Top Stories

Hidden Hazards of Air Fresheners

Washington - Could the floral scent of your air freshener contain toxic chemicals known to cause birth defects? NRDC recently tested 14 different air fresheners and found that 12 contained chemicals called phthalates (pronounced thal-ates), chemicals that can cause hormonal abnormalities, birth defects and reproductive problems. Even air fresheners marketed as "all-natural" or "unscented" contained the hazardous chemicals.

In addition to phthalates, air fresheners may contain allergens, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as well as cancer-causing chemicals such as benzene and formaldehyde.
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Hybrid Salamanders Thrive, Contradicting Expectations

Davis, California - A new UC Davis study not only has important findings for the future of California tiger salamanders, but also contradicts prevailing
scientific thought about what happens when animal species interbreed.
The salamander experts studied the survival rates and genetic makeup of three types of salamanders: native California tiger salamanders (Ambystoma californiense), which are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act; barred tiger salamanders that were introduced in California from Texas in the 1950s (Ambystoma tigrinum mavortium);and the hybrid offspring born when the two species mated.
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Study: Loss Of Genetic Diversity Threatens Species Diversity

Davis, California - Human activities are eliminating biological diversity at an unprecedented rate. Critical when you consider that variation in plants and animals gives us a rich and robust assemblage of foods, medicines, industrial materials and recreation activities. A new study shows this is bad news for all species.

Lead researcher Dr. Richard Lankau says, "This is one of the first studies to show that genetic diversity and species diversity depend on each other," Lankau said.

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Alaska Verdict Has Wider Implications

A former state legislator's conviction for taking bribes from an oil services firm has wider implications: the FBI is investigating whether Ted Stevens, the U.S. Senate's longest-serving Republican, also received illegal gifts from the same company.

Former Rep. Pete Kott, a Republican who was House speaker for part of his 14-year tenure, was convicted Tuesday of conspiracy to solicit financial benefits, extortion and bribery, but was acquitted of wire fraud. He did not comment as he left the federal courthouse.

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Carbon windfall to go to clean energy: official

The European Commission wants to back alternative energy like wind and solar with the money it raises from sales of carbon emissions permits, which could reach billions of euros, a senior EC official said on Wednesday.

Brussels is preparing changes to its carbon trading scheme, its flagship climate change policy, in time for a third trading cycle which starts in 2013.

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New Leads in Search for Fossett

Relying on new leads from Air Force experts, crews looking for famed aviator Steve Fossett plan to comb a rugged area near Death Valley by air and foot, authorities said Tuesday.

Gary Derks, the state Department of Public Safety official in charge of the search, said the Air Force analyzed images picked up by radar and satellite and "picked up what could be Mr. Fossett, his track." >> Read the Full Article

Storms pose no risk to U.S. oil rigs in Mexico Gulf: NHC

Despite a tropical storm and a tropical depression spinning in the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, no storms currently threaten the U.S. oil and natural gas production in the northern Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said Wednesday.

Tropical Depression 13, however, could disrupt operations in the Cantarell Complex of Mexican oil fields beneath the Bay of Campeche in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico.

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Nike Designs Shoe for American Indians

Nike on Tuesday unveiled what it said is the first shoe designed specifically for American Indians, an effort aiming at promoting physical fitness in a population with high obesity rates.

The Beaverton-based company says the Air Native N7 is designed with a larger fit for the distinct foot shape of American Indians, and has a culturally specific look. It will be distributed solely to American Indians; tribal wellness programs and tribal schools nationwide will be able to purchase the shoe at wholesale price and then pass it along to individuals, often at no cost.

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Despite Progress Against Trafficking, World Still Hungry for Exotic Creatures

Earlier this month, the Chinese government invited law enforcement officers from the Association of South East Asian Nations Wildlife Enforcement Network (ASEAN-WEN) to meet with counterparts in China to discuss strategies to combat the illegal wildlife trade. Conservationists applauded the historic move, but say there is still much to learn. “It’s hard to gauge to what degree the trade may be getting better or worse,” notes Steven Galster of the PeunPa Foundation, a Thai group that works to end wildlife trafficking. >> Read the Full Article

China warns of catastrophe from Three Gorges Dam

China's huge Three Gorges Dam hydropower project could spark environmental catastrophe unless accumulating threats are quickly defused, senior officials and experts have warned.

The dam in southwest China, the world's biggest hydropower project, has begun generating electricity and serving as a barrier against seasonal flooding threatening lower reaches of the Yangtze River, Xinhua news agency reported late on Tuesday, citing a forum of experts and officials.

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