Pollution

Study: Big Tobacco's War On Linking Secondhand Smoke And Heart Disease
October 16, 2007 12:46 PM -

San Francisco, California - After combing through nearly 50 million pages of previously secret, internal tobacco-industry documents, UC Davis and UC San Francisco researchers say they have documented for the first time how the industry funded and used scientific studies to undermine evidence linking secondhand smoke to cardiovascular disease.

In a special report published in the Oct. 16 issue of the journal Circulation, authors Elisa K. Tong and Stanton A. Glantz say that the tobacco-related documents they reviewed show how the industry initially worked to question scientific evidence about the harmful effects of secondhand smoke as a way to fight smoke-free regulations. More recently, they suggest, tobacco-company-funded studies have been conducted to support the development of so-called "reduced-harm" cigarettes.

Scientists ramp up ability of poplar plants to disarm toxic pollutants
October 16, 2007 08:21 AM - University of Washington

Scientists since the early '90s have seen the potential for cleaning up contaminated sites by growing plants able to take up nasty groundwater pollutants through their roots. Then the plants break certain kinds of pollutants into harmless byproducts that the plants either incorporate into their roots, stems and leaves or release into the air.

Mattel posts lower profit on impact of recalls
October 15, 2007 10:58 PM - Justin Grant, Reuters

NEW YORK, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Mattel Inc (MAT.N: Quote, Profile, Research) posted a lower quarterly profit on Monday, missing Wall Street estimates, due to charges and disruptions from its recent global recalls of potentially harmful toys made in China.

The maker of Barbie dolls and the T.M.X Elmo said third-quarter profit fell to $236.8 million, or 61 cents a share, from $239 million, or 62 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding recall charges, Reuters Estimates said the company had earned 68 cents a share, compared with the average analysts' forecast of 70 cents.

Virgin Atlantic 747 to Test Biofuel in Early 2008
October 15, 2007 10:47 PM - Al Yoon, Reuters

BOSTON (Reuters) - British billionaire Richard Branson said on Monday his Virgin Group hopes to produce clean biofuels by around the start of the next decade and early next year will test a jet plane on renewable fuel.

Virgin hopes to provide clean fuel for buses, trains and cars within three or four years, Branson told a Mortgage Bankers Association meeting in Boston.

In the meantime, Virgin will be conducting a test jet flight on renewable fuels. "Early next year we will fly one of our 747s without passengers with one of the fuels that we have developed," Branson told the annual conference.

Researchers Genetically Alter Plants Hoping They'll Vacuum Up Toxins
October 15, 2007 10:41 PM - Julie Steenhuysen, Reuters

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Scientists hope they've figured out a way to trick plants into doing the dirty work of environmental cleanup, U.S. and British researchers said on Monday.

"Our work is in the beginning stages, but it holds great promise," said Sharon Doty, an assistant professor of forest resources at the University of Washington, whose study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In work they describe as preliminary, researchers at the University of Washington say they've genetically altered poplar trees to pull toxins out of contaminated ground water, perhaps offering a cost-effective way of cleaning up environmental pollutants.

China considers environmental tax on polluters
October 15, 2007 07:50 AM - Reuters

China is considering an environmental tax on polluters to cut emissions, a senior government official said on Monday.

"We are actively promoting this idea. But we have to consult with relevant ministries," Pan Yue, deputy head of the State Environmental Protection Administration, told reporters on the sidelines of the ruling Communist Party's five-yearly Congress.

Polluted "concrete coastline" no lure for Greeks
October 15, 2007 07:49 AM - Karolos Grohmann -Reuters

Greece is struggling to contain coastal pollution which threatens its renowned azure waters and golden coastlines, the main sources of its booming tourism industry.

"A few years ago I swam here every day but in the past two summers it is just too dirty so I just play on the beach," said 37-year-old Stavros Georgiadis, who plays racquet ball on the beach of Alimos along the capital's coast almost daily.

Smoking Turns On Cancer Genes, Permanently: Study
October 14, 2007 09:59 PM -

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Smoking may turn on some genes in the body in a permanent and harmful way, scientists said on Thursday in a study that may help explain why the risk of cancer remains high even after smokers quit.

They found many genetic changes that stop when a smoker quits, but found several genes that stay turned on for years, including several not previously linked with tobacco use.

"These irreversible changes may account for the persistent lung cancer risk despite smoking cessation," the researchers wrote in their report, published in BioMed Central journal BMC Genomics.

Pollution Killing up to 25,000 Canadians Annually :Report
October 14, 2007 09:21 AM - The University of British Columbia

Canadians are awash in toxic chemicals -- and it is costing our health care system up to $9.1 billion and 1.5 million hospital days annually, according to a new study led by University of British Columbia Trudeau Scholar David Boyd.

The research is the first to measure the magnitude of adverse health effects caused by exposure to environmental hazards such as air pollution, pesticides, dioxins, heavy metals, flame retardants and other persistent organic pollutants (POPs) for Canada.

Ingredient Composition Becomes More Important as Organic Personal Care Product Market Evolves
October 12, 2007 07:06 PM -

London – The natural & organic sector is the fastest growing in the North American cosmetics & toiletries industry, with sales increasing by 20% a year. Organic Monitor projects the market share of natural & organic personal care products to expand from 8% this year to 15% in the coming years.

High market growth rates are because of the rise in ethical purchasing and ‘mainstreaming’ of natural & organic products. Distribution in mass market retailers is increasing as retailers focus on ecological and natural products. Mass merchandisers like Wal-Mart and Target are introducing natural & organic personal care products, supermarkets like Safeway and Loblaws are expanding product ranges, whilst drugstores are launching exclusive products.

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