• Does Fair Trade Coffee Lift Growers Out of Poverty

    Does Fair Trade Coffee Lift Growers Out of Poverty or Simply Ease Our Guilty Conscience? Is the Fair Trade movement just a marketing scheme or does it truly provide a living wage for coffee growers? How many times a day do you consume a food produced by a subsistence farmer on the other side of the world? Whether it's chocolate, coffee, tea, sugar or bananas, most Americans regularly enjoy inexpensive tropical foods, but far fewer actually think about the effects on the people or the environment where those products are grown. The Fair Trade movement represents one attempt to change this by reminding consumers that their lifestyles rely on faraway farmers and laborers and offering them an opportunity to ensure their purchases come from farmers paid a fair price. >> Read the Full Article
  • Lobsters are dying in Bay of Fundy

    Fishermen are furious a pesticide normally used for agriculture ended up in the Bay of Fundy and may have contributed to the death of hundreds of lobsters. Dead lobsters first appeared last November in Grand Manan's Seal Cove, and five days later a fisherman 50 kilometres away in Pocologan found more dead lobsters in his traps. Soon after that discovery, another 816 kilograms of weak or dead lobster were discovered in Deer Island's Fairhaven Harbour. >> Read the Full Article
  • DDT found in children from Mexico and Central America

    Children from several Latin American countries have traces of the pesticide DDT in their blood, according to a study coordinated by the Pan American Health Organization. The children studied belong to 11 rural communities in Mesoamerica (Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama). In all but Guatemala, the researchers found exposure to DDT. >> Read the Full Article
  • Engine Emissions

    Most people are familiar with automobile air emissions. Perhaps one day there will only be electric cars and no car air emissions. But there are many on other engines in use by commercial and industrial operations that may cause air emissions. In general these are called reciprocating internal combustion engines (RICE). On February 17, 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a final rule that will further reduce emissions of toxic air pollutants from existing diesel powered stationary reciprocating internal combustion engines. >> Read the Full Article
  • Yemen water crisis

    Yemeni water trader Mohammed al-Tawwa runs his diesel pumps day and night, but gets less and less from his well in Sanaa, which experts say could become the world's first capital city to run dry. "My well is now 400 meters (1,300 feet) deep and I don't think I can drill any deeper here," said Tawwa, pointing to the meager flow into tanks that supply water trucks and companies. >> Read the Full Article
  • How Ground Water Contamination Spreads

    Why are some wells contaminated and some are not? All wells are not equally vulnerable to contamination because of differences in three factors: the general aquifer chemistry, groundwater age, and paths within aquifer systems that allow water and contaminants to reach a well. More than 100 million people in the United States receive their drinking water from public groundwater systems, which can be vulnerable to naturally occurring contaminants such as radon, uranium, arsenic, and man made compounds, including fertilizers, septic-tank leachate, solvents and gasoline hydrocarbons. >> Read the Full Article
  • How Far the Sun?

    Mars is too cold. Venus too hot. Earth is just right in terms of temperature for us to live. How does this all affect climate change? The notion that scientists understand how changes in Earth's orbit affect climate well enough for estimating long term natural climate trends is challenged in a recent study. >> Read the Full Article
  • How to Reduce the Fumes

    A fresh coat of paint can change a room from dreary to divine. Stains, sealants, caulks, and adhesives help you build everything from a new bathroom to a bookcase. But all these useful products can also introduce unhealthy chemicals into your home and your body. Low-VOC paint The biggest culprit is VOCs, or "volatile organic compounds," a large class of chemicals that readily evaporate at room temperature. If you walk into a room and notice that new-paint smell, you’re breathing VOCs. Paints, stains, sealants, caulks, and adhesives release the highest levels of VOCs when wet. But even when they feel dry to the touch, they may keep releasing these gases for days, weeks, months, even years. Meanwhile your upholstery, carpets, and drapes act like sponges, absorbing VOCs and releasing them over time. While not everyone may be bothered by exposure to these gases, they can be a serious health risk for people with chemical sensitivities, asthma, or other respiratory conditions. >> Read the Full Article
  • Water Pollution in China worse than reported

    A new Chinese government survey of the country's environmental problems has shown water pollution levels in 2007 were more than twice the government's official estimate, largely because agricultural waste was ignored. The data, presented by Vice Environment Protection Minister Zhang Lijun, revives persistent questions about the quality of Chinese official statistics and the effectiveness of a government push for cleaner growth after decades of unbridled expansion. >> Read the Full Article
  • Beer is Good for You (Bones)

    Beer is an alcoholic beverage. Obviously too much alcohol makes you drunk which is not too good for your health. Yet beer does have its positive benefits. One, of course, is to reduce stress (at least short term). A new study suggests that beer is a significant source of dietary silicon, a key ingredient for increasing bone mineral density. Researchers from the Department of Food Science & Technology at the University of California, Davis studied commercial beer production to determine the relationship between beer production methods and the resulting silicon content, concluding that beer is a rich source of dietary silicon. Details of this study are available in the February issue of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the Society of Chemical Industry. >> Read the Full Article