases, only estimate mercury emissions.

Mercury exposure is a serious pubic health concern, particularly for children. Exposure to mercury can cause significant neurological and developmental problems such as attention and language deficits, impaired memory and impaired vision and motor function.

 

Pittsburgh Paints Goes EcoGreen
October 25, 2007 01:33 PM -

PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh Paints, a global paint product manufacturer, today announced a major greening of it's product lines. The 2008-2009 season will see the introduction of a line of no VOC paints and a new color palette called "EcoEcho". Aside from being free of carcinogenic volotile organic compounds, the paints are pigmented to echo the growing interest in the ecological and environmental lifestyle choices and themes.

The paints, the company says, represent a cultural shift toward balance and authenticity as well as a quest for more organic and eco-friendly colors in the home. Part of the new line includes a thematic approach to colors called the 'Voice of Color' program. This approach to colors is based on the idea that every color has an emotional association and that individuals are drawn to different colors for reason inherently tied to their unique personalities. It's an ancient design notion, applied on a grand scale for the first time by a major paint manufacturer.

 

 

 

Study Reveals How the Brain Generates the Human Tendency for Optimism
October 25, 2007 08:51 AM - NYU

A neural network that may generate the human tendency to be optimistic has been identified by researchers at New York University. As humans, we expect to live longer and be more successful than average, and we underestimate our likelihood of getting a divorce or having cancer. The results, reported in the most recent issue of Nature, link the optimism bias to the same brain regions that show irregularities in depression.

Bird flu Finds Children's Lungs Faster
October 25, 2007 08:43 AM - Eureka Alert

New findings, reported in today in the online open access journal Respiratory Research, about how the virus binds to the respiratory tract and lung suggest children may be particularly susceptible to avian influenza,. The results also mean that previous receptor distribution studies may have to be re-evaluated.

EPA Develops Regulations for Geologic CO2 Sequestration
October 25, 2007 08:28 AM - , Green Progress

The EPA announced plans to develop regulations to establish a clear path for geologic sequestration, a process of injecting captured carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, in deep rock formations for long-term storage. Once completed, the regulations will ensure there is a consistent and effective permit system under the Safe Drinking Water Act for commercial-scale geologic sequestration programs to help reduce the effects of climate change.

Bird-flu May Become Endemic in Parts of Europe
October 25, 2007 08:10 AM - Reuters

MILAN - Bird flu virus may become endemic in parts of Europe, with ducks and geese more of a vector for spreading it than previously thought, the U.N. said on Thursday.

"It seems that a new chapter in the evolution of avian influenza may be unfolding silently in the heart of Europe," Joseph Domenech, chief veterinary officer of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said in a statement.

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