Health

Coral Yields Medically Useful Compounds
May 12, 2014 06:06 AM - Morgan Erickson-Davis, MONGABAY.COM

In the waters off the coast of northern Australia lives a species of feathery coral. Years ago, bits of it were collected by the Australian Institute of Marine Science and stored at the National Cancer Institute's extract repository, along with 200,000 other samples. When researchers retrieved and tested it, they found that it was very effective at blocking HIV infection of host cells.

GM food and toxic herbicides
May 11, 2014 09:01 AM - Pat Thomas, The Ecologist

GM crops that resist herbicides are bringing ever higher levels of toxic chemical residues to our food, even mothers' milk, writes Pat Thomas. As the 'endocrine disrupting' effects take place at minute concentrations, there is only one answer - to keep the herbicides off all food crops. If it is accumulating in breastmilk not only is it a danger to mothers, but it is being passed on to their babies as well with potential consequences for their developmental and reproductive health. Question: "How many government officials does it take to make sensible decisions about pesticide regulation?" Answer: "Nobody knows, because it's never been done."

Polar bear genome reveals adaptations to high-fat diet
May 9, 2014 08:02 AM - Allison Winter, ENN

Living its life in the high Arctic, polar bears have developed extreme adaptations to survive in this cold sea ice environment. One important trait is their thick layer of blubber. Like other arctic animals, this layer of fat helps insulate species from the cold. Consequently, polar bears have adapted to subsist on a blubber-rich, high-fat diet of marine species. But is a high-fat diet healthy for the species?

National Priorities List of Superfund sites adds seven
May 9, 2014 07:18 AM - Editor, ENN

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is added seven hazardous waste sites to the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites. They include two facilities in York, NE and single facilities in Norphlet, AK; Windham, ME; Fairfield, NJ; Ridgewood, NY and Collierville, TN. Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country to protect people's health and the environment.

Cutting NYC air pollution will boost children's future earnings by $215m
May 8, 2014 12:49 PM - ClickGreen Staff, ClickGreen

Reducing air pollution in New York City would result in substantial gains in the lifetime earnings of the future generation by as much as $215 million as a result of increasing their IQs, according to new research.

Predicting red tide blooms with ESP
May 8, 2014 10:54 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Red tide poisoning is an aquatic phenomenon caused by a rapid increase/accumulation in the water column of reddish colored algal bloom (large concentrations of aquatic microorganisms) comprising a few species of toxic dinoflagellates. Forecasting the phenomenon has been critical for coastal communities. This year though, WHOI is introducing a new tool called Environmental Sample Processors (ESP) to measure bloom concentration and associative toxins for real-time reporting to land based researchers.

In search of safe drinking water
May 7, 2014 09:55 AM - Robin Blackstone, ENN

Access to safe drinking water is a fundamental requirement for good health and is also a human right. WHO and UNICEF’s indicator is based upon the "use of an improved source". The authors of a recent study into water contamination postulated that this did not account for water quality measurements or monitor global access to safe drinking water. Researchers Robert Bain and Jamie Bartram from The Water Institute at University of North Carolina sought to determine whether water from "improved" sources is less likely to contain fecal contamination than "unimproved" sources and to assess the extent to which contamination varies by source type and setting.

Dan River Coal Ash Problems Not Over, Experts Say
May 7, 2014 08:05 AM - Jan Lee, Triple Pundit

More than three months after regulators were told that a coal ash containment pond in North Carolina had failed and was dumping toxic sludge into the nearby Dan River, environmental experts are taking a hard look at what's left in the water. What they have found may not bode well for the long-range health of the area's ecosystem.

U.S. Federal Government Amps Up E-Waste Reuse and Recycling
May 6, 2014 07:59 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit

The U.S. federal government is the nation's largest consumer and disposer of electronics. Considering the number of federal employees—about 2.7 million at last count, not including the military or courts—U.S. government employees contribute a massive portion to the approximate 2.4 million tons of electronic waste, or e-waste, that is discarded annually. Not only are those monitors, printers, cell phones and all those peripherals leeching chemicals into soil and water supplies, government (as well as companies) leave money on the table thanks to all of those rare earth minerals allowing them to function in the first place.

Bicycles Can Change the World
May 4, 2014 09:22 AM - Anna Brones, Care2

Saying that bicycles can change the world might sound like an oversimplification of things, but when you start to break it down, it’s easy to see that the bicycle has an effect on a lot more than just how we get from point A to point B. Need proof for why bicycles are a good way to change the world? Here are some good ones. 1. They provide alternative transportation It doesn’t take a scientist to work out that switching from four wheels to two wheels is a good thing. First there’s the environmental reason. For example, if 5 percent of people in New York commuting by car (either private or taxi) were to bike to work, they could save 150 million pounds of CO2 emissions per year. That’s the equivalent to the amount of CO2 reduced by planting a forest 1.3 times the size of Manhattan. And that’s only with a 5 percent change.

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