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Pollution

EPA Approves New Clean Water Protections
May 29, 2015 03:08 PM - Kevin Mathews, Care2

Drinking unclean water seems like a problem you’d hear about it in the developing world, not the United States. Believe it or not, though, one-third of Americans receive water that is unregulated by the Clean Water Act. That’s a lot of people who are potentially drinking tainted water. Fortunately, all that is about to change with the EPA’s new Waters of the United States rule, which was announced on Wednesday. Altogether, the EPA now has the authority to safeguard 20 million acres of wetlands and two million miles of streams (that accounts for 60 percent of America’s streams) that were previously discounted by the Clean Water Act.

Greening the Airline Industry
May 28, 2015 11:06 AM - EurActiv

The airline sector is trying to lessen its carbon footprint. In mid-June, the Paris Air Show will host the COP21 seen from the sky conference. Boeing and Airbus are concentrating their commercial efforts on the environment, which is now a selling point. “CO2 affects our ability to grow," said Jonathon Counsell, Head of Environment for British Airways, during a day dedicated to the environment organised by Airbus at its Toulouse site. Airlines make up 2% of worldwide CO2 emissions. But the doubling of passengers every 15 years has made it a growing source of greenhouse gases. 

Montreal Protocol Leads to Better Ozone
May 27, 2015 07:53 AM - University of Leeds

We are already reaping the rewards of the Montreal Protocol, with the ozone layer in much better shape than it would have been without the UN treaty, according to a new study in Nature Communications. Study lead author Professor Martyn Chipperfield, from the School of Earth & Environment at the University of Leeds, said: “Our research confirms the importance of the Montreal Protocol and shows that we have already had real benefits. We knew that it would save us from large ozone loss 'in the future', but in fact we are already past the point when things would have become noticeably worse.”

Fine Particulate Air Pollution Linked to Increased Risk of Childhood Autism
May 21, 2015 12:23 PM - University of Pittsburgh School of the Health Sciences

Exposure to fine particulate air pollution during pregnancy through the first two years of a child’s life may be associated with an increased risk of the child developing autism spectrum disorder (ASD), a condition that affects one in 68 children, according to a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health investigation of children in southwestern Pennsylvania. The research is funded by The Heinz Endowments and published in the July edition of Environmental Research.

What to do with old medications
May 20, 2015 09:06 AM - Alexis Petru, Triple Pundit

Between 10 and 30 percent of all prescription and over-the-counter drugs sold are left unconsumed, according to a State of Washington report, and all those leftover medications pose significant risks to public health and the environment. Drugs that are flushed down the toilet or tossed in the trash can – rather than properly disposed of – can end up in oceans and waterways, threatening both marine life and human health. Meanwhile, many individuals don’t get rid of their unused medications at all; they simply store the drugs in their medicine cabinets – a practice that can lead to drug misuse and abuse.

Coal power in Turkey to double if Turkey's plans go forward
May 20, 2015 08:26 AM - EurActiv

Turkey is planning to double its coal power capacity in four years, the third largest investment in the polluting fossil fuel in the world, health campaigners have warned.

The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL) today called on the European Union to promote sustainable development in Turkey and end lending for new coal projects.

The Ozone hole is shrinking
May 18, 2015 07:14 AM - Steve Williams, Care2

New NASA satellite data confirms what other research has shown, namely that the hole in the ozone layer appears to be getting smaller.

The ozone is crucial for us here on Earth because it shields us from some of the Sun’s most damaging radiation. In the 1980s it was confirmed that a host of chemicals like CFCs that we had been using in manufacturing and, in particular in aerosols, had been breaking down that ozone layer, creating several holes including a worryingly large hole over the Arctic. In the long term our CFC use threatened to destroy this vital shield completely if we did not act.

Lower Ozone levels in Houston linked to climate change
May 17, 2015 07:48 AM - Universtiy of Houston via ScienceDaily

Researchers at the University of Houston have determined that climate change -- in the form of a stronger sea breeze, the result of warmer soil temperatures -- contributed to the drop in high-ozone days in the Houston area.

Robert Talbot, professor of atmospheric chemistry, said that also should be true for coastal regions globally.

The researchers describe their findings in a paper published this week in the journal Atmosphere. In addition to Talbot, they include first author Lei Liu, a doctoral student, and post-doctoral fellow Xin Lan.

New study examines the air quality impacts of fracking wells
May 13, 2015 03:34 PM - Oregon State University

People living or working near active natural gas wells may be exposed to certain pollutants at higher levels than the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe for lifetime exposure, according to scientists from Oregon State University and the University of Cincinnati.

The researchers found that hydraulic fracturing – a technique for releasing natural gas from below-ground rock formations – emits pollutants known as PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons), including some that are linked with increased risk of cancer and respiratory ailments.

“Air pollution from fracking operations may pose an under-recognized health hazard to people living near them,” said the study’s coauthor Kim Anderson, an environmental chemist with OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

Cycling vs. Car Transportation
May 12, 2015 01:19 PM - ENN Editor

What's more expensive? Owning a car or a bicycle? Answer seems obvious doesn't it? But how much more expensive are cars compared to bicycles? First, we need to consider not only the actual cost of the vehicle, but the hidden costs which can be related to air pollution, climate change, travel routes, noise, road wear, health, congestion, and time. Lucky for us, researchers have compared the costs and according to a Lund University study, traveling by car is six times more expensive for society and individuals.

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