• Captive Gorillas Succumbing to Human Disease

    Life for humans is much easier than for animals in the wild. On a day-to-day basis, we generally do not have to worry about being eaten or starving to death. Depending on the individual's job, some can get by just fine by sitting around all day. However, this lifestyle brings forth its own set of health issues such as diabetes and heart disease, illnesses rarely found in the wild. These "human" diseases have spread to gorillas that are raised in captivity. >> Read the Full Article
  • Bald Men and Prostate Cancer

    Men who start to lose hair at the age of 20 are more likely to develop prostate cancer in later life and might benefit from screening for the disease, according to a new study published online in the cancer journal, Annals of Oncology. The study set out to see if early-onset androgenic alopecia (which are directly connected to androgens such as testosterone) was associated with an increased risk of prostate cancer later in life. Androgens play a role in the development of both androgenic alopecia, commonly known as male pattern baldness, and prostate cancer. Testosterone, which is a very potent androgen or male hormone, is responsible for increased muscle mass, deepened voice and strong bones characteristic of the male gender. In addition, testosterone can contribute to aggression, libido, and growth of genitalia during puberty. Male hormones also have an effect on the liver and cholesterol; however, when it is converted into another androgen, it acts on the skin and hair follicles, and in some cases, producing male pattern baldness. >> Read the Full Article
  • Climate change creates longer ragweed season

    A changing climate means allergy-causing ragweed pollen has a longer season that extends further north than it did just 16 years ago, U.S. scientists reported on Monday. In research that gibes with projections by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, plant and allergy experts found that ragweed pollen season lasted as much as 27 days longer in 2009 than it did in 1995. The further north in the Western Hemisphere, the more dramatic the change in the length of pollen season. Ragweed pollen can cause asthma flare-ups and hay fever, and costs about $21 billion a year in the United States, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. >> Read the Full Article
  • EU to ban six toxic chemicals in household plastics

    The European Union will ban six toxic chemicals within three to five years, three of which are commonly used in plastic household items, the European Commission said on this week. After years of heated debate, EU lawmakers agreed in 2006 on a far-reaching proposal to review the way chemicals are approved in Europe. The EU regulation on "Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals" (REACH), aims to make chemicals safer for human health and the environment by placing the burden on businesses to prove their products are safe before they can be placed on the market. In January last year, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) identified 29 substances that present the greatest cause for concern regarding public health and the environment. These need to go through special scrutiny before they are authorised. A roadmap agreed by the EU executive and ECHA is expected to increase the number of chemicals on the list to 135 by 2012. Among the compounds are three plastic softening phthalates, a musk fragrance, a flame retardant and a hardener for epoxy resin, the Commission said. Although the most toxic phthalates have been banned in children's toys since 1999, a survey last October showed some are commonly found in products on supermarket shelves, including items regularly used by children, such as pencil cases and erasers. The decision is being taken under the REACH regulation on chemicals, adopted in 2006 in what has been billed as the most epic lobbying battle in the EU's history. >> Read the Full Article
  • Environmental Natural Substances that Cause Illness

    When we think of pollutants, we tend to think of chemicals with long and sometimes unpronounceable names: hexavalent chromium, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, hexachlorobenzene. However, not all substances that are dangerous to human and environmental health are manmade – some are naturally occurring, but have been introduced, often in toxic quantities, into society at large due to ignorance or greed. The following are some naturally-occurring substances that human use (or, more often, misuse) has turned into pollutants. >> Read the Full Article
  • EU Household Plastics Banning

    The European Union will ban six toxic chemicals within three to five years, three of which are commonly used in plastic household items. Among the compounds are three plastic softening phthalates, a musk fragrance, a flame retardant and a hardener for epoxy resin. Although the most toxic phthalates have been banned in children's toys since 1999, a survey last October showed some are commonly found in products on supermarket shelves, including items regularly used by children, such as pencil cases and erasers. The decision is being taken under the REACH regulation on chemicals, adopted in 2006 after major debate and discussion. >> Read the Full Article
  • New from BBC Earth: Wildebeest calves are born

    As one of the largest groups of wandering animals, you would have thought that when it comes to their young, they would be in trouble from the beginning. Alike many animals that reside on the Eastern African savannas, it's a dog eat dog world...or more lion and hyena eats everyone else! However these magnificent animals have an ingenious solution up their sleeves! Known as the "follower-calf" system, an incredible 80% of the Wildebeest females intuitively give birth within the same two to three week period. This synchronization reduces the probability of the tender young wildebeest to become prey to the predominant predator of the area, the hungry spotted hyaena. And this is not the only technique these bovid (family of cloven-hoofed mammals!) have against this harsh nature of the Serengeti plains. They also choose to give birth in the middle of the herd, rather than straying away to find a secluded place – a clear example of there being power in numbers! >> Read the Full Article
  • Closer to the Cure for the Common Cold

    There is no cure for the common cold, no magic elixir that will make all of your symptoms go away. However, over human's many millennia of battling the cold, we have found little tricks that can help fight it. According to new systematic review published in The Cochrane Library, we have found a new trick that could provide huge benefits. A way to significantly reduce severity and duration of the common cold is to take Zinc supplements. >> Read the Full Article
  • Clorox Discloses Additional Ingredients Info

    February 9, 2011 - The Clorox Company is expanding its communications strategy in an effort to help consumers make informed choices about the products they use in and around their homes. The company is disclosing additional information about the chemicals in its products through its "Ingredients Inside" program. >> Read the Full Article
  • Sulfur Emissions on the Rise

    Sulfur dioxide is a major air pollutant and has significant impacts upon human health. In addition the concentration of sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere can influence ecosytems. Sulfur dioxide emissions are a precursor to acid rain and atmospheric particulates. A new analysis of sulfur emissions appearing in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics shows that after declining for a decade, worldwide emissions rose again in 2000 due largely to international shipping and a growing Chinese economy. An accurate read on sulfur emissions will help researchers predict future changes in climate and determine present day effects on the atmosphere, health and the environment. >> Read the Full Article