Pollution

Air pollution raises preterm birth risk
November 1, 2007 09:08 PM - Megan Rauscher, reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A study conducted in Los Angeles County and published today shows the harmful effects traffic-related air pollution can have on pregnant women.

The data suggest that women who live in areas with high carbon monoxide or fine particle levels - pollution caused mainly by motor vehicle traffic -- are roughly 10 to 25 percent more likely to suffer preterm birth (delivery before 37 weeks of pregnancy), compared with women who live in less polluted areas.

 

 

Climate Bill Seen as Sign of Political Shift
November 1, 2007 08:47 PM - Deborah Zabarenko, Environment Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A milestone, a landmark and "the political center of gravity is finally shifting on global warming."

Those accolades greeted a Senate subcommittee's approval on Thursday of a bill to cap greenhouse gas emissions, mostly because it is the first of a dozen such measures that might have a chance of becoming law.

The approval vote, 4 to 3 ,means the bill will be debated in the full Environment and Public Works Committee, chaired by longtime environmentalist Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Totino's and Jeno's pizza recalled due to E. coli
November 1, 2007 08:38 PM - Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Almost five million Totino's and Jeno's frozen pizzas with pepperoni toppings are being recalled because the pepperoni may be contaminated with E. coli, General Mills Inc said on Thursday.

General Mills, which owns the Totino's and Jeno's brands, said the recall affects about 414,000 cases of pizza products currently in stores and all similar pizza products that might be in consumers' freezers. Each case contains 12 pizzas.

The possible E. coli contamination was uncovered by state and federal authorities investigating 21 E. coli-related illnesses in 10 states.

Push to build "green" homes picks up steam
November 1, 2007 12:11 PM - Karen Jacobs, Reuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Soaring energy costs and increased concern about the environment are spurring builders to step up building homes that use less energy and water. More than 30 affordable homes being built this week during a Habitat for Humanity project in Los Angeles include materials designed to reduce energy costs and save the new homeowners money. "Green building certainly is becoming more mainstream within the affordable housing community," said Ted Bardacke, senior program associate with Global Green USA, an environmental group that works with housing developers.

Galaxy Warriors toys sold at Family Dollar recalled
October 31, 2007 03:27 PM - Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - About 380,000 "Galaxy Warriors" toy figures sold by Family Dollar Stores Inc are being recalled because the surface paints contain excessive levels of lead, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Wednesday. The Chinese-made toys, space figures about 4.5 inches tall that come accessories, were sold at Family Dollar stores throughout the United States from January 2006 through October 2007 and distributed by Henry Gordy International Inc, the agency said.

Merkel asks India to do more on climate change
October 30, 2007 04:01 PM - Y.P. Rajesh, Reuters

NEW DELHI - German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged India, one of the world's biggest polluters, to do more to combat climate change on Tuesday, saying her country was willing to help New Delhi make progress. Merkel, a former environment minister who has pushed global warming to the top of her international agenda, said rich nations and emerging economies needed to strike a balance over the amount of responsibility they need to shoulder to prevent climate change and not fight over it. "We have to prove that we are willing to strike a balance," Merkel told business leaders in New Delhi during a four-day visit to India. "Multilateral agreements are of the essence."

Honduras finds radioactive material in container
October 29, 2007 11:11 PM -

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) - Honduras authorities have found strong traces of radioactive material in a Hong Kong-bound shipping container carrying steel debris from an Atlantic coast port, officials said on Monday.

During a security scan on Sunday, officials detected high readings of radioactivity emanating from the container at the Puerto Cortes port, 115 miles north of Honduras' capital, Tegucigalpa.

"We immediately declared an alert and have seized the container for inspection," Edwin Araque, the manager of Honduras' port authority, said on Monday.

New York may join crackdown on plastic bags
October 29, 2007 10:57 PM - Edith Honan, Reuters

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York City may follow an international trend and crack down on plastic shopping bags, seeking to cut their use with a plan officials hope will be a model for other cities.

A proposal introduced on Monday requires stores larger than 5,000 square feet to set up an in-store recycling program and sell reusable bags.

Some 700 food stores plus large retailers such as Target and Home Depot would have to collect used bags and provide a system for turning them over to a manufacturer or to third-party recycling firms.

U.S. consumer group flags more toys with lead
October 29, 2007 07:23 PM -

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Dishes, toys, jewelry and backpacks that have not yet been recalled all carry "worrisome" levels of lead, the nonprofit Consumers Union said on Monday.

The group's Consumer Reports magazine staff recommended that people immediately stop using some of the products tested.

"Our lab tests detected lead at widely varying levels in samples of dishware, jewelry, glue stick caps, vinyl backpacks, children's ceramic tea sets and other toys and items not on any federal recall list," the group wrote in a magazine report.

German carmakers blast motorway speed limit idea
October 29, 2007 11:27 AM -

HAMBURG, Germany (Reuters) - Imposing a standard speed limit of 130 kph (80 mph) on German motorways would have scant impact on the environment and only hurt domestic carmakers, the country's VDA auto industry group said on Monday.

"Such fixed speed limits would be an ecological zero-sum game and would damage the German auto sector," VDA President Matthias Wissmann said in a statement to Reuters.

Germany is unusual in that stretches of its motorways still have no speed limit, and the country's influential car industry has lobbied hard against any national rules.

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