• Panel Urges "Smarter" Tracking Of Risky Imports

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Bush administration import safety panel urged government agencies on Monday to work together to focus on the riskiest products in a "fundamental change" in import monitoring, following a spate of tainted or unsafe goods from China. The panel headed by Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt told President George W. Bush in a report that inspecting all of the $2 trillion of imports that enter the United States each year would slow international trade and divert attention away from the riskiest products. "Instead, we have to be smarter about what we do," said the report of the Interagency Working Group on Import Safety. >> Read the Full Article
  • Prenatal Testosterone May Play Autism Role

    YORK (Reuters) - Children exposed to high levels of testosterone in the womb showed more autism-related traits later in life, according to findings that suggest the male hormone may play a key role in the complex brain disorder. The results support a hypothesis that higher levels of testosterone may contribute to autism and reinforce findings from tests on animals, said Simon Baron-Cohen, director of the Autism Research Centre at Britain's Cambridge University, who worked on the study. He called the findings of the ongoing research promising but cautioned that they did not show a direct link between autism and testosterone and said other factors could be involved. None of the 235 children in the study had autism. >> Read the Full Article
  • House of Representatives Plans To Go Carbon Neutral

    WASHINGTON - A new report details plans to move the U.S. House of Representatives to carbon-neutral operation by the end of 2008, to reduce energy consumption in House facilities by 50% from 2006 levels by 2017, and to “make House operations a model of sustainability.” The initiative, headed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D–CA) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D–MD), calls for the House to achieve carbon neutrality by purchasing electricity from renewable sources, purchasing carbon offsets on the Chicago Climate Exchange, and switching the fuel for the Capitol power plant from coal to natural gas. >> Read the Full Article
  • Chemicals Pollute Ontario’s Political Leaders

    Toronto, Ontario – Test results reveal that three Ontario political leaders are contaminated with pollutants found in the environment and in everyday products, according to a report released today by Environmental Defence. For the first time in Canada, Environmental Defence tested for bisphenol A (found in hard plastic bottles and tin can linings), a hormone disruptor that is under review by the federal government. >> Read the Full Article
  • Can't Quit Chocolate? Don't Fret, It's No Addiction

    YORK (Reuters) - Resistance is futile. The more we try to fight off a craving for chocolate, the more our desire for it grows, a British researcher said on Tuesday. But chocoholics can take heart that such sweets are not addictive despite the fact many people consider themselves as having no control over their urges to eat the sweets, said Peter Rogers, a psychologist at the University of Bristol. "Food behavior can look like addictive behavior in extreme situations but chocolate does not fit these criteria," Rogers told a meeting sponsored by the British Association for the Advancement of Science. >> Read the Full Article
  • South Africa Warns Nations Of Active Nuke Smugglers

    VIENNA (Reuters) - Parts of a global nuclear smuggling ring initiated by the disgraced father of Pakistan's atom bomb may remain active and nations must do more to crack down on the network, South Africa said on Tuesday. The plea followed last week's conviction by a South African court of a German engineer for his part in the network run by Abdul Qadeer Khan, who admitted giving proliferation-prone nuclear technology to nations under international embargo. The network apparently operated in more than 30 countries, senior South African envoy Abdul Minty told a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency's board of governors. Some of those entities may remain active, he told reporters afterwards. >> Read the Full Article
  • Ecosystems At Risk When Estrogens Mix With Other Chemicals

    New experiments reveal that the synthetic estrogen used by women for birth control causes wide ranging health effects in minnows, but that the effects were different from when the drug was tested alone compared with when it was mixed with wastewater effluent. The tests found that when the estrogen, called 17α-ethinylestradiol, showed up in the water along with municipal wastewater, it caused feminization of male fish, altered their DNA integrity, changed their immune cell numbers and the ability to breakdown pollutants. >> Read the Full Article
  • Diesel exhaust kills throat cells

    Researchers at Deakin University have found that diesel exhaust is far more damaging to our health than exhaust from biodiesel, the plant-based fuel. Associate Professor Leigh Ackland, Associate Head of Deakin’s School of Life and Environmental Sciences, led a team of researchers who compared the effects of diesel exhaust and biodiesel exhaust on human airway cells. They found that diesel exhaust damaged and killed the cells, while biodiesel exhaust had little effect. “Australia's escalating need for fuel is posing a major health problem,” Associate Professor Ackland said. >> Read the Full Article
  • Study: Lutein, Zeaxanthin, In Spinach & Eggs, Protects Against Blindness

    CHICAGO (Reuters) - Two nutrients found in eggs, spinach and other leafy green vegetables offer some protection against the most common cause of blindness among the elderly, researchers said on Monday. Age-related macular degeneration affects 1.2 million Americans, mostly after age 65, and the irreversible condition gets gradually worse, robbing victims of the center of their vision. Many people may be susceptible due to genetic factors, while smoking is known to heighten the risk. >> Read the Full Article
  • U.S. not ready for bird flu, other disasters: reports

    An incident in which a tuberculosis-infected man walked past U.S. border controls in May shows how poorly the country is defended against importing infectious diseases, according to a report released on Monday. The report from the House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security is one of three published on Monday that fault U.S. government preparations against pandemics and other potential disasters. >> Read the Full Article