Health

LEED Us Not into Health Problems
June 10, 2010 10:25 AM - BC Upham, Triple Pundit

Weaknesses in the way LEED certification measures adverse health impacts of building materials gives a false impression of the safety of "environmentally friendly" buildings, according to a new study. The study, "LEED Certification: Where Energy Efficiency Collides with Human Health," by non-profit Environment and Human Health, Inc., recommends that LEED certification be measured separately in different categories.

Dangerous lung worms found in people who eat raw crayfish
June 10, 2010 08:59 AM - Judy Martin, Washington University in St. Louis

If you're headed to a freshwater stream this summer and a friend dares you to eat a raw crayfish – don't do it. You could end up in the hospital with a severe parasitic infection. Physicians at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have diagnosed a rare parasitic infection in six people who had consumed raw crayfish from streams and rivers in Missouri. The cases occurred over the past three years, but three have been diagnosed since last September; the latest in April. Before these six, only seven such cases had ever been reported in North America, where the parasite, Paragonimus kellicotti, is common in crayfish.

The End of Endosulfan
June 9, 2010 05:17 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is taking action to end all uses of the insecticide endosulfan in the United States. Endosulfan, which is used on vegetables, fruits, and cotton, can pose unacceptable neurological and reproductive risks to farm workers and wildlife and can persist in the environment. Endosulfan has been used in agriculture around the world to control insect pests including whiteflys, aphids, leafhoppers, Colorado potato beetles and cabbage worms. It has also seen use in wood preservation, home gardening, and tse-tse fly control, though it is not currently used for public health or residential purposes. India is the world's largest consumer of endosulfan.

EPA withdraws rule excluding certain fuels from RCRA regulations
June 8, 2010 03:57 PM - Roger Greenway, ENN

In December 2008, the US EPA excluded certain fuels derived from hazardous secondary materials which, when burned in industrial boilers under specified conditions generated air pollutant emissions comparable to those produced by burning fuel oil in those boilers. The 2008 conditional exclusion provided a regulatory compliance break for industrial facilities that were able to use potentially hazardous secondary materials as fuel in their boilers since they could do so without the burden of full RCRA documentation on the materials burned. They also, of course, saved money on fuel oil, and on disposal costs of the secondary materials if not burned. On June 8th, the agency changed its mind, and determined that these secondary materials that could be used a s fuels need to be classified as hazardous wastes

Indian court convicts seven in Bhopal chemical plant disaster
June 8, 2010 06:50 AM - Editor, Ecologist

A twenty-five year wait for first convictions relating to the gas leak at Bhopal chemical plant in India ends, but the contamination of the local environment and population continues An Indian court has convicted seven people for their part in one of the world's worst industrial disasters - the gas leak at the US-owned Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, Central India in 1984.

Floods and landslides kill 53 in southwest China
June 7, 2010 06:25 AM - Reuters

Flooding and landslides caused by heavy rain have killed 53 people in China's southwestern Guangxi region since late May, including three children swept away as they walked home from school, state media reported on Monday. The death toll was announced after rescuers found nearly 20 bodies in the aftermath of torrential rains between May 31 and June 2, the local flood control office said. The three dead children, missing since finishing school on June 1, were aged between 8 and 11. Their parents had left to work in cities, so they were walking unaccompanied to their grandparents' home.

EPA Takes a New Stance on Sulfur Dioxide in Final Rule
June 3, 2010 02:36 PM - David A Gabel, ENN

Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) is a highly reactive gas that is produced from the combustion of fossil fuels. The largest sources of SO2 are power plants (73 percent) and other industrial facilities (20 percent). The gas is strongly linked to negative effects on the human respiratory system such as asthma. Children, the elderly, and those already with asthma are particularly vulnerable to its effects. The US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) says the new one-hour health standard will protect millions of citizens from short-term SO2 exposure.

D.C. Circuit Upholds EPA Revisions to Air Quality Criteria and Standards for Lead
June 3, 2010 09:46 AM - Dan Mach , Sive Paget & Riesel, P.C.

In Coalition of Battery Recyclers Association v. EPA, 2010 WL 1929879 (May 14, 2010), the D.C. Circuit recently upheld an EPA rule revising the primary and secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for air-borne lead (Pb) pollution against challenges by industry representatives. The case arose from consolidated petitions for review under the Administrative Procedure Act filed by two industry representatives alleging that the revised standards were overprotective. The circuit panel, Judge Rogers writing, rejected the petitions, holding that the new standards were supported by substantial record evidence and were not arbitrary and capricious.

Fallen bridges hamper Guatemala storm rescue
June 2, 2010 06:15 AM - Herbert Hernandez, Reuters

Collapsed roads and highway bridges complicated rescue efforts in Guatemala on Tuesday after Tropical Storm Agatha drenched Central America, burying homes under mud and killing at least 180 people. Dozens of people were still missing and rescue teams struggled to reach remote rural communities after the storm cut off roads and destroyed up to 18 major road bridges and dozens of smaller footbridges. "We're trying to get to the communities but we're finding that bridges are down and we have to walk, so it is taking so much longer," said firefighter Rony Veliz. Some 35,000 people remained in emergency shelters three days after Agatha, the first named storm of the 2010 Pacific hurricane season, hit western Guatemala, dumping more than 3 feet (1 meter) of rain in places and raising concern over the coffee crop there and in El Salvador.

Brief exercise reduces impact of stress on cell aging
June 1, 2010 03:23 PM - Elizabeth Fernandez, University of California Newsroom

Exercise can buffer the effects of stress-induced cell aging, according to new research from UCSF that reveals actual benefits of physical activity at the cellular level. The scientists learned that vigorous physical activity as brief as 42 minutes over a three-day period, similar to federally recommended levels, can protect individuals from the effects of stress by reducing its impact on telomere length. Telomeres (pronounced TEEL-oh-meres) are tiny pieces of DNA that promote genetic stability and act as protective sheaths by keeping chromosomes from unraveling, much like plastic tips at the ends of shoelaces.

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