• Parking Lot Problems

    Coal tar based seal coat, which is the black, shiny substance sprayed or painted on many parking lots, driveways, and playgrounds, has been linked to higher concentrations of the contaminants polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in house dust. Apartments with adjacent parking lots treated with the coal-tar based seal coat have house dust with much higher concentrations of PAHs than apartments next to other types of parking lots according to new research released today on-line by Environmental Science and Technology (ES&T). The main purpose of using a quality sealer is that the sealer coats the asphalt surface protecting it from harmful ultra violet as well as road salts and engine oils which dissolve the asphalt and create soft spots. If untreated areas are ignored, deterioration will occur and you will end up spending much more money trying to patch and repair the asphalt than if you properly maintain it. >> Read the Full Article
  • Tilapia Found to be Invasive in Fiji

    The poster child for sustainable fish farming—the tilapia—is actually a problematic invasive species for the native fish of the islands of Fiji, according to a new study by the Wildlife Conservation Society and other groups. Scientists suspect that tilapia introduced to the waterways of the Fiji Islands may be gobbling up the larvae and juvenile fish of several native species of goby, fish that live in both fresh and salt water and begin their lives in island streams. >> Read the Full Article
  • Magnitude 7.0 Earthquake Hits Haiti

    The earthquake that has hit Haiti, raising fears that thousands have been killed, is the latest in a long line of natural disasters to befall a country ill equipped to deal with such events. Hurricanes and flooding are perennial concerns for the poorest country in the western hemisphere, which has time and again been dependent on foreign aid in emergencies. >> Read the Full Article
  • EPA to Improve Ozone Standards

    The US Environmental Protection Agency is proposing the strictest health standards to date for smog. Smog, also known as ground-level ozone, is linked to a number of serious health problems, ranging from aggravation of asthma to increased risk of premature death in people with heart or lung disease. Ozone can even harm healthy people who work and play outdoors. The agency is proposing to replace the standards set by the previous administration, which many believe were not protective enough of human health. Ozone pollution is created when chemicals from cars, power plants, and factories mix with sunlight. That's why ozone tends to be higher in sunnier climates or during hot weather. It is a main part of smog, that brownish-yellow haze sometimes seen hanging over cities on the horizon. >> Read the Full Article
  • Indoor Air Quality

    How to make your home a healthy place Smog in urban areas often makes the news. But truth be told, air quality is often much worse inside our homes than outside. That’s because tens of thousands of chemicals, some synthetic and some found in nature, are used to make products commonly found in buildings. Many of these chemicals are benign, some are highly toxic, and most fall in that wide gray area in between. When it comes to indoor air contamination, the biggest culprit in our homes is VOCs, a large class of chemicals that can evaporate, or offgas, from stuff that’s all around us, like particle board, carpet, paint, cleaning products, and materials treated with stain-resistant and wrinkle-resistant chemicals. >> Read the Full Article
  • Good News for Cell Phone Users

    The University of South Florida finds that use of cell phones may have a positive health impact. Contrary to most studies of cell phone use that looked at possible negative impacts, this study was highly controlled to permit the investigators to isolate the possible effects of cell phone electromagnetic radiation from other potential factors like diet and exercise. The study, led by University of South Florida researchers at the Florida Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center (ADRC), was published today in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. "It surprised us to find that cell phone exposure, begun in early adulthood, protects the memory of mice otherwise destined to develop Alzheimer's symptoms," said lead author Gary Arendash, PhD, Research Professor at the Florida ADRC. "It was even more astonishing that the electromagnetic waves generated by cell phones actually reversed memory impairment in old Alzheimer's mice." >> Read the Full Article
  • US EPA Proposes Stricter Ozone Standards

    The United States Environmental Protection Agency proposed new stricter health standards for Ozone. Ozone is linked to a number of serious health problems, ranging from aggravation of asthma to increased risk of premature death in people with heart or lung disease. Ozone can also harm healthy people who work and play outdoors. Children are at the greatest risk from ozone, because their lungs are still developing, they are more likely to be active outdoors, and they are more likely than adults to have asthma. Adults with asthma or other lung diseases, and older adults are also sensitive to ozone. >> Read the Full Article
  • Autism clusters in California

    U.S. researchers have identified 10 locations in California that have double the rates of autism found in surrounding areas, and these clusters were located in neighborhoods with high concentrations of white, highly educated parents. Researchers at the University of California Davis had hoped to uncover pockets of autism that might reveal clues about triggers in the environment that could explain rising rates of autism, which affects as many as one in 110 U.S. children. >> Read the Full Article
  • Highway Barriers Stifle Pollution

    Highway barriers erected along roadways can be perceived as massive monuments to the future and were intended to block the sound and sight of traffic for the adjacent neighborhoods. They may do a bit more in terms of air borne pollution. In a study by NOAA and the US Environmental Protection Agency, researchers released harmless “tracers” to measure the potential movement of pollutants such as carbon monoxide and heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds such as benzene. The results showed a significant reduction for those neighborhoods in pollutants as a result of the barriers. >> Read the Full Article
  • Growing demand for soybeans threatens Amazon rainforest

    "Some 3,000 years ago, farmers in eastern China domesticated the soybean. In 1765, the first soybeans were planted in North America. Today the soybean occupies more US cropland than wheat. And in Brazil, where it spread even more rapidly, the soybean is invading the Amazon rainforest," writes Lester R. Brown, president of the Earth Policy Institute, in a December commentary. >> Read the Full Article