• Increasing Urban Populations May Lead to More Slums and Health Issues

    The world's urban population is expected to grow by 2.6 billion people between 2011 and 2050, bringing the total number of urbanites to 6.3 billion, according to new research conducted by the Worldwatch Institute for its Vital Signs Online service. This urban expansion will be especially burdensome for developing countries, where 82 percent of the world's population currently lives, writes report author Grant Potter. Although the developing world is less urbanized than the industrial world in relative terms, developing countries are home to an estimated 1.54 billion more people. >> Read the Full Article
  • Widespread Seafood Fraud Found in New York City

    Seafood fraud can happen anywhere – even in the Big Apple. Fraud includes any false information accompanying seafood, from short weighting to swapping out one species of fish for another. Oceana’s investigation focused on species substitution, or the swapping of a lower value or lower quality fish for a more desirable species. This bait and switch hurts our oceans, our health and rips off consumers. And most importantly, it is illegal. >> Read the Full Article
  • Fisheries Commission Ignores Advice for Ending Overfishing

    A five-day meeting on fisheries ended last week (6 December) amid complaints that big fishing nations have blocked efforts to curb tuna overfishing and ignored scientific advice. The accusations were made following the ninth regular session of the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, which is the governing body for an international fisheries agreement that seeks to ensure the conservation and sustainable use of highly migratory fish, such as tuna, in parts of the Pacific Ocean. >> Read the Full Article
  • Global Decline of Big, Old Trees Impacts Forest Ecosystems

    Trees can live hundreds, even thousands of years. But the problem is that these trees aren’t making it to old age and according to a new study, big, old trees are in decline throughout the world which can have detrimental impacts to forest ecosystems. Old trees are crucial organisms for many ecosystems: they provide homes for animals, provide space for other plants to grow, and they produce seeds, leaves, and nuts that serve as food. They also store large amounts of carbon and continue to sequester it as they grow, said study co-author David Lindenmayer, a researcher at Australian National University. >> Read the Full Article
  • New Emphasis on Keeping the Weight Down for Older Women

    Being too overweight is known to be detrimental to one's health. But for postmenopausal women, keeping the weight down, and not letting it come back up is just as critical. A new study From Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC found that gaining weight back AFTER an intentional weight loss is associated with negative long-term effects for cardio and metabolic (CM) risk factors for older women. This study puts a new emphasis on the importance of the hardest part of weight loss, keeping the weight down. >> Read the Full Article
  • Palm oil or lard?

    Animal fats and margarine consumption in the United States have been largely replaced by palm oil, a plant-based oil that has similar cooking properties, but may not be as environmentally-friendly as commonly believed, argues a researcher in this week's issue of Nature. >> Read the Full Article
  • Improvements in Air Quality add Years to Life Expectancy in US

    Are all the environmental laws and regulations accomplishing anything? Sometimes progress is not apparent, so it is good news that a new study led by researchers at Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) has found an association between reductions in fine particulate matter and improved life expectancy in 545 counties in the U.S. from 2000 to 2007. It is the largest study to date to find beneficial effects to public health of continuing to reduce air pollution levels in the U.S. The study appears in the December 3, 2012 online edition of the journal Epidemiology. "Despite the fact that the U.S. population as a whole is exposed to much lower levels of air pollution than 30 years ago—because of great strides made to reduce people’s exposure—it appears that further reductions in air pollution levels would continue to benefit public health," said lead author Andrew Correia, a PhD candidate in the Department of Biostatistics at HSPH". >> Read the Full Article
  • Salmon to Blame for Upstream Contaminants

    As water in streams and rivers flow, pollutants and contaminants that come from urban, agricultural, and industrial runoff are carried downstream. But how and why are scientists finding contaminants upstream of industries and developments? The culprit: salmon. Research by University of Notre Dame stream ecologist Gary Lamberti and his laboratory has revealed that salmon, as they travel upstream to spawn and die, carry industrial pollutants into Great Lakes streams and tributaries. The team advises, if you plan on catching and eating fish from a Lake Michigan tributary with a strong salmon run, the fish may be contaminated by pollutants. >> Read the Full Article
  • New Concerns Over Lead Exposure

    Is Lead exposure limits set low enough? There is strong evidence that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) general industry standards for lead exposure, set more than 30 years ago, are inadequate to protect worker populations. A report by the National academies conducted at the request of the Department of Defense (DOD), whose employees at military firing ranges are exposed to lead recurrently when they handle ammunition, conduct maintenance on ranges, and breathe lead dust released into the air by gunfire. Lead is a highly poisonous metal (regardless if inhaled or swallowed), affecting almost every organ and system in the body. The main target for lead toxicity is the nervous system, both in adults and children. There are other potential body toxic effects too. >> Read the Full Article
  • Milling Chemicals with no Solvents

    Traditionally new chemicals are made within a solvent solution. This aids in the active chemicals reaching one another. Solvents are flammable and often pose other hazards, For the first time, scientists have studied a milling reaction in real time, using highly penetrating X-rays to observe the surprisingly rapid transformations as the mill mixed, ground, and transformed simple ingredients into a complex product. This research, reported Dec. 2 in Nature Chemistry, promises to advance scientists' understanding of processes central to the pharmaceutical, metallurgical, cement and mineral industries – and could open new opportunities in green chemistry and environmentally friendly chemical synthesis. >> Read the Full Article