• Railroad Company to Pay $4 Million Penalty for 2005 Chlorine Spill in Graniteville, SC

    (ATLANTA­­ – March 8, 2010) Norfolk Southern Railway Company has agreed to pay $4 million penalty to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and hazardous materials laws for a 2005 chlorine spill in Graniteville, S.C., the Justice Department and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today. >> Read the Full Article
  • Air Quality is improving in much of the US

    Do we really need all the regulatory programs at the federal and state levels of government? Do they really work to improve the quality of our air and water? Are they worth their cost in terms of regulatory burden and costs of compliance? In short, yes! To some extent, our regulatory programs are a trial and error affair. We can't always know the ultimate effectiveness of a new program nor its ultimate costs. We can't always predict the economic benefits of new regulations either since they invariably lead to innovation and generate new inventions and jobs. The US has been monitoring the quality of our air and water for decades, so we can track the effectiveness of our programs. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is making the most recent data available. >> Read the Full Article
  • EPA Makes Chemical Information More Accessible, and for Free

    The web has been a valuable source of information on the releases of toxic chemicals in our communities, and for citizens and environmental action groups to see what companies and facilities are emitting air pollutants, discharging water pollution, and generating hazardous wastes. Finding the information you were looking for was not always easy, and not always free. Now things are getting a little easier, and more information is obtainable for free. US EPA announced that it is providing web access, free of charge, to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Chemical Substance Inventory. This inventory contains a consolidated list of thousands of industrial chemicals maintained by the agency. EPA is also making this information available on Data.Gov, a website launched to provide public access to important government information. >> Read the Full Article
  • Salt and Smog

    The smell of sea salt at the beach is a pleasant thought for many beach goers. Wind and waves kick up spray sending salt (sodium chloride into the air. Most salt of this sort falls back into the sea or nearby beach. The bit of chloride lingering in the air can react with nitrogen oxides (NOx) to form nitryl chloride which is a forerunner of chlorine gas, the most reactive form of chlorine. Those gas can contribute to smog formation in coastal areas. However, in a surprise, researchers have found that this air chemistry thought to be restricted to sea spray occurs at similar rates in the air above Boulder, Colorado which is nearly 900 miles away from any ocean. What's more, local air quality measurements taken in a number of national parks across the United States imply similar conditions in or near other non-coastal metropolitan areas. >> Read the Full Article
  • suki, inc.

    this spotlight illustrates the success of one small, ethical company that is making a name for itself by formulating & manufacturing effective, high quality, clinically proven personal care that is completely synthetic free. suki® clinically proven natural solutions™, is steeped in a foundation of hard science while at the same time being truly pure & containing substantive amounts of organic, fair trade & food grade ingredients & of course, never testing any products on animals, are what president / formulator / owner Suki Kramer calls "the inevitable evolution of skincare." the only brand of its kind that conducts clinical trials, suki® puts their money where their mouth is & backs up their claims of highest efficacy in the brand's technologically advanced, yet synthetic-free product line. these formulas combine advances of science & the powers nature in focused, targeted skin care treatments. Kramer dedicates herself to skin care, research, the science of formulation, chemistry & to constantly increasing her own ingredient knowledge to share with an increasingly confused public. she is constantly striving to educate her growing fan base about what is really in the cosmetics they use, how to read product labels, what the growing list of new "organic" & "natural" seals mean, the body's internal processing of external influences, such as environmental stressors & toxins, & the ingredients we put into & onto our bodies, & many other things on her blog, www.sukiscoop.com. >> Read the Full Article
  • Green Cleaning Supplies

    When we get out the rags and the wash buckets, we have the best of intentions. Cleanliness is a virtue, right? And healthy too! Well, if you use conventional cleaning products, perhaps not. Have you ever cleaned your shower or oven and then had teary eyes, burning nasal tissues, an itchy throat, a headache, or dizziness? Guess what? All of these symptoms and more could have been caused by chemicals commonly found in household cleaners. >> Read the Full Article
  • Staying Young by Learning

    An old proverb states that to stay young is to keep alert and active or: "An idle mind is the devil's workshop." University of California neurobiologists are providing the first visual evidence that learning promotes brain health — and, therefore, that mental stimulation could limit the debilitating effects of aging on memory and the mind. Using a novel visualization technique they devised to study memory, a research team found that everyday forms of learning animate neuron receptors that help keep brain cells functioning at optimum levels. These receptors are activated by a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which facilitates the growth and differentiation of the connections, or synapses, responsible for communication among neurons. BDNF is key in the formation of memories. >> Read the Full Article
  • Attention Bikers - Google Maps is for you!

    At long last, Google Maps has routes specifically for bikes. With the click of a mouse, the new feature allows you to plot the best (and flattest!) ride from Point A to Point B. Several cities, including New York, Minneapolis, San Francisco and Portland, Oregon, have bike-specific mapping sites. But Google is rolling it out in 150 cities nationwide and announcing it Wednesday at the 10th Annual Bike Summit in Washington, D.C. "This has been a top-requested feature from Google Maps users for the last couple years," says Shannon Guymon, product manager for Google Maps. "There are over 50,000 signatures on a petition." >> Read the Full Article
  • Improved Wood Stoves could improve air quality and health

    Two billion people worldwide do their cooking on open fires, producing sooty pollution that shortens millions of lives and exacerbates global warming. If widely adopted, a new generation of inexpensive, durable cook stoves could go a long way toward alleviating this problem. With a single, concerted initiative, says Lakshman Guruswami, the world could save millions of people in poor nations from respiratory ailments and early death, while dealing a big blow to global warming — and all at a surprisingly small cost. >> Read the Full Article
  • Neglected tropical diseases NEED to be studied

    The 'innovation gap' for neglected tropical diseases is rapidly growing, say Sandeep P. Kishore and colleagues, but research universities in the United States could help close the gap. Total research funding for diabetes is more than 15 times greater than that for malaria, and more than 100 times that of other diseases such as schistosomiasis. The authors suggest three key steps to making a meaningful impact on neglected disease research. >> Read the Full Article