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.
Coping with the Stress of Natural Disasters
October 24, 2007 06:13 PM -
SAN DIEGO, Oct. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- As the hundreds of thousands San Diegans flee the flames, they're trying to make sense of what happened and deal with the stress of the situation. These wildfires have created a tremendous amount of stress and anxiety for those directly and indirectly affected. In the days and weeks to come, many may begin to have some of these common reactions:
Smoking, family alcohol history alter taste buds
October 24, 2007 05:43 PM -
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Cigarette smoking and a family history of alcoholism both alter how women perceive sweet foods and what foods they crave, according to studies conducted by two researchers from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia.
Marta Yanina Pepino and Julie A. Mennella found that women who smoked were less sensitive to sweet taste than women who never smoked. Women who smoked needed higher concentrations of sugar to detect a sweet taste, and the more years a woman smoked, the less she was able to perceive a sweet taste.
"Smoking dulls sweet taste sensitivity," Pepino and Mennella noted in a joint email to Reuters Health. "Whether this reduced sensitivity for sweets helps smokers control their weight is an important question that is not addressed in the current study."
GE hopes to cut mercury in "green" light bulbs
October 24, 2007 05:22 PM - Timothy Gardner,
NISKAYUNA, New York (Reuters) - General Electric Co is working to cut the amount of mercury in energy-saving fluorescent lightbulbs which have soared in popularity.
Residents and businesses are buying up compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs) because they reduce power bills as well as emissions of carbon dioxide, the main gas blamed for global warming. CFLs use only one-fourth to one-fifth the energy of incandescent bulbs producing the same light and can last 10 years.
The corkscrew-shaped devices are made by many companies and on average contain about 5 milligrams of mercury, a toxic metallic element, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Five milligrams is tiny amount, about the size of the tip of a ballpoint pen, and much less than the amount that was held in old thermometers. But with sales of CFLs hitting 150 million units last year, and more expected this year, some scientists and environmentalists are worried that most of the bulbs are ending up in landfills instead of being recycled.