• Mattel posts lower profit on impact of recalls

    NEW YORK, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Mattel Inc (MAT.N: Quote, Profile, Research) posted a lower quarterly profit on Monday, missing Wall Street estimates, due to charges and disruptions from its recent global recalls of potentially harmful toys made in China.

    The maker of Barbie dolls and the T.M.X Elmo said third-quarter profit fell to $236.8 million, or 61 cents a share, from $239 million, or 62 cents a share, a year earlier.

    Excluding recall charges, Reuters Estimates said the company had earned 68 cents a share, compared with the average analysts' forecast of 70 cents.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Virgin Atlantic 747 to Test Biofuel in Early 2008

    BOSTON (Reuters) - British billionaire Richard Branson said on Monday his Virgin Group hopes to produce clean biofuels by around the start of the next decade and early next year will test a jet plane on renewable fuel.

    Virgin hopes to provide clean fuel for buses, trains and cars within three or four years, Branson told a Mortgage Bankers Association meeting in Boston.

    In the meantime, Virgin will be conducting a test jet flight on renewable fuels. "Early next year we will fly one of our 747s without passengers with one of the fuels that we have developed," Branson told the annual conference.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Researchers Genetically Alter Plants Hoping They'll Vacuum Up Toxins

    CHICAGO (Reuters) - Scientists hope they've figured out a way to trick plants into doing the dirty work of environmental cleanup, U.S. and British researchers said on Monday.

    "Our work is in the beginning stages, but it holds great promise," said Sharon Doty, an assistant professor of forest resources at the University of Washington, whose study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    In work they describe as preliminary, researchers at the University of Washington say they've genetically altered poplar trees to pull toxins out of contaminated ground water, perhaps offering a cost-effective way of cleaning up environmental pollutants.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Air Pollution Linked To Bronchitis In Preschoolers

    Davis, California - In one of the first studies to examine air pollution in relation to infant and early childhood health, a UC Davis researcher has discovered a strong link between exposure to components of air pollution and acute bronchitis diagnoses in preschool-aged children. Those components - polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs - contribute to air pollution from a variety of sources, including coal burning, vehicle exhaust, wood-burning stoves, tobacco smoke and grilling food.

    Led by UC Davis environmental epidemiologist Irva Hertz-Picciotto, the Czech Early Childhood Health Study involved 1,133 children from birth to 4.5 years of age born in two districts of the Czech Republic between 1994 and 1998. One of those districts, Teplice (pronounced Tuh-PLEET-zuh), is known for its high levels of air pollution. The other, Prachatice (pronounced prah-kuh-TEET-zuh), has much lower levels of air pollution.
    >> Read the Full Article
  • China considers environmental tax on polluters

    China is considering an environmental tax on polluters to cut emissions, a senior government official said on Monday.

    "We are actively promoting this idea. But we have to consult with relevant ministries," Pan Yue, deputy head of the State Environmental Protection Administration, told reporters on the sidelines of the ruling Communist Party's five-yearly Congress.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Polluted "concrete coastline" no lure for Greeks

    Greece is struggling to contain coastal pollution which threatens its renowned azure waters and golden coastlines, the main sources of its booming tourism industry.

    "A few years ago I swam here every day but in the past two summers it is just too dirty so I just play on the beach," said 37-year-old Stavros Georgiadis, who plays racquet ball on the beach of Alimos along the capital's coast almost daily.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Smoking Turns On Cancer Genes, Permanently: Study

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Smoking may turn on some genes in the body in a permanent and harmful way, scientists said on Thursday in a study that may help explain why the risk of cancer remains high even after smokers quit.

    They found many genetic changes that stop when a smoker quits, but found several genes that stay turned on for years, including several not previously linked with tobacco use.

    "These irreversible changes may account for the persistent lung cancer risk despite smoking cessation," the researchers wrote in their report, published in BioMed Central journal BMC Genomics.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Pollution Killing up to 25,000 Canadians Annually :Report

    Canadians are awash in toxic chemicals -- and it is costing our health care system up to $9.1 billion and 1.5 million hospital days annually, according to a new study led by University of British Columbia Trudeau Scholar David Boyd.

    The research is the first to measure the magnitude of adverse health effects caused by exposure to environmental hazards such as air pollution, pesticides, dioxins, heavy metals, flame retardants and other persistent organic pollutants (POPs) for Canada.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • Ingredient Composition Becomes More Important as Organic Personal Care Product Market Evolves

    London – The natural & organic sector is the fastest growing in the North American cosmetics & toiletries industry, with sales increasing by 20% a year. Organic Monitor projects the market share of natural & organic personal care products to expand from 8% this year to 15% in the coming years.

    High market growth rates are because of the rise in ethical purchasing and ‘mainstreaming’ of natural & organic products. Distribution in mass market retailers is increasing as retailers focus on ecological and natural products. Mass merchandisers like Wal-Mart and Target are introducing natural & organic personal care products, supermarkets like Safeway and Loblaws are expanding product ranges, whilst drugstores are launching exclusive products.

    >> Read the Full Article
  • World Bank fund to pay for protecting forests

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A new fund being developed by the World Bank would pay developing countries hundreds of millions of dollars for protecting and replanting tropical forests, which store huge amounts of carbon that causes climate change.

    The Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), announced by the World Bank on Thursday, will be part of U.N. climate change negotiations in Bali in December to shape a global agreement for when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

    >> Read the Full Article