• Food Safety Bill Is Cause for Concern, Not Panic

    Over the past several weeks, blog posts and alternative media sites were riddled with panic over H.R. 875, the new bill introduced in the House over food safety regulations. The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 aims to “establish the Food Safety Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services to protect health by preventing food-borne illness” and ensure the safety of food products through more stringent regulation guidelines. No one would argue that improving the food safety standards in the U.S. is a negative move. It’s the bill’s vague language that causes concern among supporters of organic and biodynamic farming—and sparks the doomsday scenarios reflected in commentaries on the bill. >> Read the Full Article
  • Soaps and detergents 'could help tackle bird flu'

    Commercially available soaps and detergents could kill the bird flu virus that causes extensive damage to poultry and can infect humans, scientists in Pakistan report. >> Read the Full Article
  • Broccoli Sprouts May Prevent Stomach Cancer by defeating Helicobacter pylori

    A small, pilot study in 50 people in Japan suggests that eating two and a half ounces of broccoli sprouts daily for two months may confer some protection against a rampant stomach bug that causes gastritis, ulcers and even stomach cancer. >> Read the Full Article
  • A pain in the ash: Volcano irritates Alaskans

    Mount Redoubt is getting under the skin of Alaska, and it's not just the irritation caused by volcanic ash. For residents of Alaska's largest city, living near an active volcano means sometimes wearing air-filtration masks and stretching panty hose over the air intake of cars and trucks. >> Read the Full Article
  • 10-Year Study Uncovers Toxic Aspects of DBPs

    University of Illinois geneticist Michael Plewa said that disinfection byproducts (DBPs) in water are the unintended consequence of water purification. "The process of disinfecting water with chlorine and chloramines and other types of disinfectants generates a class of compounds in the water that are called disinfection byproducts. The disinfectant reacts with the organic material in the water and generates hundreds of different compounds. Some of these are toxic, some can cause birth defects, some are genotoxic, which damage DNA, and some we know are also carcinogenic." >> Read the Full Article
  • Rocket fuel chemical found in baby formula

    Traces of a chemical used in rocket fuel were found in samples of powdered baby formula, and could exceed what's considered a safe dose for adults if mixed with water also contaminated with the ingredient, a government study has found. >> Read the Full Article
  • First Accurate Test For Arsenic In Soil Developed

    If you have a cat or dog who likes to hide under the deck or children who play on equipment made with pressure-treated wood, you’ll be glad to hear that analytical chemist Julian Tyson and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Amherst recently developed the first-ever accurate test for arsenic compounds in soil, promising a significantly improved environmental and health impact assessment. The method holds some promise for detecting naturally occurring high arsenic levels in Asian rice, as well. >> Read the Full Article
  • Flame Retardant Chemicals Taint All U.S. Coastal Waters

    Chemicals used as flame retardants in consumer products since the 1970s now are found in all U.S. coastal waters and the Great Lakes, with elevated levels near urban and industrial centers, according to a federal government report issued Wednesday. >> Read the Full Article
  • Oil Sands Development: A Health Risk Worth Taking?

    As traditional petroleum supplies dwindled and prices soared over the past few years, oil companies have shifted their attention to oil sands, a mix of sand, water, and a heavy, viscous hydrocarbon called bitumen that can be converted to oil. With the plunge in oil prices in fall 2008, many producers began canceling or postponing plans to expand oil sands development projects, but this turn of events could yet reverse, as Canada’s vast oil sands deposits are lauded as a secure source of imported oil for the United States. At the same time, however, oil sands present troubling questions in terms of the environmental health effects associated with their development. >> Read the Full Article
  • Seeing the Light on Darkness: Studies Link Light Pollution and Cancer

    During a power outage in California in the 1990s, alarmed residents reportedly called in to report a strange, cloudy shape in the nighttime sky. It turned out to be the Milky Way- seen for the first time. For those of us who live in urban or suburban areas, an overabundance of artificial nighttime light, or light pollution, is nothing new. But light pollution isn't just a bane to astronomers and an annoyance to the rest of us: studies show that it also poses real health risks, including some increased rates of cancer. >> Read the Full Article