Health

Japan wind change to blow radiation over Pacific
March 16, 2011 09:34 AM - Alister Doyle, Reuters, Oslo

(Reuters) - Winds are set to blow low-level radiation from Japan's quake-crippled nuclear power plant out over the Pacific Ocean in coming hours, easing health worries after drifting toward Tokyo early on Tuesday, experts said.

Enjoy Some Alphabet Soup with Your Chocolate
March 16, 2011 08:22 AM - Joanna Detz, EcoRI News

A kiss is just a kiss — unless it's a Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate Kiss. In which case, pucker up for a mouthful of PGPR. PGPR, which began showing up on the ingredient list of drugstore chocolate several years ago, is short for polyglycerol polyricinoleate, a goopy yellowish liquid made from castor beans that reduces the viscosity of chocolate. Since 2006, big chocolate manufacturers such as Hershey's have been replacing the expensive raw ingredient cocoa butter with PGPR in their recipes.

Japan accident shows nuclear siting dilemma
March 15, 2011 06:47 AM - Alister Doyle, Reuters Environment Correspondent, OSLO

Japan's nuclear accident exposes the dilemma of whether to build power plants on tsunami-prone coasts or inland sites where water supplies are unreliable, a problem likely to be aggravated by climate change, experts say. Many of the world's 442 nuclear power reactors are by the sea, rather than by lakes or rivers, to ensure vast water supplies for cooling fuel rods in emergencies like that at the Fukushima plant on Japan's east coast. "It's quite a conundrum," said Ian Jackson, a nuclear energy fellow at Chatham House in Britain. "If you are in a geologically stable area, a coastal location is still the best option."

More than 10,000 feared lost in Japanese earthquake, damaged reactors hold lessons for China
March 14, 2011 07:08 AM - Reuters, BEIJING

China must learn lessons from Japan's nuclear power crisis and ensure its own nuclear power sector develops safely, a top Chinese energy official said, as the country rushes to add new reactors to cut reliance on carbon-intensive coal. Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear complex, 240 km (150 miles) north of Tokyo, was rocked by an explosion on Saturday after Friday's massive earthquake forced reactors to shut down. A new explosion hit the plant on Monday, sending a plume of smoke into the air and Japan's nuclear safety agency said it could not confirm whether or not the explosion had led to an uncontrolled leak of radioactivity. China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp (CGNPC), the country's two nuclear power plant operators, have said all their plants were not affected by the Japanese earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

New NYCDEP Asbestos Regulations Effective February 3, 2011
March 10, 2011 08:07 AM - Jennifer Coghlan, Sive Paget & Riesel, P.C.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection ("NYCDEP") has issued new asbestos regulations, which became effective February 3, 2011.

Eco-Sexy Nutrition: An Apple a Day Increases Lifespan by 10%
March 9, 2011 08:24 AM - Tinamarie Bernard, Green Prophet

Nutritious and delicious, apples now have more promising benefits to impart: increasing lifespan by up to 10%. Research published in ACS's Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry reports that, "consumption of a healthful antioxidant substance in apples extends the average lifespan of test animals, and does so by 10 percent. The new results, obtained with fruit flies — stand-ins for humans in hundreds of research projects each year — bolster similar findings on apple antioxidants in other animal tests."

Eco-farming can double food output in developing world
March 9, 2011 07:10 AM - Alister Doyle, Retuers Environment Correspondent OSLO

Many farmers in developing nations can double food production within a decade by shifting to ecological agriculture from use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, a U.N. report showed on Tuesday. Insect-trapping plants in Kenya and Bangladesh's use of ducks to eat weeds in rice paddies are among examples of steps taken to increase food for a world population that the United Nations says will be 7 billion this year and 9 billion by 2050. "Agriculture is at a crossroads," according to the study by Olivier de Schutter, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to food, in a drive to depress record food prices and avoid the costly oil-dependent model of industrial farming. "Agroecology" could also make farms more resilient to the projected impact of climate change including floods, droughts and a rise in sea levels that the report said was already making fresh water near some coasts too salty for use in irrigation.

The Importance of a Healthy Diet during Pregnancy
March 8, 2011 01:16 PM - David A Gabel, ENN

Heavy alcohol or drug use during pregnancy is already known to potentially cause birth defects. Almost important as this is what a mother eats. The diet of a pregnant mother can have long lasting health implications for her child. A new study from researchers at the University of Cambridge has shown how an unhealthy diet creates a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, and cancer to the child later in life.

Canada: Lead and asbestos in homes need tighter control
March 7, 2011 06:41 AM - Alister Doyle, Retuers Environment Correspondent, OSLO

The health risks from toxins such as lead in old paint or asbestos in walls are too often overlooked when homes are upgraded, according to a study on Sunday calling on governments to set tougher pollution rules. The report, by Canadian experts, said that retrofits of old buildings, such as insulation meant to save energy and limit greenhouse gas emissions, often released poisons that can be especially damaging to children. "Without sufficient care, retrofits...can increase the health risks," Theresa McClenaghan, executive director of the Canadian Environmental Law Association (CELA), told Reuters as she outlined a CELA project to limit health risks.

Vitamin D and Cancer
March 3, 2011 12:52 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Vitamin D is essential for the formation, growth, and repair of bones and for normal calcium absorption and immune function. It is obtained primarily through exposure of the skin to ultraviolet radiation in sunlight, but it can also be obtained from some foods and dietary supplements. Some recent research suggests vitamin D may be able to stop or prevent cancer. Now, a new study finds an enzyme that plays a role in metabolizing vitamin D can predict lung cancer survival. The study, from researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, suggests that this enzyme stops the anti-cancer effects of vitamin D. Levels of the enzyme, called CYP24A1, were elevated as much as 50 times in lung adenocarcinoma compared with normal lung tissue. The higher the level of CYP24A1, the more likely tumors were to be aggressive. About a third of lung cancer patients had high levels of the enzyme. After five years, those patients had nearly half the survival rate as patients with low levels of the enzyme.

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