Health

Rocket fuel chemical found in baby formula
April 3, 2009 11:23 AM - Mike Stobbe, Associated Press

Traces of a chemical used in rocket fuel were found in samples of powdered baby formula, and could exceed what's considered a safe dose for adults if mixed with water also contaminated with the ingredient, a government study has found.

First Accurate Test For Arsenic In Soil Developed
April 3, 2009 10:10 AM - Science Daily

If you have a cat or dog who likes to hide under the deck or children who play on equipment made with pressure-treated wood, you’ll be glad to hear that analytical chemist Julian Tyson and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Amherst recently developed the first-ever accurate test for arsenic compounds in soil, promising a significantly improved environmental and health impact assessment. The method holds some promise for detecting naturally occurring high arsenic levels in Asian rice, as well.

Flame Retardant Chemicals Taint All U.S. Coastal Waters
April 2, 2009 10:43 AM - KMTR.com

Chemicals used as flame retardants in consumer products since the 1970s now are found in all U.S. coastal waters and the Great Lakes, with elevated levels near urban and industrial centers, according to a federal government report issued Wednesday.

Oil Sands Development: A Health Risk Worth Taking?
April 1, 2009 04:34 PM - Environmental Health Perspective

As traditional petroleum supplies dwindled and prices soared over the past few years, oil companies have shifted their attention to oil sands, a mix of sand, water, and a heavy, viscous hydrocarbon called bitumen that can be converted to oil. With the plunge in oil prices in fall 2008, many producers began canceling or postponing plans to expand oil sands development projects, but this turn of events could yet reverse, as Canada’s vast oil sands deposits are lauded as a secure source of imported oil for the United States. At the same time, however, oil sands present troubling questions in terms of the environmental health effects associated with their development.

Seeing the Light on Darkness: Studies Link Light Pollution and Cancer
April 1, 2009 10:10 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

During a power outage in California in the 1990s, alarmed residents reportedly called in to report a strange, cloudy shape in the nighttime sky. It turned out to be the Milky Way- seen for the first time. For those of us who live in urban or suburban areas, an overabundance of artificial nighttime light, or light pollution, is nothing new. But light pollution isn't just a bane to astronomers and an annoyance to the rest of us: studies show that it also poses real health risks, including some increased rates of cancer.

FDA: Avoid pistachios amid salmonella scare
March 31, 2009 07:10 AM - MSNBC from AP

Federal food safety officials warned Monday that consumers should stop eating all foods containing pistachios while they figure out the source of a possible salmonella contamination.

Shampoo in the water supply triggers growth of deadly drug-resistant bugs
March 29, 2009 12:29 PM - Robin McKie, Guardian, UK

Fabric softeners, disinfectants, shampoos and other household products are spreading drug-resistant bacteria around Britain, scientists have warned. Detergents used in factories and mills are also increasing the odds that some medicines will no longer be able to combat dangerous diseases.

Fireflies and jellyfish help illuminate quest for cause of infertility
March 27, 2009 09:36 AM - University of Edinburgh

Genes taken from fireflies and jellyfish are literally shedding light on possible causes of infertility and autoimmune diseases in humans. Scientists are using the luminescent and florescent genes to illuminate cells that produce a hormone linked to conditions, which include rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

What Might the So-called "Monsanto Bill" Really Do?
March 27, 2009 05:45 AM - , Organic Consumers Association

You may have seen that the internet and blog sites are awash with news about a US bill, Bill HR 875, the Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, that some are claiming will outlaw organic farming in the USA.

Networking out of natural disasters
March 26, 2009 11:27 AM - Declan Butler, Nature

Open-source software could transform response to disease outbreaks and natural disasters. "8 cases suspect avian influenza." "3 in second village." "Suspect AI outbreak in Stung Treng." "Close access to village." "Is school open?" "Does anyone have a car?" This stream of text messages was sent by health officials, field scientists, police and local villagers. They were testing a social-networking approach to tackling an outbreak during an influenza pandemic planning exercise in Stung Treng Province, Cambodia, last October

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