Lifestyle

Tax credit expiry endangers wind, solar expansion
December 20, 2007 12:56 AM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Growth of a nascent industry to build and install clean energy sources, like windmills and solar cells, could be stunted if Congress doesn't extend tax incentives set to expire next year, industry officials and lawmakers said on Wednesday.

House unanimously endorses toy safety crackdown
December 19, 2007 10:37 PM - By Kevin Drawbaugh, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Congress moved closer on Wednesday to slashing lead content in toys and devoting more government resources to product safety regulation, but final action was not expected until next year. After a surge of recalls of lead-tainted toys, many of them made in China, the House of Representatives voted 407-0 for a bill that would nearly eliminate lead in toys and boost funding for the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). "This legislation represents a quantum leap forward in strengthening the Consumer Product Safety Commission's watchdog role on behalf of American consumers," said Illinois Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush, a key backer of the House legislation.

Experts: Pricy Oil Will Push Renewable Fuels Development
December 19, 2007 03:02 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL - researchers at the University of Minnesota has discovered a silver lining in the increasing cost of oil. Midwest experts in research, government, business and nonprofit sectors who attended the university’s E3 conference last month were surveyed on what they think will promote sustainable energy research within their geographic domain. Forty percent of the respondents said the cost of oil is the primary driver.

Researchers newest tool in fight against spread of HIV
December 19, 2007 01:52 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

MINNEAPOLIS / ST. PAUL - A new Web-based software program is the latest tool University of Minnesota researchers are using to help fight the spread of HIV. A multidisciplinary team of researchers, are embarking on a clinical trial this month to test a software program that aims to reduce risk-taking behavior associated with the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

U.S. toy makers, trade policy caused recalls: report
December 19, 2007 01:40 PM - Karey Wutkowski, Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A torrent of toy recalls this year is due in part to U.S. trade agreements encouraging American toymakers to cut costs by shifting production overseas, the watchdog group Public Citizen said on Wednesday. A report by the non-profit group said more than 87 percent of U.S. toys are imported, a dramatic shift from the 1970s when almost 90 percent of them were produced domestically. "This toy safety crisis was made in America by toy corporations who chose to relocate their production to locations that can't ensure toy safety," Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch division, told reporters.

Grow more food in cities, U.N. agency tells Asia
December 19, 2007 12:54 PM - Reuters

GENEVA (Reuters) - Asian nations, many at risk from climate change, must invest more in urban and indoor farming to help feed the hundreds of millions of people in their growing cities, the World Meteorological Organisation said on Wednesday. Of the 10 countries most affected by extreme weather in 2006, seven were Asian -- Afghanistan, China, India, Indonesia, North Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam, said the WMO, the U.N. agency looking at weather, climate and water problems.

Consumer Worry About Product Safety Growing
December 19, 2007 12:21 PM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

EAGAN, Minn. - Consumers' worries over product safety are growing, according to an analysis by a major legal information services provider, and consumers are increasingly expressing those concerns in the form of lawsuits. Following recent publicity surrounding recalls of consumer products, including children's toys containing lead paint, beef and other foods contaminated with E. coli bacteria and children's cold medicine with improper dosage markings, Americans are increasingly concerned about product safety.

Holiday Flowers, Without Pesticides
December 19, 2007 11:46 AM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

Los Angeles - Celebrating the holidays with flowers is inspired and wonderful, but poisoning the people who grow and prepare the flowers is not. No one does it intentionally. But what many consumers don't know is that the floral business often puts the health of the people who grow those flowers at risk.

Hot Flashes: Soy Can Turn Down the Heat
December 19, 2007 11:28 AM - Paul Schaefer, ENN

ST. LOUIS, - As baby boomer women age into their menopausal years, new research demonstrates that soy isoflavones may offer them dietary relief from hot flashes. Baby boomer women account for approximately 25 percent of the total female population in the United States and as the youngest members of this generation enter their early forties, an unprecedented number of women will experience symptoms of menopause over the next few years.

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