• Food factories help viruses spread and evolve

    What makes us so susceptible to pandemics, asks Sunita Narain, editor of the Indian science magazine Down to Earth. The answer, she says, is linked to the way we produce food. >> Read the Full Article
  • Rail industry petitions to stop moving toxins

    Railroad companies are pressing federal regulators to cut back on trains carrying hazardous materials through urban areas, saying they fear a catastrophic release of toxic chemicals in a large city. The companies also fear billions in legal claims if toxic materials spill during a derailment or act of sabotage. Rail industry associations are petitioning to allow railroads for the first time to refuse to carry chemicals such as chlorine over long distances. >> Read the Full Article
  • GM corn comes a step closer to a complete meal

    Scientists have for the first time genetically modified white corn to increase the levels of several different vitamins — bringing closer the prospect of crops that can deliver full nutritional requirements. >> Read the Full Article
  • WHO Stays the Course as Japan Grapples With Swine Flu

    The number of confirmed influenza A (H1N1) cases in Japan exploded over the weekend, going from an officially reported four--all in returning vacationers--on 16 May to 129 as of today. The 125 new cases are all among high-school students in Osaka and Kobe, two neighboring cities in western Japan. None of these cases has yet been linked to a returning traveler. Japanese media, citing their own surveys of local health offices, are reporting 135 confirmed cases as of late afternoon, Japan time. Despite the surge, the World Health Organization (WHO) hasn't yet raised its pandemic alert level to indicate that a global pandemic is under way. >> Read the Full Article
  • Dredging of Hudson River Finally Begins

    After years of studies and negotiation, the dredging of PCB contaminated sediments has begun in the Hudson River. The Hudson River PCBs Site encompasses a nearly 200-mile stretch of the Hudson River in eastern New York State from Hudson Falls, New York to the Battery in New York City and includes communities in fourteen New York counties and two counties in New Jersey. >> Read the Full Article
  • 3 schools closed, staffer hospitalized in NY swine flu outbreak

    New York officials announced Thursday they were shutting down three schools in response to a swine flu outbreak and that one staff member had been hospitalized in serious condition. The three schools, with a total of about 4,500 students, will close Friday and all next week in response to "an unusually high level of flu-like illnesses at those schools," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. >> Read the Full Article
  • Chicago Bans Baby Bottles With BPA Plastic

    The Chicago City Council on Wednesday unanimously adopted a measure making Chicago the nation’s first city to ban the sale of baby bottles and sippy cups manufactured with a chemical that some studies have linked to disease. Passage was driven by what officials here call federal regulators’ failure to take action on a grave public health issue. >> Read the Full Article
  • Mercury Takes Algae Road to Ocean Fish

    Ocean fish can contain high levels of mercury, even though mercury levels in the seawater around them are extraordinarily low. Now, scientists have an explanation for what's going on. >> Read the Full Article
  • Chemical Treaty Covers Additional Toxins

    An international treaty designed to eradicate the world's most harmful chemicals was expanded this past week to include nine additional pollutants. >> Read the Full Article
  • High human impact ocean areas along US West Coast revealed

    "Every single spot of the ocean along the West Coast," said Ben Halpern, a marine ecologist at the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) at the University of California at Santa Barbara, "is affected by 10 to 15 different human activities annually." In a two-year study to document the way humans are affecting the oceans in this region, Halpern and colleagues overlaid data on the location and intensity of 25 human-derived sources of ecological stress, including climate change, commercial and recreational fishing, land-based sources of pollution and ocean-based commercial activities. With the information, they produced a composite map of the status of West Coast marine ecosystems. >> Read the Full Article