Regulatory

Study Finds Drought Recoveries Taking Longer
August 14, 2017 05:19 PM - NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

As global temperatures continue to rise, droughts are expected to become more frequent and severe in many regions during this century. A new study with NASA participation finds that land ecosystems took progressively longer to recover from droughts in the 20th century, and incomplete drought recovery may become the new normal in some areas, possibly leading to tree death and increased emissions of greenhouse gases.

In results published Aug. 10 in the journal Nature, a research team led by Christopher Schwalm of Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, Massachusetts, and including a scientist from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, measured recovery time following droughts in various regions of the world. They used projections from climate models verified by observations from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA's Terra satellite and ground measurements. The researchers found that drought recovery was taking longer in all land areas. In two particularly vulnerable regions -- the tropics and northern high latitudes -- recovery took ever longer than in other regions.

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Heavily used pesticide linked to breathing problems in farmworkers' children
August 16, 2017 04:49 PM - University of California – Berkeley

Elemental sulfur, the most heavily used pesticide in California, may harm the respiratory health of children living near farms that use the pesticide, according to new research led by UC Berkeley.

In a study of children in the Salinas Valley’s agricultural community, researchers found significant associations between elemental sulfur use and poorer respiratory health. The study linked reduced lung function, more asthma-related symptoms and higher asthma medication use in children living about a half-mile or less from recent elemental sulfur applications compared to unexposed children.

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SPOTLIGHT

The Dangers Behind Fast Food Packaging

Susan Bird, Care2

We’ve all known for a long time that eating fast food is bad for you. It’s greasy, fatty, high in sodium and the calorie count is obscene. Now comes news that even the packaging that food comes in might be dangerous to your health.

A new study found dangerous chemical compounds in almost half of the 400 fast food containers it tested from 27 fast food franchises. Packaging tested in this study came from the Big Four: McDonald’s, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Starbucks and Yum! Brands, Inc., which operates Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut and WingStreet.

The substances in question are perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs). That’s the same stuff that once was used to make Dupont’s Teflon before it had to be removed from the market. It’s also used in carpeting, furniture, clothing and cosmetics because of its water-repellant and stain-resistant qualities. We’re exposed to it every day.

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