Health

Rail industry petitions to stop moving toxins
May 20, 2009 03:07 PM - Thomas Frank, USA TODAY

Railroad companies are pressing federal regulators to cut back on trains carrying hazardous materials through urban areas, saying they fear a catastrophic release of toxic chemicals in a large city. The companies also fear billions in legal claims if toxic materials spill during a derailment or act of sabotage. Rail industry associations are petitioning to allow railroads for the first time to refuse to carry chemicals such as chlorine over long distances.

WHO Stays the Course as Japan Grapples With Swine Flu
May 19, 2009 06:18 AM - Dennis Normile ScienceNOW Daily News

The number of confirmed influenza A (H1N1) cases in Japan exploded over the weekend, going from an officially reported four--all in returning vacationers--on 16 May to 129 as of today. The 125 new cases are all among high-school students in Osaka and Kobe, two neighboring cities in western Japan. None of these cases has yet been linked to a returning traveler. Japanese media, citing their own surveys of local health offices, are reporting 135 confirmed cases as of late afternoon, Japan time. Despite the surge, the World Health Organization (WHO) hasn't yet raised its pandemic alert level to indicate that a global pandemic is under way.

Dredging of Hudson River Finally Begins
May 16, 2009 10:45 AM - Editor, ENN

After years of studies and negotiation, the dredging of PCB contaminated sediments has begun in the Hudson River. The Hudson River PCBs Site encompasses a nearly 200-mile stretch of the Hudson River in eastern New York State from Hudson Falls, New York to the Battery in New York City and includes communities in fourteen New York counties and two counties in New Jersey.

3 schools closed, staffer hospitalized in NY swine flu outbreak
May 15, 2009 08:46 AM - AFP

New York officials announced Thursday they were shutting down three schools in response to a swine flu outbreak and that one staff member had been hospitalized in serious condition. The three schools, with a total of about 4,500 students, will close Friday and all next week in response to "an unusually high level of flu-like illnesses at those schools," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

Chicago Bans Baby Bottles With BPA Plastic

The Chicago City Council on Wednesday unanimously adopted a measure making Chicago the nation’s first city to ban the sale of baby bottles and sippy cups manufactured with a chemical that some studies have linked to disease. Passage was driven by what officials here call federal regulators’ failure to take action on a grave public health issue.

Mercury Takes Algae Road to Ocean Fish
May 13, 2009 10:29 AM - Emily Sohn, Discovery News

Ocean fish can contain high levels of mercury, even though mercury levels in the seawater around them are extraordinarily low. Now, scientists have an explanation for what's going on.

Chemical Treaty Covers Additional Toxins
May 13, 2009 09:47 AM - Ben Block, Worldwatch Institute

An international treaty designed to eradicate the world's most harmful chemicals was expanded this past week to include nine additional pollutants.

High human impact ocean areas along US West Coast revealed
May 11, 2009 10:23 AM - National Science Foundation

"Every single spot of the ocean along the West Coast," said Ben Halpern, a marine ecologist at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of California at Santa Barbara, "is affected by 10 to 15 different human activities annually." In a two-year study to document the way humans are affecting the oceans in this region, Halpern and colleagues overlaid data on the location and intensity of 25 human-derived sources of ecological stress, including climate change, commercial and recreational fishing, land-based sources of pollution and ocean-based commercial activities. With the information, they produced a composite map of the status of West Coast marine ecosystems.

Fierce California wildfire burns into fourth night
May 9, 2009 08:05 AM - Lucy Nicholson, Reuters

A California wildfire burned for a fourth day on Friday above the seaside town of Santa Barbara as firefighters battled flames that have damaged or destroyed 80 homes. Another 3,500 homes and about 100 businesses remained in immediate jeopardy from the so-called Jesusita fire, which had blackened more than 8,600 acres in the foothills above the picturesque community, according to an update by the Santa Barbara Fire Department late on Friday.

Pesticides blamed for some childhood brain cancers
May 8, 2009 10:08 AM - Heather Hamlin , Environmental Health News

A new study finds that children who live in homes where their parents use pesticides are twice as likely to develop brain cancer versus those that live in residences in which no pesticides are used. Herbicide use appeared to cause a particularly elevated risk for a certain type of cancer.

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