Pollution

EPA to Improve Ozone Standards
January 11, 2010 05:13 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The US Environmental Protection Agency is proposing the strictest health standards to date for smog. Smog, also known as ground-level ozone, is linked to a number of serious health problems, ranging from aggravation of asthma to increased risk of premature death in people with heart or lung disease. Ozone can even harm healthy people who work and play outdoors. The agency is proposing to replace the standards set by the previous administration, which many believe were not protective enough of human health. Ozone pollution is created when chemicals from cars, power plants, and factories mix with sunlight. That's why ozone tends to be higher in sunnier climates or during hot weather. It is a main part of smog, that brownish-yellow haze sometimes seen hanging over cities on the horizon.

Good News for Cell Phone Users
January 9, 2010 08:07 AM - Editor, ENN

The University of South Florida finds that use of cell phones may have a positive health impact. Contrary to most studies of cell phone use that looked at possible negative impacts, this study was highly controlled to permit the investigators to isolate the possible effects of cell phone electromagnetic radiation from other potential factors like diet and exercise. The study, led by University of South Florida researchers at the Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC), was published today in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. "It surprised us to find that cell phone exposure, begun in early adulthood, protects the memory of mice otherwise destined to develop Alzheimer's symptoms," said lead author Gary Arendash, PhD, Research Professor at the Florida ADRC. "It was even more astonishing that the electromagnetic waves generated by cell phones actually reversed memory impairment in old Alzheimer's mice."

US EPA Proposes Stricter Ozone Standards
January 8, 2010 06:47 AM - Roger Greenway, ENN

The United States Environmental Protection Agency proposed new stricter health standards for Ozone. Ozone is linked to a number of serious health problems, ranging from aggravation of asthma to increased risk of premature death in people with heart or lung disease. Ozone can also harm healthy people who work and play outdoors. Children are at the greatest risk from ozone, because their lungs are still developing, they are more likely to be active outdoors, and they are more likely than adults to have asthma. Adults with asthma or other lung diseases, and older adults are also sensitive to ozone.

Autism clusters in California
January 7, 2010 06:45 AM - Julie Steenhuysen, Reuters

U.S. researchers have identified 10 locations in California that have double the rates of autism found in surrounding areas, and these clusters were located in neighborhoods with high concentrations of white, highly educated parents. Researchers at the University of California Davis had hoped to uncover pockets of autism that might reveal clues about triggers in the environment that could explain rising rates of autism, which affects as many as one in 110 U.S. children.

Is there a plug-in hybrid in your future?
January 7, 2010 06:19 AM - World Business Council for Sustainable Development

Hybrid car advocates have taken aim at a government study that predicts it will take decades and hundreds of billions of dollars before the vehicles reach viability. The report, released last month by the National Research Council, concludes that plug-in hybrid cars, or PHEVs, probably won't make a meaningful impact on carbon emissions or oil use before 2030.

Highway Barriers Stifle Pollution
January 6, 2010 01:48 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Highway barriers erected along roadways can be perceived as massive monuments to the future and were intended to block the sound and sight of traffic for the adjacent neighborhoods. They may do a bit more in terms of air borne pollution. In a study by NOAA and the US Environmental Protection Agency, researchers released harmless “tracers” to measure the potential movement of pollutants such as carbon monoxide and heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds such as benzene. The results showed a significant reduction for those neighborhoods in pollutants as a result of the barriers.

US Car Fleet Shrinks for First Time
January 6, 2010 06:42 AM - Timothy Gardner, Reuters

Americans scrapped more automobiles than they bought last year as the ragged economy reduced demand and some major cities expanded mass transit service, according to a new report. The United States scrapped 14 million autos while buying only 10 million last year, shrinking the country's car and light duty truck fleet to 246 million from a record high of 250 million, according to the report to be released on Wednesday by nonprofit group the Earth Policy Institute (EPI). The United States, the world's biggest petroleum user, "is entering a new era, evolving from a car-dominated transport system to one that is much more diversified," said Lester Brown, the president of the EPI.

The Origin of Green Chemistry
January 5, 2010 04:41 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

Where does "Green Chemistry" come from? What is it? J.A. Linthorst, who is affiliated with Descartes Center (Utrecht University) and Maastrict University, has studied the matter and the history of the term in an article entitled: "An Overview: Origins and Development of Green Chemistry". He has found where the term begins and how it has evolved.

Carbon Dioxide Recovery and Use
January 4, 2010 04:40 PM - Andy Soos, ENN

The Middle East's first carbon dioxide recovery plant has been opened at the Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company. This is also one of the first in the world to successfully recycle carbon dioxide air emissions. The $55 million facility at the company's Sitra facility was formally inaugurated by GPIC chairman and adviser to the Prime Minister for oil and industrial affairs Shaikh Isa bin Ali Al Khalifa, in the presence of board members, company officials and guests.

Colombia: Galeras volcano erupts again
January 3, 2010 08:36 AM - ENN Based on Reuters and volcanolive.com

The Galeras volcano in southern Colombia erupted on Saturday, shooting rock and ash and prompting authorities to order the evacuation of about 8,000 people. No one was killed or injured in the eruption. But officials warned that the volcano could remain volatile.

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