• 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
  • Fierce California wildfire burns into fourth night

    A California wildfire burned for a fourth day on Friday above the seaside town of Santa Barbara as firefighters battled flames that have damaged or destroyed 80 homes. Another 3,500 homes and about 100 businesses remained in immediate jeopardy from the so-called Jesusita fire, which had blackened more than 8,600 acres in the foothills above the picturesque community, according to an update by the Santa Barbara Fire Department late on Friday. >> Read the Full Article
  • Pesticides blamed for some childhood brain cancers

    A new study finds that children who live in homes where their parents use pesticides are twice as likely to develop brain cancer versus those that live in residences in which no pesticides are used. Herbicide use appeared to cause a particularly elevated risk for a certain type of cancer. >> Read the Full Article
  • US climate change denier James Inhofe joins Al Gore in fight against soot

    In a surprise U-turn, the Republican senator has put forward a bill to review the dangers of black carbon to health and the environment. >> Read the Full Article