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Related Scary Tags:
health impacts  ~ climate impacts  ~ contamination  ~ carbon emissions  ~ global warming  ~ ecosystem interrelationships  ~ anthropogenic change  ~ coal issues  ~ smart policy  ~ heavy metals  ~ toxic buildup  



Fri, Jun 10, 2016
from http://phys.org/news/2014-07-vapor-global-amplifier.html#:
New study confirms water vapor as global warming amplifier
"The study is the first to confirm that human activities have increased water vapor in the upper troposphere," said Brian Soden, professor of atmospheric sciences at the UM Rosenstiel School and co-author of the study.... Using the set of climate model experiments, the researchers showed that rising water vapor in the upper troposphere cannot be explained by natural forces, such as volcanoes and changes in solar activity, but can be explained by increased greenhouse gases, such as CO2.... Climate models predict that as the climate warms from the burning of fossil fuels, the concentrations of water vapor will also increase in response to that warming. This moistening of the atmosphere, in turn, absorbs more heat and further raises the Earth's temperature. ...


Oh, right. Physics!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jun 29, 2015
from Rolling Stone:
What's Killing the Babies of Vernal, Utah?
...an alarming number of babies were dying in Vernal -- at least 10 in 2013 alone, what seemed to her a shockingly high infant mortality rate for such a small town... in Vernal, a town literally built by oil, raising questions about the safety of fracking will brand you a traitor and a target... Suspect One: the extraordinary levels of wintertime pollution plaguing the Basin since the vast new undertaking to frack the region's shale filled the air with toxins. ...


Stillborn: my new band name.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Feb 20, 2015
from LiveScience:
Utah Suicides Linked to Air Pollution
Suicide may be linked to air pollution, according to new research that finds spikes in completed suicides in the days following peak pollution levels. The research took place in Utah, part of the United States' western "suicide belt." Suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in the United States; in Utah, it is the eighth. Though the notion that suicide and air quality could be linked may not seem intuitive, similar studies in South Korea, Taiwan and Canada have also linked the two.... They found that suicide risk went up two to three days after levels of fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide rose. ...


On a clear day, you can see forever.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Feb 19, 2015
from Ensia:
What are we doing to our children's brains?
The numbers are startling. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1.8 million more children in the U.S. were diagnosed with developmental disabilities between 2006 and 2008 than a decade earlier. During this time, the prevalence of autism climbed nearly 300 percent, while that of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder increased 33 percent. CDC figures also show that 10 to 15 percent of all babies born in the U.S. have some type of neurobehavorial development disorder. Still more are affected by neurological disorders that don't rise to the level of clinical diagnosis.... a significant and growing body of research suggests that exposure to environmental pollutants is implicated in the disturbing rise in children's neurological disorders. ...


The little ones need to toughen up.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Feb 12, 2015
from Reuters:
Tests planned on mysterious 'milky rain' in U.S. Pacific Northwest
Scientists from two U.S. Pacific Northwest laboratories plan to conduct tests of unusual precipitation that fell across the region over the weekend in hopes of pinpointing the origins of so-called "milky rain" that has mystified residents, officials said on Wednesday.... The National Weather Service has said it believes the powdery rain was most likely a byproduct of dust storms hundreds of miles away in Nevada, although it could not rule out volcanic ash from Japan as a possible culprit. ...


No use crying over milky rain.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Dec 10, 2014
from Reuters, via HuffingtonPost:
Abandoned U.S. Oil Wells Still Spewing Methane, Study Finds
Some of the millions of abandoned oil and natural gas wells in the United States are still spewing methane, marking a potentially large source of unrecorded greenhouse gas emissions, according to a study released on Monday. Researchers at Princeton University measured emissions from dozens of abandoned wells in Pennsylvania in 2013 and 2014 and found they were emitting an average of 0.27 kg (0.6 lbs) of methane per day, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "These measurements show that methane emissions from abandoned oil and gas wells can be significant," according to the study. "The research required to quantify these emissions nationally should be undertaken so they can be accurately described and included in greenhouse gas emissions inventories." ...


Should the land, I don't know, scab over or something?

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Nov 30, 2014
from Desmog.ca:
Environment Canada Study Reveals Oilsands Tailings Ponds Emit Toxins to Atmosphere Five Times Higher Levels than Reported
There are more than 176 square kilometres of tailings ponds holding waste from oilsands development in the area around Fort McMurray, Alberta. According to new research released from Environment Canada, those tailings ponds are emitting much higher levels of toxic and potentially cancer-causing contaminants into the air than previously reported. As the Canadian Press reports, Environment Canada scientist Elisabeth Galarneau is the first to conduct field studies in the region and her research confirms that previous estimates of chemical release into the air have been massively underestimated. "We found that there actually does appear to be a net flow of these compounds going from water to air," Galarneau told the Canadian Press. "It's just a bit under five times higher from the ponds than what's been reported." ...


Almost five times as much? Let's attribute that to sampling error.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Nov 26, 2014
from Bloomberg:
EPA Power Plant Mercury Rule Gets U.S. Supreme Court Review
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to decide whether the Obama administration went too far with new power-plant pollution caps the government estimates will cost almost $10 billion a year. The justices today said they will hear industry and state contentions that the Environmental Protection Agency didn't adequately consider those costs when it limited mercury and other hazardous pollutants. ...


Our grandchildren are going to hate us.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Nov 19, 2014
from New York Times:
Obesity Is Tied to Pollutants
Exposure to secondhand smoke and roadway traffic may be tied to increased body mass index in children and adolescents, a new study suggests. Researchers studied 3,318 children in 12 Southern California communities beginning at an average age of 10, and then followed them through age 18. They used parental questionnaires to establish exposure to smoking, and data on traffic volume and levels of nitrogen dioxide, ozone and particulates to track pollution. ...


We thought it was junkfood, but now we think it's junklife.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Oct 7, 2014
from St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
Study: EPA carbon rules would save thousands of lives in Illinois and Missouri
A new study concludes that Missouri and Illinois would reap some of the largest public health benefits in the country from rules requiring utilities to cut back on carbon pollution. Researchers at Harvard, Boston and Syracuse universities found the two states could save thousands of lives from 2020 to 2030 if utilities implement carbon control measures at coal plants. Limiting carbon dioxide pollution from coal plants also leads to reduced soot and other pollutants that cause heart and respiratory problems. Under a scenario similar to the EPA's recently proposed carbon pollution rules, the researchers estimated Missouri could prevent 1,200 deaths between 2020 and 2030. In Illinois, about 2,100 lives could be saved. ...


I don't care about lives, I only care about my life.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Sep 17, 2014
from Midwest Energy News:
In fight against pollution, nurses union on the front lines
...a growing mission among nurses nationwide: the pursuit of environmental justice, fueled by a growing awareness of the environmental factors that could be linked to, causing or exacerbating the cancers, respiratory ailments or other conditions that affect their patients. Nurses have individually become increasingly aware of the role of the environment in health, and over the past two years the National Nurses United labor union has launched a concerted campaign to mobilize on environmental justice issues -- including the role of fossil fuels in both local pollution and climate change. ...


We always listen to nurses.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 26, 2014
from National Center for Atmospheric Research/University Corporation for Atmospheric Research:
Trash burning worldwide significantly worsens air pollution
Unregulated trash burning around the globe is pumping far more pollution into the atmosphere than shown by official records. A new study estimates that more than 40 percent of the world's garbage is burned in such fires, with emissions that can substantially affect human health and climate. ...


One man's trash is another man's airborne particulate pollution.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Aug 4, 2014
from Stanford School of Engineering:
Wildfires and other burns play bigger role in climate change
Research demonstrates that it isn't just the carbon dioxide from biomass burning that's the problem. Black carbon and brown carbon maximize the thermal impacts of such fires. They essentially allow biomass burning to cause much more global warming per unit weight than other human-associated carbon sources.... Biomass burning also includes the combustion of agricultural and lumber waste for energy production. Such power generation often is promoted as a "sustainable" alternative to burning fossil fuels. And that's partly true as far as it goes. It is sustainable, in the sense that the fuel can be grown, processed and converted to energy on a cyclic basis. But the thermal and pollution effects of its combustion -- in any form -- can't be discounted... ...


Biomassholes.

ApocaDoc
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Try reading our book FREE online:
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Mon, May 5, 2014
from National Center for Atmospheric Research/University Corporation for Atmospheric Research:
Climate change threatens to worsen U.S. ozone pollution
Ozone pollution across the continental United States will become far more difficult to keep in check as temperatures rise, according to new research. The detailed study shows that Americans face the risk of a 70 percent increase in unhealthy summertime ozone levels by 2050. This is because warmer temperatures and other changes in the atmosphere related to a changing climate, including higher atmospheric levels of methane, spur chemical reactions that lead to ozone. ...


Where's the hole when you need it?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Apr 29, 2014
from USA Today:
Justices: 28 states must slash wind-blown pollution
The question was who should pay for air pollution that crosses state lines. The answer, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday, is blowing in the wind. States in the Midwest and South whose polluted air flows north and east must comply with a federally imposed solution, a 6-2 majority of justices ruled. The decision, written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, was a boon for the Obama administration and its environmental regulators, who have proposed a rule requiring some 28 upwind states to slash ozone and fine particle emissions by varying amounts because of their downwind effects. Most of those states have rebelled against the one-size-fits-all solution. ...


But I don't want to clean up my toys when I'm doing playing with them!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Apr 17, 2014
from University of Minnesota:
People of color live in neighborhoods with more air pollution than whites, groundbreaking U.S. study shows
A first-of-its-kind study has found that on average in the U.S., people of color are exposed to 38 percent higher levels of nitrogen dioxide outdoor air pollution compared to white people. The health impacts from the difference in levels between whites and nonwhites found in the study are substantial. For example, researchers estimate that if nonwhites breathed the lower NO2 levels experienced by whites, it would prevent 7,000 deaths from heart disease alone among nonwhites each year. ...


Land of the free, brave and victimized.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Apr 4, 2014
from DesdemonaDespair, from DailyMail:
Oxygen stations set up across China to provide relief from air pollution
Numerous fresh air stations have been set up in some of China's most polluted cities. The stations are stocked with individual air bags which provide users with pollution-free fresh air. And they have proved to be a big hit with one air station in Zhengzhou city in central China's Henan province which was inundated with visitors. Uniformed air hostesses hook up visitors to oxygen masks so they can breathe air sourced from the Laojun Mountain scenic spot in Luanchuan county, which is 80 percent green land, in Henan province. There was no shortage of takers as locals flooded to enjoy the free fresh air. User Feng Lin, 75, said: 'The air is really good, but the time is too short. I had to stop too soon but it was really great until then.' ...


This stinks. But 'the time is too short.'

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Feb 27, 2014
from London Guardian:
China's toxic air pollution resembles nuclear winter, say scientists
Chinese scientists have warned that the country's toxic air pollution is now so bad that it resembles a nuclear winter, slowing photosynthesis in plants - and potentially wreaking havoc on the country's food supply. ...


To everything there is a season.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Feb 25, 2014
from Reuters:
Sun-dimming volcanoes partly explain global warming hiatus-study
Small volcanic eruptions help explain a hiatus in global warming this century by dimming sunlight and offsetting a rise in emissions of heat-trapping gases to record highs, a study showed on Sunday. Eruptions of at least 17 volcanoes since 2000, including Nabro in Eritrea, Kasatochi in Alaska and Merapi in Indonesia, ejected sulfur whose sun-blocking effect had been largely ignored until now by climate scientists, it said. ...


The earth is trying to save itself.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Feb 25, 2014
from Bloomberg:
Colorado First State to Clamp Down on Fracking Methane Pollution
Colorado regulators approved groundbreaking controls on emissions from oil and natural gas operations after an unusual coalition of energy companies and environmentalists agreed on measures to counter worsening smog... "This is a model for the country," said Dan Grossman, the defense fund's Rocky Mountain regional director. "We've got this simmering battle between the oil and gas industry and neighborhoods throughout the state that are being faced with development. That degree of acrimony is pushing the industry and policy makers to look for ways to get some wins." ...


Well I'll be fracked!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Feb 10, 2014
from Time Magazine:
Delhi's Air Has Become a Lethal Hazard and Nobody Seems to Know What to Do About It
...Delhi struggles to cope with an appalling smog that has hung over the Indian capital since the beginning of January. Three-quarters of the noxious miasma is generated by the city's almost 7.2 million vehicles. The rest comes from industrial emissions, construction work and the burning of agricultural waste. The pollution in Delhi is now so severe that by some measures it is worse than in Beijing, which has long enjoyed notoriety as the world's most polluted capital... A 2013 study found air pollution to be the fifth largest killer in India, causing more than 600,000 premature deaths -- up six times from 2000. The study cited Delhi as one of the major trouble spots. ...


Breathing is a risky behavior.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Feb 8, 2014
from WFYI:
EPA: Harding Street Plant Responsible For Most Of County's Pollution
A new report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says one Indianapolis power plant is responsible for most of Marion County's pollution. The Agency finds the Harding Street Power Plant caused 88 percent of toxic industrial pollution in the county in 2012. That ranks as one of the worst 100 polluters among electric utilities nationwide and Jodi Perras of the Sierra Club says it is evidence the facility needs to shut down. ...


I give Harding Street a B+ in spoiling our environment!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jan 22, 2014
from Texas A&M University :
Air Pollution from Asia Affecting World's Weather
Extreme air pollution in Asia is affecting the world's weather and climate patterns, according to a study by Texas A&M University and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory researchers... Using climate models and data collected about aerosols and meteorology over the past 30 years, the researchers found that air pollution over Asia -- much of it coming from China -- is impacting global air circulations. ...


Gai-yuk

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Jan 3, 2014
from Huffington Post:
Mercury Levels In Alberta Oilsands 16 Times Higher Than Normal: Environment Canada Scientists
Mercury levels around the Alberta oilsands are 16 times higher than background loads, with contamination taking on the shape of a 'bull's-eye' over the region, say Environment Canada scientists. Speaking at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry conference in Nashville, Environment Canada researchers Jane Kirk and Derek Muir said mercury levels are at their highest concentration in the immediate area of oilsands operations but extend out to cover a 19,000-square-kilometre area, Postmedia reports. "Here we have a direct source of methyl mercury being emitted in this region and deposited to the landscapes and water bodies," Kirk told Postmedia. "So come snowmelt that methyl mercury is now going to enter lakes and rivers where potentially it could be taken up directly by organisms and then bioaccumulated and biomagnified though food webs." ...


Now we know how the Tar Sands folks found that sweet spot!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Dec 31, 2013
from Los Angeles Times:
Explosive oil train collision triggers evacuation in North Dakota
A small town in North Dakota was being partially evacuated Monday evening after a train carrying crude oil collided with another train, setting off a large fire and explosions, according to the local sheriff's department. No injuries have been reported, Sgt. Tara Morris of the Cass County Sheriff's Office told the Los Angeles Times. ...


No injuries -- except to Mother Earth.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Dec 30, 2013
from Huffington Post:
Millions Of Acres Of Chinese Farmland Too Polluted To Grow Food, Highlighting Growing Threat
More than 8 million acres of China's farmland is too polluted with heavy metals and other chemicals to use for growing food, a Cabinet official said Monday, highlighting a problem that is causing growing public concern. The threat from pollution to China's food supply has been overshadowed by public alarm at smog and water contamination but is gaining attention following scandals over tainted rice and other crops. The government triggered complaints in February when it refused to release results of a nationwide survey of soil pollution, declaring them a state secret. The figure given at a news conference by Wang Shiyuan, a deputy minister of the Ministry of Land and Resources, would be about 2 percent of China's 337 million acres of arable land. Some scientists have given higher estimates of as much as 60 million acres, or one-fifth of the total, though it is unclear how much of that would be too badly contaminated for farming. ...


Why don't we build factories on that otherwise useless farmland.

ApocaDoc
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You're still reading! Good for you!
You really should read our short, funny, frightening book FREE online (or buy a print copy):
Humoring the Horror of the Converging Emergencies!
We've been quipping this stuff for more than 30 months! Every day!
Which might explain why we don't get invited to parties anymore.
Mon, Dec 23, 2013
from University of Southern California :
Greek Economic Crisis Leads to Air Pollution Crisis
In the midst of a winter cold snap, a study from researchers in the United States and Greece reveals an overlooked side effect of economic crisis -- dangerous air quality caused by burning cheaper fuel for warmth. The researchers, led by Constantinos Sioutas of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, show that the concentration of fine air particles in one of Greece's economically hardest hit areas has risen 30 percent since the financial crisis began, leading to potential long-term health effects. ...


Let them burn cake.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Dec 17, 2013
from Washington Post:
White House delayed enacting rules ahead of 2012 election to avoid controversy
The White House systematically delayed enacting a series of rules on the environment, worker safety and health care to prevent them from becoming points of contention before the 2012 election, according to documents and interviews with current and former administration officials... The Obama administration has repeatedly said that any delays until after the election were coincidental and that such decisions were made without regard to politics. But seven current and former administration officials told The Washington Post that the motives behind many of the delays were clearly political, as Obama's top aides focused on avoiding controversy before his reelection. ...


ObamaNoCare after all.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Dec 11, 2013
from Huffington Post:
U.S. Supreme Court Hears Arguments In EPA Air Pollution Case
U.S. Supreme Court justices offered President Barack Obama's administration some encouragement on Tuesday as they weighed the lawfulness of a federal regulation limiting air pollution that crosses state lines, mostly emissions from coal-fired power plants. Although it was unclear how the court would rule, a majority of the eight justices hearing the case at points in the 90-minute argument voiced some support for the regulation, which has been challenged by some states and industry groups. ...


Who'd want to wear those robes in a global warming future?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Dec 11, 2013
from Guardian:
Newly discovered greenhouse gas '7,000 times more powerful than CO2'
A new greenhouse gas that is 7,000 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at warming the Earth has been discovered by researchers in Toronto. The newly discovered gas, perfluorotributylamine (PFTBA), has been in use by the electrical industry since the mid-20th century.... "This is a warning to us that this gas could have a very very large impact on climate change - if there were a lot of it. Since there is not a lot of it now, we don't have to worry about it at present, but we have to make sure it doesn't grow and become a very large contributor to global warming.".... "PFTBA is just one example of an industrial chemical that is produced but there are no policies that control its production, use or emission," Hong said. "It is not being regulated by any type of climate policy." ...


Can we quit discovering shit, and try to fix the shit we know about?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Dec 9, 2013
from The Telegraph:
Smog makes you funnier and smarter, Chinese media claims
Toxic air pollution may be pulverizing the alveoli of hundreds of millions of Chinese but it is also making them more equal, more humorous and even more intelligent, state media claimed on Monday. In a controversial and widely mocked comment piece entitled, "Five unexpected gains the haze has brought", a journalist from state television channel CCTV argued that while Chinese people might "hate" the pollution, it was not a "completely useless" phenomenon. For while filthy air was a dangerous "enemy", it was simultaneously bringing "major benefits" including making people more united, more sober, more equal, more humorous and better informed. ...


Everybody knows smog makes you sexier, too.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Dec 9, 2013
from Associated Press:
Environmentalists, unions seek to fix gas leaks
Unions and environmentalists have found one point of agreement in the bitter debate over the natural gas drilling boom: fixing leaky old pipelines that threaten public health and the environment. It's a huge national effort that could cost $82 billion. The leaks are a problem because methane, the primary component of natural gas, is explosive in high concentrations and is also a potent greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming. The Department of Transportation estimates that more than 30,000 miles of decades-old, decaying cast-iron pipe are still being used to deliver gas nationwide. ...


Boy, the cost of duct tape has skyrocketed!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Dec 9, 2013
from New York Times:
Eastern States Press Midwest to Improve Air
In a battle that pits the East Coast against the Midwest over the winds that carry dirty air from coal plants, the governors of eight Northeastern states plan to petition the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday to force tighter air pollution regulations on nine Rust Belt and Appalachian states... governors have long criticized the Appalachian and Rust Belt states, including Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan, for their more lenient rules on pollution from coal-fired power plants, factories and tailpipes -- allowing those economies to profit from cheap energy while their belched soot and smog are carried on the prevailing winds that blow across the United States. ...


We need to build sky fences that go up to the heavens.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Nov 26, 2013
from On Earth:
Generation Toxic
We've known for years that lead seriously impairs early childhood development. Now scientists are finding that our kids' brains are at risk from a barrage of other common chemicals.... Every day, America's pregnant women and young children are exposed to a trifecta of suspected neurotoxicants in the form of pesticides (mostly via food and water but also home, lawn, and farm applications), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAH (mostly via exposure to vehicle exhaust), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers, or PBDEs (flame retardants, mostly in upholstered furniture and electronics). ...


Sounds like a poison party!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Nov 20, 2013
from GreenTech Media:
More Evidence That America May Have Reached "Peak Car"
...According to research from the Public Interest Research Group, young Americans between the ages of 16 and 34 are driving 23 percent less than they did in 2001. All Americans are driving less, but the decline is even steeper for Millennials. In study after study, the trend is stark. But researchers are still trying to figure out whether the decline in driving is due to a post-recession hangover, or caused by structural long-term changes that mean "peak car" has arrived.... "The findings of the present study indicate that the corresponding rates for fuel consumed also reached their maxima during [2003-2004]. Thus, the combined evidence from these three studies indicates that -- per person, per driver, and per household -- we now have fewer light-duty vehicles, we drive each of them less, and we consume less fuel than in the past," concluded Sivak. ...


This is bad news for the proposed car, the "Toyota Peak."

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Wed, Oct 23, 2013
from South China Morning Post:
Life grinds to a halt as dense smog descends on northern Chinese cities
Dense, choking smog blanketed several northern cities yesterday, with visibility in some areas reduced to less than 10 metres. Drivers complained they were unable to see traffic lights. Air pollution in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province, rose above the highest point on the government's index for the second consecutive day. The city was forced to take the unprecedented step of closing kindergartens, primary and middle schools because of the smog. ...


And the children coughed in delight.

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Wed, Oct 23, 2013
from Springfield News-Leader:
Malfunction at power plant spews ash over SW Springfield
A malfunction at City Utilities' John Twitty Energy Center earlier today sent a cloud of ash billowing over the surrounding area. CU said in a news release that a piece of equipment at the power plant "experienced a brief malfunction" that "allowed fly-ash that is normally collected to be released into the atmosphere." "City Utilities has resolved the situation at the power plant and as required, the incident was reported to the proper authorities," the release said. CU said the fly-ash that was released "is not hazardous to people, animals, or vegetation and can be rinsed with water from most surfaces. CU recommends that residents who have vehicles that the ash has landed on to have them washed commercially." ...


Just put your head between your legs and close your eyes and everything will be all right.

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Wed, Oct 23, 2013
from NPR:
15 Years Of Wrangling Over Yellowstone Snowmobiles Ends
The U.S. government Tuesday announced new rules for snowmobiles in Yellowstone that should make the country's oldest national park cleaner and quieter. The rules were 15 years in the making because of intense wrangling between snowmobile operators and environmentalists. But both groups support the plan and give credit to snowmobile makers for designing cleaner machines. Under the new plan, fewer than 51 groups of snowmobiles -- each with up to 10 vehicles -- will be allowed into the park per day, beginning in December 2014. The rule also sets new limits on snow coaches, larger vehicles that bring tourists into Yellowstone. And as of December 2015, snowmobiles will have to pass stringent tests for noise and air pollution before they'll be admitted inside the park. Experts say few existing snowmobiles can pass these tests. ...


They better let me keep bringing my leaf blower to the park.

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Thu, Oct 17, 2013
from Reuters:
UN agency calls outdoor air pollution leading cause of cancer
The air we breathe is laced with cancer-causing substances and should now be classified as carcinogenic to humans, the World Health Organisation's (WHO) cancer agency said on Thursday. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) cited data indicating that in 2010, 223,000 deaths from lung cancer worldwide resulted from air pollution, and said there was also convincing evidence it increases the risk of bladder cancer. ...


Too bad we can't quit the habit of breathing.

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Tue, Oct 15, 2013
from Los Angeles Times:
Nutrient pollution threatens national park ecosystems, study says
National parks from the Sierra Nevada to the Great Smoky Mountains are increasingly being fertilized by unwanted nutrients drifting through the air from agricultural operations, putting some of the country's most treasured natural landscapes at risk of ecological damage, a new study has found. Thirty-eight of 45 national parks examined by scientists are receiving doses of nitrogen at or above a critical threshold that can harm sensitive ecosystems, such as lichens, hardwood forests or tallgrass prairie, scientists found... Scientists looked at nitrogen oxides and ammonia that are released by vehicles, power plants and farms and carried on air currents into national parks, including those in some of the most remote areas of the West. ...


Just so Yellowstone doesn't turn green.

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Tue, Oct 15, 2013
from Associated Press:
High court will review EPA global warming rules
The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to decide whether to block key aspects of the Obama administration's plan aimed at cutting power plant and factory emissions of gases blamed for global warming. The justices said they will review a unanimous federal appeals court ruling that upheld the government's unprecedented regulation of carbon dioxide and five other heat-trapping gases. The question in the case is whether the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate automobile emissions of greenhouses gases as air pollutants, which stemmed from a 2007 Supreme Court ruling, also applies to power plants and factories. ...


Nine robed beings to decide fate of the earth.

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Mon, Oct 7, 2013
from Los Angeles Times:
Study: Honeybees can't smell flowers well amid pollution
When it comes to zeroing in on nectar-rich flowers, worker honeybees rely heavily on their expert sense of smell. But new research suggests pollution from diesel exhaust may fool the honeybee's "nose," making their search for staple flowers all the more difficult. ...


It's not nice to fool Mother Nature.

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Tue, Sep 24, 2013
from EarthWorks, via TruthOut:
Eco-Investigators Say Fracking Air Pollution Is Poisoning Families in Texas
In 2012, the Cernys and other residents filed a total of 30 air quality complaints with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ), but, after the agency failed to provide them with an adequate response, the Cernys reached out to the environmental advocacy group Earthworks. The group's team of investigators, who had already investigated the health impacts of fracking in Pennsylvania, made some startling discoveries. Records requests filed by the investigators revealed that TCEQ field workers had visited facilities emitting pollution near the Cernys' home in 2012 on several occasions, and twice the officials evacuated themselves due to high levels of pollution in the air, according to a report released by Earthworks.... ...


"We can't test there -- it's dangerous!"

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Thu, Sep 19, 2013
from Midwest Energy News:
Report: Social costs, if accounted for, make coal uneconomical
New research from a national environmental group finds that the cost of producing electricity from renewable resources like wind and solar is lower than that of conventional coal-fired generation when factoring for the adverse costs of climate change and human health impacts. That conclusion, derived from analysis on the "social cost of carbon," is at the heart of a study published in the Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences... ...


Clearly these durn tree huggers don't care a whit about keeping the poor healthcare industry alive!

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Wed, Aug 28, 2013
from Xinhua:
Water supplies in eastern U.S. threatened by river alkalinization: study
Researchers from the University of Maryland and other institutions looked at records of alkalinity trends in 97 rivers from the U.S. state of Florida to the state of New Hampshire over the past 25 to 60 years and found that two-thirds of the region's rivers are becoming "significantly more alkaline." Among the rivers impacted are those that provide water for big cities such as Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Atlanta, the researchers said. Increased alkalinity complicates drinking water and wastewater treatment, encourages algae growth, and can hasten the corrosion of metal pipe infrastructure. At high alkalinity levels, ammonia toxicity can also harm irrigated crops and fish in rivers, according to the researchers.... "This is because acid rain, acidic mining waste, and agricultural fertilizers speed the breakdown of limestone, other carbonate rocks, and even concrete and cement," the researchers said in a statement. "The result: alkaline particles are washed off of the landscape and into streams and rivers." ...


Alkaline rivers, acidic seas... see, it's all part of Gaia's plan to balance things out.

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Tue, Aug 13, 2013
from Planet Ark:
Cutting soot and methane may not give hoped-for climate help
A U.S.-led drive to reduce soot and other heat-trapping air pollutants worldwide is less promising than hoped as a new front in the fight against climate change, according to a study published on Monday. Frustrated by failure to agree a broad international deal to limit global warming, about 30 nations have joined the U.S. initiative to limit short-lived air pollutants as a new way to curb temperature rises, protect health and aid crop growth. But the report said that extra measures to reduce such pollutants, led by soot and methane, would cut temperature rises by only 0.16 degree Celsius (0.29 Fahrenheit) by 2050, far less than some estimates that the benefits could be 0.5C (0.9F). ...


Dang. Thought we had a way to avoid cutting fossil fuels, consumption, etc.

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Thu, Jul 18, 2013
from Ensia:
Black Carbon: Golden Opportunity?
Soot is second only to CO2 in creating climate-changing conditions -- and so offers big hope for reducing the threat... We've known for some time that black carbon plays a role in climate change, but such a complicated one that it's difficult to define or quantify. In January of this year, 31 scientists published the results of a four-year collaboration to analyze and synthesize what we know about black carbon's contributions in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres. Their key finding? "We were underestimating warming via black carbon by a factor of two," says Patricia Quinn, an atmospheric chemist who contributed to the study. Black carbon, in other words, is a much more important player in climate change than once thought. In fact, the study found that it is the second largest contributor after carbon dioxide, trapping more heat than methane, which was previously thought to be second. ...


Soot? Are we still living in the age of Dickens?

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Mon, Jul 15, 2013
from Detroit Free Press:
Black pet coke dust blowing onto Detroit homes, state confirms
Since last spring in her Detroit apartment, as she opened the windows from time to time, Arena was encountering something different. "It's a dusty place, but it had never been that thick or dark,” she said. She figured the likeliest source is sitting less than 1,000 feet from her window at the 14th Street Lofts off West Lafayette Boulevard: a large, controversial pile of petroleum coke placed along the Detroit River earlier this year.... The presence of pet coke in homes has some questioning whether state and city officials are doing enough to protect the public from potential impacts resulting from the piles, a by-product of tar sands oil refining that's considered a cheap, if dirty, fuel commodity. ...


Maybe it'll blow over.

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Mon, May 27, 2013
from United States Geological Survey:
Two Volcanoes Erupting in Alaska: Scientists Are Monitoring and Providing Alerts On Pavlof and Cleveland Volcanoes
Two of Alaska's most active volcanoes -- Pavlof and Cleveland -- are currently erupting. At the time of this post, their activity continues at low levels, but energetic explosions could occur without warning.... The United States has approximately 169 active volcanoes, and more than half of them could erupt explosively. When the violent energy of a volcano is unleashed, the results can be catastrophic. Lava flows, debris avalanches, and explosive blasts have devastated communities. Noxious volcanic gas emissions have caused widespread lung problems. Airborne ash clouds from explosive eruptions have caused millions of dollars damage, including causing engines to shut down in flight. ...


The earth is geoengineering itself!

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Tue, May 21, 2013
from Center for Public Integrity:
'Upset' emissions: Flares in the air, worry on the ground
....unplanned emissions -- known in regulatory parlance as "upsets"ť -- are occurring more often than industry admits or government knows, according to more than 50 interviews with regulators, activists, plant representatives, workers and residents, and an analysis of tens of thousands of records by the Center for Public Integrity. For many communities, these upsets have evolved into an invisible menace: They disrupt lives, yet offenders are rarely punished. ...


Whoops! I just had an unplanned emission!

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Mon, May 20, 2013
from GreenTech Media:
How Low Can Utility Emissions Go?
When it comes to emissions, carbon dioxide tends to get the lion's share of the headlines. But there have been large gains in some of the other major emissions of the largest power producers in the U.S., according to a new report from NRDC and major energy companies, Benchmarking Air Emissions. The ninth annual report found that sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOX) are 70 percent and 72 percent lower, respectively, than they were in 1990. Mercury is down 40 percent since 2000, the first year that it was tracked. ...


In the post-Apocalypse we can (gingerly) pat ourselves on our leprosy-infested backs.

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Tue, May 14, 2013
from US Pirg:
New Report: Reduction in Driving Likely to Continue
As the average number of miles driven by Americans heads into its eighth year of decline, a new report from the U.S. PIRG Education Fund finds that the slowdown in driving is likely to continue. Baby Boomers are moving out of the phase in their life when they do the most commuting, while driving-averse Millennials move into that phase. These demographic changes and other factors will likely keep driving down for decades... The Millennial generation is leading the change in transportation trends. 16 to 34-year-olds drove a whopping 23 percent fewer miles on average in 2009 than in 2001" the greatest decline in driving of any age group. ...


Shoot. There goes the resale value on my my Chevrolet Millennial.

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Tue, May 7, 2013
from Greenwire:
EPA to defend its greenhouse gas emission rules tomorrow
U.S. EPA will return to court tomorrow to defend its regulations for fighting climate change from multiple challenges by Texas and industry groups. At issue before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit are two cases that center on EPA's implementation of greenhouse gas air emissions standards under the Clean Air Act after the agency determined the emissions endangered public health. ...


Amazing that the health of the populace needs to be justified in some way.

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Tue, Apr 30, 2013
from Environmental Health News:
Chemicals on federal radar pervasive in Chicago air
On the brink of federal regulatory review, chemicals in deodorants, lotions and conditioners are showing up in Chicago's air at levels that scientists call alarming. The airborne compounds -- cyclic siloxanes -- are traveling to places as far as the Arctic, and can be toxic to aquatic life. "These chemicals are just everywhere,"ť said Keri Hornbuckle, an engineering professor at the University of Iowa... But whether there are any risks from breathing the chemicals is unknown. There have been no studies to measure people's exposures or investigate potential health risks. ...


Cyclic Siloxanes is my new band's name!

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Wed, Apr 24, 2013
from Washington Post:
Why aren't younger Americans driving anymore?
Ever since the recession hit in late 2007, Americans have been driving less and less. Was that because of the horrible economy? To some extent, perhaps. But it's striking that Americans are still cutting back on driving even though the economy is growing again.... another huge part of the story is that young Americans are driving much, much less. Between 2001 and 2009, the average yearly number of miles driven by 16- to 34-year-olds dropped a staggering 23 percent. The Frontier Group has the most comprehensive look yet of why younger Americans are opting out of driving. Public transportation use is up 40 percent per capita in this age group since 2001. Bicycling is up 24 percent overall in that time period. And this is true even for young Americans who are financially well off. ...


Why drive when you have a smart phone that goes everywhere.

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Tue, Apr 23, 2013
from New York Times:
In China, Breathing Becomes a Childhood Risk
... Levels of deadly pollutants up to 40 times the recommended exposure limit in Beijing and other cities have struck fear into parents and led them to take steps that are radically altering the nature of urban life for their children. Parents are confining sons and daughters to their homes, even if it means keeping them away from friends. Schools are canceling outdoor activities and field trips. Parents with means are choosing schools based on air-filtration systems, and some international schools have built gigantic, futuristic-looking domes over sports fields to ensure healthy breathing. ...


China: The Asphyxiated Giant.

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Thu, Mar 7, 2013
from Environmental Defense Fund:
Study Intends To Determine Methane Leakage Associated With A Growing Natural Gas Transportation Sector
In a paper published last year, EDF scientists and other leading researchers examined the impact of potential fugitive emissions on the climate benefits of a switch from diesel to natural gas heavy-duty trucks. The study found that, according to the best available data, methane leak rates would need to be below 1 percent of gas produced in order to ensure that switching from diesel to natural gas produces climate benefits at all points in time. They also found that - using the EPA leakage rate estimates at that time - converting a fleet of heavy duty diesel vehicles to natural gas would result in increased climate warming for more than 250 years before any climate benefits were achieved. EDF is working with leading researchers and companies in a series of studies designed to better understand and characterize the methane leak rate across the natural gas supply chain. The studies will take direct measurements at various points across the production, gathering and processing, long distance transmission and storage, local distribution, and transportation. The first study, led by researchers at the University of Texas, is measuring emissions from natural gas production. Results will be released in the coming months. ...


I'm from the energy industry, and I'm here to help you.

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Thu, Feb 21, 2013
from London Guardian:
Halve meat consumption, scientists urge rich world
People in the rich world should become "demitarians" -- eating half as much meat as usual, while stopping short of giving it up -- in order to avoid severe environmental damage, scientists have urged, in the clearest picture yet of how farming practices are destroying the natural world.... The quest for ever cheaper meat in the past few decades -- most people even in rich countries ate significantly less meat one and two generations ago -- has resulted in a massive expansion of intensively farmed livestock. This has diverted vast quantities of grain from human to animal consumption, requiring intensive use of fertilisers, pesticides and herbicides and, according to the Unep report, "caused a web of water and air pollution that is damaging human health". The run-off from these chemicals is creating dead zones in the seas, causing toxic algal blooms and killing fish, while some are threatening bees, amphibians and sensitive ecosystems. ...


All I did was order a cheeseburger!

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Tue, Jan 29, 2013
from Reuters:
Beijing shuts factories, removes cars, but pollution stays high
Beijing temporarily shut down 103 heavily polluting factories and took 30 percent of government vehicles off roads to combat dangerously high air pollution, state media reported on Tuesday, but the capital's air remained hazardous despite the measures. Air quality in Beijing has mostly stayed above "very unhealthy" and "hazardous" levels for about two weeks. On Tuesday, it hit 517 on an index maintained by the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, which described the pollution as "Beyond Index". ...


I am beyond caring.

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Wed, Jan 23, 2013
from Associated Press:
Indy utility plans $511M in power plant upgrades
An Indiana power company plans to spend more than a half-billion dollars to reduce its mercury emissions to comply with new federal regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency. Indianapolis Power & Light Co. said Tuesday the $511 million in upgrades at plants in Indianapolis and in Petersburg in southwestern Indiana are part of its effort to meet EPA rules designed to curb toxic emissions from oil- and coal-fired power plants, which are the largest remaining sources of manmade mercury in the environment. The EPA rules are expected to be fully implemented by 2016. ...


Death by mercury might be more merciful than death by fossil-fuel fueled climate chaos.

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Tue, Jan 22, 2013
from NPR:
Under A Cloud Of Austerity, Real Smoke Clouds Greece As Well
In this winter of austerity and Depression-era unemployment, a fog of woodsmoke hangs over the Greek capital on cold nights. It's coming from the tens of thousands of fireplaces and wood-burning stoves Athenians are using to heat their homes. Most can no longer afford heating oil, the price of which has risen 40 percent since last year. The government also cut a fuel subsidy for low-income families earlier this month. Some Greeks buy cheap firewood; others used their discarded Christmas trees as kindling. The most desperate are burning old furniture and raiding protected forests. Someone even hacked away the remains of a 3,000-year-old olive tree where Plato is said to have taught. ...


This all sounds positively post-Apocalyptic!

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Tue, Jan 15, 2013
from The Times of India:
Thought Beijing air was bad? Delhi's no better
Beijing's air pollution made international news over the weekend when fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in the city air rose to an 'out-of-index' level of 755 mg/cu m. Pictures showed Beijing residents wearing masks amid advisories that they should stay indoors. Meanwhile, it was business as usual in Delhi on Monday when despite a clear windy day, the PM2.5 levels ranged from 130 to 565 mg/cu m. According to World Health Organization, the safe level of PM2.5 is 20 mg/cu m. The Indian standard for this pollutant -- that can cause respiratory illnesses and worsen heart ailments -- is 60 mg/cu m. On Monday, the highest value of 565 mg/cu m -- considered very hazardous -- was recorded at R K Puram for about two hours. ...


So. Beijing still "wins."

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Mon, Jan 14, 2013
from New York Times:
On Scale of 0 to 500, Beijing's Air Quality Tops 'Crazy Bad' at 755
That day the Air Quality Index, which uses standards set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, had crept above 500, which was supposed to be the top of the scale. So what phrase ["Crazy bad"] is appropriate to describe Saturday's jaw-dropping reading of 755 at 8 p.m., when all of Beijing looked like an airport smokers' lounge? Though an embassy spokesman said he did not immediately have comparative data, Beijing residents who follow the Twitter feed said the Saturday numbers appeared to be the highest recorded since the embassy began its monitoring system in 2008. ...


I just want one more, before it's too late.

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Tue, Jan 1, 2013
from Inter Press Service:
Bicycles No Longer Mere Recreation in Argentine Capital
A programme launched in Buenos Aires three years ago to encourage the use of bicycles has already brought results: the use of this environment-friendly means of transport has increased fivefold in the Argentine capital. ...


Good for the air, too.

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Mon, Dec 31, 2012
from St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
One in five kids in parts of St. Louis area struggles with asthma
...Nationwide, about 1 in 10 children has asthma. But in some of the poorest areas in north St. Louis and St. Louis County, a staggering 1 in 5 has the chronic disease, recent studies have found. Asthma is a lung disease that causes episodes of breathing difficulty. But most people can live symptom-free if they receive medical care, use medications properly and limit triggers in their environment. Yet four children under age 15 died from asthma in the city and county in 2009 and 2010, the latest numbers available. ...


Poverty is suffocating.

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Wed, Dec 26, 2012
from Environmental Health News:
Components of air pollution may increase the risk of stillbirth
Pregnant women exposed to higher levels of air pollution had a small increase in risk of stillbirth as compared to pregnant women exposed to lower levels of air pollution, found a study from New Jersey. Some of the air pollution components appeared to be more important risk factors early in pregnancy and some of the components appeared to be more important risk factors later in pregnancy. This study contributes to a small number of studies looking at air pollution and stillbirth, although not all studies have observed similar adverse associations. In the United States, about 1 in 160 pregnancies (26,000 per year) ends in stillbirth, defined as fetal death after the 20th week of gestation. Rates of stillbirth are higher in the United States than in many other developed countries. ...


Stillbirth ... stillbereft

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Wed, Dec 26, 2012
from China Daily:
Beijing continues to scrap polluting cars
The capital's initiative to rid the city of polluting vehicles has taken 458,000 old cars off the road, and the government is providing more benefits to local motorists to encourage them to scrap aging vehicles. "The campaign has not only boosted the local car market to some extent, which had been stagnant, but has also substantially improved the capital's air quality," Li Kunsheng, director of the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau's department of motor vehicles, said at a news conference on Tuesday. ...


Sometimes, a dictatorship is a good thing.

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Wed, Dec 19, 2012
from E&E Daily:
Agencies paralyzed by fiscal cliff, endless succession of CRs
So far this year, U.S. EPA has frozen hiring, delayed contracts and sharply curtailed travel, all to deal with the uncertainty of its future budget. It's not only the so-called fiscal cliff -- with its scheduled across-the-board budget cuts -- that has hampered EPA's operations. Instead, it is an action that has become so routine in recent years that all federal agencies have become experts in handling it: the continuing resolution. And this year, lawmakers seem likely to take it a step further, passing a CR for the entire fiscal year, thanks to fiscal cliff negotiations and a slew of other priorities that have moved the budget to the back burner. ...


Environmental Paralyzed Agency

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Tue, Dec 18, 2012
from London Guardian:
Pollution from car emissions killing millions in China and India
An explosion of car use has made fast-growing Asian cities the epicentre of global air pollution and become, along with obesity, the world's fastest growing cause of death according to a major study of global diseases. In 2010, more than 2.1m people in Asia died prematurely from air pollution, mostly from the minute particles of diesel soot and gasses emitted from cars and lorries. Other causes of air pollution include construction and industry. Of these deaths, says the study published in The Lancet, 1.2 million were in east Asia and China, and 712,000 in south Asia, including India. ...


Eat my exhaust.

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Tue, Nov 20, 2012
from Climate Central:
CO2 Hits New High; World Could Warm 7 degrees F by 2060
The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere reached a record 390.9 parts per million (ppm) in 2011, according to a report released Tuesday by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). That's a 40 percent increase over levels in 1750, before humans began burning fossil fuels in earnest. Although CO2 is still the most significant long-lived greenhouse gas, levels of other heat-trapping gases have also climbed to record levels, according to the report. Methane, for example hit 1813 parts per billion (ppb) in 2011, and nitrous oxide rose to 324.2 ppb. All told, the amount of excess heat prevented from escaping into outer space was 30 percent higher in 2011 than it was as recently as 1990. ...


Humans: born to outdo ourselves even if it kills us!

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Mon, Nov 19, 2012
from Environmental Health News:
Slowing cargo ships cuts pollution near ports by more than half, study finds.
Slowing cargo vessels near coastlines by 10 to 15 miles per hour could dramatically cut ships' air pollution, according to a new study. But only a few U.S. ports have initiated such efforts. A speed limit of 14 mph, down from the current cruising speeds of 25 to 29 mph, would cut nitrogen oxides -- a main ingredient of smog -- by 55 percent and soot by almost 70 percent. It also would reduce carbon dioxide -- a potent greenhouse gas and key contributor to climate change -- by 60 percent. With 100,000 ships carrying 90 percent of the world's cargo, air pollution is a heavy burden for people living near ports, so slowing ships could improve their health, researchers say. ...


Are you suggesting my crap not get to me in a timely manner??

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Tue, Nov 13, 2012
from The Telegraph:
'Old bangers' and classic cars to be banned from Paris
Under proposals presented to the city council on Monday, Socialist mayor Bertrand Delanoa intends to outlaw by September 2014 the use of cars and utility vehicles more than 17 years old and lorries or buses more than 18 years old... Philippe Goujon, head of the Right-wing opposition UMP federation in the Paris council criticised the move as "anti-social, anti-surbuban and anti-motorist." ...


I'm good with two out of three.

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Tue, Oct 9, 2012
from Reuters:
More US coal plants to retire due to green rules: study
More U.S. coal-fired power plants could retire due to environmental regulations and weaker-than-expected electric demand, costing the industry up to $144 billion, economists at consultancy Brattle Group said. In a new study, Brattle's economists forecast 59,000 to 77,000 megawatts (MW) of coal plant capacity would likely retire over the next five years. That was about 25,000 MW more than the firm had estimated in 2010, Brattle said in a release. There is about 317,000 MW of coal-fired capacity now in the United States. ...


The golf courses are going to be full!

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Tue, Sep 25, 2012
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Criminal investigation at Chevron refinery for Detoured Pollutants
Federal authorities have opened a criminal investigation of Chevron after discovering that the company detoured pollutants around monitoring equipment at its Richmond refinery for four years and burned them off into the atmosphere, in possible violation of a federal court order, The Chronicle has learned. Air quality officials say Chevron fashioned a pipe inside its refinery that routed hydrocarbon gases around monitoring equipment and allowed them to be burned off without officials knowing about it. Some of the gases escaped into the air, but because the company didn't record them, investigators have no way of being certain of the level of pollution exposure to thousands of people who live downwind from the plant.... "They were routing gas through that pipe to the flare that they were not monitoring," said Jack Broadbent.... ...


That's the beauty of self-policing!

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Mon, Sep 24, 2012
from Reuters:
Breathing European air shortens lives -report
Microscopic particles, among the most harmful forms of air pollution, are still found at dangerous levels in Europe, although law has cut some toxins from exhaust fumes and chimneys, a European Environmental Agency (EEA) report said. On average, air pollution is cutting human lives by roughly eight months and by about two years in the worst affected regions, such as industrial parts of eastern Europe, because it causes diseases such as lung cancer and cardiovascular problems. ...


I've always wanted to die in Paris.

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Mon, Sep 24, 2012
from New York Times:
Power, Pollution and the Internet
... Most data centers, by design, consume vast amounts of energy in an incongruously wasteful manner, interviews and documents show. Online companies typically run their facilities at maximum capacity around the clock, whatever the demand. As a result, data centers can waste 90 percent or more of the electricity they pull off the grid, The Times found. To guard against a power failure, they further rely on banks of generators that emit diesel exhaust. The pollution from data centers has increasingly been cited by the authorities for violating clean air regulations, documents show. In Silicon Valley, many data centers appear on the state government's Toxic Air Contaminant Inventory, a roster of the area's top stationary diesel polluters. Worldwide, the digital warehouses use about 30 billion watts of electricity, roughly equivalent to the output of 30 nuclear power plants ... ...


Mea culpa... I read this story online -- d'oh! and so did you!

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Wed, Sep 5, 2012
from New York Times:
A Chinese City Moves to Limit New Cars
It is as startling as if Detroit or Los Angeles restricted car ownership. The municipal government of Guangzhou, a sprawling metropolis that is one of China's biggest auto manufacturing centers, introduced license plate auctions and lotteries last week that will roughly halve the number of new cars on the streets. The crackdown by China's third-largest city is the most restrictive in a series of moves by big Chinese cities that are putting quality-of-life issues ahead of short-term economic growth, something the central government has struggled to do on a national scale. ...


Don't you ever guangzhou my car!

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Tue, Aug 28, 2012
from Shanghai Daily:
City plans to phase out dirty old clunkers
SHANGHAI will gradually limit and finally eliminate use of heavily polluting vehicles starting next month to reduce air contaminants. The owners will get subsidies from the government... The vehicles, mostly older models that do not meet national emission requirements, are easily identifiable by a yellow sticker on the window. There are 230,000 such vehicles registered in Shanghai, about 12 percent of total vehicles with local plates, according to environmental protection authorities. But they contribute more than half of all vehicle emissions, said officials. The vehicles usually emit five to 10 times more than others.... The city is expected to get rid of 200,000 high-pollution vehicles by the end of 2015. ...


You might say these clunkers are about to be Shanghaied.

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Wed, Aug 22, 2012
from Guardian:
US court overturns coal pollution ruling
A US appeals court overturned a key Obama administration rule to reduce harmful emissions from coal-fired power plants on Tuesday. The Columbia district circuit appeals court said in a 2-1 decision that the Environmental Protection Agency had exceeded its mandate with the rule, which was to limit sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from power plants in 28 mostly eastern states and Texas.... The decision was cheered by Republicans who have made the EPA and President Barack Obama's environmental policies a major campaign issue ahead of November elections. The agency is risking a fragile economic recovery by saddling US industries with costly new rules, Republicans say. "The Obama-EPA continues to demonstrate that it will stop at nothing in its determination to kill coal," said Republican senator James Inhofe, one of the most vocal EPA opponents in the US Senate. ...


Mandate exceeded. Do not pass "Go." Do not collect environmental protection.

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Mon, Jul 16, 2012
from London Guardian:
Olympic athletes could be impaired by London pollution, experts warn
Olympic runners, cyclists, swimmers and even sailors arriving in London on Monday could be taken ill or see their performances impaired by air pollution, health experts have warned. According to Keith Prowse, respiratory consultant and medical adviser to the British Lung Foundation, a summer smog like any of the five already experienced this year in the capital could lead to some athletes needing medication and experiencing chest pains, sore throats and shortness of breath. ...


No medals for these wussies!

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Tue, Jun 12, 2012
from Agence France-Press:
China's Wuhan city covered in mysterious haze
Young and old residents of the Chinese metropolis of Wuhan were advised to stay indoors on Monday after a thick haze blanketed the city of nine million people, official media said. Described by residents as opaque with yellowish and greenish tinges, the fug descended suddenly in the morning, prompting people to rush to put on face masks, witnesses told AFP. The official Xinhua news agency quoted the environmental protection department of Hubei province saying in a statement: "Children, the elderly and people with heart or respiratory diseases are advised to stay indoors." ...


Undoubtedly, that thick haze is repressive Communism.

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Tue, Jun 12, 2012
from Associated Press:
WHO's cancer agency reclassifies diesel fumes as carcinogenic, same as arsenic, UV rays
Diesel exhaust causes cancer, the World Health Organization's cancer agency declared Tuesday, a ruling it said could make exhaust as important a public health threat as secondhand smoke. The risk of getting cancer from diesel fumes is small, but since so many people breathe in the fumes in some way, the science panel said raising the status of diesel exhaust to carcinogen from "probable carcinogen" was an important shift. ...


It's like changing the status of "death" to "certain death."

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Tue, Jun 5, 2012
from Associated Press:
China Tells US to Stop Reporting Beijing's Bad Air
China told foreign embassies Tuesday to stop publishing their own reports on air quality in the country, escalating its objections to a popular U.S. Embassy Twitter feed that tracks pollution in smoggy Beijing. Only the Chinese government is authorized to monitor and publish air quality information and data from other sources may not be standardized or rigorous, Wu Xiaoqing, a vice environmental minister, told reporters ...


Data from other sources might be too truthful.

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Tue, May 29, 2012
from Associated Press:
Sequoia National Park: Worst air pollution
On a clear day, the view from Beetle Rock in Sequoia National Park extends west for 105 miles across the patchwork of crops in California's agricultural heartland to the Coast Mountains and the Pacific Ocean beyond. The problem is there are few clear days, even at 6,200 feet. The Sierra Nevada forest that is home to the biggest living things on earth - the giant Sequoia redwoods - also suffers a dubious distinction. It has the worst air pollution of any national park in the country. Mountaintops that should offer awe-inspiring views of California's geologic grandeur often are muddled by a disorienting gray soup of smog. ...


Ranger Mung has lost his lung.

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Wed, May 16, 2012
from University of California - Riverside:
Humanmade Pollutants May Be Driving Earth's Tropical Belt Expansion: May Impact Large-Scale Atmospheric Circulation
Black carbon aerosols and tropospheric ozone, both humanmade pollutants emitted predominantly in the Northern Hemisphere's low- to mid-latitudes, are most likely pushing the boundary of the tropics further poleward in that hemisphere, new research by a team of scientists shows... the researchers are the first to report that black carbon and tropospheric ozone are the most likely primary drivers of the tropical expansion observed in the Northern Hemisphere... "The question to ask is how far must the tropics expand before we start to implement policies to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases, tropospheric ozone and black carbon that are driving the tropical expansion?" said Allen, who joined UCR in 2011. ...


Tropical belt growing bigger -- just like my own midsection.

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Tue, May 8, 2012
from Huffington Post:
Air Pollution, Asthma Burden Unevenly Shared Among U.S. Children
...Disadvantaged kids not only breathe disproportionate amounts bad air, but they also can be more vulnerable to the ill effects of that bad air. As The Huffington Post reported in March, asthma is likely the most notorious of these ailments. Nearly one in four Hispanic and Puerto Rican kids living in poverty in the U.S. has been diagnosed with the condition that can cause wheezing, coughing, breathlessness and chest tightness, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That compares with about one in 13 middle-class or wealthy white children. (The agency also reports similar disparities in exposures to air pollution.)... Just why lower income families more commonly reside in places with dirty air is not clear... ...


Part of the trickle-down effect, is my guess.

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Fri, Apr 20, 2012
from USAToday:
EPA issues air pollution rules for fracking wells
Federal regulators issued first-ever air pollution rules for "fracking" wells on Wednesday, requiring that drillers burn or capture the gas and its smog-producing compounds released when the wells are first tapped. Going into effect in 60 days, the rules cover the period when a well is first drilled when natural gas is still venting but before it begins actual production. In a compromise with the industry, regulators said the drillers can flare, or burn off, the gas for now, a process that can last for weeks. But starting in 2015 they would lose that option. Instead, they'll be required to collect it -- so-called green completion of new fracking wells. "We wanted to encourage 'green completions' as soon as the technology can become widely available," McCarthy said, explaining the 2015 "phase-in" of the rules. The announcement came in response to a lawsuit involving the Clean Air Act. EPA estimates the rules will cut 95 percent of the smog-related chemicals released by fracking wells, ones linked to asthma, respiratory ailments and cancer. ...


Something still stinks around here.

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Wed, Apr 18, 2012
from London Daily Mail:
Prenatal exposure to inner-city air pollution is linked to childhood obesity, claims study
A study of pregnant women and their children in New York City has provided clinical evidence that links environmental pollution with childhood obesity. The most up-to-date statistics show that 17 per cent of children in the U.S. are obese, and that figure rises to 25 per cent in built-up, inner-city neighborhoods. While poor diet and lack of exercise are still the major contributors to the national epidemic, this new evidence suggest that air pollution can play a role. Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health conducted the study of expecting mothers in New York, and found that those exposed to higher concentrations of airborne chemicals were more than twice as likely to have children who were obese by the age of seven. ...


That's just bad mothering.

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Thu, Mar 22, 2012
from Truthout:
About That Dimock Fracking Study: Actually, Result Summaries Show Methane and Hazardous Chemicals
Claire Sandberg, in an interview with Christine Shearer:
The industry likes to state that their number one safety precaution is thousands of layers of impermeable rock and that essentially there is no possible way for the methane to get into the ground water. And we know that the available science conclusively debunks that. The only peer-reviewed study that has been done on groundwater contamination from fracking has found that it occurs a majority of the time, so there is something really wrong here if methane is getting into the groundwater a majority of the time, often at explosive levels of methane. At the same time, the industry does have a point that a lot of the contamination is not from the actual fracking itself - the process where you are injecting chemicals deep into the ground. A lot of the contamination is just from drilling and I think a lot of people are discovering - and this is part of our message with Water Defense - that the risks to water and health are just endemic to drilling and to fossil fuels and it is not specific to fracking. In general, this is the way these companies operate; it is how they have operated around the world, it's "pump and dump." The difference now is that, for the first time, the impacts of fuel extraction are literally in millions of Americans' backyards. And increasingly, it is extreme fossil fuels, more devastating kinds of extraction as we run out of the easier-to-access sources of fossil fuels, but ultimately these problems are inherent to fossil fuels. We need to move to a renewable energy economy. ...


OMG! This could mean turning away from our comfortably suicidal course!

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Thu, Mar 22, 2012
from ABC News:
Prenatal Pollutants Linked to Later Behavioral Ills
Inner-city women who breathe powerful airborne pollutants called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons while pregnant are more likely to have children who develop behavioral problems by the time they reach school age, researchers report. The findings bolster what's known about the influence of prenatal conditions on later health. In recent years, scientists have found that in utero exposure to a host of toxins including pesticides, outdoor air pollutantss, secondhand tobacco smoke and prescription drugs influence a child's susceptibility to many conditions for years to come. ...


Prenatal pollutants? I'm preconcerned about this!

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Wed, Mar 21, 2012
from Politico:
Greens see politics in EPA rule delays
The Environmental Protection Agency's silence on a slew of pending rulemakings is worrying some supporters, who fear the regulations will remain trapped in the White House when an election-year window for new announcements slams shut. Administrators have repeatedly assured interest groups and lawmakers that the EPA is preparing to release numerous proposed and final rules for greenhouse gases, coal ash, sulfur in gasoline and particulate matter. But in reality, few are moving, and announced deadlines are passing. And as the presidential election season hits full tilt, gasoline prices rise and the summer driving season approaches, it becomes less politically advantageous for the Obama administration to move on many regulations -- especially with the race focusing increasingly on energy. ...


Environmental Procrastination Agency

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Wed, Mar 21, 2012
from Reuters:
Smoking deaths triple over decade: tobacco report
Tobacco-related deaths have nearly tripled in the past decade and big tobacco firms are undermining public efforts that could save millions, a report led by the health campaign group the World Lung Foundation (WLF) said on Wednesday. In the report, marking the tenth anniversary of its first Tobacco Atlas, the WLF and the American Cancer Society said if current trends continue, a billion people will die from tobacco use and exposure this century - one person every six seconds. ...


That's one way to reduce population!

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Tue, Mar 20, 2012
from Wits End:
A Hike Through Hell - The Union of Concerned Scientists Exposes "Pernicious" Corruption...and Nobody Notices
A stunning visual and intellectual meander through a dying forest. Heard of ground-level ozone? Nope, but you are breathing it, just as all the trees and plants are... and suffering for it. Gail at Wit's End tirelessly, artfully, and personally documents what ozone is doing to our forests and trees. Read it, weep, and then read more of her stuff. She's a treasure. ...


O, zone.

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Mon, Mar 5, 2012
from Reuters:
China's missed pollution goals show failure to change -NDRC
China's continuing reliance on heavy industry meant it failed to meet its own targets for cleaning its air and water in 2011, the head of the top planning agency told journalists on Monday. China, which is increasingly dependent on imported energy and suffers from soil, water and air pollution that is damaging public health, wants to use energy more efficiently, and cut emissions. But it missed about half the targets set by Beijing for 2011, including energy intensity, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions, and a measure of water pollution. ...


Nobody's perfect!

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Tue, Feb 28, 2012
from Forbes:
Economist: Clean Air Regs Cost U.S. $21 Billion A Year But Produce $100 Billion In Benefits
Clean air regulations cost the United States about $21 billion per year in lost productivity, a University of Chicago economist said this afternoon. But the benefits of environmental regulation --improved health, reduced infant mortality, increased property values--are typically estimated at more than $100 billion, said Chad Syverson, professor of economics at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. "It looks like -- you've got $21 billion on this side, $100-something billion over here --the scale is actually suggesting that the marginal benefit of regulation is quite a bit bigger than the marginal cost, at least over the sample," Syverson told about 40 people gathered in a campus lecture hall. ...


Who's gonna believe that liberal rag, Forbes?

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Tue, Feb 14, 2012
from Reuters:
Air pollution tied to stroke, memory loss
Living in a crowded city or near a busy highway may be tied to a higher chance of having a stroke or losing your memory, new research suggests. A study published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine found a higher risk of stroke after "moderate" compared to "good" air quality days in Boston-area residents, especially when traffic-related pollution was high. ...


Imagine the impact when the air quality is at "sucks" level.

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Mon, Feb 6, 2012
from Center for Public Integrity:
Landmark diesel exhaust study stalled amid industry and congressional objections
Publication of a landmark government study probing whether diesel engine exhaust causes lung cancer in miners -- already 20 years in the making -- has been delayed by industry and congressional insistence on seeing study data and documents before the public does. A federal judge has affirmed the right of an industry group and a House committee to review the materials and has held the Department of Health and Human Services in contempt for not producing all of them. ...


This study is stalled... hopefully with the engine turned off!

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Wed, Feb 1, 2012
from Australia ABC News:
Learn from climate history: epidemiologist
The decline of the Mayan empire; the Black Death and the Great Famine in medieval Europe and the collapse of the Ming Dynasty; what's the link? The ANU's Professor Tony McMichael says it's climate change. He argues that whether the temperature goes up or down, or it rains less or more, civilisation is threatened thanks to reduced food production, more disease, wars and displacement. The professor of population health at the ANU's Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health has looked at the climate record going back 7,000 years. ...


He's more like an epidoomiologist.

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Wed, Feb 1, 2012
from New York Times:
India's Air the World's Unhealthiest, Study Says
India's has the worst air pollution in the entire world, beating China, Pakistan, Nepal and Bangladesh, according to a study released during this year's World Economic Forum in Davos. Of 132 countries whose environments were surveyed, India ranks dead last in the 'Air (effects on human health)' ranking. The annual study, the Environmental Performance Index, is conducted and written by environmental research centers at Yale and Columbia universities with assistance from dozens of outside scientists. The study uses satellite data to measure air pollution concentrations. ...


Indiaaaack!

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Mon, Jan 30, 2012
from Wit:
Dead Trees, Dying Forests
Since the mid-20th century, scientific research has demonstrated conclusively that tropospheric ozone is toxic to vegetation, entering plants through stomates in foliage and needles as they absorb CO2 to photosynthesize. Naturally occurring stratospheric ozone is beneficial, it protects the earth's surface from too much solar radiation. By contrast ground-level ozone is formed through complex chemical reactions when volatile organic compounds react with precursors from burning fuel, reactive nitrogen from agriculture, and methane in the presence of UV radiation from the sun...and it's poisonous to all forms of life.... That trees are dying is empirically verifiable by a cursory inventory. The photos here and on the blog exhibit characteristic symptoms readily located in any woods, suburban yard, park or mall; and include stippled, singed foliage with marginal burn (on the edges) and chlorosis - a loss of normal pigmentation from reduced photosynthesis producing chlorophyll; yellowing coniferous needles; thinning, transparent crowns; cracking, splitting, corroded, oozing and stained bark; early leaf senescence; loss of autumn radiance; holes; cankers; absence of terminal growth; breaking branches; rampant lichen growth and ultimately, death. ...


If a forest dies and nobody screams, does it make a sound?

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Tue, Jan 17, 2012
from London Guardian:
NGOs upbeat over China's environmental transparency progress
Green activists applauded steady progress on environmental transparency in China after public campaigns forced major players, including Apple and the Beijing government, to release sensitive information on pollution and its origins. A survey on openness and accountability released Monday showed that, while the overall situation remains poor, an increasingly informed public is putting greater pressure on companies and local authorities to clean up. The upbeat assessment was made in the third annual report on Pollution Information Transparency by Chinese NGOs and the US-based Natural Resources Defence Council, just days after two major steps in the campaign to improve environmental transparency in China. ...


You know you're in trouble when you can be "upbeat" about a situation that "remains poor."

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Mon, Jan 16, 2012
from London Daily Mail:
Captured by Nasa space satellite: Thick blanket of pollution covering much of China
An image showing the shocking extent of pollution in China has been released by the space agency Nasa. The image was taken on January 10 and captures a haze taking over most of the North China Plain. Visibility on the day was down to just over 200 yards and the airport in Beijing had to cancel 43 flights with a further 80 take-offs being delayed. ...


The Chinese are smoking way too much pot.

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Mon, Jan 9, 2012
from Reuters:
Hong Kong air pollution at worst levels ever: report
Air pollution levels in Hong Kong were the worst ever last year, the South China Morning Post reported on Monday, a finding that may further undermine the city's role as an Asian financial centre as business executives relocate because of health concerns. Worsening air quality in Hong Kong caused by vehicle emissions and industrial pollution from the neighboring Pearl River Delta is already forcing many in the financial community to move to Singapore. ...


I'm going to take my polluting business and go pollute elsewhere!

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Tue, Jan 3, 2012
from Baltimore Sun:
Bay group says cleanup to create more than 230,000 jobs
Federal regulations intended to clean the Chesapeake Bay will create hundreds of thousands of jobs in construction and monitoring, according to a report to be released Tuesday by a leading environmental group. Spending on sewage and storm-water treatment alone could support about 230,000 jobs in the region over the next 14 years, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation report found. That spending will be necessary to meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requirements to reduce pollution in the bay.... "Clean air and clean water creates jobs," said William C. Baker, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation's president, who said the argument that environmental regulations add to joblessness is "nothing less than absurd." ...


Creates jobs... and tastes good, too!

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Fri, Dec 23, 2011
from Wall Street Journal:
The Coal Age Is Nearer to Its End
After burning coal to light up Cincinnati for six decades, the Walter C. Beckjord Generating Station will go dark soon -- a fate that will be shared by dozens of aging coal-fired power plants across the U.S. in coming years. Their owners cite a raft of new air-pollution regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency, including a rule released Wednesday that limits mercury and other emissions, for the shut-downs. But energy experts say there is an even bigger reason coal plants are losing out: cheap and abundant natural gas, which is booming thanks to a surge in production from shale-rock formations... ...


RIP: Rest In Particulates

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Tue, Dec 20, 2011
from Associated Press:
Thousands of residents protest Chinese town's planned coal power plant, clash with police
Thousands of people besieged a government office in a southern Chinese town Tuesday and blocked a highway to demand a halt to a planned coal-fired power plant because of concerns about pollution, protesters said. Riot police used tear gas in an attempt to disperse the protesters at the highway in the town of Haimen in Guangdong province, and the demonstrators hurled rocks, water bottles and bricks in return... ...


In the US, only the cancellation of a beloved TV show would engender such protest.

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Tue, Dec 13, 2011
from CBS News:
Pollution from China alters weather in U.S. West
A U.N. conference on climate change ended Sunday without a major deal to cut toxic emissions. No country emits more carbon dioxide than China -- a byproduct of its booming economy. And, as CBS News correspondent John Blackstone reports, those Chinese emissions are having a big impact in the U.S. Chinese officials insist the murky air over Beijing this month is just fog. But measurements taken at the U.S. embassy there show dangerously high levels of air pollution -- so bad that traffic has been disrupted and flights have been delayed or cancelled. "It's no longer just their problem; it's our problem," said Kim Prather of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Prather studies atmospheric chemistry. CBS News met her at a scientific conference in San Francisco, where she was presenting research that shows what's in the air over China can affect the weather in America. ...


Sheesh, you'd think, given our flat earth, that pollution would just fall off into space.

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Wed, Dec 7, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
Chinese angry over pollution
Millions of Chinese went online on Tuesday to vent their anger over the thick smog that has blanketed Beijing in recent days, raising health fears and causing hundreds of flights to be cancelled. Sales of facemasks were reported to have surged as residents of China's heavily polluted capital sought to protect themselves from the air, which US embassy figures ranked "very unhealthy". Beijing's main airport cancelled hundreds of flight due to the poor visibility on Sunday and Monday, angering passengers at the world's second-busiest airport. ...


In cyberspace no one can hear you scream.

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Mon, Nov 21, 2011
from New York Times:
New Delhi, Now More Polluted Than Beijing
India has recently pulled far ahead of China on one dubious development marker -- air pollution in the country's capital. The air quality in New Delhi on Monday afternoon was significantly worse than the air quality in Beijing, according to real-time air monitors run by the Indian and U.S. governments in both cities. New Delhi, a landlocked, fast-growing metropolis of more than 16 million people, is regularly shrouded by haze and smog (sometimes euphemistically referred to as fog) in winter months, as barometric pressure and cooler air mix with construction dust, smoke from cow dung fires and car exhaust, which then hover over the city for days. ...


This charming elixir of dust, exhaust and cow dung smoke is a real tourism draw.

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Mon, Nov 14, 2011
from Science News:
Dirty air fosters precipitation extremes
Even clouds can suffer from inhaling air pollution, a new study finds, resulting in extreme rainfall patterns that appear to be altering climate across the globe. Farmers, municipal water authorities and others who depend on rainfall prefer moderate, dependable precipitation. But as soot and other minute airborne particles -- a class of pollutants known as aerosols -- get sucked into clouds, the pollution can dramatically alter when clouds deposit rain. The discovery emerged from analyzing every one of thousands of clouds passing over federal monitoring instruments at a site in the western United States over a 10-year period.... The study also reveals unprecedented magnitudes of impacts, says coauthor Daniel Rosenfeld of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. ...


Somebody get those poor clouds some protection!

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Tue, Nov 8, 2011
from Wall Street Journal:
The Hidden Toll of Traffic Jams
Congested cities are fast becoming test tubes for scientists studying the impact of traffic fumes on the brain. As roadways choke on traffic, researchers suspect that the tailpipe exhaust from cars and trucks -- especially tiny carbon particles already implicated in heart disease, cancer and respiratory ailments -- may also injure brain cells and synapses key to learning and memory. New public-health studies and laboratory experiments suggest that, at every stage of life, traffic fumes exact a measurable toll on mental capacity, intelligence and emotional stability. ...


On the plus side, with all my extra time in the car, I'm perfecting my macrame skills!

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Mon, Nov 7, 2011
from Center for Public Integrity:
Many Americans left behind in the quest for cleaner air
...Americans might expect the government to protect them from unsafe air. That hasn't happened. Insidious forms of toxic air pollution -- deemed so harmful to human health that a Democratic Congress and a Republican president sought to bring emissions under control more than two decades ago -- persist in hundreds of communities across the United States, an investigation by the Center for Public Integrity's iWatch News and NPR shows. Congress targeted nearly 200 chemicals in 1990 amendments to the Clean Air Act, which the first Bush administration promised would lead to sharp reductions in cancer, birth defects and other serious ailments. But the agencies that were supposed to protect the public instead have left millions of people from California to Maine exposed to known risks -- sometimes for years. ...


News flash... the government doesn't give a shit.

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Fri, Nov 4, 2011
from Washington Post:
Bill to ban phantom EPA dust rule approved by House panel
Earlier this year, Republicans found what they saw as an ideal talking point to illustrate a federal bureaucracy gone batty. The Environmental Protection Agency, they warned, was trying to regulate something only God could control: the dust in the wind. "Now, here comes my favorite of the crazy regulatory acts. The EPA is now proposing rules to regulate dust," Rep. John Carter (R-Tex.) said on the House floor. He said Texas is full of dusty roads: "The EPA is now saying you can be fined for driving home every night on your gravel road." There was just one flaw in this argument: It was not true. The EPA's new dust rule did not exist. It never did. ...


Don't cha just love those quixotic Republicans!

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Tue, Nov 1, 2011
from New York Times:
Turkey: Sandblasting Jeans for "Distressed" Look Proved Harmful for Textile Workers
Sandblasting new blue jeans to make them look "distressed" killed a number of young Turkish textile workers before the practice was outlawed, a new study has found. The study, published in Chest, a medical journal for lung specialists, was done by doctors at a hospital for thoracic diseases in Istanbul. They followed 32 male textile workers who came to their hospital with breathing problems between 2001 and 2009. That year, after news reports of a "silicosis epidemic,” Turkish health authorities banned sandblasting denim. ...


Does my guilt make my butt look big?

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Tue, Nov 1, 2011
from Agence France-Press:
Beijing air pollution 'hazardous': US embassy
Air pollution in Beijing reached "hazardous" levels on Monday, the US embassy said, as thick smog blanketed the city for the third day running, forcing the closure of highways and cancellation of flights. The Chinese capital is one of the most polluted cities in the world, mainly due to its growing energy consumption -- much of which is still fuelled by coal-fired power stations -- and the high number of cars on the road. A "hazardous" rating by the US embassy, whose evaluation of the city's air quality often differs markedly from the official Chinese rating, is the worst on a six-point scale and indicates the whole population is likely to be affected....By contrast, China's environment ministry said Beijing's air was just "slightly polluted"... ...


I like to think of it as "deliciously viscous."

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Wed, Oct 26, 2011
from The Daily Climate:
Yukon delivers a plug of mercury in response to a changing climate
The Yukon River is delivering upwards of five tons of mercury a year to the Arctic environment, likely in response to a warming climate, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey announced Tuesday... Permafrost in the Yukon basin has been absorbing naturally occurring mercury - chiefly from volcanoes - since the end of the last ice age 10,000 years ago. Now those soils, as a result of changing climate conditions, are thawing at increased rates. That could be releasing a substantial reservoir of the metal into the marshes and streams feeding the Yukon River, the world's 19th largest river. More recently, industrial pollution has coated the basin. Prevailing winds from Europe and Asia funnel industrial pollution, including mercury, directly to interior Alaska and the Yukon River drainage, [USGS hydrologist Paul] Schuster said. "If we had funding, we could prove this. We could determine whether this comes from coal or volcanoes. But that's very expensive," he said. ...


Maybe they can raise the money by selling the mercury.

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Thu, Oct 13, 2011
from Associated Press:
Groups sue Obama for scrapping stricter smog limit
Environmental groups sued the Obama administration Tuesday for scrapping a stricter limit for smog-forming pollution, saying the decision violated the law and put politics ahead of protecting public health...."EPA assured us repeatedly that they were going to finalize action on that proposal to strengthen the standard," said David Baron, managing attorney for Earthjustice, which sued on behalf of the American Lung Association, Environmental Defense Fund, Appalachian Mountain Club and Natural Resources Defense Council. "Then all of a sudden, the Obama administration abruptly reversed course and said they weren't going to strengthen the standards after all." ...


Glubulup hyshbibble miboo!

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Mon, Oct 10, 2011
from BBC:
Car-free Sunday for smog-struck Milan
The northern Italian city of Milan banned all traffic from its streets for 10 hours on Sunday in an attempt to reduce smog. The measure, first imposed on a trial basis in 2007, is triggered whenever pollution exceeds the statutory limit for 12 consecutive days. Satellite imagery shows Milan to be one of the most polluted cities in Europe. An estimated 120,000 vehicles will be affected by the move, according to the Corriere della Sera newspaper. The most polluting vehicles have been banned from driving through the city centre since Thursday. But on Sunday, there was no traffic between 0800 and 1800 local time (06:00-16:00 GMT). ...


Sounds like a slice of heaven to me.

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Fri, Oct 7, 2011
from Huffington Post:
Disaster in the Gulf Continues
In the Gulf, new information is confirming fears that fish and wildlife -- and millions of people on the Coast -- are being seriously impacted by the 4.9 million barrels of BP oil spewed from the ocean deep last year. A new report from the Waterkeeper Alliance shows the BP disaster is still unfolding. The report points to ongoing public health problems, long-term damages to the environment, and a growing need for environmental monitoring and restoration programs to fight decades of petroleum industry assaults and the growing impacts of climate change.... Scientists are finding disturbing evidence that the fragile Gulf ecosystem has been dealt a serious blow by the millions of gallons of oil that leeched into fertile wildlife breeding grounds and wetland areas critical to coastal fisheries. As Times-Picayune outdoors writer Bob Marshall reported recently, scientists are concerned that low levels of toxic compounds could be damaging fish species like the marsh-dwelling killifish, a key species of the gulf ecosystem.... "We're talking about a diverse group of chemicals, polcyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), that interact with each other," said Dr. Patricia Williams. "They are powerful carcinogens and powerful reproductive toxins.... I've interviewed tar ball workers and what we're finding is that any problem we're seeing in wildlife, we're seeing in humans, with reproductive and neurological problems. ...


PAHnic in PAHradise.

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Wed, Sep 28, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Bicyclists may be inhaling twice as much soot as pedestrians
You've decided to help your health and the environment by riding your bike to work. Good for you! Sorry to have to deliver the bad news: you may be inhaling more soot. The amount might be more than twice as much as urban pedestrians, says a pilot study presented Sunday at the European Respiratory Society's Annual Congress. The study involved five cyclists who regularly biked to work and five pedestrians from London. They ranged in age from 18 to 40 and were healthy nonsmokers. Researchers analyzed airway microphage cells from the participants' sputum samples. Airway microphage cells guard the body against foreign bodies such as viruses and bacteria. The cyclists were found to have 2.3 times the amount of black carbon in their lungs compared with the pedestrians. ...


My lungs might be blacker but my legs are prettier!

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Mon, Sep 5, 2011
from New York Times:
A Debate Arises on Job Creation and Environment
Do environmental regulations kill jobs? Republicans and business groups say yes, arguing that environmental protection is simply too expensive for a battered economy. They were quick to claim victory Friday after the Obama administration abandoned stricter ozone pollution standards. Many economists agree that regulation comes with undeniable costs that can affect workers. Factories may close because of the high cost of cleanup, or owners may relocate to countries with weaker regulations. ...


My job is to die prematurely due to toxic pollution.

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Fri, Sep 2, 2011
from Bloomberg BusinessWeek:
Obama Cancels Ozone Rules After Lobbying Push From Business
President Barack Obama quashed proposed rules on ozone from the Environmental Protection Agency, agreeing with Republicans and industry to withdraw the costliest regulation being considered by the administration. Obama said he is seeking to reduce regulatory burdens as the economy recovers, and said the EPA would weigh tighter standards on ozone, which causes smog, in two years.... "The Obama administration is caving to big polluters at the expense of protecting the air we breathe," Gene Karpinski, president of the League of Conservation Voters, an environmental group, said today in an e-mailed statement. "This is a huge win for corporate polluters and a huge loss for public health."... Ozone is created when hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides combine in the presence of sunlight. Fuel exhaust and vapors are major sources of the chemicals. The resulting pollution can contribute to breathing difficulties, lung damage and reduced cardiovascular function, according to the EPA's website. ...


If only McCain hadn't won the election.

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Tue, Aug 16, 2011
from Anchorage Daily News:
Human activities linked to warming and loss of sea ice
About half the recent record loss of Arctic sea ice can be blamed on global warming caused by human activity, according to a new study by scientists from the nation's leading climate research center. The peer-reviewed study, funded by the National Science Foundation, is the first to attribute a specific proportion of the ice melt to greenhouse gases and particulates from pollution. The study used supercomputers named Bluefire and Franklin and one of the world's most sophisticated climate models to reach its conclusions, said lead author Jennifer Kay, a staff scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. The paper was published last week in the scientific journal Geophysical Research Letters. In a telephone interview from Boulder, Colo., where NCAR is headquartered, Kay said her study was an attempt to learn how much Arctic Ocean melting can be attributed to "natural variability" -- complex changes wrought by non-human forces -- and how much has been caused by greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and by atmospheric particulates. ...


Nature + nurture = Apocalypse.

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Tue, Aug 16, 2011
from Washington Post:
White House mulls stricter smog standards
The White House is engaged in an intense debate over how much it should tighten national smog standards, an issue that has sparked a battle between business and public health groups. On Friday the Environmental Protection Agency announced it would "shortly" issue the final rules, which were delayed three times last year and again late last month. As the Office of Management and Budget reviews the agency's final proposal, which was submitted July 11, business groups have joined many state and local officials in launching a concerted push to delay any new standards until 2013...While the most polluted areas would have up to 20 years to meet the new standards, business leaders suggest it could delay the permitting of not only new industrial facilities but the expansion of existing ones. ...


These darn standards are in the way of us ruining the planet!

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Wed, Aug 3, 2011
from Greenwire:
House Democrats Take Aim at GOP Environmental Voting Record
The Republican-led House has voted to "stop," "block" or "undermine" efforts to protect the environment 110 times since taking over the majority in January, two senior Democrats said last week. Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.), who sponsored a bill that passed the House in 2009 that would have established a cap-and-trade scheme for greenhouse gas emissions, said the current House has done more to scuttle environmental protections than any in history. "The new Republican majority seems intent on restoring the robber-baron era where there were no controls on pollution from power plants, oil refineries and factories," said Waxman, who serves as top Democrat on the Energy and Commerce Committee. Natural Resources ranking member Markey, meanwhile, said the Republican agenda was a rifle "pointed right at the heart of America's clean energy future." ...


Republicans are good people who just tend to prefer a crappy, deadly environment.

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Fri, Jul 29, 2011
from Associated Press:
EPA targets air pollution from gas drilling boom
Faced with a natural gas drilling boom that has sullied the air in some parts of the country, the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday proposed for the first time to control air pollution at oil and gas wells, particularly those drilled using a method called hydraulic fracturing. The proposal, issued to meet a court deadline, addresses air pollution problems reported in places such as Wyoming, Texas, Pennsylvania and Colorado, where new drilling techniques have led to a rush to obtain natural gas that was once considered inaccessible. More than 25,000 wells are being drilled each year by "fracking," a process by which sand, water and chemicals are injected underground to fracture rock so gas can come out. The proposed regulations are designed to eliminate most releases of smog- and soot-forming pollutants from those wells. New controls on storage tanks, transmission pipelines and other equipment, at both oil and gas drilling sites on land, would reduce by a quarter amounts of cancer-causing air pollution and methane, the main ingredient in natural gas, but also one of the most powerful contributors to global warming. ...


Can somebody remind me why fracking is supposed to be a good thing?

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Thu, Jul 21, 2011
from Reuters:
Ohio leads list of top 20 states with toxic air
People living in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida are most at risk in the United States from toxic emissions spewing from coal and oil-fired power plants, two leading American enviromental groups said in a report on Wednesday. Electricity generation and chemical processing were the top culprits for dangerous emissions, which can lead to or worsen ailments such as asthma and cancer, according to the report by the Natural Resources Defense Council and Physicians for Social Responsibility... "Power plants are the biggest industrial toxic air polluters in our country, putting children and families at risk by dumping deadly and dangerous poisons into the air we breathe," said Dan Lashof, director of the climate center at the Natural Resources Defense Council...The findings underline the need for strong action by the Environmental Protection Agency to spur industry to clean up the emissions, Lashof said. ...


Or, we can just consider this outrage as acceptable casualties.

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Thu, Jul 14, 2011
from Riverside Press-Enterprise:
Air pollution linked to depression, forgetfulness
Feeling a bit slow and depressed? It just might be the Inland area's foul air. Neuroscientists at Ohio State University have linked fine-particle air pollution to slow thinking, bad memory and depressive-like behaviors in mice. The exposed animals also were found to have abnormal brain cells, inhibiting the flow of electrical impulses that transmit information. The research appears to break new ground on what's known about the health effects of air pollution. Most of the hundreds of past studies have focused on how bad air impairs respiratory or cardiac health and on how death rates increase on polluted days. ...


Look at me! I'm happy!

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Fri, Jul 8, 2011
from New York Times:
E.P.A. Issues Tougher Rules for Power Plants
The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday issued new standards for power plants in 28 states that would sharply cut emissions of chemicals that have polluted forests, farms, lakes and streams across the Eastern United States for decades. The agency said the regulations, which will take effect in 2012, would reduce emissions of compounds that cause soot, smog and acid rain from hundreds of power plants by millions of tons at an additional cost to utilities of less than $1 billion a year. The E.P.A. said the cleaner air would prevent as many as 34,000 premature deaths, 15,000 nonfatal heart attacks and hundreds of thousands of cases of asthma and other respiratory ailments every year. ...


But... the healthier people are, the longer they live and the more electricity they'll need.

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Tue, Jul 5, 2011
from CBC:
China's pollution temporarily slowed climate change
Scientists have come up with a possible explanation for why the rise in Earth's temperature paused for a bit during the 2000s, one of the hottest decades on record. The answer seems counterintuitive. It's all that sulphur pollution in the air from China's massive coal-burning, according to a new study. Sulphur particles in the air deflect the sun's rays and can temporarily cool things down a bit. That can happen even as coal-burning produces the carbon dioxide that contributes to global warming.... But sulphur's cooling effect is only temporary, while the carbon dioxide from coal burning stays in Earth's atmosphere a long time. Chinese coal consumption doubled between 2003 and 2007, and that caused a 26 per cent increase in global coal consumption, Kaufmann said.... Sulphur quickly drops out of the air if it is not replenished, while carbon dioxide remains for a long time, so its warming effects are beginning to be visible again, he noted. The plateau in temperature growth disappeared in 2009 and 2010, when temperatures lurched upward. ...


Now we have no excuse not to be subjects of King Coal!

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Wed, May 18, 2011
from Environmental Health News:
Commuters less able to take a deep breath
Breathing traffic air pollution while commuting during rush hour affects airway function in drivers and bus riders but not bikers, report researchers in the journal Epidemiology. Even though the bikers inhaled more air - and more particulates - during their two-hour commutes, they didn't experience the airflow declines seen in the bus and car riders. Researchers found the vehicle commuters who inhaled more particulates did worse on the breathing tests: they exhaled less volume of air with higher levels of nitrogen oxide. These measures indicate restricted and inflamed airways. The breathing effects were associated with the short-term exposure to particulate matter (PM10) and soot. ...


Still, it's worth it, driving, I mean... isn't it?

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Thu, May 12, 2011
from Science News:
Idling jets pollute more than thought
Airports can pose a far bigger threat to local air than previously recognized, thanks to the transformative power of sunlight. In the first on-tarmac measurements of their kind, researchers have shown that oil droplets spewed by idling jet engines can turn into particles tiny enough to readily penetrate the lungs and brain. Allen Robinson of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and his team collected the pollution spewed from a plane powered by one of the most common types of commercial jet engines as it operated at different loads... Sunlight's oxidation of the exhaust emitted at idling can generate 35 times more particles than the engine originally emitted and 10 times what computer models have typically predicted, the researchers report online May 5 in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. Robinson says he found these new data "unbelievable. It sort of blew our minds." ...


Apparently, it blows one's mind AND one's brain (and lungs).

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Tue, May 10, 2011
from New York Times:
Barring Cars to Clear the Air
Cruising through cities in cars has been a part of urban life for decades. But for some European drivers, that pastime could be coming to an end where the authorities want to bar the most polluting vehicles. "The future in city centers belongs to small cars and electric vehicles," Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet, the French minister for ecology and transport, told a French newspaper, Le Parisien, last month. Ms. Kosciusko-Morizet was announcing plans for eight of the largest French cities, including Paris and Nice, to restrict or bar access by passenger cars made before 1997, when stricter emissions standards took effect in Europe. ...


Friggin' French always fouling up our fun.

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Fri, May 6, 2011
from Center for Public Integrity:
Four years after oil company's criminal conviction for pollution, still no sentencing
Almost four years ago, a federal jury convicted Citgo Petroleum Corp. of two criminal violations of the Clean Air Act, having found that the company's refinery in Corpus Christi, Texas, afflicted a nearby community with toxic air pollution. For nearly a decade, the jury found, emissions of benzene and other hazardous chemicals -- from two hulking, uncovered tanks -- regularly swept into a mostly poor, minority neighborhood known as Hillcrest. That was in June 2007. To the dismay of the refinery's neighbors, Citgo still hasn't been sentenced -- a delay legal scholars say is unusual. ...


Ya gotta figure the guilt is eating away at them.

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Fri, May 6, 2011
from Chicago Tribune:
Aging Indiana power plant to shut down, cutting Chicago-area air pollution
One of the nation's dirtiest power plants is shutting down, a move that will scrap a major source of lung- and heart-damaging air pollution in the Chicago area. Facing a federal complaint, more stringent pollution limits and smaller profit margins, Virginia-based Dominion Resources is writing off the State Line Power Station, an aging coal-fired generator sandwiched between Lake Michigan and the Chicago Skyway at the Illinois-Indiana border. In a recent conference call with financial analysts, Dominion executives announced they had decided it isn't worth upgrading the plant to comply with the federal Clean Air Act. ...


Farewell old faithful and foul friend.

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Thu, May 5, 2011
from Beijing Global Times:
Sandstorm covers Shanghai in dust
The eastern coast of China has borne the environmental brunt of a massive sandstorm that has swept across a large swath of the country, causing air quality in Shanghai to plummet to its worst level in years. The sandstorm originated in the Southern Xinjiang Basin and has been traveling all the way east to the coastal regions since Thursday, blasting Shanghai and other cities in the Yangtze River Delta with sand and dust. Statistics from the State Forestry Administration show the sandstorm has swept through 10 provinces and regions in the north and west of China, affecting an area of 2.3 million square kilometers and a population of 90 million. Beijing was hit by the sandstorm Saturday. ...


That's not just a sandstorm, it's a tsandami!

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Thu, May 5, 2011
from New York Times:
Asthma Rate Rises Sharply in U.S., Government Says
Americans are suffering from asthma in record numbers, according to a study released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly one in 10 children and almost one in 12 Americans of all ages now has asthma, government researchers said. According to the report, from 2001 to 2009 the prevalence of asthma increased among all demographic groups studied... Researchers are investigating several potential causes for the increase in asthma, including exposure to various allergens, traffic exhaust fumes, pesticides and certain plastics, as well as factors like obesity and diet that may play a role... ...


Could be that needing to breathe is the biggest problem of all.

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Thu, Apr 28, 2011
from USA Today:
Metro areas with dirtiest air get cleaner
Most U.S. cities with the dirtiest air are getting cleaner, but about half of Americans still live in areas where it's often difficult to breathe, the American Lung Association reports today. The group's 12th annual "State of the Air" report comes amid congressional efforts to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from using the Clean Air Act to regulate greenhouse gas emissions....EPA's 2009 data, released last week, shows total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions -- primarily carbon dioxide -- fell 6.1 percent from 2008, the largest decline in at least five years. The agency, which began a multiyear plan to regulate these emissions in January, attributed the drop to less polluting fuels and lower energy consumption because of the recession. ...


The United States of Airborne Particulates

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Tue, Apr 26, 2011
from London Guardian:
London Olympics pollution on course to land Britain hefty fine from IOC
Britain could be fined up to ÂŁ175m by the International Olympic Committee if it continues to break air pollution laws by the time the Games begin next August. The prospect of the air pollution penalty is becoming a major source of embarrassment to the government and Olympic organisers who set a goal of making the Games "the greenest ever" but have already watered down green measures planned for the event. To meet the legally binding agreement, London may have to reduce traffic levels by more than 30 percent over a period of nearly a month, raising the possibility of draconian measures such as banning cars with number plates ending in odd and even numbers on alternate days. ...


Then I'll just buy an additional car.

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Tue, Apr 12, 2011
from The Independent:
Nitrogen pollution costs are revealed
Nitrogen pollution is costing every person in Europe up to [700 euros] a year in damage to water, climate, health and wildlife, a major new study warned today. Scientists behind the research said nitrogen was needed as fertiliser to help feed a growing world population - but suggested that eating less meat could reduce the amount of pollution caused by agriculture. The report also suggests that with 60 percent of costs of the nitrogen damage stemming from fossil fuels burnt for energy generation and transport, more energy efficient homes and cutting long distance travel could also help tackle the problem.... Nitrogen contributes to air pollution that causes respiratory problems such as asthma and cancers in people and reduces life expectancy by six months across much of Europe. Nitrates in water are bad for human health and damage wildlife including fish stocks. Nitrous oxide is also a greenhouse gas. The environmental effects of nitrogen were estimated at 25 billion euro to 145 billion euro, compared with the 25 billion euro to 130 billion euro benefits to agriculture fertilisers deliver. ...


Maybe we should revisit the cost/benefit ratio, what?

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Fri, Apr 8, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Freeway air pollution linked to brain damage in mice
It is well known that air pollution from cars and trucks on Southern California freeways -- a combination of soot, pavement dust and other toxic substances -- can cause respiratory disease, heart attacks, cancer and premature death. Now, exposure to pollution particles roughly one-thousandth the width of a human hair has been linked to brain damage in mice, including signs associated with memory loss and Alzheimer's disease, according to a USC study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. ...


What are mice doing driving on our highways!

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Thu, Apr 7, 2011
from Pittsburg Post-Gazette:
Pollution rules could be eased despite increase in asthma
Students in the South Allegheny School District, downwind of U.S. Steel Corp.'s Clairton Coke Works, have asthma rates 300 to 400 percent higher than national rates, convincing district officials to install air filtration systems in school buildings.... a study released Wednesday by Health Care Without Harm, the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments and the National Association of School Nurses, said the already staggering human and financial toll of asthma in the United States "is likely to increase" if Congress carries through with its threat to weaken the Clean Air Act and block the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from tightening air pollution regulations. Congressional action could include blocking the EPA from regulating greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide. ...


Whaddaya want? The government to actually protect us?

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Tue, Apr 5, 2011
from ScienceDaily:
Record Depletion of Arctic Ozone Layer Causing Increased UV Radiation in Scandinavia
Over the past few days ozone-depleted air masses extended from the north pole to southern Scandinavia leading to higher than normal levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation during sunny days in southern Finland. These air masses will move east over the next few days, covering parts of Russia and perhaps extend as far south as the Chinese/Russian border. Such excursions of ozone-depleted air may also occur over Central Europe and could reach as far south as the Mediterranean.... "Such massive ozone loss has so far never occurred in the northern hemisphere, which is densely populated even at high latitudes," AWI researcher Markus Rex describes the situation. The ozone layer protects life on Earth's surface from harmful solar ultraviolet radiation. Because of the low inclination angle of the sun, exposure to ultraviolet radiation is not normally a public health concern at high northern latitudes. However, if ozone-depleted air masses drift further south over Central Europe, south Canada, the US, or over Central Asiatic Russia, for example, the surface intensity of UV radiation could lead to sunburn within minutes for sensitive persons, even in April.... Ozone loss was particularly large this winter due to unusually low temperature, which results in the presence of clouds in the polar stratosphere. Reactions on the surface of these clouds transform chlorine containing breakdown products of CFCs into compounds that aggressively remove ozone.... The stratosphere has been observed to cool, following the rise of greenhouse gases (GHGs), because heat that would otherwise reach the stratosphere is trapped below, warming the surface. The situation for the Polar Stratosphere is more complicated because of dynamical heating by waves generated in frontal systems. For several years, however, scientists have noted that the coldest winters in the Arctic stratosphere are getting colder, a development that enhances the ozone-destroying efficiency of the remaining CFCs and could be linked to rising levels of GHGs. ...


It ain't the heat, it's the humid-UV.

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Tue, Apr 5, 2011
from Huffington Post:
Geoengineering: Scientists Debate Risks Of Sun-Blocking And Other Climate Tweaks To Fight Warming
Scientists of earth, sea and sky, scholars of law, politics and philosophy: In three intense days cloistered behind Chicheley Hall's old brick walls, four dozen thinkers pondered the planet's fate as it grows warmer, weighed the idea of reflecting the sun to cool the atmosphere and debated the question of who would make the decision to interfere with nature to try to save the planet. The unknown risks of "geoengineering" - in this case, tweaking Earth's climate by dimming the skies - left many uneasy.... "By most accounts, the leading contender is stratospheric aerosol particles," said climatologist John Shepherd of Britain's Southampton University. The particles would be sun-reflecting sulfates spewed into the lower stratosphere from aircraft, balloons or other devices - much like the sulfur dioxide emitted by the eruption of the Philippines' Mount Pinatubo in 1991, estimated to have cooled the world by 0.5 degrees C (0.9 degrees F) for a year or so.... The technique has other downsides: The sulfates would likely damage the ozone layer shielding Earth from damaging ultraviolet rays; they don't stop atmospheric carbon dioxide from acidifying the oceans; and sudden cooling of the Earth would itself alter climate patterns in unknown ways.... Some are also making a political calculation. If research shows the stratospheric pollutants would reverse global warming, unhappy people "would realize the alternative to reducing emissions is blocking out the sun," Hamilton observed. "We might never see blue sky again." If, on the other hand, the results are negative, or the risks too high, and global warming's impact becomes increasingly obvious, people will see "you have no Plan B," said EDF's Hamburg - no alternative to slashing use of fossil fuels. Either way, popular support should grow for cutting emissions. ...


Grey skies / how could that be? / Nothin' but blue skies / should I see.

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Fri, Apr 1, 2011
from Reuters:
Aircraft contrails stoke warming, cloud formation
Aircraft condensation trails criss-crossing the sky may be warming the planet on a normal day more than the carbon dioxide emitted by all planes since the Wright Brothers' first flight in 1903, a study said on Tuesday. It indicated that contrails -- white lines of Vapor left by jet engines -- also have big knock-on effects by adding to the formation of high-altitude, heat-trapping cirrus clouds as the lines break up. The findings may help governments fix penalties on planes' greenhouse gas emissions in a U.N.-led assault on climate change. Or new engines might be designed to limit Vapor and instead spit out water drops or ice that fall from the sky.... The main climate effect of white lines and related cirrus clouds is to trap heat radiating back from the Earth's surface. They also have a smaller, counter-effect by slightly dimming sunlight and so slowing warming. Contrails are especially dense over parts of Europe and eastern United States. ...


The writing's on the sky.

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Thu, Mar 31, 2011
from American Chemical Society, via EurekAlert:
US troops exposed to polluted air in Iraq, researchers report
Military personnel and contractors stationed in Iraq risk not only enemy gunfire, suicide bombers, and roadside bombs, but the very air they breathe often is polluted with dust and other particles of a size and composition that could pose immediate and long-term health threats, scientists reported today at the 241st National Meeting of the American Chemical Society.... "Our preliminary results show that the fine particulate matter concentrations frequently exceed military exposure guidelines and those individual constituents, such as lead, exceed U.S. ambient air quality standards designed to protect human health," said Jennifer M. Bell, a member of the research team. In some instances, military personnel breathe in fine particulates at levels almost 10 times higher than the desirable levels in U.S. National Ambient Air Quality Standards.... "We are especially concerned about fine airborne particles that originate from motor vehicles, factories, open burning of trash in pits, and other sources," Bell said. Iraq does not enforce air pollution controls, and domestic motor vehicles burn the leaded gasoline was phased out in the United States in the mid-1990s. Those particulates contain potentially toxic heavy metals like lead, arsenic, mercury, and cadmium, she noted. ...


I love the smell of heavy metals in the morning.

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Tue, Mar 22, 2011
from GOOD:
Chart: Why Four-Dollar-Per-Gallon Gas Is Damn Cheap
Inspired by Cord's thought-provoking post on the per gallon prices of various liquids, and by Sarah Palin's ill-informed Facebook rant on the "$4-Per-Gallon President," I decided to take a closer look at gasoline prices around the world. Mrs. Palin might be interested to learn, that the world already has quite a few $4-Per-Gallon Presidents. In fact, the world already has $6-Per-Gallon Parliaments, $7-Per-Gallon Prime Ministers, and $8-Per-Gallon Presidents!... An odd trend seems to be that the most of countries that have gas prices under our own, are those same countries that so many politicians routinely cite as "evil" or "undemocratic." Does Sarah Palin want our oil economy to be more like Iran and Venezuela? From this recent chart in the Economist, you can see that the bulk of the premium costs in most European nations is due to higher taxes and duties on crude and gasoline. Many nations recognize oil as a finite resource, and are utilizing gasoline taxes to reduce oil imports, create a more efficient transportation system, and better prepare for longer-term oil price volatility. ...


Yeah, but the quality of life in the Netherlands, Denmark, and Germany sucks. I heard that somewhere.

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Tue, Mar 22, 2011
from Discover:
Made in China: Our Toxic, Imported Air Pollution
Mercury, sulfates, ozone, black carbon, flu-laced desert dust. Even as America tightens emission standards, the fast-growing economies of Asia are filling the air with hazardous components that circumnavigate the globe. "There is no place called away." It is a statement worthy of Gertrude Stein, but University of Washington atmospheric chemist Dan Jaffe says it with conviction: None of the contamination we pump into the air just disappears. It might get diluted, blended, or chemically transformed, but it has to go somewhere. And when it comes to pollutants produced by the booming economies of East Asia, that somewhere often means right here, the mainland of the United States. ...


What goes around ... comes around.

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Wed, Mar 16, 2011
from New York Times:
E.P.A. Proposes New Emission Standards for Power Plants
The Environmental Protection Agency proposed the first national standard for emissions of mercury and other toxins from coal-burning power plants on Wednesday, a rule that could lead to the early closing of dozens of generating stations and is certain to be challenged by the utility industry and Republicans in Congress. Lisa P. Jackson, the agency's administrator, unveiled the new rule with fanfare at agency headquarters, saying control of dozens of poisonous substances emitted by power plants was two decades overdue and would prevent thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of cases of disease a year. ...


Apparently, the utility industry and Republicans in Congress are impervious to death and disease.

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Tue, Mar 15, 2011
from TEDX:
What you need to know about natural gas exploration
An astonishing 48 minutes of Dr. Theo Colborn, on the mechanics, engineering, resource use, health impacts, and environmental impacts of fracking and the natural-gas process. Wordy, nerdy, factual, but utterly straightforward. A natural-gas version of "An Inconvenient Truth." Scarier, in many ways, than GasLand, the Oscar-nominated documentary. ...


Toxic from top to bottom, side to side, inside and out. What's left?

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Mon, Mar 14, 2011
from Wall Street Journal:
EPA Tangles With New Critic: Labor
The Obama administration's environmental agenda, long a target of American business, is beginning to take fire from some of the Democratic Party's most reliable supporters: Labor unions. Several unions with strong influence in key states are demanding that the Environmental Protection Agency soften new regulations aimed at pollution associated with coal-fired power plants. Their contention: Roughly half a dozen rules expected to roll out within the next two years could put thousands of jobs in jeopardy and damage the party's 2012 election prospects. "If the EPA issues regulations that cost jobs in Pennsylvania and Ohio, the Republicans will blast the President with it over and over," says Stewart Acuff, chief of staff to the president of the Utility Workers Union of America. "Not just the President. Every Democratic [lawmaker] from those states." ...


Those of you hoping the US will get its shit together... are dreaming!

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Mon, Mar 14, 2011
from Environmental Health News:
Smoke from wood fireplaces, stoves raises new health concerns
Smoke curling from the chimney of the Clair Tappaan Lodge is a welcome sight to chilly snowshoers and cross-country skiers in California's Sierra Nevada. Guests at this landmark Sierra Club hostel relax in the warmth and aroma of the crackling log fire. Those same woodsy scents waft across the wintry north, as millions of fireplaces and wood stoves are lit by people seeking an environmentally friendly heating source. But recent research raises new concerns over the toxic substances borne aloft in wood smoke. Scientists say the tiny airborne specks of pollution carry carcinogenic chemicals deep into lungs and trigger DNA damage and gene changes comparable to the hazards of cigarette smoke and car exhaust. ...


I'll give up my car, my cigarettes, my mass produced appliances and food... but please don't take my fireplace away!

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Wed, Mar 9, 2011
from Science News:
Soot hastens snowmelt on Tibetan Plateau
In high-elevation snowy regions, the warming effects of greenhouse gases pale in comparison to those triggered by soot, new computer calculations show. The finding could help explain the accelerating pace of melting on the Tibetan Plateau, which holds the world's largest reservoir of ice outside of the polar regions. Located north of the Himalayan range, the plateau's spring meltwater feeds rivers that ultimately slake much of Asia's thirst. In recent years, spring melting has been starting earlier, triggering downstream floods and shortening the time that irrigation water is available to farmers... new simulations indicate that the estimated amounts of black carbon on the Plateau can reduce snow's reflectivity in spring by 4 to 6 percent. That's enough to warm the average surface air temperature across the Tibetan Plateau by around 1 degree Celsius... ...


Chim chiminey Chim chiminey Chim chim we're screwed!

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Sun, Feb 27, 2011
from National Geographic:
Small Nuclear War Could Reverse Global Warming for Years
Even a regional nuclear war could spark "unprecedented" global cooling and reduce rainfall for years, according to U.S. government computer models. Widespread famine and disease would likely follow, experts speculate. During the Cold War a nuclear exchange between superpowers--such as the one feared for years between the United States and the former Soviet Union--was predicted to cause a "nuclear winter."... But nuclear war remains a very real threat--for instance, between developing-world nuclear powers, such as India and Pakistan.... The global cooling caused by these high carbon clouds wouldn't be as catastrophic as a superpower-versus-superpower nuclear winter, but "the effects would still be regarded as leading to unprecedented climate change," research physical scientist Luke Oman said during a press briefing Friday at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C. ...


We'll just call it "nuclear spring"!

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Thu, Feb 24, 2011
from Washington Post:
UN: Global warming rate could be halved by controlling ground-level ozone and methane, black carbon
The projected rise in global temperatures could be cut in half in coming years if world governments focused on reducing emissions of two harmful pollutants - black carbon and ground-level ozone, including methane - rather than carbon dioxide alone, according to a U.N. study released Wednesday. The study, "Integrated Assessment of Black Carbon and Tropospheric Ozone," by the U.N. Environment Programme, shows the impact that the two short-lived pollutants have on the environment, compared with carbon dioxide, which can stay in the atmosphere for decades.... The impact from reducing short-lived pollutants such as black carbon and ground-level ozone such as methane is more immediately felt. Carbon dioxide remains in the atmosphere for years, so the effects of reducing the emissions take longer to register. To reduce black carbon emissions, the study recommends placing a ban on open-field burning of agricultural waste, replacing industrial coke ovens with modern recovery ovens, introducing clean-burning biomass cook stoves for cooking and heating in developing countries and eliminating high-emitting vehicles. ...


Am I allowed to light a candle of hope?

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Thu, Feb 10, 2011
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Attacks on EPA misrepresent regulations' effects on economy
Having successfully blocked the legislative branch from adopting carbon regulations, congressional Republicans and a few Democrats are now moving to cripple the EPA, whose mandate under the Clean Air Act, the Supreme Court found, includes addressing climate change. The rationale is that the rules "threaten jobs and economic growth." Environmental groups have responded with dump of data that indicates that the claim couldn't be farther from the truth. For instance, a CERES-commissioned report released today estimates that the rules currently being considered would create 1.46 million jobs -- about 290,000 per year over the next five years. The jobs would largely be skilled, high-paying jobs in engineering and construction, as power plants design and install new scrubbers. According to World Resources Institute analysis of historical OMB data, over the 10-year period starting October 1, 1999, EPA regulations cost the nation $26-29 billion. Their benefits, however, totaled between $82 and $533 billion. In other words, benefits outpaced their costs by at least a factor of three, and possibly by a factor of 20. ...


As if I'd let data get in the way of an article of faith.

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Tue, Feb 8, 2011
from Los Angeles Times:
Bill would exempt municipal fireworks displays from Coastal Act regulation
Describing seaside fireworks displays as wholesome and patriotic, an Orange County legislator wants to prevent the California Coastal Commission from snuffing them out. State Assemblywoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) introduced a bill last month that would exempt municipal fireworks displays from regulation under the state Coastal Act by declaring they do not constitute "development." The bill comes in response to increasing pressure from environmental groups to clamp down on fireworks. Environmentalists say the noise and explosive debris generated by the displays threatens wildlife and degrades water quality. ...


But it's patriotic to threaten wildlife and degrade the environment!

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Mon, Jan 31, 2011
from New York Times:
Once Popular, Car Pools Go the Way of Hitchhiking
Remember the 1970s? Watergate, disco, oil embargoes and, of course, car-pooling. Many big companies organized group rides for their employees, and roughly one in four Americans who drove to work shared a ride with others. But now far more people are driving alone, as companies have spread out, Americans are wealthier and cars have become cheaper to own. The percentage of workers who car-pool has dropped by almost half since 1980, the first time the Census Bureau started systematically tracking the numbers, according to new data from the bureau. ...


And thus we shall drive / one person per vehicle / unto our ruin

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Sat, Jan 29, 2011
from The Economist:
Burning ambitions
IN RICH countries, where people worry about air quality and debate ways of pricing carbon emissions, coal is deeply unfashionable. Elsewhere demand for the dirty rocks has never been stronger. The International Energy Agency (IEA) reckons world consumption will increase by a fifth over the next 25 years, assuming governments stick to their current climate-change policies. A new age of coal is upon us.... the coal boom blows yet another hole in the effort to restrain greenhouse-gas emissions. The Kyoto protocol makes countries responsible only for their own direct emissions. As environmentalists point out, rich countries that spurn coal-fired power while exporting the rocks to countries with less ambitious emissions targets are merely shifting the problem around the globe. ...


Does this coal plant make my butt look big???

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Sun, Jan 23, 2011
from London Independent:
Home fires: The world's most lethal pollution
The world's deadliest pollution does not come from factories billowing smoke, industries tainting water supplies or chemicals seeping into farm land. It comes from within people's own homes. Smoke from domestic fires kills nearly two million people each year and sickens millions more, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). A new UN project has now been set up to try to reduce this appalling toll. It aims, over the next nine years, to put 100 million clean cooking stoves into homes in the developing world. The WHO ranks the problem as one of the worst health risks facing the poor. In low-income countries, such as those in Africa and Asia, indoor smoke from cooking has become the sixth biggest killer. Globally, it kills more people than malaria, and nearly as many as Aids -- and far more insidiously than either. ...


We have met the enemy ... and he is poverty.

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Thu, Jan 20, 2011
from Reuters:
EU delays tackling air pollution to 2012 or later
The European Union's executive has agreed to delay new laws forcing industry to take costly steps to tackle air pollutants that are blamed for respiratory problems and premature deaths in cities. Most soot particles or airborne acid pollution comes from diesel cars, ships and power stations. No action is seen until 2012 or 2013 when a whole string of related legislation can be overhauled simultaneously, a source at the European Commission, which initiates EU law, said on Wednesday. ...


Are the Republicans running Europe, too?

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Sun, Jan 16, 2011
from Slate, via DesdemonaDespair:
The Chinese Eco-Disaster
He had traveled 100,000 miles crisscrossing China, from Tibet to the deserts of Inner Mongolia, and everywhere he went, he discovered that the Chinese state had embarked on a massive program of ecological destruction. It has turned whole rivers poisonous to the touch, rendered entire areas cancer-ridden, transformed a fertile area almost twice the size of Britain into desert--and perhaps even triggered the worst earthquake in living memory. In his extraordinary book When a Billion Chinese Jump: How China Will Save Mankind--or Destroy It, Watts warns: "The planet's problems were not made in China, but they are sliding past the point of no return there." The über-capitalist Communists now have the highest emissions of global-warming gases in the world (although the average Chinese person generates one-seventh the emissions the average American does). We are all trapped in a greenhouse together: Environmental destruction in China becomes environmental destruction where you live. This story will become your story. ...


We may be looking at a Cultural Devolution.

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Thu, Jan 13, 2011
from Montreal Gazette:
Quebec forest fires cast wide pall
When lightning sparks a fire in a Quebec forest, people living as far as 1,000 kilometres away can end up breathing polluted air. A new study has found air pollution levels in northern New York state jumped last summer as more than 50 forest fires burned around La Tuque, about 300 kilometres northeast of Montreal. Researchers at Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y., found the amount of fine particulate matter, one component of air pollution, jumped to 18 times its normal level because of smoke blown south from Quebec. Fine particulate matter is about one-30th the diameter of a human hair, and is linked to premature death from heart and lung disease, as well as heart attacks, respiratory problems, asthma attacks and bronchiolitis. ...


Keep your bloody Canadian smoke out of my airspace!

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Thu, Jan 13, 2011
from New York Times:
Stress, Pollution and Poverty: A Vicious Cycle?
The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $7 million in grants to researchers to study the cumulative health impact of pollutants like mercury and lead and social factors like stress and poor nutrition in several low-income communities, the agency said Tuesday... But a growing body of research suggests that cumulative exposure to multiple pollutants, and nonchemical factors like stress, poverty and poor diet, can amplify the negative effects of a single toxic substance. ...


I think we should pay more attention to rich people.

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Wed, Jan 12, 2011
from NOAA via ScienceDaily:
Atmosphere's Self-Cleaning Capacity Surprisingly Stable
An international, NOAA-led research team took a significant step forward in understanding the atmosphere's ability to cleanse itself of air pollutants and some other gases, except carbon dioxide. The issue has been controversial for many years, with some studies suggesting the self-cleaning power of the atmosphere is fragile and sensitive to environmental changes, while others suggest greater stability. And what researchers are finding is that the atmosphere's self-cleaning capacity is rather stable. ...


Sounds sorta like my oven.

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Tue, Jan 11, 2011
from Reuters:
EPA "pollution diet" starves agriculture: farm group
The head of the largest U.S. farm group called on Congress to stop ruinous EPA "over-regulation" of agriculture and announced on Sunday a lawsuit against EPA rules to reduce Chesapeake Bay pollution. Bob Stallman, president of the 6 million-member American Farm Bureau Federation, announced the lawsuit during a speech that opened the group's annual meeting. He said the Environmental Protection Agency's "over-regulation endangers our industry." Farmers have been leery of EPA for years. Opposition has grown in the past couple of years out of concern that regulation of greenhouse gases will drive up farming expenses and that EPA may tell farmers to limit dust from fields. ...


And YOUR pollution endangers OUR environment!

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Fri, Jan 7, 2011
from BBC:
Dioxin animal feed scare shuts German farms
More than 4,700 German farms have been closed after large amounts of animal feed were found to be contaminated with dioxin, a poisonous chemical.... Meanwhile, the EU has warned that eggs from farms affected by dioxin have entered the UK in processed products destined for human food.... The origin of the contamination has been traced to a distributor in the northern state of Schleswig Holstein, where oils intended for use in bio-fuels were accidentally distributed for animal feed.... Dioxins are toxins formed by industrial processes and waste burning. They have been shown to contribute to higher cancer rates and to affect pregnant women. ...


Dioxin-laced oils INTENDED FOR USE IN BIOFUELS?!?!

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Wed, Dec 29, 2010
from Postmedia News:
Canadians in denial about air pollution impact: Study
The average Canadian is in denial about the impact of air pollution on human health, assuming that it is either a long-term threat or a risk factor for vulnerable parts of the population, says a newly-released federal report. The study, conducted for Health Canada by Environics Research Group, found that most Canadians acknowledge some health risks associated with poor air quality, but are divided on whether an advisory warning is a serious threat to all unless they have personally suffered from an illness such as asthma. ...


Join the bone-headed club.

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Tue, Dec 28, 2010
from Associated Press:
Farmers, pecan growers say coal plant kills plants
Along a stretch of Highway 21, in Texas' pastoral Hill Country, is a vegetative wasteland. Trees are barren, or covered in gray, dying foliage and peeling bark. Fallen, dead limbs litter the ground where pecan growers and ranchers have watched trees die slow, agonizing deaths. Visible above the horizon is what many plant specialists, environmentalists and scientists believe to be the culprit: the Fayette Power Project - a coal-fired power plant for nearly 30 years has operated mostly without equipment designed to decrease emissions of sulfur dioxide, a component of acid rain. ...


Coal plant creates good firewood. Sounds like a win-win!

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Fri, Dec 24, 2010
from BBC:
New cars in Beijing cut by two-thirds to battle traffic
New rules have taken effect in China that restrict car purchases in an effort to combat serious traffic problems in the capital, Beijing. City authorities will allow only 240,000 vehicles to be registered for 2011 - one-third of this year's total. Car buyers have been swamping dealers in anticipation of the new rules, which will still leave about five million cars on the road in the capital. Traffic and air pollution in Beijing is among the worst in the world.... Yang Ailun of Greenpeace China told the BBC that the restrictions had come far too late... "Everything in China now happens so quickly, and the government always fails to anticipate what's coming, and as a result normally policies are only introduced when things are already out of control." ...


Thank goodness 'Mericans are free to ruin the planet without interference.

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Tue, Dec 21, 2010
from Deutsche Welle:
Campaigners target sandblasted jeans on health grounds
Consumers looking for a pair of jeans with that special worn look might want to check the label, according to campaigners. The group Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) is calling for a global ban on the practice of sandblasting, in which denim is sprayed with sand at high pressure to give the material a distressed look. Sandblasting is associated with the disease silicosis - a lung disease caused by fine particles of sand thrown into the air during the process. Turkey was a major producer of sandblasted garments before a ban on the process was implemented in 2009. ...


Then I'll just have to sandblast 'em myself!

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Tue, Dec 21, 2010
from Dallas Morning News:
EPA's rule enforcement on pollution has dropped
Texas Gov. Rick Perry has warned that the Environmental Protection Agency is punishing Texas by rejecting a state clean-air permitting program and advancing a scheme to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions. But new data shows that EPA enforcement of existing regulations under the Obama administration has fallen by several key measures. In Texas, the amount of pollution that companies agreed to reduce - as a result of enforcement cases - fell 74 percent in 2009-10 from 2007-08. Nationwide, it fell 57 percent. Furthermore, the amount that polluters agreed to spend nationwide to upgrade controls and cleanup fell to $17.4 billion in 2009-10, from $22.3 billion in 2007-08. ...


Are we being jacked by Jackson?

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Wed, Dec 15, 2010
from Associated Press:
Environmentalists sue ExxonMobil over air laws
The largest oil refinery in the United States released more than 8 million pounds of illegal pollution in the past five years, violating the federal Clean Air Act thousands of times, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday by environmental groups in Texas. The lawsuit against ExxonMobil is the latest by Sierra Club and Environment Texas as part of their campaign to rein in what they call "illegal emissions" by dozens of refineries and chemical plants that operate in the Texas Gulf Coast. In recent months, the groups have reached multimillion-dollar, out-of-court settlements with Shell and Chevron Phillips after filing similar suits. ExxonMobil denied the allegations and said it would fight the lawsuit... Texas has more oil refineries, chemical plants and coal-fired power plants that any other state and is the nation's leader in greenhouse gases. The state produces more than 20 percent of the nation's oil and one-third of the country's gas is refined along the Texas Gulf Coast. ...


Oil is the lifeblood of Uhmerica and it's the heart of Texas that pumps it.

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Tue, Dec 14, 2010
from BBC:
City lighting 'boosts pollution'
Bright city lights exacerbate air pollution, according to a study by US scientists. Their research indicates that the glare thrown up into the sky interferes with chemical reactions. These reactions would normally help clean the air during the night of the fumes emitted by motor cars and factories during the day. The study was presented at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. All those people going about their business in a city put a complex cocktail of chemicals into the air. From the tailpipes of cars to the chimneys of factories, it makes for a heady mix of molecules that nature then has to try to clean up. It uses a special form of nitrogen oxide, called the nitrate radical, to break down chemicals that would otherwise go on to form the smog and ozone that can make city air such an irritant on the chest. This cleansing normally occurs in the hours of darkness because the radical is destroyed by sunlight; it only shows up at night. ...


Bright lights, big city... noxious air.

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Mon, Dec 13, 2010
from Pittsburg Post-Gazette:
'Clusters' of death
In many places around Western Pennsylvania residents see clusters of death and clusters of people sickened by cancer or heart and lung diseases. And, like Lee Lasich, a Clairton resident, they're frustrated that government health and environmental agencies don't see them too, don't do something about the problems and don't take a tougher stance on enforcement of air pollution regulations. Ms. Lasich, whose husband worked in U.S. Steel Corp.'s Clairton Coke Works and died after suffering from lung, prostate and throat cancers in 2004 when he was 53, is typical. She uses all the fingers of her right hand to tick off the names of friends who have died from brain cancer in her Constitution Circle neighborhood. She uses her left hand to count "a whole family that's got pancreatic cancers." ...


Maybe death is just a new trend.

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Fri, Dec 3, 2010
from New Scientist:
Toxic heavy metals reach top of the world
Dangerous levels of arsenic and cadmium have been found in snow samples from mount Everest. Both heavy metals were found at levels higher than those the US Environmental Protection Agency considers acceptable, says Samantha Langley-Turnbaugh of the University of Southern Maine in Gorham.... Mountaineers rely on melted snow for drinking water, so the toxic metals "could be a concern", says Langley-Turnbaugh. It is not clear how much of the pollution makes its way into rivers further down the mountain, where it might enter the local drinking water.... Air pollution from Asian industry is probably to blame. Concentrations of both arsenic and cadmium were higher in the soil further up the mountain, as would be expected if high-altitude winds were depositing them. ...


Would "Into Heavy Air" have made the bestseller list?

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Thu, Dec 2, 2010
from Agence France-Press:
Quarter of HK people 'want to move over bad air'
About 25 percent of Hong Kong's population wants to leave the city to escape its notoriously polluted air, which has been described as a health crisis, said a survey released Monday. The report by public policy think tank Civic Exchange found that one in four people living in the teeming financial hub are considering emigrating over fears that its bad air could affect their health. That was an increase from the one in five people who wanted to leave Hong Kong in a similar survey two years ago, the study said. ...


Only problem is: where to go?

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Thu, Dec 2, 2010
from Politico:
GOP plans strategy to stymie EPA
...GOP lawmakers say they want to upend a host of Environmental Protection Agency rules by whatever means possible, including the Congressional Review Act, a rarely used legislative tool that allows Congress to essentially veto recently completed agency regulations. The law lets sponsors skip Senate filibusters, meaning Republicans don't have to negotiate with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for a floor vote or secure the tricky 60 votes typically needed to do anything in the Senate...A spate of contentious EPA rules that are soon to be finalized could be prime targets, including the national air quality standard for ozone, toxic emission limits for industrial boilers and a pending decision about whether to regulate coal ash as hazardous waste. ...


The GOP must be suffering from Nature Deficit Disorder.

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Mon, Nov 29, 2010
from Center for Public Integrity:
Big Polluters Freed from Environmental Oversight by Stimulus
In the name of job creation and clean energy, the Obama administration has doled out billions of dollars in stimulus money to some of the nation's biggest polluters and granted them sweeping exemptions from the most basic form of environmental oversight, a Center for Public Integrity investigation has found. The administration has awarded more than 179,000 "categorical exclusions" to stimulus projects funded by federal agencies, freeing those projects from review under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA. Coal-burning utilities like Westar Energy and Duke Energy, chemical manufacturer DuPont, and ethanol maker Didion Milling are among the firms with histories of serious environmental violations that have won blanket NEPA exemptions...Agency officials who granted the exemptions told the Center that they do not have time in most cases to review the environmental compliance records of stimulus recipients, and do not believe past violations should affect polluters' chances of winning stimulus money or the NEPA exclusions. ...


Unfortunately, we DO have time to breathe... drink... eat...

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Fri, Nov 26, 2010
from Louisville Courier-Journal:
City pollution reports eyed
All but the largest sources of Louisville air pollution would get a break on reporting their emissions under a rewrite of the city's toxic air reduction program. And that sounds good to Charlie Miller, owner of Miller Oil, a petroleum distribution company. He said he'd welcome any red-tape relief officials can offer. With its variety of regulations, the Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District has "made it difficult for the small-business person," Miller said....District officials say they want to make life easier on businesses, as well as their staff, while retaining the core requirements of the 2005 program that was adopted after studies confirmed excessive levels of certain chemicals in the city's air. ...


To hell with those of us who breathe.

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Fri, Nov 19, 2010
from Huffington Post:
U.S. Embassy: Beijing Air Quality Is 'Crazy Bad'
Pollution in Beijing was so bad Friday the U.S. Embassy, which has been independently monitoring air quality, ran out of conventional adjectives to describe it, at one point saying it was "crazy bad." The embassy later deleted the phrase, saying it was an "incorrect" description and it would revise the language to use when the air quality index goes above 500, its highest point and a level considered hazardous for all people by U.S. standards. The hazardous haze has forced schools to stop outdoor exercises, and health experts asked residents, especially those with respiratory problems, the elderly and children, to stay indoors. "We've canceled 10 days worth of games since August," said David Niven, chief operating officer of China ClubFootball, which runs extensive youth and adult football leagues in Beijing. "If the air is above 240, some of the schools will ask us to move football games indoors or cancel them altogether. Because of the bad air this year, we've had to cancel more games than ever before." ...


In the language revision race, Fundamentally Toxic is neck-n-neck with Incredibly Awful, Stunningly Poisonous, and Nearly Lethal.

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Thu, Oct 28, 2010
from Huffington Post:
Greenhouse Gases Database: Companies Fight To Keep Global Warming Data Secret
Some of the country's largest emitters of heat-trapping gases, including businesses that publicly support efforts to curb global warming, don't want the public knowing exactly how much they pollute. Oil producers and refiners, along with manufacturers of steel, aluminum and even home appliances, are fighting a proposal by the Environmental Protection Agency that would make the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that companies release - and the underlying data businesses use to calculate the amounts - available online. While gross estimates exist for such emissions from transportation and electricity production and manufacturing as a whole, the EPA is requiring companies for the first time to submit information for each individual facility. The companies say that disclosing details beyond a facility's total emissions to the public would reveal company secrets by letting competitors know what happens inside their factories. More importantly, they argue, when it comes to understanding global warming, the public doesn't need to know anything more than what goes into the air. "There is no need for the public to have information beyond what is entering the atmosphere," Steven H. Bernhardt, global director for regulatory affairs for Honeywell International Inc., said in comments filed with the agency earlier this year. The Morristown, N.J.-based company is a leading manufacturer of hydrofluorocarbons, a potent greenhouse gas used in a variety of consumer products. Honeywell wants the EPA to reconsider its proposal, which the company said would damage its business.... Aluminum smelters want 11 of the 15 data fields the EPA intends to make public kept confidential, according to comments filed by the Aluminum Association. Koch Nitrogen Co. LLC, a fertilizer producer, questions the EPA's desire to make unit-specific or facility-specific emissions available, calling it "misguided" since a change in pollution from a single factory is unlikely to influence policy on a global problem. ...


Good thing these corporations are now free to buy any election anonymously!

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Wed, Oct 27, 2010
from University of Delaware via ScienceDaily:
As Arctic Warms, Increased Shipping Likely to Accelerate Climate Change
As the ice-capped Arctic Ocean warms, ship traffic will increase at the top of the world. And if the sea ice continues to decline, a new route connecting international trading partners may emerge -- but not without significant repercussions to climate, according to a U.S. and Canadian research team that includes a University of Delaware scientist. Growing Arctic ship traffic will bring with it air pollution that has the potential to accelerate climate change in the world's northern reaches. And it's more than a greenhouse gas problem -- engine exhaust particles could increase warming by some 17-78 percent, the researchers say. ...


Why not make a horrific situation even worse!

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Fri, Oct 22, 2010
from Scientific American:
Sequencing the "Exposome": Researchers Take a Cue from Genomics to Decipher Environmental Exposure's Links to Disease
Anxious about BPA? Petrified of pesticides? Plenty of scientific literature shows that concerns about certain chemicals' potential to up the risk for chronic disease are justified. And although genetics can predispose a person to many ills, more than half of disease risk -- and possibly as much as 90 percent -- likely stem from environmental factors, according to recent epidemiological research. Hard data -- of the quality now gleaned from genetic studies -- however, has been lacking in the environmental field. And if there is to be any hope of untangling the complex web of risks behind chronic diseases, many scientists argue, researchers need to develop an "exposome," a highly detailed map of environmental exposures that might occur throughout a lifetime, which can be mapped onto the etiology (the study of causes) of major illnesses, including cancer, diabetes and heart disease. ...


But I don't want to know!

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Sat, Oct 16, 2010
from Telegraph.co.uk:
Goodbye, CFCs. Hello, HCFCs, oh no
The cholorofluorocarbons, to give them their full name, are long gone from our lives. They have been banned from industrialised countries by international treaty since the mid- 1990s, and developing countries have followed suit. But because they are particularly long-lived substances, they have stuck around at dangerous levels in the atmosphere, continuing to do their worst. Now, finally, they have begun to decline. The world's most authoritative survey - the four-yearly Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion, compiled by 300 senior scientists - reported this autumn that levels of CFC 12, one of the most common types, have fallen for the first time.... The substances being used to replace CFCs - HCFCs and HFCs - though much better for the ozone layer, also contribute to global warming.... But emissions of HFCs are sky-rocketing, with no end in sight: the new assessment reckons that, if uncontrolled, they could undo all the good for the climate done by banning the CFCs in the first place. ...


An atmospheric HCFCatch-22.

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Tue, Oct 12, 2010
from National Geographic News:
Plane Exhaust Kills More People Than Plane Crashes
There's a new fear of flying: You're more likely to die from exposure to toxic pollutants in plane exhaust than in a plane crash, a new study suggests. In recent years, airplane crashes have killed about a thousand people annually, whereas plane emissions kill about ten thousand people each year, researchers say. Earlier studies had assumed that people were harmed only by the emissions from planes while taking off and landing. The new research is the first to give a comprehensive estimate of the number of premature deaths from all airline emissions. ...


Either way, doze planes, dey gonna git you.

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Sun, Oct 10, 2010
from Associated Press:
US, China blame each other for slow climate talks
Modest progress at U.N. climate talks Saturday was overshadowed by a continuing deadlock between China and the United States, clouding prospects for a major climate conference in Mexico in less than two months' time. Marred by an atmosphere of mistrust, negotiations have made limited headway as the world's two largest emitters of greenhouse gases blamed each other for holding up talks. Chief U.S. negotiator Jonathan Pershing said he was disappointed by the resistance of China and other developing nations to a major issue: allowing the monitoring and verification of their efforts to curb the greenhouse gas emissions that are blamed for global warming.... Meanwhile his Chinese counterpart, Su Wei, hit back, charging developed countries with failing to commit to substantial reductions in carbon emissions while making unfair demands of developing nations. ...


Why don't we at least find common ground by monitoring and verifying our failures to commit.

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Wed, Oct 6, 2010
from Environmental Health News:
BPA found in atmosphere, around the world
A global study finds bisphenol A is in the air, showing yet another possible way people are exposed to the notorious endocrine disruptor. Add air to the growing list of places where bisphenol A (BPA) is found, say a pair of Japanese researchers who have measured and reported levels of the chemical in the world's atmosphere. They discovered BPA in air samples from all over the world at widely varied levels - from almost nothing in remote areas near the poles to 10,000 times more than that in India and other heavily populated regions of Asia.... Researchers believe that BPA enters the air when plastics, electronics and other waste are burned, since the highest concentrations were measured near populated areas and coincided with high levels of other chemicals that are associated with burning plastics. BPA is a common ingredient in these types of products, and incineration is a popular way to dispose of this waste in certain parts of the world. Manufacturing processes for plastics and other consumer products containing BPA are also thought to be a major source of BPA in the air. ...


Living in the man-made material world.

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Mon, Oct 4, 2010
from Politico:
Environmental Protection Agency rules could hurt Barack Obama in 2012
President Barack Obama's Environmental Protection Agency is putting some hazardous speed bumps on his 2012 electoral road in key swing states. Controversial rules covering everything from power plants to petroleum refiners, manufacturers, coal mines and farmers could come back to haunt the White House in industrial and Midwestern states that carried Obama to the presidency two years ago. Political battlegrounds like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia that Obama won in 2008 will be watching how the EPA moves on climate change. Coal-reliant states such as Missouri -- which Obama lost by less than 1 percentage point -- will be monitoring clean air rules and coal ash standards. And farm states that Obama carried, including Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, are waiting on a proposal to tighten air quality limits for microscopic soot. ...


By all means let's play it safe!

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Mon, Sep 27, 2010
from AolNews:
Diesel Dangers: Mining Companies Get First Look at Government Cancer Study
A long-delayed government epidemiological study of possible ties between diesel exhaust and lung cancer in miners may finally be published this fall -- but only after a mining industry group, represented by the Washington lobbying powerhouse Patton Boggs, finishes a pre-publication review of the study's drafts. Eighteen years in the making and eagerly awaited by public health officials, the cancer study evaluates more than 12,000 current and former workers from eight mines that produce commodities other than coal. Its goal is to determine whether ultrafine diesel particulate matter -- a component of exhaust from diesel-powered machinery -- poses a serious hazard to miners in confined spaces. ...


They just want to dot a few "i" and cross a few "t"s!

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Tue, Sep 21, 2010
from Wall Street Journal:
New Smog Proposals From EPA Draw Fire
A proposed crackdown on smog by the Environmental Protection Agency is fueling resistance from businesses groups concerned about costs, Republicans who say it'll be a drag on the economy--and some heartland Democrats engaged in tough election battles this fall. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has dramatically stepped up the pace and scope of regulatory activity since 2009. She has pushed sweeping rules to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions linked to climate change, challenged coal companies over their mining practices, and questioned the methods energy companies are using to drill for natural gas. Now Ms. Jackson is proposing to redefine what constitutes unsafe levels of ground-level ozone, a primary ingredient in smog. ...


Where there's smog... there's fire!

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Fri, Sep 17, 2010
from NASA, via HuffingtonPost:
Ozone Hole Has Stopped Growing, Should Be Restored By Mid Century According To UN Scientists
September 16 marks the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, commemorated as the anniversary of that day in 1987 when the Montreal Protocol was signed, an international treaty created to limit and eventually ban CFCs and other substances that were discovered to have been depleting our ozone. And this year certainly brings cause for celebration. In the "Scientific Assessment of Ozone Depletion 2010" report, UN scientists announced that the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere has ceased diminishing, attesting to the success of the Montreal Protocol. The scientists say the area of the ozone that has thinned out should largely be restored by mid century, AFP reports. ...


It's as if... as if the world could get together to solve a common problem, in spite of cries from industry of economic hardship. What's up with that?

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Mon, Sep 6, 2010
from Miller-McCune:
Viewing Poisons at Our National Parks
America's national parks are heralded as pristine pockets of natural beauty, but that news hasn't stopped airborne pollutants from accumulating at alarmingly high rates in parks in the West. Eight years ago, spurred by reports of contaminants found in alpine and polar ecosystems far from where the pollutants originated, National Park Service leaders assembled an interdisciplinary team of researchers drawn from experts at several universities, government agencies and research groups.... The news wasn't good: • Of the 100 or more toxic substances tested for, 70 were found...• Many fish in parks have reached or exceeded the threshold level of contaminants for consumption by humans or other animals that eat them. ...


How do we know they aren't just tourist airborne pollutants?

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Sun, Sep 5, 2010
from Glasgow Herald:
War on the car
Stricter and lower speed limits, higher parking charges and a five pence per kilometre road-pricing scheme are being proposed by the Scottish Government as part of a major new offensive to cut the pollution that is disrupting the climate. The suggestions, contained in a key policy report leaked to the Sunday Herald, are part of radical plans being drawn up to meet the ambitious target of a 42 percent cut in carbon emissions by 2020. The government's new package of 30 "proposals and policies" to combat climate change has been welcomed by environmentalists. But some of the measures have already provoked the ire of the car lobby and businesses. The Association of British Drivers dismissed the curbs on cars as "lunatic". They would spark widespread anger, claimed Peter Spinney, the association's co-ordinator in Scotland. ...


Way to cut carbons!

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Mon, Aug 30, 2010
from Center for Investigative Reporting:
Under fire from industry, scientific panel is 'gutted'
Five out of nine members of a scientific panel that advises the state on toxic chemicals have been fired in recent weeks, following disputes with the chemical industry and a conservative group that targets environmental laws... Among the dismissed members is panel chairman John Froines, who also heads the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at UCLA's School of Public Health. Froines has served on the panel since it was founded and has been its chairman since 1998. Froines says he learned of his dismissal July 22 in a two-sentence letter from Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, D-Los Angeles. Panel members, including Froines, have come under fire over the years when their designation of certain substances as toxic came at a cost to industry. ...


Given the toxic relationship between business and science, I'd suggest purchasing one of these.

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Wed, Aug 11, 2010
from New York Times:
By Messing With Texas Air Pollution Permits, EPA Unleashes Power Struggle
After simmering behind closed doors for more than 15 years, a disagreement between U.S. EPA and Texas environmental officials over air pollution permits has boiled over in a big way...During the George W. Bush and Clinton administrations, EPA routinely missed its 18-month deadline for making decisions on Texas' permitting programs. Meanwhile, experts say, TCEQ kept issuing permits without federal approval and Texas businesses kept applying for them, assuming that no complaints from EPA meant that everything was fine. To this day, there are about 30 Texas permitting programs in legal limbo, many of them more than a decade old. With EPA required by a court settlement to make yes-or-no decisions on all of them by 2012, experts say the current dispute could be just the beginning of a protracted legal battle to determine where state authority ends and federal oversight begins. ...


Keep your guvment mitts off our shitty air.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Aug 11, 2010
from New York Times:
Russian Fires Raise Fears of Radioactivity
As if things in Russia were not looking sufficiently apocalyptic already, with 100-degree temperatures and noxious fumes rolling in from burning peat bogs and forests, there is growing alarm here that fires in regions coated with fallout from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster 24 years ago could now be emitting plumes of radioactive smoke. Several fires have been documented in the contaminated areas of western Russia, including three heavily irradiated sites in the Bryansk region, the environmental group Greenpeace Russia said in a statement released Tuesday. Bryansk borders Belarus and Ukraine. ...


Where there's radioactive smoke there's radioactive fire!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 10, 2010
from McClatchy Newspapers:
EPA requires cleanup of mercury from cement plants
The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday announced the nation's first limits on mercury emissions from cement plants. The decision also will require reductions of other harmful pollutants from cement plants, including soot, also known as particle pollution, which is linked to asthma, heart attacks and premature deaths for people with heart and lung diseases. The rules are part of a broader EPA air-cleanup plan. Next year the agency will put the first nationwide controls on mercury and other hazardous air pollutants from a much larger source, coal-fired power plants. The federal government presently doesn't require power plants to control mercury and other toxics. Coal-fired power plants are the source of 51 percent of the manmade mercury emissions in the U.S, followed by industrial and other boilers, at 15 percent. Cement kilns are third, with 7 percent, according to the EPA. ...


If they ain't careful, the EPA might find themselves wearing some cement shoes.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jul 28, 2010
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Scientists say soot a key factor in warming
Soot from diesel engines, coal-fired power plants and burning wood is a bigger cause of global warming than previously thought, and is the major cause of the rapid melting of the Arctic's sea ice, Stanford climate experts say. The evidence of mounting pollution by carbon particles in soot has been inadequately counted in international government debates over policies to cope with the warming problem, according to Stanford's Mark Z. Jacobson, leader of the university's Atmosphere and Energy program and a professor of civil and environmental engineering. ...


Soot?? What are we, trapped in a Dickens novel?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jul 27, 2010
from Reuters:
Toxic fish could help Obama hit 2020 climate goal
A proposed rule on mercury, a pollutant bad for fish and the people who eat too many of them, could help the Obama administration get near its short-term climate goal -- even if Congress fails this year or next to pass a bill tackling greenhouse gases directly... The EPA has begun to take steps on regulating greenhouse gases from autos, power plants and factories. But it is the agency's looming rules on mainstream pollutants, those that can cause diseases, that may limit carbon dioxide emissions the most. ...


This is sure something to cheer about! Isn't it?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jul 26, 2010
from Environmental Health News:
Urban air pollutants may damage IQs before baby's first breath, scientists say
In a sweltering summer in New York City back in 1999, Yolanda Baldwin was eight months pregnant with her first child. She lived across the street from a busy intersection and often wondered what the fumes might be doing to her unborn child. Now Baldwin and several hundred other mothers whose sons and daughters have been monitored for a decade have an answer: Before children even take their first breath, common air pollutants breathed by their mothers may reduce their IQs. A pair of studies involving more than 400 pregnant women in two cities has found that 5-year-olds exposed in the womb to above-average levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, score lower on IQ tests. The compounds, created by the burning of fossil fuels, are ubiquitous in urban environments. Columbia University scientists say their findings in Poland, published in April, bolster New York City data because they found the same effect in different conditions, in different parts of the world. This "adds to a growing literature implicating exposures to environmental toxicants with stunting of children's intellectual abilities," said Bruce Lanphear of Simon Fraser University. ...


"Street smarts" takes on a new, melancholic meaning.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jul 19, 2010
from Christian Science Monitor:
Gulf oil spill: Fouling air as well as water?
Questions about air pollution related to the BP oil spill may get some clearer answers this coming week, as university researchers and a Louisiana environmental group release initial findings of their independent analysis of the Gulf region's air quality. Last week, the EPA said that residents of two hard hit coastal communities in Louisiana -- Grand Isle and Venice -- face a "moderate health risk” due to hydrocarbon fumes. In Terrebonne Parish, residents of the town of Cocodrie and the surrounding area are also reporting strong odors of petroleum. For months since BP's Deepwater Horizon oil well blew, residents along the Gulf Coast, including many in New Orleans and other metro regions miles away from the shore, have said they smell fumes from the oil spill. Some have reported symptoms ranging from red eyes and runny noses to sinus infections and flu-like symptoms. ...


Water and air...somehow interconnected?Inexplicable!

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Jul 17, 2010
from Environmental Health News:
Diabetes linked to traffic air pollution; risk increases with Inflammation
German researchers report more evidence of another risk factor for developing type II diabetes: traffic related air pollution. After following a group of middle-aged women for 16 years, the authors find that exposure to high levels of air pollution is associated with an increased risk of type II diabetes in later years.... The study is one of the first to follow participants over many years in order to look at whether traffic-related air pollution might be linked to the risk of developing diabetes later in life. It agrees with a handful of prior human and animal studies that have suggested a link between the two. As the world becomes increasingly urban and megacities emerge, traffic-related air pollution is an increasingly serious problem. It poses environmental, ecological and human health risks, including well-documented respiratory illnesses such as asthma and lung cancer. ...


I'll ponder this as I sit idling in gridlock eating fructose fast food.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Jul 16, 2010
from Fresno Bee:
Shower of toxic particles threatens Valley air
A mysterious shower of microscopic chemicals near a Fresno shopping center could be the first evidence of a broad, undetected assault on the lungs of San Joaquin Valley residents. If confirmed in other Valley cities, it means many thousands of people are daily breathing these cocktails of chemicals -- known as ultra-fine particles -- that corrode and damage lungs... Sensitive, expensive equipment is needed to detect and study ultrafine pollution. Science is only now defining the possible problem...[and trying to] determine the source and extent of the plume. ...


I'll bet it's aliens!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jul 13, 2010
from Seattle Times:
Puget Sound waters now more corrosive
The waters in Puget Sound's main basin are acidifying as fast as those along the Washington Coast, where wild oysters have not reproduced since 2005. And in parts of Hood Canal, home to much of the region's shellfish industry, water-chemistry problems are significantly worse than the rest of Puget Sound. Scientists from the University of Washington and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warned Monday that the changing pH of the seas is hitting Puget Sound harder and faster than many other marine waters. That increasingly corrosive water -- a byproduct of carbon-dioxide releases from industries, power plants and vehicles -- is probably already harming shellfish, and over time it could reverberate through the marine food chain. ...


Plus, it will burn your swim suit right off your body!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jul 7, 2010
from Environmental Health News:
Traffic air pollution near school associated with onset of asthma
Children who breathe traffic-related air pollution at school are more likely to develop asthma, even after taking into account levels of air pollution at their homes, report researchers in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. This study adds to the small, but growing, body of research implicating traffic-related air pollution in the development of asthma. In addition, this study suggests that places away from home where children spend time play an important role in their health. Asthma is one of the most common childhood diseases in the United States. Rates among school-aged children continue to rise, leading to increased absences, more health care and lower quality of life. Asthma is a lung disease with symptoms that include wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing. ...


Score one for homeschooling.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jul 6, 2010
from The Reno Gazette-Journal:
DRI researchers find air-pollution link to drought
An increasing amount of scientific evidence suggests air pollution may be playing a role in drought, experts from the Desert Research Institute said. DRI scientists working at a remote lab in the Rocky Mountains said polluted air can cut a storm's snowfall in half. And the same researchers said the remaining snow also is affected because pollution could be squeezing another 25 percent of its water content. The DRI findings are bad news for Western states like California and Nevada that rely on snowpacks for drinking and agricultural water. An estimated 90 percent of Nevada's water is provided by melting snowpacks. ...


From snowpacks... to no-packs.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jul 5, 2010
from Environmental Health News:
Invasive "polluting plant" contributes to ozone levels
Kudzu - an invasive plant common in the southeastern United States - contributes to the production of ozone, and at its worst, may add as much as a week to the number of days when ozone levels exceed pollution limits in the region. Kudzu releases two key ingredients - nitric oxide and isoprene - that are important to making ozone, which is an air pollutant with known health effects. When researchers looked, kudzu-invaded areas had higher levels of nitric oxide compared to uninvaded areas... In areas of the country most vulnerable to changes in nitric oxide levels - Mississippi, Arkansas and Tennessee - the kudzu-related increase in ozone could add as many as seven additional high ozone episodes during the summer when ozone levels are highest. ...


Before long... we'll all be living in the kudzone!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jun 17, 2010
from Los Angeles Times:
Death by fire in the gulf
...When the weather is calm and the sea is placid, ships trailing fireproof booms corral the black oil, the coated seaweed and whatever may be caught in it, and torch it into hundred-foot flames, sending plumes of smoke skyward in ebony mushrooms. This patch of unmarked ocean gets designated over the radio as "the burn box." Wildlife researchers operating here, in the regions closest to the spill, are witnesses to a disquieting choice: Protecting shorebirds, delicate marshes and prime tourist beaches along the coast by stopping the oil before it moves ashore has meant the largely unseen sacrifice of some wildlife out at sea, poisoned with chemical dispersants and sometimes boiled by the burning of spilled oil on the water's surface. "It reflects the conventional wisdom of oil spills: If they just keep the oil out at sea, the harm will be minimal. And I disagree with that completely," said Blair Witherington, a research scientist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission who has been part of the sea turtle rescue mission. ...


But the fires are so dramatic and pretty!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, May 28, 2010
from Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
Texas agency gave inaccurate air pollution test results to Fort Worth
The state agency in charge of testing for air pollution gave inaccurate test results to the city of Fort Worth about toxic emissions from gas wells in January, and when it realized what it had done, it failed to notify the city or the public for weeks, according to an audit made public this week....At issue is a series of tests that the agency conducted in December in Fort Worth after activists raised questions about the amounts of benzene and other toxic compounds released from natural gas wells. Sadlier presented the results to the Fort Worth City Council on Jan. 12, saying, "Based on this study, the air is safe." Sadlier said the samples showed that none of the sites exceeded either the long-term or short-term screening levels for 22 airborne toxic compounds. However, state officials later discovered that the tests had been done with equipment that wasn't sensitive enough to measure some of the compounds at the long-term levels. ...


We are s'oh! sorry we bullshitted you!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, May 18, 2010
from Environmental Health News:
Rat study shows stress worsens air pollution health effects
Two distinct exposures - one environmental and one social - can act on rats to significantly alter the immune system and increase respiratory problems where one of them alone would not, researchers report. The animal study found that higher exposures to traffic-related air pollution were associated with a rapid, shallow breathing pattern only among chronically stressed rats. This is the first toxicological study to examine how chronic stress modifies the effect of fine particle air pollution on respiratory function. The findings suggest that changes in the immune and inflammatory responses of stressed rats may play a role in making them more susceptible to effects of air pollution. The results are consistent with human studies that report stronger health effects of air pollution among those who experience higher levels of social stressors, such as exposure to violence. This work may shed insight on existing health disparities since lower income populations often experience higher levels of environmental exposures and social stressors. ...


Rats stress me out and so do the studies that use them!

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Apr 17, 2010
from Reuters:
Ice cap thaw may awaken Icelandic volcanoes
A thaw of Iceland's ice caps in coming decades caused by climate change may trigger more volcanic eruptions by removing a vast weight and freeing magma from deep below ground, scientists said on Friday. They said there was no sign that the current eruption from below the Eyjafjallajokull glacier that has paralysed flights over northern Europe was linked to global warming. The glacier is too small and light to affect local geology. "Our work suggests that eventually there will be either somewhat larger eruptions or more frequent eruptions in Iceland in coming decades," said Freysteinn Sigmundsson, a vulcanologist at the University of Iceland. "Global warming melts ice and this can influence magmatic systems," he told Reuters. The end of the Ice Age 10,000 years ago coincided with a surge in volcanic activity in Iceland, apparently because huge ice caps thinned and the land rose. ...


All those extra, unnecessary consonants can't be helping the situation!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Apr 14, 2010
from NUVO Newsweekly:
Foul Farms
Barbara Sha Cox knows that there's nothing funny about leaking, underground gasoline tanks or abandoned, polluted industrial sites known as brownfields. The lifelong family farmer is part of a group of environmentalists that meets monthly with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). And she is a regular at committee meetings of all kinds held by the General Assembly and other state agencies like IDEM. But she chuckles when considering how little state government has learned from the past. "I sit in those meetings, and I think, 'They're talking about all these underground tanks, the brownfields, and how they've got to deal with them and all the leakage,'" the retired nurse says. "I keep thinking, 'How can you not have the foresight to see that you have this huge environmental problem that you are not acknowledging?'"...just a few hundred yards away, looms a 7.2-acre manure lagoon that has lately drawn national media attention from publications as diverse as the Huffington Post and Wall Street Journal due to fears it could explode from methane gas buildup. ...


It might explode just from all this media attention!

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Apr 14, 2010
from Associated Press:
Chicago Lawmakers Propose Tougher Coal-Plant Rules
Chicago lawmakers proposed new clean air regulations Tuesday that they say would be among the toughest in the nation and curb emissions from the city's two coal-burning power plants. Advocates say the two large plants, set in heavily populated South Side neighborhoods, long have been among the city's worst polluters, pumping out thousands of tons of soot and millions of tons of gases linked to global warming. The ordinance would require the Fish and Crawford plants to cut particulate emissions by 90 percent from existing levels by installing modern pollution controls. ...


Now that's my kind of town!

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Apr 10, 2010
from University of Southern California/Keck School of Medicine via ScienceDaily:
Traffic-Related Pollution Near Schools Linked to Development of Asthma in Pupils, Study Suggests
Living near major highways has been linked to childhood asthma, but a new study led by researchers at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC) suggests that traffic-related pollution near schools is also contributing to the development of asthma in kids. The researchers found that the risk of developing asthma due to exposure at school was comparable to that of children whose exposure occurred primarily at home, even though time spent at school only accounted for about one third of waking hours. Children in schools located in high-traffic environments had a 45 percent increased risk of developing asthma. The study appears in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives and is now available online. ...


This is what we call the school of hard knocks.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Apr 3, 2010
from Political Economy Research Institute via Truthout:
Meet the Toxic 100 Corporate Air Polluters
Researchers at the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts Amherst today released the Toxic 100 Air Polluters, an updated list of the top corporate air polluters in the United States.... The Toxic 100 Air Polluters index is based on air releases of hundreds of chemicals from industrial facilities across the United States. The rankings take into account not only the quantity of releases, but also the toxicity of chemicals, transport factors such as prevailing winds and height of smokestacks, and the number of people exposed. The top five air polluters among large corporations are the Bayer Group, ExxonMobil, Sunoco, DuPont, and Arcelor Mittal. ...


We're gonna need, like, a whole extra planet to detox from all this poison.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Mar 22, 2010
from The Epoch Times:
Carbon Dioxide 'Domes' Over Cities Could Increase Deaths, Study
Carbon dioxide "domes" that form over cities contribute to more deaths in those areas, a new study shows. Although the total health impacts of such concentrations of CO2 are uncertain, they are of concern the study concluded. "It is estimated that local CO2 emissions may increase premature mortality by 50 to 100 per year in California and 300 to 1,000 per year in the U.S.," the study says. Conducted by a professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Stanford University, Mark Jacobson, it states that, "Reducing locally emitted CO2 may reduce local air pollution mortality even if CO2 in adjacent regions is not controlled." The research also highlights a gap in the carbon dioxide "cap and trade" proposal that was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in June last year. Current air pollution regulations worldwide are broad and do not account for local health impacts under domes. The cap and trade system also does not consider controlling local CO2 based on local health impacts. ...


This is one way to take a bite out of overpopulation!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Mar 16, 2010
from NUVO Newsweekly:
Lucky animals get a whole week!
Governor Daniels proclaimed March 15-21 as National Wildlife Week in Indiana. To celebrate, animals throughout Indiana will experience a pause in the relentless destruction of their habitat. Indiana animals will enjoy a pristine environment for seven days, as coal-fired plants will suspend operations. Therefore the mercury, arsenic and other damaging pollutants will temporarily cease to contaminate the air, water and soil. Indiana CAFO operators won't dump hog, chicken and cow manure and Indiana farmers won't pour fertilizer into nearby streams and waters, so the fish and amphibians and other aquatic beings won't have to ingest phosphorus and other dangerous toxic substances -- or have the oxygen in the water robbed by algal blooms. ...


This bit o' satire is by yours truly.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Mar 11, 2010
from National Geographic News:
Sea Spray Detected 900 Miles Inland
Sea spray has been detected in the middle of the United States, some 900 miles (1,400 kilometers) from any ocean, a new study says. Scientists discovered chlorine -- "a key element in sodium chloride, or the type of salt found in seawater -- "in Boulder, Colorado's (see map) mountain air. Boulder's sea spray is too sparse to taste or even smell. But it's still much more abundant than previously thought "and it may be contributing to air pollution, said study team member Joel Thornton, an atmospheric chemist at Seattle's University of Washington. "We discovered chlorine chemistry happening in a region that we didn't expect it to be happening," Thornton said. ...


Crazy! You'd think the earth was one, holistic entity!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Mar 11, 2010
from Associated Press:
US coal town above mine fire claims massive fraud
Residents of a coal mining town in the state of Pennsylvania have long believed the government's demolition of it was part of a plot to swipe the mineral rights to anthracite coal worth hundreds of millions of dollars - and not, as officials said, the solution to an out-of-control underground mine fire that menaced the town with toxic gases. Centralia was all but wiped off the map as the slow-burning mine fire that began in 1962 at the town dump spread to the network of mines beneath the town, threatening residents with poisonous gases and dangerous sinkholes. A $42 million government relocation program was largely completed by 1993, when officials forced dozens of holdouts to leave. Now, in a last-ditch effort to save their homes from the wrecking ball, the few holdouts who remain in the Pennsylvania town are taking their claims of a conspiracy to court. ...


After almost 50 years of poisoning, we can forgive a little paranoia.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Mar 9, 2010
from Yale environment 360:
World's Pall of Black Carbon Can Be Eased With New Stoves
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. "If we could supply cheap, clean-burning cook stoves to the large portion of the world that burns biomass," says Guruswami, a Sri Lankan-born professor of international law at the University of Colorado, "we could address a significant international public health problem, and at the same stroke cut a major source of warming."...Some scientists now estimate that small, solid particles of black carbon are responsible for about one-fifth of warming globally and, as such, are the second-largest contributor to climate change, after carbon dioxide gas. ...


This dude's a guru and a swami ... all rolled into one.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Mar 3, 2010
from ACS, via EurekAlert:
CFC replacements may cause warming and acid rain
Chemicals that helped solve a global environmental crisis in the 1990s -- the hole in Earth's protective ozone layer -- may be making another problem -- acid rain -- worse, scientists are reporting.... [S]tudies later suggested the need for a replacement for the replacements, showing that HCFCs act like super greenhouse gases, 4,500 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The new study adds to those concerns, raising the possibility that HCFCs may break down in the atmosphere to form oxalic acid, one of the culprits in acid rain. They used a computer model to show how HCFCs could form oxalic acid via a series of chemical reactions high in the atmosphere. The model, they suggest, could have broader uses in helping to determine whether replacements for the replacements are as eco-friendly as they appear before manufacturers spend billions of dollars in marketing them. ...


Replacing the replacement... aren't we getting a little meta here?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Mar 2, 2010
from New York Times:
For Pennies, a Disposable Toilet That Could Help Grow Crops
A Swedish entrepreneur is trying to market and sell a biodegradable plastic bag that acts as a single-use toilet for urban slums in the developing world. Once used, the bag can be knotted and buried, and a layer of urea crystals breaks down the waste into fertilizer, killing off disease-producing pathogens found in feces. The bag, called the Peepoo, is the brainchild of Anders Wilhelmson, an architect and professor in Stockholm. ...


The "pissshit" didn't go over so well.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Mar 2, 2010
from Sacramento Bee:
Study of hospitals puts price tag on California's dirty air
California's dirty air led to nearly $200 million in hospital spending over a three-year period -- including $9 million in Sacramento County -- because of asthma, pneumonia and other pollution-triggered ailments, according to a study released today. With its research, Rand Corp. attempts to put a price tag on the state's bad air. The study analyzed records from hospitals and air quality agencies from 2005 to 2007. As many as 30,000 people statewide sought relief in emergency rooms because of air pollution during that period, the report states...The study focused on pollution from ozone, most commonly derived from automobile tailpipe emissions, and fine particulate matter, such as soot from fireplaces and wood-burning stoves. ...


Sounds worth it to me!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Mar 2, 2010
from Washington Post:
Manure becomes pollutant as its volume grows unmanageable
...Animal manure, a byproduct as old as agriculture, has become an unlikely modern pollution problem, scientists and environmentalists say. The country simply has more dung than it can handle: Crowded together at a new breed of megafarms, livestock produce three times as much waste as people, more than can be recycled as fertilizer for nearby fields. That excess manure gives off air pollutants, and it is the country's fastest-growing large source of methane, a greenhouse gas. And it washes down with the rain, helping to cause the 230 oxygen-deprived "dead zones" that have proliferated along the U.S. coast. In the Chesapeake Bay, about one-fourth of the pollution that leads to dead zones can be traced to the back ends of cows, pigs, chickens and turkeys. ...


That is just a shitload of shit!

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Feb 28, 2010
from US News and World Report:
Air Pollution: It's Not Just Your Lungs That Suffer
...research has revealed more about how far air pollution's harms go beyond the respiratory system. "People thought that when we inhale pollutants the lung is the main target, but the lung is surprisingly resilient. It turns out the cardiovascular effects are predominant," says Aruni Bhatnagar, an environmental cardiology researcher at the University of Louisville. One major study, which followed subjects for 16 years, found that people living in cities with higher levels of fine particulates were at greater risk of cardiovascular death. A difference of 10 micrograms per cubic meter increased the risk of dying from ischemic heart disease (narrowed arteries) by 18 percent, arrhythmia by 13 percent, and cardiac arrest by 21 percent, the study revealed. It seems air pollutants incite processes that lead to high blood pressure, blood clotting, and electrical instability in the heart, which can translate into heart attack, stroke, and sudden cardiac death. Even short-term exposure can be hazardous. Research shows spikes in cardiac deaths, emergency room visits, and hospital admissions in the hours and days that follow a spike in cities' levels of particulate matter. ...


But... but ... the sunsets are so beautiful...

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Feb 25, 2010
from University of Iowa, via EurekAlert:
UIowa study measures levels of PCBs flowing from Indiana canal to air and water
"We have analyzed PCBs in surficial sediment, water, suspended particles and air and examined the potential for chemical movement in the harbor system," Hornbuckle said. "We have shown that the system is currently a significant source of PCBs to the air and to Lake Michigan, even under quiescent conditions."... "We were not surprised to discover that PCBs were continuously emitted from the sediments of the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal. However, without our study, there was no way to determine how much was being released. Now we better understand the magnitude of the PCB release to Lake Michigan and to the air over the harbor and canal," Hornbuckle said. "We have found that this tributary releases more PCBs to Lake Michigan than any other known direct discharge of PCBs to the lake." ...


PCBs -- the gift that just keeps on giving.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Feb 23, 2010
from New York Times:
EPA's Gradual Phase In of GHG Regs Garners Qualified Praise From Senators
Facing mounting pressure from congressional lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, the Obama administration yesterday vowed to gradually phase in climate regulations for industrial sources. U.S. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that no stationary sources will face greenhouse gas regulations this year and that small sources will not be subject to permitting requirements any sooner than 2016. EPA is also considering "substantially" raising the thresholds in its proposed "tailoring" rule to exempt more facilities from requirements that they minimize their greenhouse gas emissions. ...


Whew!! We are off the hook again!

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Feb 20, 2010
from University of Miami via ScienceDaily:
Arctic Glacial Dust May Affect Climate and Health in North America and Europe
Residents of the southern United States and the Caribbean have seen it many times during the summer months -- a whitish haze in the sky that seems to hang around for days. The resulting thin film of dust on their homes and cars actually is soil from the deserts of Africa, blown across the Atlantic Ocean. Now, there is new evidence that similar dust storms in the arctic, possibly caused by receding glaciers, may be making similar deposits in northern Europe and North America...dust activity from the newly exposed glacial deposits will most likely increase in the future in Iceland and possibly from other glacial terrains in the Arctic. ...


That means I'll have to use scarce water resources to wash my car more often!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Feb 19, 2010
from PNAS, via PhysOrg:
Cars Emerge as Key Atmospheric Warming Force: Study
For decades, climatologists have studied the gases and particles that have potential to alter Earth's climate. They have discovered and described certain airborne chemicals that can trap incoming sunlight and warm the climate, while others cool the planet by blocking the Sun's rays.... Rather than analyzing impacts by chemical species, scientists have analyzed the climate impacts by different economic sectors.... The on-road transportation sector releases significant amounts of carbon dioxide, black carbon, and ozone—all substances that cause warming. In contrast, the industrial sector releases many of the same gases, but it also tends to emit sulfates and other aerosols that cause cooling by reflecting light and altering clouds.... In their analysis, motor vehicles emerged as the greatest contributor to atmospheric warming now and in the near term. Cars, buses, and trucks release pollutants and greenhouse gases that promote warming, while emitting few aerosols that counteract it. ...


Oh, sure. Next you'll be telling me that bovine flatulence is a problem.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Feb 19, 2010
from Nature:
Asian pollution delays inevitable warming
The grey, sulphur-laden skies overlying parts of Asia have a bright side -- they reflect sunlight back into space, moderating temperatures on the ground. Scientists are now exploring how and where pollution from power plants could offset, for a time, the greenhouse warming of the carbon dioxide they emit. A new modelling study doubles as a thought experiment in how pollution controls and global warming could interact in China and India, which are projected to account for 80 percent of new coal-fired power in the coming years. If new power plants were to operate without controlling pollution such as sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOX), the study finds, the resulting haze would reflect enough sunlight to overpower the warming effect of CO2 and exert local cooling. ...


I think I'd rather die of pollution than be killed by global warming.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Feb 15, 2010
from Bergen County Record:
New Jersey restaurants cooking up pollution along with pizza, hamburgers
When fast-food restaurants cook up cholesterol-heavy foods, they spew cholesterol and other particulates into the air, pollution that can affect the health of people with asthma and other breathing issues, researchers say. State and federal air pollution efforts focus on power plants, factories and diesel trucks, but a significant source of particulate pollution in the metropolitan area comes from restaurant emissions — especially the smoke from wood-burning pizza ovens, said Monica Mazurek, a Rutgers University scientist who has been studying particulate matter in urban air for several decades. Restaurants and wood-burning fireplaces and boilers discharge as much as 20 percent of the particulate matter in the air, and that smoke goes largely unchecked, researchers said. ...


So... what's to complain about here? It tastes good.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Feb 14, 2010
from Indianapolis Star:
Cold air traps pollution, leading to city smog alert
Officials are predicting a rare wintertime Knozone Air Quality Action Day for the high pollution levels expected in the Indianapolis area today. Lingering cold temperatures combined with snow on the ground have formed a pollution pocket over the city that could pose a health risk -- especially to the young, elderly and asthma sufferers, said Kären Haley, director of the city's Office of Sustainability. "Our temperature has been pretty stagnant," Haley said, noting that the city's air quality monitors began seeing pollution levels spike in the past few days. The smog from vehicle engines, factories and other sources typically rises into the jet stream and blows away. ...


There's something downright vengeful about our smog not blowing away!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Feb 12, 2010
from Telegraph.co.uk:
China considering green tax as extent of pollution is revealed
The national survey, which took 570,000 staff two years to complete, also revealed China's intensive farming practices were almost equally to blame for pollution as its many factories and coal-fired power stations. Announcing the results of China's first official nationwide pollution survey China's vice minister of environmental protection, Zhang Lijun, said that ministries were now studying the possibility of environmental taxes on polluters.... Pollution has become a major source of discontent and social unrest in China with almost daily protests about lead and other chemical pollution, fumes from rubbish incinerators and run-off from landfill sites. ...


Clearly, there's no Chinese Tea Party.

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Tue, Feb 9, 2010
from Bloomberg News:
Thirdhand Smoke Forms Cancer-Causing Residue Indoors That Lasts
Tobacco smoke contamination lingering on furniture, clothes and other surfaces, dubbed thirdhand smoke, may react with indoor air chemicals to form potential cancer-causing substances, a study found. After exposing a piece of paper to smoke, researchers found the sheet had levels of newly formed carcinogens that were 10 times higher after three hours in the presence of an indoor air chemical called nitrous acid commonly emitted by household appliances or cigarette smoke. That means people may face a risk from indoor tobacco smoke in a way that’s never been recognized before... ...


Fourthhand smoke's gotta be murder.

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Sun, Feb 7, 2010
from NUVO Newsweekly:
The Ohio Valley's toxic kids
Robert Owen would rise up from his grave in righteous indignation if he knew what has happened to the kids in his adopted Indiana home of New Harmony. The 19th-century visionary established a utopian settlement there in 1825, to establish “a model community where education and social equality would flourish,” as the University of Southern Indiana’s Historic New Harmony Web page puts it. But the type of education that has blossomed on the banks of the Wabash can’t possibly be what Owen envisioned. At a disturbingly high rate, students categorized as needing special education services are directly downwind of mercury-emitting, major power plants that have gone essentially uncontrolled for decades. ...


Now it's more like a pew-topian settlement.

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Sun, Feb 7, 2010
from Chicago Daily Herald:
Traffic's the biggest contributor to the region's air pollution
Downtown Chicago has the highest peak levels of nitrogen dioxide in the country, and is the only site in violation of new stricter guidelines against the irritant, which inflames asthma and other lung conditions. That news raised the question of how bad is the Chicago area's overall air quality, 40 years after the Clean Air Act as we know it was created... Forbes magazine recently rated the Chicago metropolitan area as having the second-worst air quality of any big city in the nation, based on a federal 2007 report on the number of days with unhealthy air... Today, the number one cause of air pollution is traffic. ...


Isn't "car" the root word of "carcinogen"?

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Fri, Feb 5, 2010
from Associated Press:
Few remain as 1962 Pa. coal town fire still burns
...After years of delay, state officials are now trying to complete the demolition of Centralia, a borough in the mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania that all but ceased to exist in the 1980s after the mine fire spread beneath homes and businesses, threatening residents with poisonous gases and dangerous sinkholes. More than 1,000 people moved out, and 500 structures were razed under a $42 million federal relocation program. But dozens of holdouts ... refused to go - even after their houses were seized through eminent domain in the early 1990s...State officials say the fire continues to burn uncontrolled and could for hundreds of years, until it runs out of fuel. One of their biggest concerns is the danger to tourists who often cluster around steam vents on unstable ground. ...


This town should be turned into a museum, an utterly perfect example of coal's destructiveness.

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Mon, Jan 25, 2010
from NPR:
New Anti-Smog Restrictions Could Warm Planet
The Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to tighten the ozone standard for smog will have an unfortunate side effect: Because of a quirk of atmospheric chemistry, those measures will hasten global warming. There's no question that smog is a hazard that deserves attention. Lydia Wegman of the EPA says the new ozone limits would have significant health benefits. Less smog means fewer asthma attacks, fewer kids in the hospital, fewer days of lost school, "and we also believe that we can reduce the risk of early death in people with heart and lung disease," she says. Here's the tough part: The way many states and localities will reduce smog is by cracking down on the chemicals that produce ozone. And those include nitrogen oxides, or NOx. ...


Stories like this are the very definition of being between a rock and a hard place.

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Tue, Jan 19, 2010
from Associated Press:
What's in a cigarette? US to study ingredients
The Food and Drug Administration is working to lift the smokescreen clouding the ingredients used in cigarettes and other tobacco products. In June, tobacco companies must tell the FDA their formulas for the first time, just as drugmakers have for decades. Manufacturers also will have to turn over any studies they've done on the effects of the ingredients... Companies have long acknowledged using cocoa, coffee, menthol and other additives to make tobacco taste better. The new information will help the FDA determine which ingredients might also make tobacco more harmful or addictive. It will also use the data to develop standards for tobacco products and could ban some ingredients or combinations. ...


We've waited this long... can't we be ignorant a little while longer?

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Sat, Jan 16, 2010
from NUVO Newsweekly:
CAFOs in court
Randolph County family farmers Judy and Allen Hutchison are finally getting their day in court. The couple's home is surrounded by more than 75,000 hogs and cows housed on what are called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), a.k.a. "factory farms." They can see the largest CAFO manure lagoon in the county from their driveway, a manmade, uncovered, 7.2-acre pond that holds roughly 20 million gallons of liquid animal waste. Their clothes frequently smell like manure when they come out of the dryer. The Hutchisons are among more than a dozen East-Central Indiana citizens who have sued several in- and out-of-state CAFO operators for more than just the daily indignities of life near factory farms, like the odors and the irrepressible flies. The lawsuits also allege the families have suffered from a number of physical maladies as a result, including skin irritations, nausea, headaches, breathing difficulties, tightness of the chest, sinus infection, stress and burning eyes, noses and throats. ...


That, my friends, is one whale of a pile of shit.

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Mon, Jan 4, 2010
from London Independent:
Deadly animal diseases poised to infect humans
The world is facing a growing threat from new diseases that are jumping the human-animal species barrier as a result of environmental disruption, global warming and the progressive urbanisation of the planet, scientists have warned. At least 45 diseases that have passed from animals to humans have been reported to UN agencies in the last two decades, with the number expected to escalate in the coming years. Dramatic changes to the environment are triggering major alterations to human disease patterns on a scale last seen during the industrial revolution. ...


Let's kill all the animals... before they kill us!

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Thu, Dec 31, 2009
from McClatchy Newspapers:
Dust: Tiny particles with a big impact
Dust, dust, dust. It's everywhere, burrowing under beds, piling up on windowsills, clogging guns and machinery, irritating eyes, noses and lungs. It soars thousands of miles over continents and oceans, sometimes obliterating the sky. Enormous masses of the stuff - fine grains of soil, sand, smoke, soot, sea salt and other tiny particles, both seen and unseen - pervade Earth's air, land and water. Now scientists are beginning to have new respect for the way dust alters the environment and affects the health of people, animals and plants. As global warming raises temperatures and forests are cleared for agriculture and other development, the amount of dust swirling through the Earth's atmosphere is expected to grow. The likely impact is unknown. ...


...all we are is dust in the wind....

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Mon, Dec 28, 2009
from The Times of India:
Bonfires that make you cough
KANPUR: With the rising number of vehicles, industries and use of generators due to frequent rostering, the city has been moving up quite fast on the list of most polluted cities. Come winters and the impromptu bonfires lit up by those living on the roads add to the pollution. Bonfires lit up on the roadsides, early in the morning and late into the evening are a common sight. The poisonous smoke released into the atmosphere as garbage, coal, rubber, dry leaves and other sundry items are put into the bonfire not only reduces visibility but also there are more cases of respiratory diseases. ...


Plus the bonfires add that cinematic, post-Apocalyptic feel.

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Sat, Dec 26, 2009
from Mumbai Daily News and Analysis:
Disaster is around the corner for Mumbai
Mumbai: Mumbai, beware! The list of most polluted industrial clusters in the country, which were announced on Thursday, figures five in and around the city. Domivli, Navi Mumbai, Tarapur, Chembur and Pimpri-Chinchwad are names that appear in the top 50 most polluted areas out of the 88 areas identified by the Union environment and forest ministry. The areas have reached their top level in terms of air, water and land pollution. And, the worst is that all the five clusters have reached critical levels of pollution, which has forced the Centre to put on hold expansion in these areas. ...


Pollution. The new terrorism.

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Wed, Dec 23, 2009
from Muncie Star Press:
Lawyers target pig, dairy farms
WINCHESTER -- Neighbors who are fed up living next door to factory farms have found three high-powered trial lawyers who vow to make Randolph County "ground zero" in a courtroom food fight over how Indiana produces pork and milk. Highly aggressive flies, harmful odors, stacks of dead animals and mismanagement of millions of gallons of manure are among the complaints of neighbors suing pork and dairy producers. The trial lawyers are bringing multiple lawsuits challenging Indiana's industrial or factory model of producing milk and pork in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) promoted by Gov. Mitch Daniels' agriculture department. ...


"All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others."

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Wed, Dec 16, 2009
from GreenBuildingElements:
Unsafe Levels of Formaldehyde in New Homes
Today the California Air Resources Board (CARB) released a study of indoor air quality in new homes. The report found that new homes have too little ventilation and too much formaldehyde. Ventilation in the majority of homes did not meet code.... Inadequate ventilation causes formaldehyde to concentrate inside homes. All homes in the study had unsafe levels of formaldehyde. "Nearly all homes had formaldehyde concentrations that exceeded guidelines for cancer and chronic irritation, while 59 percent exceeded guidelines for acute irritation." Formaldehyde causes asthma, bronchitis, sinus infections, and headaches. Formaldehyde is also a carcinogen, and it has been linked to leukemia. ...


But I feel well-preserved.

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Fri, Dec 4, 2009
from Der Spiegel:
How Europe's Discarded Computers Are Poisoning Africa's Kids
People in the West throw away millions of old computers every year. Hundreds of thousands of them end up in Africa, where children try to eke out a living by selling the scrap. But the toxic elements in the waste are slowly poisoning them.... Acrid, black smoke drifts over the huts of the slum. The river, too, is black and thick like used oil, as it carries empty computer cases toward the ocean. Fires are blazing on the bank across the way, fueled by foam and slivers of plastic. Their flames consume the plastic material from cables, plugs and motherboards, leaving behind only metal. There's a wind today, blowing the smoke from these infernal fires low across the ground. Breathing in too deeply is painful to the lungs, and the people tending the fires are sometimes nothing more than vague, foggy silhouettes.... Fourteen years old but small for his age, Bismarck scours the ground for anything the older boys might have left behind after burning a batch of computers. It might be bits of copper cable, the motor from a hard drive, or leftover pieces of aluminum. The magnets in his speaker also pick up screws or steel plugs. Bismarck drops everything he finds into his bag. Once the bag is half full, he can sell the metal and buy some rice, maybe a tomato too, or even a chicken drumstick grilled over a refurbished car wheel rim. But today, the boy says, he still hasn't found enough, and he disappears again into the smoke. ...


I'm posting this important story on my new computer!

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Thu, Dec 3, 2009
from FECYT, via EurekAlert:
CO2 levels rising in troposphere over rural areas
Spanish researchers have measured CO2 levels for the past three years in the troposphere (lower atmosphere) over a sparsely inhabited rural area near Valladolid. The results, which are the first of their kind in the Iberian Peninsula, show that the levels rose "significantly" between 2002 and 2005. Over recent years, physicists and meteorologists have been trying to find out about carbon dioxide (CO2) levels, and how these have evolved in the troposphere over various urban and rural areas around the planet. Now a scientific team from the University of Valladolid (UVA) has published the first -- and to date the only -- measurements for the Iberian Peninsula.... The study... shows that CO2 levels increased by 8 ppm (parts per million) between 2002 and 2005. A broader study has led the researchers to predict "an annual increase of 3 ppm" in the study area. ...


Rural tropospheres -- they're just a theory, right?

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Mon, Nov 30, 2009
from San Diego Union Tribune:
Carbon dioxide not the only climate enemy
By quickly arresting soot, methane, low-level ozone and hydrofluorocarbons, the researchers said the world can delay climate change by roughly 40 years -- enough time to significantly trim emissions of carbon dioxide. So-called fast-action strategies generally rely on available technologies so that they can be launched in two or three years with relatively little cost, according to advocates for that approach. They said trimming potent lesser-known pollutants will produce results in a matter of decades while carbon-dioxide remain in the atmosphere for centuries even after emissions stop. Many scientists say it's important to avoid raising the world temperature by 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit above preindustrial levels, a "tipping point" at which they predict major irreversible problems such as disappearing ice sheets. "As important as the CO2 side is, it's not enough to save us from irreversible and catastrophic changes," said Durwood Zaelke, a sustainable development expert at UC Santa Barbara. "We need these fast-action strategies to put the brakes on." ...


Don't just arrest them -- throw 'em in jail!

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Fri, Nov 27, 2009
from Southport Visitor:
Stationary motorists in Sefton could be fined for leaving engines running if plans are approved
PLANS to fine motorists who leave their engines on when stationary in Sefton have been proposed. The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) is seeking authorisation for plans to hand drivers on the spot fines of up to ÂŁ40 if they do not switch off their vehicle when stood still for more than a couple of minutes. This has come after the EPD received a number of complaints about stationary cars being left with their engine running whilst waiting at level crossing barriers, as well as waiting for buses and delivery vehicles to move on. In particular, numerous complaints about bus drivers leaving engines on for up to 30 minutes have been received and concerned members of the public brought up the issue during the recent consultation process. ...


Idling cars are the devil's smokestack.

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Tue, Nov 24, 2009
from Agence France-Presse:
Petrol inhalation causes road-rage rats
Breathing in fumes from petrol made lab rats more aggressive, a finding that has wide implications for urban pollution, according to a study published on Tuesday. Cairo University researcher Amal Kinawy exposed three groups of rats to either clean air, vapour from leaded petrol or vapour from unleaded petrol. Dissection of the rats showed that those exposed to petrol (US gasoline), had big fluctuations in a key group of neurotransmitters -- chemicals used for exchanging messages between neurons -- in three areas of the brain. In addition, rats exposed to unleaded petrol showed indications of neurological change. Their brain cells looked like they had been damaged by rogue molecules called free radicals. ...


Maybe being caged and tested is what pissed them off.

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Mon, Nov 23, 2009
from Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
State is asking Barnett Shale drillers to voluntarily cut air pollution
State environmental regulators want natural gas companies to voluntarily emit less air pollution after tests showed high levels of a cancer-causing chemical near wells in the Barnett Shale gas field....Air samples showed significant levels of benzene in several locations. One sample taken downwind from a tank seven miles west of DISH showed a level of 1,000 parts per billion, which is more than five times the commission's short-term exposure limit of 180 parts per billion. That level is the equivalent of a person sniffing a can of gasoline, and it shows the need for more tests, including long-term sampling, Honeycutt said. A sample at another site found benzene at 500 parts per billion. Long-term exposure to benzene -- a year or more -- can lead to health problems including anemia, immune disorders and leukemia. ...


Sounds like a plan!

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Wed, Nov 18, 2009
from Purdue University via ScienceDaily:
Dozen Lesser-Known Chemicals Have Strong Impact on Climate Change
A new study indicates that major chemicals most often cited as leading causes of climate change, such as carbon dioxide and methane, are outclassed in their warming potential by compounds receiving less attention....In the results, chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur and nitrogen fluorides stood out in their warming potential because of their efficiency to trap radiation in the atmospheric window. ...


Here's another acronym for ya: HOLYSHIT

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Tue, Nov 3, 2009
from The Hindu:
As fire dies down, environmental crisis looks large
The fire raging at the Indian Oil Corporation depot at the Sitapura Industrial Area near here since last Thursday has led to an environmental crisis in the capital city. The thick black plumes of smoke have spread to dozens of villages and residential colonies, hampering visibility and creating panic. Hundreds of people are visiting hospitals with the complaints of breathing problem, sore throat, irritation in the eye, allergy and itching. In addition to the mobile medical teams that are making rounds in the villages, all primary health centres in the rural terrain have been asked to remain open round-the-clock. Environmental experts here fear that the smoke, apart from affecting the health of the people in and around the city, would also hit agriculture in the surrounding villages which supply vegetables and food grain to Jaipur. ...


Another one of those "true cost of oil" moments.

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Mon, Nov 2, 2009
from Sydney Morning Herald:
'Disaster movie': fire breaks out on leaking oil rig
Environmental groups say the oil leak spilling into the Timor Sea should be declared a national emergency, with one expert likening it to a "disaster movie." The situation has worsened in the last 24 hours with a fire breaking out on the deck of the West Atlas rig and Montara well head platform, when the company responsible for its operation began to plug the rig's leak below the sea bed with mud. ...


I so hope Bruce Willis is available.

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Sun, Nov 1, 2009
from Times Online (UK):
Methane's impact on global warming far higher than previously thought
The effects of a critical greenhouse gas on global warming have been significantly underestimated, according to research suggesting that emissions controls and climate models may need to be revised Methane's impact on global temperatures is about a third higher than generally thought because previous estimates have not accounted for its interaction with airborne particles called aerosols, NASA scientists found. When this indirect effect of the potent greenhouse gas is included one tonne of methane has about 33 times as much effect on the climate over 100 years as a tonne of carbon dioxide, rather than 25 times as in standard estimates. ...


And when, pray tell, will we finally see an "our models underestimated the Earth's natural resilience" story?

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Thu, Oct 29, 2009
from Environmental Health News:
Idling school buses spew black carbon, fine particles
...Idling longer than one minute in a school zone is illegal in New York City for all vehicles, but the laws are rarely enforced. Before dismissal, around the corner on Madison Avenue, a produce delivery truck idled for several minutes, double-parked—all while a traffic enforcement cop stood two cars down. Idling buses, cars and trucks may not seem like a big deal, but in New York City they spew out as much pollution as nine million diesel trucks driving from the Bronx to Staten Island, according to the Environmental Defense Fund. That’s roughly 130,000 tons of carbon dioxide, 940 tons of nitrogen oxide, 24 tons of soot particles, and 6,400 tons of carbon monoxide each year. Vehicles running on diesel fuel release fine particulate matter and elemental carbon—also known as black carbon. In studies around the world, particulates have been linked to deaths from respiratory disease and heart attacks. Diesel exhaust also contains several carcinogens and other toxic substances. ...


Idling cars are the devil's parking lot.

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Tue, Oct 27, 2009
from Washington Post:
Ailing planet seen as bad for human health
Climate change will make Americans more vulnerable to diseases, disasters and heat waves, but governments have done little to plan for the added burden on the health system, according to a new study by a nonprofit group. The study, released Monday by the Trust for America's Health, an advocacy group focused on disease prevention, examines the public-health implications of climate change. In addition to pushing up sea levels and shrinking Arctic ice, the report says, a warming planet is likely to leave more people sick, short of breath or underfed. ...


Yet another fine report from the Duh! Institute.

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Mon, Oct 26, 2009
from University of California - Berkeley via ScienceDaily:
Treaty To Limit Carbon Dioxide Should Be Followed By Similar Limits On Other Greenhouse Pollutants
When world leaders meet in Copenhagen in December to hash out a treaty limiting carbon dioxide emissions, they should begin planning a future summit to address other pollutants -- from soot to ozone -- that don't remain in the atmosphere as long as carbon dioxide, but nevertheless are major contributors to global warming. That is the view of University of California, Berkeley, researcher Stacy C. Jackson, who presents her arguments in a policy piece appearing in the Oct. 23 issue of the journal Science.... Pollutants like soot and ozone are well-known greenhouse pollutants, but scientists and policy makers have focused most of their attention on the gorillas in the room: carbon dioxide and, to a lesser extent, methane -- pollutants that have had the biggest historical impact on global warming.... Numerous recent studies, however, have found the impacts of global warming accelerating, with faster melting of glaciers and sea ice and higher temperatures than predicted by climate models. ...


Can't we just deal with everything at once?

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Tue, Oct 20, 2009
from National Geographic:
Leaves "Magnetized" by Air Pollution, Study Finds
Tree leaves are "magnetized" by air pollution, and the phenomenon may offer a new and inexpensive technique for quickly identifying air-pollution hot spots, scientists say. The technique, they add, could help city officials plan healthier bike paths, walkways, and running paths. Vehicle exhaust and other sources of air pollution spew out metallic fragments that then adhere to nearby tree leaves, said study leader Bernie Housen, a geophysicist at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington...Housen's study revealed that leaves plucked from trees along regular bus routes were up to ten times more magnetic than those on quieter streets. ...


If you live along a bus route you're plucked!

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Tue, Oct 20, 2009
from Chicago Tribune:
Obama's EPA orders more tests for BP refinery
The Obama administration is cracking down on BP as the oil company overhauls its massive refinery in northwest Indiana, one of the largest sources of air pollution in the Chicago area. In response to a petition from environmental groups, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today ordered Indiana regulators to revamp a new operating permit for the Midwest's biggest refinery. The groups, along with elected officials in Illinois, contend Indiana had allowed the oil giant to avoid stringent requirements under the federal Clean Air Act. Tougher pollution limits could help relieve problems with lung-damaging soot and smog in the metropolitan area that stretches around the tip of Lake Michigan. In a 24-page order, the agency directed Indiana to take a new look at several sources of air pollution at the Whiting refinery, 15 miles southeast of downtown Chicago. The results are due in 90 days. ...


Just so EPA cracks down on towns Obama isn't in love with!

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Fri, Oct 9, 2009
from New Scientist:
Melting glaciers bring 1980s pollution revival
The flow of pollutants into the lake peaked in the 1970s, mainly due to the production of plastics, electronics, pesticides and fragrances. The levels declined during the 1980s and 1990s when people realised that these compounds were toxic and they were banned. However, they found that banned chemicals, such as pesticides that have been linked with Parkinson's disease, have been pouring into the lake at an increasing rate since the 1990s.... Bogdal reckons that a glacier feeding the lake has been storing these chemicals for decades, and is releasing them as it melts. This process could be dramatically sped up by global warming, he warns. The problem isn't limited to Alpine glaciers. Since these chemicals would have been transported great distances via the atmosphere before they were frozen into ice, many other glaciers around the world may be contaminated. Toxic chemicals have previously been found in polar regions -- putting arctic wildlife at risk. ...


Reruns from the seventies and eighties should only be on Hulu.

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Thu, Sep 17, 2009
from Associated Press:
EPA scraps Bush-era smog rule and will start over
The Obama administration signaled Wednesday that it would scrap a controversial Bush-era rule that set stricter limits for smog but fell short of scientific recommendations. In a notice filed Wednesday in a federal appeals court, the Justice Department says there are concerns that the revision made by the Bush administration does not adhere to federal air pollution law. The Environmental Protection Agency will propose revised smog standards to protect health and the environment in late December. "This is one of the most important protection measures we can take to safeguard our health and our environment," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson in a statement. "Reconsidering these standards and ensuring acceptable levels of ground-level ozone could cut health care costs and make our cities healthier, safer places to live, work and play." Smog is a respiratory irritant that can aggravate asthma and has been linked to heart attacks. ...


What's the hurry?

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Tue, Sep 8, 2009
from The Vancouver Sun:
Forest fires caused by lightning nearly double
British Columbia is being hit with an explosive growth in wildfires caused by lightning, with 2,161 lightning-fuelled fires ignited since April 1. The number represents an 84-per-cent jump over the entire 2008 fire season, and is far higher than 2004, which recorded the second-highest number of wildfires caused by lightning in the last 10 years. Between April 1 and September 7, B.C. has had 3,002 wildfires. Of those, 72 per cent were caused by lightning, according to the B.C. Wildfire Management branch.... ...


Sounds like Thor is mighty disquieted.

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Tue, Sep 8, 2009
from SciDev.net:
Air pollution cutting China's 'vital' rain
China's increasing air pollution has cut the light rainfall essential to the country's agriculture over the last 50 years, new research suggests. The research, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research last month, is based on rainfall data collected from weather stations across China. The number of light rain days -- those with precipitation of less than ten millimetres -- in northeast and southeast China has been cut by 7 and 8 days respectively per decade for the past five decades, researchers have found.... The authors say that increased levels of aerosols -- particles of pollution in the air above China -- are caused by increasing fossil fuel consumption, particularly in big cities like Beijing. ...


Economic growth as a WMD? Is this a trap we laid?

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Thu, Aug 27, 2009
from New Scientist:
Laughing gas is biggest threat to ozone layer
Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, is now the dominant ozone-depleting substance emitted by humans -- and is likely to remain so throughout the century, a new study suggests. Researchers suggest use of the compound -- which is produced by the breakdown of nitrogen in fertilisers and sewage treatment plants -- should be reduced to avoid thinning the protective ozone layer that blankets the Earth.... Scientists say humans' role in producing the harmful gas has largely been overlooked. Thanks to fossil fuel combustion, which produces the gas, as well as nitrogen-based fertilisers, sewage treatment plants and other industrial processes that involve nitrogen, about one-third of the nitrous oxide emitted per year is anthropogenic. Although supersonic transport never got off the ground, current emissions are equivalent to flying 500 such planes a day. Emission levels have increased by 0.25 per cent a year since pre-industrial times. "Nitrous oxide is kind of the forgotten gas," says Don Wuebbles of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who invented the method of quantifying a chemical's ozone-depletion potential but was not involved in this work. "It was always thought of as a natural thing. People have forgotten that it's been increasing." ...


ha ha HA ha Ha ha.

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Wed, Aug 19, 2009
from Associated Press:
New gov't study shows mercury in fish widespread
No fish can escape mercury pollution. That's the take-home message from a federal study of mercury contamination released Wednesday that tested fish from nearly 300 streams across the country. The toxic substance was found in every fish sampled, a finding that underscores how widespread mercury pollution has become.... Mercury consumed by eating fish can damage the nervous system and cause learning disabilities in developing fetuses and young children. The main source of mercury to most of the streams tested, according to the researchers, is emissions from coal-fired power plants. The mercury released from smokestacks here and abroad rains down into waterways, where natural processes convert it into methylmercury — a form that allows the toxin to wind its way up the food chain into fish. ...


...and keep on winding its way up to us!

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Sun, Aug 16, 2009
from Sydney Morning Herald:
Study links drought with rising emissions
DROUGHT experts have for the first time proven a link between rising levels of greenhouse gases and a decline in rainfall. A three-year collaboration between the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO has confirmed that the drought is not just a natural dry stretch but a shift related to climate change. Scientists working on the $7 million South Eastern Australian Climate Initiative said the rain had dropped away because the subtropical ridge - a band of high pressure systems that sits over the country's south - had strengthened over the past 13 years. ...


The rain was full of acid anyway.

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Sat, Aug 15, 2009
from Discovery News:
Air Pollution Travels, Kills Thousands Annually
Unseen and odorless, microscopic particles of air pollution wafting overseas and across continents kill some 380,000 people each year, according to a new study. Exhaust from diesel engines, sulfur from coal-fired power plants, and desert dust swirl into an insidious cocktail of of tiny particles that can spend weeks airborne. The most harmful are the smallest, less than 2.5 microns in diameter; when inhaled they can irritate the lungs or pass directly into the bloodstream and damage arteries. ...


Well, at least it doesn't smell bad.

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Wed, Aug 12, 2009
from New York Times:
China's Incinerators Loom as a Global Hazard
After surpassing the United States as the world's largest producer of household garbage, China has embarked on a vast program to build incinerators as landfills run out of space. But these incinerators have become a growing source of toxic emissions, from dioxin to mercury, that can damage the body’s nervous system. And these pollutants, particularly long-lasting substances like dioxin and mercury, are dangerous not only in China, a growing body of atmospheric research based on satellite observations suggests. They float on air currents across the Pacific to American shores.... [However, at] the other end of Shenzhen from Longgang, no smoke is visible from the towering smokestack of the Baoan incinerator... Government tests show that it emits virtually no dioxin and other pollutants. But the Baoan incinerator cost 10 times as much as the Longgang incinerators, per ton of trash-burning capacity. The difference between the Baoan and Longgang incinerators lies at the center of a growing controversy in China. ...


As if heavy metals could float on air!

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Thu, Jul 30, 2009
from San Francisco Chronicle:
100 Cities: The Best and Worst Air Quality
...More than 175 million Americans -- six in 10 -- live in counties where high ozone levels were detected -- nearly twice as many as were at risk in 2008. That increase is largely due to new government calculations that account for new scientific understanding of risk of exposure at lower levels for shorter durations. Even as cities have taken steps to reduce pollution sources, global warming is producing more hot sunny days, extending the ozone pollution season (April heat wave, anyone?) and increasing the number of days likely to produce unhealthy levels of ozone pollution... The Cleanest [City} in the U.S.: Fargo-Wahpeton, ND-MN This is the only city area to appear on the American Lung Association's list of cleanest cities when measured by all three criteria -- ozone, short-term particulates and long-term particulates. ...


Let's all go drive there, don't cha know.

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Wed, Jul 29, 2009
from Mongabay:
Burning by Asia Pulp and Paper contributes to haze in Indonesia, Malaysia
One quarter of fire hotspots recorded in the Indonesia province of Riau on the island of Sumatra in 2009 have occurred in concessions affiliated with Sinar Mas Group's Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), according to new analysis by Eyes on the Forest, a coalition of environmental groups. The fires are contributing to the "haze" that is affecting air quality and causing health problems in Malaysia. The analysis of NASA satellite imagery by Eyes on the Forest reveals that APP continues to clear forest in the Giam Siak Kecil-Bukit Batu, a block of which was recently declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.... "Between 1996 and 2007, APP had pulped 177,000 hectares -- 65 percent of all natural forest lost in the ecosystem," added Nursamsu of WWF-Indonesia.... APP plans to clear up to 200,000 hectares of Bukit Tigapuluh. ...


Hey, can we get to that "paper-free office" anytime soon?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jul 20, 2009
from Washington Post:
Chemicals That Eased One Woe Worsen Another
This is not the funny kind of irony: Scientists say the chemicals that helped solve the last global environmental crisis -- the hole in the ozone layer -- are making the current one worse. The chemicals, called hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), were introduced widely in the 1990s to replace ozone-depleting gases used in air conditioners, refrigerators and insulating foam. They worked: The earth's protective shield seems to be recovering. But researchers say what's good for ozone is bad for climate change. In the atmosphere, these replacement chemicals act like "super" greenhouse gases, with a heat-trapping power that can be 4,470 times that of carbon dioxide. ...


Maybe we should just do nothing. Oh wait, we tried that.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jul 20, 2009
from Associated Press:
Study links kids' lower IQ scores to prenatal pollution exposure
Researchers for the first time have linked air pollution exposure before birth with lower IQ scores in childhood, bolstering evidence that smog may harm the developing brain. The results are in a study of 249 children of New York City women who wore backpack air monitors for 48 hours during the last few months of pregnancy. They lived in mostly low-income neighborhoods in northern Manhattan and the South Bronx. They had varying levels of exposure to typical kinds of urban air pollution, mostly from car, bus and truck exhaust. At age 5, before starting school, the children were given IQ tests. Those exposed to the most pollution before birth scored on average four to five points lower than children with less exposure. ...


Maybe it's the backpack air monitors that are the culprit!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jun 23, 2009
from PNAS, via SolveClimate:
Study Confirms Growing Threat of Super Greenhouse Gases
A new study published today by the National Academy of Sciences confirms unequivocally that a class of gases, whose use is expected to skyrocket in the developing world as living standards improve, poses an unforeseen and potentially grave threat by worsening global warming. These "super greenhouse gases" known as hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, were originally developed to replace the use of ozone-depleting aerosols and are now commonly found in refrigerators, air conditioners and automobile cooling systems. If left unchecked, their build-up in the atmosphere could negate current efforts to reduce carbon dioxide to safe levels by 2050. This emergency within the climate emergency has largely escaped public notice, but the new study is expected to raise its profile. ...


These emergencies within emergencies just keep on emerging.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Jun 20, 2009
from BBC:
How aerosols mask climate change
The pollution particles he studied include industrial aerosols such as sulphates, nitrates found in smoke from burning agricultural waste and black carbon (soot) from diesel engines and other forms of combustion. "Global models of the emission of these aerosols suggest the cooling effect they have cancels out approximately 10 percent of the global warming caused by greenhouse gases," explained Jim Haywood, an aerosol researcher from the UK Met Office, who was not involved in this study. "But satellite methods that detect the amount of aerosols in the atmosphere suggest a cooling effect that cancels out about 20 percent." By identifying the source of this discrepancy, Dr Myhre was able to reconcile the two approaches and come up with a more precise estimate -- closer to 10 percent. ...


That means our air pollution is actually helping our planet, right?

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Jun 19, 2009
from Environmental Health News:
New diesel trucks and buses cut soot and smog more than 90 percent
For decades, diesel trucks and buses have spewed large amounts of soot, smog-causing gases and carcinogens into the air. But new diesel engines are more than 90 percent cleaner than a few years ago, far exceeding the emission reductions required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, according to a new study released Thursday. ...


Ten-four good buddy!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jun 11, 2009
from Los Angeles Daily Breeze:
Study claims L.A. pollution worst in morning
The early-morning hours are the most toxic time of day for those who live downwind of freeways, a yearlong study shows. The pollutants are also nearly 10 times more far-reaching than previously thought, according to the researchers, who measured pre-sunrise air toxins around Interstate 10 in 2008. "I would certainly say that this has implications for those who live near all the major freeways," said Dr. Arthur Winer, the principal investigator. "We need to make those measurements, but I would suspect the same would be found throughout the region." Scientists from UCLA's School of Public Health found the most toxic time of year is winter, before sunrise, in cities that are south of the freeway. ...


Ya think!?

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Jun 6, 2009
from Brown University via ScienceDaily:
How Humans Have Disrupted The Nitrogen Cycle
More and more, scientists are getting a better grip on the nitrogen cycle. They are learning about sources of nitrogen and how this element changes as it loops from the nonliving, such as the atmosphere, soil or water, to the living, whether plants or animals. Scientists have determined that humans are disrupting the nitrogen cycle by altering the amount of nitrogen that is stored in the biosphere. The chief culprit is fossil fuel combustion, which releases nitric oxides into the air that combine with other elements to form smog and acid rain... In a paper published June 5 in Science, the group traces the source of nitrates to nitric oxides released through fossil fuel burning that parallels the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. ...


This info will make a nice isotopic of conversation at your next cocktail party.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, May 5, 2009
from Kansas City Star:
New governor approves one coal-fired power plant for Kansas
In a stunning reversal from his predecessor, Gov. Mark Parkinson on Monday signed an agreement ending a two-year fight over plans to build coal-fired power plants in western Kansas. The compromise allows Sunflower Electric Power Corp. to build one 895-megawatt coal-fired power plant near Holcomb, instead of two 700-megawatt plants that were repeatedly blocked by Kathleen Sebelius when she was governor. In exchange for the go-ahead, Sunflower will build more wind turbines and agree to more pollution controls and a greater investment in energy efficiency. "We have been at an energy impasse for the past couple of years," said Parkinson, a Democrat. "I thought it was time to bring an end to that impasse." ...


With Dorothy gone to Washington, looks like the Wicked Witch is taking over.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Apr 30, 2009
from Canadian Press:
Soot may be major cause of rapid Arctic warming
Greenhouse gases may not be the only reason the Arctic is thawing so rapidly. A report released Wednesday at an international meeting in Norway says scientists have discovered a new factor behind the surprisingly rapid meltdown -- so-called "black carbon," otherwise known as soot... Scientists have been puzzled for years about why Arctic sea ice is melting faster than climate models predict.... Research in the report shows that tiny particles of soot can reach the Arctic through air currents in just a few days. Some of those particles hang around in the atmosphere, absorbing sunlight and warming the air. The rest fall to the ground, where their darker colour speeds the melting of snow and ice. ...


Soot? Seriously? What are we, trapped in a Dickens novel??

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Apr 29, 2009
from Reuters (UK):
186 million in U.S. live with dangerous air pollution
Six in 10 U.S. residents -- more than 186 million people -- live in areas with dangerous levels of air pollution, the American Lung Association reported on Wednesday. The air in many U.S. cities became dirtier last year, the association said in its annual "State of the Air" report. "Despite almost 40 years since the Clean Air Act passed in 1970, six in 10 Americans still live in dirty air areas, areas where the air is unhealthful to breathe," the group's Paul Billings said in a telephone interview.... This year's air pollution numbers were far higher than in last year's report, which found 125 million people, or about 42 percent of U.S. residents, living with unhealthy air pollution. ...


Smmms fnn to mmmnn.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Apr 28, 2009
from Environmental Health News:
Sleeping with the enemy: indoor airborne contaminants
New research studying household air in homes in Arizona found more than 400 chemicals ranging from pesticides to phthalates, confirming that indoor air can be heavily contaminated with pollutants. Pesticides, including diazinon, chlorpyrifos and DDT were found at surprisingly high levels, as were phthalates... A total of 586 individual chemicals were identified. The pesticides diazinon and chlorpyrifos were found in the greatest amounts and both were found in all of the 52 homes tested.... Researchers were not able to identify at least 120 of the chemicals. Many of these unidentified chemicals had structures similar to fragrance compounds. Fragrances made up the major chemical component of the collected chemicals. ...


So... outside is polluted, and inside is toxic? Where else is there?

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Apr 25, 2009
from Greenwire:
Dust from coal trucks poses Appalachian health threat -- study
Coal trucks rumbling through neighborhoods in southwest Virginia are trailing dust clouds that violate federal pollution standards, according to a report that advocacy groups released yesterday. The study (pdf) conducted by North Carolina State University for the Southern Appalachian Mountain Stewards and the Sierra Club analyzed airborne dust along the roads of Roda in Wise County, where trucks haul coal from several mining operations. The trucks track coal, mud and debris from the mines to the road, where it dries and turns to dust that is stirred up by other vehicles. That dust coats houses and is thought to cause respiratory and other health ailments, researchers found. ...


To me... it's all part of the Apo-coal-ypse!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Apr 23, 2009
from London Daily Telegraph:
Climate change could speed up as pollution decreases
The new research found that plants have been taking in more carbon dioxide over the last 40 years because pollution makes it easier for plants to convert sunlight to energy. However as the world produces more electricity from renewables and transport is made cleaner, the skies will be clearer - slowing the ability of plants to absorb the greenhouse gas and therefore contributing to global warming. The study, published in Nature, warned that the reduced ability of plants to absorb carbon dioxide as the air becomes cleaner makes it even more important to cut emissions in the future....The increase in the amount of carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas, may have helped to slow global warming. However as the world cuts pollution it will speed up again. ...


Seems we've painted ourselves into an Apocalyptic corner.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Apr 23, 2009
from Washington Post:
Dust Storms Escalate, Prompting Environmental Fears
The Colorado Rockies, including the headwaters of the Colorado River and the Rio Grande, have experienced 11 serious dust storms this year, a record for the six years researchers have been tracking them. More important, an increasing amount of airborne dust is blanketing the region, affecting how fast the snowpack melts, when local plants bloom and what quality of air residents are breathing. The dust storms are a harbinger of a broader phenomenon, researchers say, as global warming translates into less precipitation and a population boom intensifies the activities that are disturbing the dust in the first place. ...


Dust... The new invasive species.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Apr 22, 2009
from Indianapolis Star:
Indiana ranks near bottom in environmental issues
Environmental comparisons can be difficult because of oceans of complex data generated and evaluated in different ways. But it seems that no matter who is compiling the survey -- or what aspect of the environment is being measured -- Indiana consistently ranks near the bottom. Some examples: Forbes.com ranked Indiana 49th out of 50 states in its 2007 "America's Greenest States" survey. Only West Virginia fared worse. Indianapolis ranked 99th out of 100 metropolitan areas per capita in a 2008 Brookings Institution report on environmentally harmful carbon emissions from transportation and energy. Only Lexington, Ky., was worse. ...


Beloved Hoosier pastimes include: racing, basketball, and death by environmental contamination.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Apr 20, 2009
from National Geographic News:
Surprising Clouds Forming Due to Lead in Air
Lead in the air is causing clouds where there shouldn't be any "in conditions typically too warm and dry for cloud formation," according to scientists who've "bottled" clouds and even grown their own. Driven mainly by industrial lead-dust emissions, lead-heavy clouds could change weather patterns and might actually help fight global warming, the study suggests. Researchers collected cloud samples atop a Swiss mountain and found that about half of their ice crystals contained lead... As our world warms and becomes drier, these leaded clouds may drive unpredictable changes in rain and snowfall... ...


The good news is, we can move these clouds around with giant magnets!

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Apr 19, 2009
from Nature:
Asian nations unite to fight dust storms
The dust-storm season in northeast Asia is expected to hit its peak next week, and this week three of the countries hardest hit met in Beijing to coordinate their response. The storms coat cars, bury railways and facilities, and destroy crops, with the thick dust often bringing visibility down to the hundreds-of-metres range. Whipped up to heights of up to 8 kilometres, dust sometimes makes it as far as the United States. The dust originates from the Takla Makan Desert, the Gobi Desert and other arid regions of northern China and Mongolia. It is a natural phenomenon, but accelerating desertification, caused by soil degradation and overgrazing, has made it worse. ...


The grapes of global wrath.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Apr 18, 2009
from Associated Press:
Vapor cloud from Ohio chemical leak dissipating
A large hydrochloric acid spill early Saturday at an east-central Ohio plant that makes chemical additives spawned a massive vapor cloud that took hours to dissipate, officials said. No injuries were reported. More than 27,000 gallons of hydrochloric acid leaked from a storage tank into a retention basin at Dover Chemical Corporation around 12:30 a.m. Saturday, Dover Fire Chief Brooks Ross said. The leak was contained onsite, but a vapor cloud developed and lingered for more than five hours after the leak was discovered, Ross said.... it was fortunate the leak occurred overnight because the company is located near heavily traveled Interstate 77, and the area is heavily populated. ...


Apparently, people don't need to breathe at night.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Apr 16, 2009
from Business Week:
China Faces a Water Crisis
After almost 30 years of double-digit economic growth and the migration of hundreds of millions of villagers to the cities, China has been barely able to meet the spike in demand for water. Its resources were scarce to begin with and pollution has made clean water even scarcer. Another unknown: the effect of climate change. "Based on our country's basic water situation, [we] must implement the strictest water resource management," said Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu at a national water conference in Beijing in January. The scale of the challenge is enormous. Every year, on average 15.3 million hectares of farmland -- 13 percent of the total -- faces drought. Today some 300 million people living in rural areas, or nearly a quarter of China's population of 1.3 billion, don't have access to safe drinking water. And among more than 600 Chinese cities, 400 are facing water shortages, including 100 that may see serious shortages... ...


I'd say China ... is fragile.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Apr 16, 2009
from National Geographic News:
Rocket Launches Damage Ozone Layer, Study Says
Plumes from rocket launches could be the world's next worrisome emissions, according to a new study that says solid-fuel rockets damage the ozone layer, allowing more harmful solar rays to reach Earth. Thanks to international laws, ozone-depleting chemicals such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and methyl bromide have been slowly fading from the atmosphere. But when solid-fuel rockets launch, they release chlorine gas directly into the stratosphere, where the chlorine reacts with oxygen to form ozone-destroying chlorine oxides. Increased international space launches and the potential commercial space travel boom could mean that rockets will soon emerge as the worst offenders in terms of ozone depletion, according to the study, published in the March issue of the journal Astropolitics. ...


It ain't rocket science to figure THIS out.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Apr 16, 2009
from Houston Chronicle:
Pollution estimates for refineries, plants revisited
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to Mayor Bill White’s request to overhaul its methods for estimating emissions from large refineries and chemical plants, a move that could reveal higher pollution levels. In response to White, the federal agency acknowledged flaws in its formulas for calculating pollution levels, leading to unreliable data for decision-making. The new estimates would for the first time include emissions of toxic gases and other pollutants during startups, shutdowns and equipment malfunctions, according to the EPA’s letter to the mayor. ...


Houston, we have a, ahem, problem.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Apr 15, 2009
from London Daily Telegraph:
Forty per cent of children now suffer from food allergies
The number of children with food allergies has tripled in the past decade, with millions being diagnosed with severe immune system disorders, some of them potentially life-threatening. Researchers believe that as exotic foods become more commonplace in British households, the number of people being diagnosed with allergies is likely to rise further. Dr Jonathan North, a consultant immunologist at Birmingham Children's Hospital, said: "We used to say that 15 per cent of the population had an allergy of some sort, now the figure is nearer 40 per cent."... Other research has also found that climate change could be responsible for exacerbating the seriousness of conditions such as hay fever. ...


If we could just get kids to be allergic to television...

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Apr 15, 2009
from Reuters:
Asthma plus traffic equals poor lung function
The results of a new study appear to expand the link between traffic exposure and poor lung function among people with asthma. In a study of 176 adults with asthma or rhinitis, Dr. John R. Balmes, of the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues found "the closer adults with asthma live to roadways with heavy traffic...the lower their lung function." "Living close to any road was associated with lower lung function," Balmes told Reuters Health. Other studies have shown lung health effects from major roadways, Balmes and colleagues note in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. "Ours is the first to show evidence that living near any road can do so," said Balmes. ...


This study brought to you by the Duh Institute.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Apr 15, 2009
from The Daily Climate:
Valley fever blowin' on a hotter wind
It's high noon, and the 112-degree summer heat -- up from a decade ago -- stalks Arizona's Sonoran Desert. By late afternoon, dark clouds threaten, and monsoon winds beat the earth into a mass of swirling sand. Thick walls of surface soil blind drivers on the Interstate. Some health experts believe new weather conditions -- hotter temperatures and more intense dust storms fueled by global warming -- are creating a perfect storm for the transmission of coccidioidomycosis, also known as valley fever, a fungal disease endemic to the southwestern United States. How do cocci spores infect the body? Propelled by winds, thousands of soil particles and cocci spherules are inhaled. People -- particularly those older or immune-compromised -- may experience flu-like symptoms that can turn into pneumonia. If the infection disseminates, the pathogens can target any organ -- mostly the nervous system, skin, bones and joints -- and become life threatening. ...


This is sooooo, like, distressing!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Apr 13, 2009
from BBC:
City air pollution 'shortens life'
It has taken a quarter of a century, but US researchers say their work has finally enabled them to determine to what extent city air pollution impacts on average life expectancy. The project tracked the change of air quality in 51 American cities since the 1980s. During that time general life expectancy increased by more than two and half years, much due to improved lifestyles, diet and healthcare. But the researchers calculated more than 15 percent of that extra time was due to cleaner air. ...


Only the good die young.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Apr 10, 2009
from Agence France-Presse:
Algae genomes key to regulating carbon emissions
Scientists have decoded genomes of two strains of green algae, highlighting genes that allow them to capture carbon emissions and maintain the oceans' chemical balance, a study said Thursday. The strains' productivity as a significant source of marine food and their ability to capture carbon means the algae can influence the carbon flux and have an impact on climate change, according to the study published in Friday's edition of the journal Science. An international team of researchers sampled two isolates of Microminas, one of the smallest known eukaryotic algae -- complex cellular structures containing a nucleus and enclosed within a membrane. ...


Algae is our PAL-gae!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Apr 10, 2009
from London Guardian:
Health risks of shipping pollution have been underestimated
Britain and other European governments have been accused of underestimating the health risks from shipping pollution following research which shows that one giant container ship can emit almost the same amount of cancer and asthma-causing chemicals as 50 million cars. Confidential data from maritime industry insiders based on engine size and the quality of fuel typically used by ships and cars shows that just 15 of the world's biggest ships may now emit as much pollution as all the world's 760 million cars. Low-grade ship bunker fuel (or fuel oil) has up to 2,000 times the sulphur content of diesel fuel used in US and European automobiles....pollution from the world's 90,000 cargo ships leads to 60,000 deaths a year in the US alone and costs up to $330 billion per year in health costs from lung and heart diseases. ...


Looks to me like it's time to give these cargo ships das boot!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Apr 9, 2009
from NASA, via EurekAlert:
Aerosols may drive a significant portion of arctic warming
Though greenhouse gases are invariably at the center of discussions about global climate change, new NASA research suggests that much of the atmospheric warming observed in the Arctic since 1976 may be due to changes in tiny airborne particles called aerosols.... Though there are several varieties of aerosols, previous research has shown that two types -- sulfates and black carbon -- play an especially critical role in regulating climate change. Both are products of human activity. Sulfates, which come primarily from the burning of coal and oil, scatter incoming solar radiation and have a net cooling effect on climate. Over the past three decades, the United States and European countries have passed a series of laws that have reduced sulfate emissions by 50 percent. While improving air quality and aiding public health, the result has been less atmospheric cooling from sulfates. At the same time, black carbon emissions have steadily risen, largely because of increasing emissions from Asia. Black carbon -- small, soot-like particles produced by industrial processes and the combustion of diesel and biofuels -- absorb incoming solar radiation and have a strong warming influence on the atmosphere. ...


We take with our black carbon hand, and give with our sulfate hand. Can't we just shake?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Apr 6, 2009
from The Calcutta Telegraph:
Foul air hits below the belt
Calcutta's male population is losing the power to procreate with every breath of foul air, according to an Indo-American study of infertility patterns in the city over two decades. Toxic fumes belched out by vehicles are not only responsible for sore throats and damaged lungs and hearts but also "a significant decline" in male fertility since the 80s, says the report on the basis of laboratory studies of sperm samples collected more than 20 years apart. ...


Predictably, Vasectomies "R" Us is going out of business.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Apr 3, 2009
from UN IRIN:
BANGLADESH: Air pollution choking Dhaka
Thousands of people in Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, are dying prematurely because of air pollution, say health experts. An estimated 15,000 premature deaths, as well as several million cases of pulmonary, respiratory and neurological illness are attributed to poor air quality in Dhaka, according to the Air Quality Management Project (AQMP), funded by the government and the World Bank. The World Health Organization (WHO) says vehicular air pollution is a major cause of respiratory distress http://www.whoban.org/sust_dev_mental_env.html] in urban Bangladesh. "If pregnant mothers come across excessive pollution, it may cause premature death of their children," said Soofia Khatun, a professor of paediatrics at the Institute of Maternal and Child Health. ...


DHAKA.... The word sounds like someone choking.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Apr 2, 2009
from New York Times:
China Vies to Be World's Leader in Electric Cars
Chinese leaders have adopted a plan aimed at turning the country into one of the leading producers of hybrid and all-electric vehicles within three years, and making it the world leader in electric cars and buses after that... To some extent, China is making a virtue of a liability. It is behind the United States, Japan and other countries when it comes to making gas-powered vehicles, but by skipping the current technology, China hopes to get a jump on the next... But electric vehicles may do little to clear the country's smog-darkened sky or curb its rapidly rising emissions of global warming gases. China gets three-fourths of its electricity from coal, which produces more soot and more greenhouse gases than other fuels. ...


How about this, then? How about Flintstones-style vehicles?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Mar 31, 2009
from Washington Times:
Coal is winner even in 'green' Congress
After two years of campaign rhetoric and months of hearings, Congress is set this week to begin testing whether it can turn the push for renewable energy sought by President Obama into reality. But the result is likely to fall short of Mr. Obama's goals and, ironically, preserve the primacy of the most abundant and dirtiest fossil fuel: coal. Lawmakers this spring plan to keep their distance from the president's most ambitious and controversial proposals, including a mandate for utilities to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and the creation of a system to reduce such emissions called "cap and trade." Yet they appear eager to appropriate billions of dollars for a little-tested technology that would prevent carbon dioxide from polluting the air by burying it underground, a process called "sequestration." Coal - and the many parts of the country that rely on coal for power generation - would be the prime beneficiaries of such funding. ...


Coal... it is still king.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Mar 30, 2009
from Forbes:
Hottest Electric Cars Soon To Hit The Roads
America's roads could get a whole lot quieter in the not-too-distant future. Thanks to unprecedented tax incentives included in Obama's $787 billion stimulus package, plug-in electric vehicles are getting closer to the road than you might expect. Tax credits ranging from $2,500 to $7,500 for buyers of electric cars, the largest of which start in 2010, mean the race is on for automakers to produce moderately priced plug-ins for eager, eco-conscious consumers. "There is a lot of interest currently with the Obama administration making it very attractive for electric vehicle manufacturers to come into the U.S. to produce vehicles," says Brendan Prebo, a spokesman for Th!nk, a Norway-based maker of electric cars. "And that's very much what we'd like to do." ...


Plus, we can pray gas prices go up, too!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Mar 17, 2009
from Reuters:
Facemasks may help shield the heart from pollution
Heavy air pollution can have immediate effects on the heart and blood vessels, but a simple facemask may offer some protection, new research suggests. In one study, researchers found that when young men were exposed to air polluted with diesel exhaust, their arteries temporarily stiffened. Meanwhile, a second study showed that healthy adults had higher blood pressure and a less healthy heart-rate pattern when they walked through the streets of Beijing without a facemask. The good news, the study found, was that the cardiovascular effects were diminished when volunteers donned a facemask like those worn by construction workers to keep from breathing dust. ...


It might help my health... but girls are gonna think I look stupid!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Mar 16, 2009
from The Oregonian:
Oregon kids face hazard getting to school: diesel fumes
Tens of thousands of Oregon schoolchildren who ride buses are exposed to potentially harmful fumes because of fuel system defects, according to the state Department of Environmental Quality. But two bills in the Legislature that aim to help fix the problem may not advance out of committee, state officials and environmental activists said. "I don't think most parents realize that when they're sending their children off to school, how dangerous it can be," said Dana Kaye, executive director of the American Lung Association of Oregon, which is helping the DEQ encourage school districts to retrofit faulty buses. More than 3,700 diesel-powered buses, including hundreds in the Portland area, leak fumes into buses through a hole in the crankcase or through tailpipe emissions, said Kevin Downing, coordinator of the DEQ's Clean Diesel Initiative, which aims to reduce health risks from diesel exhaust from any engine in the state. ...


Spare the exhaust, spoil the child.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Mar 14, 2009
from London Daily Telegraph:
Traffic can cause heart attacks, study claims
Researchers found that people were three times more likely to have an attack if they had recently spent time on the roads, possibly because of the exhaust fumes and other pollution they inhaled. Women were more at risk than men - five times more likely than normal to suffer a heart attack if they had been exposed to traffic within the preceeding hour.... "One potential factor could be the exhaust and air pollution coming from other cars," Said Dr Annette Peters, head of the research unit at the Institute of Epidemiology, Helmholtz Zentrum Muchen, Germany, who led the study, "but we can't exclude the synergy between stress and air pollution that could tip the balance." ...


All I know is: traffic gives me gridlock lockjaw!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Mar 12, 2009
from MIT, via EurekAlert:
New greenhouse gas identified
A gas used for fumigation has the potential to contribute significantly to future greenhouse warming, but because its production has not yet reached high levels there is still time to nip this potential contributor in the bud, according to an international team of researchers. Scientists at MIT, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego and other institutions are reporting the results of their study of the gas, sulfuryl fluoride, this month in the Journal of Geophysical Research. The researchers have measured the levels of the gas in the atmosphere, and determined its emissions and lifetime to help gauge its potential future effects on climate.... Its newly reported 36-year lifetime, along with studies of its infrared-absorbing properties by researchers at NOAA, "indicate that, ton for ton, it is about 4,800 times more potent a heat-trapping gas than carbon dioxide" says Prinn. ...


I wonder if this one has any deniers yet.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Mar 7, 2009
from Rochester Post-Bulletin:
Many factors to blame for our bad air
On the surface, it would seem to be a mystery: Why would Rochester, a far smaller city, have air quality similar to that of the Twin Cities? The answer lies in the old business adage: Location, location, location. Unfortunately, Rochester's is not so hot. Geography and meteorology conspire against the city. Rochester is the victim of large southerly air masses that slowly drift northward. On a bad air day, the air mass is laden with particle pollutants collected from a broad swath of territory stretching from Sioux Falls, S.D., to Milwaukee and even Chicago. ...


Hmmm... Could it be everything is connected, including the sky?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Mar 4, 2009
from The Denver Post:
The cold truth about ozone
Ozone pollution -- considered a summer problem -- is being detected across the West this winter, raising questions about the program to monitor and cut the pollutant. First detected in February 2005 near the oil and gas fields of Pinedale, Wyo., elevated winter ozone is now being found in New Mexico and Utah, according to state data, and could eventually be found in Colorado. "Now that we know to look for it, I think we'll find high levels of winter ozone across the West and the world," said Russell Schnell, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist. Schnell's Earth Systems Research Laboratory in Boulder is probing how ozone -- corrosive gas linked to respiratory problems -- is created in winter. "It is a sign of the rapidly industrializing West," said Vickie Patton, air programs manager for the Environmental Defense Fund. "We are seeing a hallmark Western resource-- healthy, clean air -- vanish." ...


Ozone is now the Mo'Zone.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Mar 2, 2009
from Baltimore Sun:
Indoor air can be risk for kids with asthma
Parents have long known that the polluted, pollinated air outdoors can bring on asthma attacks in their children. Now it turns out that many asthmatic inner-city kids are under assault inside their homes - where cigarette smoke, dust mites, mold and even cooking smells can make them sicker than car exhaust or ragweed. Researchers are finding a direct link between the air children breathe at home and the asthma attacks that are the source of hundreds of thousands of emergency room visits in the U.S. every year. The latest study, published last month by Johns Hopkins researchers, quantified the increase in asthma symptoms for every increase in air pollution particles inside Baltimore homes. Such findings have begun a movement of health professionals who are going door to door to educate families about the potential dangers of indoor air and helping them clean up their homes. Their goal is to reduce childhood asthma by 50 percent by 2012. ...


They should be like me ... and wear this 24/7

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Feb 27, 2009
from Edmonton Journal:
Athabasca 'mostly untouched': report
Biodiversity institute finds only 7 percent of region affected by oilsands projects.... When the institute examined the region north and east of Edmonton, home to most of Alberta's oilsands development, only seven per cent of the 93,000 square kilometres had been altered by human development.... The report found that: 29 of the 52 bird species were below the normal level; 62 of the 97 plant species were below normal. However, most of the species were close enough to their normal levels that when averaged out, the intactness of biodiversity ended up at 94 per cent. ...


More than half of these numbers round sideways to less than two thirds of a rounding error. Averaged out.

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Fri, Feb 20, 2009
from Reuters:
Hunt begins for world's most polluted places
Researchers will fan out across more than 80 developing countries beginning this month to hunt out and assess many of the world's dirtiest industrial waste sites. The New York-based nonprofit Blacksmith Institute is training the researchers from local semi-government agencies, universities and nonprofit groups in the countries to create a database of the sites called the Global Inventory Project.... the inventory is a "first step" to help governments and international organizations prioritize the clean up of waste sites that pose health threats to people including cancer risks to adults and learning disability risks to children. Asthma and other respiratory ailments are other problems millions of locals suffer at sites like abandoned metal mines in Africa and factories that made weapons or industrial chemicals in former Soviet Union states. ...


Oh boy! Lots of stories await the ApocaDocs!

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Feb 14, 2009
from London Independent:
Toxic waste blamed for birth defects
Families of children born fingerless or with webbed hands and feet are to go to court on Monday to try to secure a multimillion-pound payout for birth defects which they claim were caused by a council's mismanagement of toxic waste dumps. The case is being compared to the thalidomide scandal of the 1960s and 1970s, when parents brought claims arising from their children's severe birth defects caused by having taken the drug for morning sickness. In the new case, mothers allege that during their pregnancies in the 1980s and 1990s they were exposed to contamination from waste sites left over from the clean-up of Northamptonshire's former steel industry based in Corby. Toxicology and medical experts have told the families that the rate of upper and lower-limb abnormality in Corby is 10 times higher than the national average. Des Collins, the solicitor running the case, said he had medical evidence that would prove the children's deformities are linked to the toxic waste dumps left by the former steel industry. He said: "We have now got medical reports that rule out alternative explanations for what caused the limb deformities in these children." ...


The children are our (deformed) future.

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Mon, Feb 9, 2009
from Agence France-Presse:
Pollution preferable to unemployment for Romanian town
COPSA MICA, Romania (AFP)-- For the residents of Copsa Mica, a tiny town in central Romania, the closure of its local smelting plant is a worse catastrophe than having a reputation as the most polluted place in Europe. "I know the plant was a threat to our health, but at least people had a job," said Diana Roman, a 22-year-old woman who sells potatoes and carrots on the market square of Copsa Mica, which has a population of 5,500 and is situated 250 kilometres (155 miles) northwest of Bucharest. Roman's husband is one of the 820 workers being laid off -- out of a total workforce of 1,050 -- at the Sometra smelting plant, Copsa Mica's biggest employer... [Copsa Mica's mayor, Tudor] Mihalache acknowledged the heavy pollution caused by Sometra, making the air "unbreathable", despite investments to curb the emissions of sulphur dioxide and heavy metals such as lead, zinc and cadmium. ...


Maybe it's time to rename this town CORPSE Mica.

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Sun, Feb 8, 2009
from Carlisle Sentinel:
Anti-idling truck law goes into effect
As of Friday, most trucks and buses are no longer allowed to sit with their engines running for more than five minutes out of every hour. The enactment of statewide legislation was sweet and long-awaited news for members of the Clean Air Board of Central Pennsylvania (CAB), which advocated such a bill for two years before it was passed in October 2008. "We had our usual monthly public meeting on Thursday night, and we were celebrating," said CAB board member Rev. Duane Fickeisen of Unitarian Universalists of Cumberland Valley. CAB's emphasis has been on reducing the level of PM 2.5, a fine air particulate that is produced by diesel engines and linked to a variety of heart and lung ailments, and Fickeisen said he thinks the new law will help but not cure the problem. ...


Idle emissions are the devil's parking lot.

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Wed, Feb 4, 2009
from AGU, via EurekAlert:
Global warming may delay recovery of stratospheric ozone
Increasing greenhouse gases could delay, or even postpone indefinitely the recovery of stratospheric ozone in some regions of the Earth, a new study suggests. This change might take a toll on public health.... [They] report that climate change could provoke variations in the circulation of air in the lower stratosphere in tropical and southern mid-latitudes -- a band of the Earth including Australia and Brazil. The circulation changes would cause ozone levels in these areas never to return to levels that were present before decline began, even after ozone-depleting substances have been wiped out from the atmosphere. ...


Who woulda thought that the atmosphere's layers would be affected by atmospheric change?

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Wed, Feb 4, 2009
from London Guardian:
Biofuels more harmful to humans than petrol and diesel, warn scientists
Some biofuels cause more health problems than petrol and diesel, according to scientists who have calculated the health costs associated with different types of fuel. The study shows that corn-based bioethanol, which is produced extensively in the US, has a higher combined environmental and health burden than conventional fuels. However, there are high hopes for the next generation of biofuels, which can be made from organic waste or plants grown on marginal land that is not used to grow foods. They have less than half the combined health and environmental costs of standard gasoline and a third of current biofuels.... Using computer models developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the researchers found the total environmental and health costs of gasoline are about 71 cents (50p) per gallon, while an equivalent amount of corn-ethanol fuel has associated costs of 72 cents to $1.45, depending on how it is produced. The next generation of so-called cellulosic bioethanol fuels costs 19 cents to 32 cents, depending on the technology and type of raw materials used. These are experimental fuels made from woody crops that typically do not compete with conventional agriculture. The results are published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. ...


'Scuse me, I wasn't listening as I was too busy spreading margarine on my Nutrasweet-flavored hopes and dreams.

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Sat, Jan 31, 2009
from China Daily:
Birth defects soar due to pollution
Every 30 seconds, a baby is born with physical defects in China, all thanks to the country's degrading environment, an official of the National Population and Family Planning Commission (NPFPC) has said. "The number of newborns with birth defects is constantly increasing in both urban and rural areas," Jiang Fan, vice-minister of the NPFPC said at a conference in Beijing recently. "And the rather alarming increase has forced us to kick off a high-level prevention plan." She said that "more than half" of the pregnancies in the country had benefited from the commission's scientific guidance since 2007. A free pre-pregnant examination program has covered eight provinces with the highest rate of birth defects, she said, refusing to divulge further details. "The government must take measures to prevent birth defects," Li Bin, minister of the NPFPC said. ...


Who knows, perhaps a mutation will occur and babies will born wearing one of these nifty doodads!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jan 26, 2009
from UAE Daily News:
Allergies On The Rise Globally
Dubai (UAE DAILY NEWS) - A major conference in Dubai tackling allergies and highlighting their remedies will help professionals deal with this growing worldwide health problem. The Middle East-Asia Allergy Asthma Immunology Congress (MEAAIC) will be the first ever internationally-developed allergy/immunology meeting in the Middle East-Gulf region. A staggering fifteen percent of the population in the UAE suffers from asthma, one of the most common allergies, according to Dr. Bassam Mahboub, local expert, vice president of the UAE Respiratory Society and local chair of (MEAAIC), who notes that the percentage of asthma in children in the UAE is twice as higher than in adults. "Asthma is a chronic inflammatory airways disease. When asthma strikes, your airways become constricted and swollen, filling with mucus. Your chest feels tight - you may cough or wheeze - and you just cannot seem to catch your breath. In severe cases, asthma attacks can be deadly," Dr. Mahboub explains. In about 25 years, asthma will be one of the main killers worldwide. He also notes that the figure is set to rise in the region as the environmental conditions deteriorate as a result of the high levels of air pollutions from cars, factories and construction activity. "As pollen from trees, grass and weeds cause allergic rhinitis and asthma; there is also a need to grow different kinds of trees and grass to tackle this emerging public health issue," he adds. ...


Is it just me or does MEAAIC look like how you spell a sneeze?

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Jan 18, 2009
from Dhaka Daily Star:
Industrial pollution chokes people, crops alike
Ammonia mixed toxic gas and urea dust emitted from Jamuna Fertiliser Factory (JFF) in Jamalpur have allegedly been wreaking havoc on the local environment and causing debilitating illnesses among the locals. The toxic gas of the largest urea producing factory, at Tarandani of Sarishabari upazila in Tangail, has also been harming crops, trees, livestock, poultry and fish resources for the last 17 years. Many trees around the factory do not have a single leaf....Since its inception the JFF has been producing 1,700 tonnes of urea per day, 5,60,000 tonnes a year. Urea is produced from ammonia and carbon dioxide gas. Chemical formaldehyde is also mixed with the urea to make it hard. Formaldehyde acts as a disinfectant and it kills most bacteria and fungi (including their spores). ...


This is a strange case of Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Formaldehyde.

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Sat, Jan 17, 2009
from Science News:
Livestock manure stinks for infant health
The manure generated by thousands of cows or pigs doesn’t just stink — it may seriously affect human health. New research examining two decades’ worth of livestock production data finds a positive relationship between increased production at industrial farms and infant death rates in the counties where the farms reside. The study reported in the February American Journal of Agricultural Economics implicates air pollution and suggests that Clean Air Act regulations need to be revamped to address livestock production of noxious gases. The new work is in line with several studies documenting the ill effects of megafarms, which typically have thousands of animals packed into small areas, comments Peter Thorne, director of the Environmental Health Sciences Research Center at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Higher rates of lung disease have been found in workers at large poultry and swine operations and respiratory problems increase in communities when these large-scale farms move in, Thorne notes. “This study is a very important contribution,” says Thorne. “This is an industry we really need — it provides food and a lot of jobs — the answer isn’t for everyone to become vegetarians.” ...


Oink... quack quack... moooooooo Whaaaaaaaaaaa!

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Fri, Jan 16, 2009
from TIME:
E-Waste Not, E-Want Not
Every day Americans throw out more than 350,000 cell phones and 130,000 computers, making electronic waste the fastest-growing part of the U.S. garbage stream. Improperly disposed of, the lead, mercury and other toxic materials inside e-waste can leak from landfills.... A lot of exported e-waste ends up in Guiyu, China, a recycling hub where peasants heat circuit boards over coal fires to recover lead, while others use acid to burn off bits of gold. According to reports from nearby Shantou University, Guiyu has the highest level of cancer-causing dioxins in the world and elevated rates of miscarriages. "You see women sitting by the fireplace burning laptop adapters, with rivers of ash pouring out of houses," says Jim Puckett, founder of Basel Action Network (BAN), an e-waste watchdog. "We're dumping on the rest of the world." ...


Money talks, e-waste walks.

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Tue, Jan 13, 2009
from Soil Science Society of America, via EurekAlert:
Forest Soil, Long After Most Acidic Rain, Remains Acidic
Following the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1970 and 1990 acidic deposition in North America has declined significantly since its peak in 1973. Consequently, research has shifted from studying the effects of acidic deposition to the recovery of these aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.... The researchers believe that the observed trend in soil acidification is likely to continue until acidic inputs decline to the point where soil base cation pools are sufficient to neutralize them. Warby concluded, "Until then we are likely to see the continued sluggish chemical recovery of surface waters and a continuing threat to the health of forests, with additional declines in base status likely to increase the number of sites exhibiting lower forest productivity and or vulnerability to winter injury." ...


This tortured language means until we get the acid rain reduced lots farther, the soil and water will remain acidic, with bad consequences.
We think.

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Tue, Jan 13, 2009
from University of Houston, via EurekAlert:
'Refinery dust' reveals clues about local polluters, UH-led research team says
Cloaked in the clouds of emissions and exhaust that hang over the city are clues that lead back to the polluting culprits, and a research team led by the University of Houston is hot on their trails.... "Fine particulate matter is tiny – about 30 times smaller in diameter than a human hair – but it carries in it a lot of information about where it came from," explains Chellam, a civil and environmental engineering professor at UH's Cullen College of Engineering.... "The fact that we can quantify very minute concentrations of the catalyst material in the ambient air, as well as many other metals, shows the strengths of the analytical procedures developed at UH," Fraser says. "This allows us to track emissions from a source to communities far downwind, where people may be unaware that they are being exposed to emissions from industrial refineries." Fraser said the team's goal is to advance the understanding of the science of air pollution so that more effective and efficient environmental regulations can be written. ...


With great knowledge, comes great responsibility.
Oh, and great lawsuits.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jan 12, 2009
from DOE via EurekAlert:
Dirty snow causes early runoff in Cascades, Rockies
Soot from pollution causes winter snowpacks to warm, shrink and warm some more. This continuous cycle sends snowmelt streaming down mountains as much as a month early, a new study finds. How pollution affects a mountain range's natural water reservoirs is important for water resource managers in the western United States and Canada who plan for hydroelectricity generation, fisheries and farming. Scientists at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory conducted the first-ever study of soot on snow in the western states at a scale that predicted impacts along mountain ranges. They found that soot warms up the snow and the air above it by up to 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit, causing snow to melt. ...


Just another use for all that WhiteOut™ that nobody uses anymore.

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Mon, Jan 5, 2009
from Agence France-Presse:
1 in 5 mulling leaving HK
HONG KONG - ONE in five Hong Kong residents is considering leaving the city because of its dire air quality, a survey released on Monday has found, raising fears over the financial hub's competitiveness. The findings equate to 1.4 million residents thinking about moving away, including 500,000 who are 'seriously considering or already planning to move', according to the survey by the think tank Civic Exchange. The groups most seriously thinking about fleeing the city include top earners and highly educated workers, raising fears over the southern Chinese city's ability to attract and retain top talent, the report's authors found. ...


Hopefully, they won't emit any carbons on the way out!

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Wed, Dec 31, 2008
from The Arizona Republic:
Asthma's links to air pollution stir worry
The bits of dust and dirt so common in Phoenix's air may be causing more problems for asthmatic children than experts previously believed. A new study released Tuesday found that asthma attacks and symptoms in children ages 5 through 18 increased by 14 percent on the days Valley skies were plagued by high levels of particulate pollution. The study, conducted by researchers at Arizona State University, is thought to be the first in the state to quantify a tie between poor air quality and children's health. It also reveals that children are affected by coarse pollutants at levels below the federal government's health standard. ...


Ah, yes. Our children. The ultimate canary in a coal mine.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Dec 26, 2008
from Scientific American:
Court orders EPA to stick with Bush clean air rules--for now
A federal court this week did an about-face, ruling (pdf) that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) must enforce admittedly faulty regulations restricting power plant emissions until they're replaced by new improved ones. "We are convinced that, notwithstanding the relative flaws of [the Clean Air Interstate Rule, CAIR], allowing CAIR to remain in effect until it is replaced by a rule consistent with our opinion would at least temporarily preserve the environmental values [translation: clean air] covered by CAIR," the federal Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., wrote in its decision (pdf) yesterday. ...


Just as we can keep buggering up this earth -- until it's replaced by a new one.

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Tue, Dec 23, 2008
from Associated Press:
More than 100 million Americans breathe sooty air
WASHINGTON (AP) — More than 100 million people living in 46 metro areas are breathing air that has gotten too full of soot on some days, and now those cities have to clean up their air, the Environmental Protection Agency said Monday. The EPA added 15 cities to the sooty air list, mostly in states not usually thought of as pollution-prone, such as Alaska, Utah, Idaho and Wisconsin. That's probably because of the prevalence of wood stoves in western and northern regions, a top EPA official said. But environmentalists said the EPA was only doing half its job on soot-laden areas, letting some southern cities with long-term soot problems — such as Houston — off the hook. ...


Hrmm mfffl grtmmm bakltmum.

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Sun, Dec 21, 2008
from Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel:
EPA veils hazardous substances
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency routinely allows companies to keep new information about their chemicals secret, including compounds that have been shown to cause cancer and respiratory problems, the Journal Sentinel has found. The newspaper examined more than 2,000 filings in the EPA's registry of dangerous chemicals for the past three years. In more than half the cases, the EPA agreed to keep the chemical name a secret. In hundreds of other cases, it allowed the company filing the report to keep its name and address confidential. This is despite a federal law calling for public notice of any new information through the EPA's program monitoring chemicals that pose substantial risk. The whole idea of the program is to warn the public of newfound dangers. The EPA's rules are supposed to allow confidentiality only "under very limited circumstances." ...


So remind me ... why isn't this a crime? Why aren't these peope in jail? Why don't people rise up?

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Dec 12, 2008
from Climate Daily:
Cleaning the air helps cool planet
Local and state regulators have new ammunition in the fight to justify expensive air pollution rules: Cutting smog and soot has an immediate impact on climate change. A study published this week bolsters the link between air quality and climate, finding that across-the-board cuts in air pollution can spur "substantial, simultaneous" improvement in local air quality and near-term mitigation of climate change. Trimming smog and soot also represents an alternate and far more immediate global warming solution for regulators stymied by the complexities of other greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, said Drew Shindell, a climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Sciences and the lead author of the study. Tackling air pollution can buy 20 to 30 years worth of mitigation, he said – time that will be needed, if ongoing debates in Poznan, Brussells and Washington D.C. offer any indication – to cut the political and economic knots associated with carbon dioxide. ...


Even if this isn't true.... let's pretend it is!

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Dec 11, 2008
from Reuters:
China "cancer village" pays ultimate price for growth
XIDITOU COUNTY, China (Reuters) - Once an isolated haven, the Chinese village of Liukuaizhuang is now a tainted hell, surrounded by scores of low-tech factories that are poisoning its water and air, and the health of many villagers. One in fifty people there and in a neighboring hamlet have been diagnosed with cancer over the last decade, local residents say, well over ten times the national rate given in a health ministry survey earlier this year. ...


Sounds like the canary city in the global coal mine.

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Wed, Dec 10, 2008
from Philadelphia Inquirer:
Politics choke clean-air efforts
...in June 2005, a panel of scientists appointed by the Environmental Protection Agency determined that the air was still too dirty.... The panel recommended tougher rules to limit long-term exposure, a move that EPA's own scientists said could prevent thousands of premature deaths annually. EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson rejected their advice. His decision took the panel by surprise, but before long, it would fit into a familiar pattern. Over the next three years, leading environmental scientists would denounce Johnson for substituting politics for science on key pollution issues - from not regulating greenhouse gases blamed for global warming to delaying the assessment of toxic chemicals. But it was in a succession of decisions on air quality that Johnson's uneven application of science had perhaps the most severe impacts on human health. ...


Environmental Protection -- my ass!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Dec 9, 2008
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Diesel truckers at cancer risk from exhaust
Trucking company workers who have been regularly exposed to diesel exhaust from vehicles on highways, city streets and loading docks have a higher risk of lung cancer than other workers, according to a new national study. The study, based on 31,135 worker records, found that drivers who do short-haul pickups and deliveries, including loading and unloading containers at ports and working at freight-delivery companies, had the highest rate of deaths and disease. Dockworkers were also at a higher risk, according to the report by researchers at UC Berkeley and Harvard. California's Air Resources Board will consider the study's findings when it meets Friday to vote on a landmark regulation to reduce risk to the general public from 1 million diesel trucks in the state. ...


But what about diesel's effects on my hemorrhoids?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Dec 8, 2008
from USA Today:
Health risks stack up for students near industrial plants
ADDYSTON, Ohio — The growl of air-monitoring equipment has replaced the chatter of children at Meredith Hitchens Elementary School in this Cincinnati suburb along the Ohio River. School district officials pulled all students from Hitchens three years ago, after air samples outside the building showed high levels of chemicals coming from the plastics plant across the street. The levels were so dangerous that the Ohio EPA concluded the risk of getting cancer there was 50 times higher than what the state considers acceptable. The air outside 435 other schools — from Maine to California — appears to be even worse, and the threats to the health of students at those locations may be even greater. ...


Might as well bring these kids up right!

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Dec 6, 2008
from San Jose Mercury News:
Bug off! Green pest control methods
The seemingly endless bottles of pesticides that line the shelves of our nearest hardware store all contain warnings that the chemical compounds found within may be hazardous to our health. They advise us to avoid contact with eyes and skin and to keep out of reach of children and pets. These "precautions" do not exactly inspire confidence, but they are also studiously vague about the potential consequences of exposure. With this problem in mind, the Pesticide Action Network has created an online database rating 368,974 of the most common and uncommon pesticides, herbicides and fungicides according to the toxicity of their ingredients www.pesticideinfo.org. Searching the database for information about the toxic effects of many of the well-known brands is easy. For instance, according to the PAN database, Propoxur, one of the active ingredients in Raid, is known to be acutely toxic, neurotoxic and carcinogenic, as well as a groundwater contaminant. In other words, depending on the level of exposure, it can cause symptoms ranging from tremors, nausea and weakness to cancer, paralysis and death. That's not something I would like to unleash in my home. ...


Is knowledge power?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Dec 3, 2008
from Washington Post (US):
EPA to Curb Medical Emissions
The Environmental Protection Agency moved yesterday to curb pollution released by medical waste incinerators, ending an 11-year battle over how to best regulate the emissions. Environmentalists hailed the move as an important precedent for controlling toxic releases into the air, saying EPA based its calculations on the availability of technologies to significantly clean up incinerator pollution. The facilities can install fabric filters to trap toxic particles or scrubbers to capture gaseous releases. "This is the first time I've ever seen them do an air toxic rule right," said Jim Pew, a lawyer at Earthjustice... ...


The EPA ... actually protecting the environment? Maybe they're trying to reduce global warming by freezing over hell.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Nov 27, 2008
from Toronto Star:
Poorest areas also most polluted, report shows
Many of Toronto's poorest residents live near industries that spew the highest levels of toxic chemicals and pollutants into the air, a groundbreaking report has found. Low-income families, many already facing diminished health from stress, bad nutrition, diabetes and poor dental care, are placed at further risk because they breathe air contaminated with pollutants suspected of causing cancer and reproductive disorders, say the authors of the report. The study, a two-year research project by Toronto-based PollutionWatch, is one of the most comprehensive examinations ever of an issue that has largely gone unnoticed in Canada. ...


Sometimes, you just gotta hear the obvious said aloud.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Nov 25, 2008
from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health:
Transporting Broiler Chickens Could Spread Antibiotic-resistant Organisms
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have found evidence of a novel pathway for potential human exposure to antibiotic-resistant bacteria from intensively raised poultry-- driving behind the trucks transporting broiler chickens from farm to slaughterhouse. A study by the Hopkins researchers found increased levels of pathogenic bacteria, both susceptible and drug-resistant, on surfaces and in the air inside cars traveling behind trucks that carry broiler chickens. ...


Eat my .... antibiotic-resistant dust.

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Nov 23, 2008
from Williamson Daily News:
Coal CEO calls environmentalists crazy
Don Blankenship, CEO of Massey Energy, the fourth largest coal company in the country, blasted politics and the press, comparing Charleston Gazette Editor James. A. Haught to Osama Bin Laden Thursday evening when he addressed the Tug Valley Mining Institute in Williamson.... "They can say what they want about climate change," he said. "But the only thing melting in this country that matters is our financial system and our economy."... Many people would give support to groups who work to disprove global warming if it was not so politically incorrect, Blankenship said. ...


Maybe he should try hitting up the Flat Earth Society for some funds to disprove global warming.

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Nov 21, 2008
from Indianapolis Star:
Indiana lands on group's Top 50 list of mercury emitters
Three Indiana power plants have landed on an environmental group's tally of the 50 facilities in the nation that emit the greatest amount of poisonous mercury into the air and water. Together, the 50 plants last year released about 20 tons of mercury, which can cause permanent damage to brains, kidneys and developing fetuses, according to a report from the Environmental Integrity Project, a nonprofit that advocates for stricter enforcement of environmental regulations.... Indiana has no restrictions specifically addressing mercury emissions from power plants.... Environmental activists would like the state to do more to reduce emissions from power plants. ...


Maybe Hoosiers ought to get some of them restrictions!

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Wed, Nov 19, 2008
from Washington Post:
EPA Moves to Ease Air Rules for Parks
The Environmental Protection Agency is finalizing new air-quality rules that would make it easier to build coal-fired power plants, oil refineries and other major polluters near national parks and wilderness areas, even though half of the EPA's 10 regional administrators formally dissented from the decision and four others criticized the move in writing. Documents obtained by The Washington Post show that the administration's push to weaken Clean Air Act protections for "Class 1 areas" nationwide has sparked fierce resistance from senior agency officials. All but two of the regional administrators objecting to the proposed rule are political appointees. ...


What a crazy idea: fresh air at a park!

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Wed, Nov 19, 2008
from Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
Bug bombs don't just kill pests: People, pets also sickened by foggers
...Last month, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a study the agency says is the first look at pesticide poisoning incidents related to bug bombs. Using the records of eight states where such incidents are tracked most carefully, including Washington, they documented 466 cases of injuries or illness from 2001 to 2006. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency responded this month by launching an effort to re-examine bug bombs' labels and packaging. The agency is also trying to figure out how to make consumers more aware of the need to read directions carefully.... ...


We are all connected.

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Tue, Nov 18, 2008
from Environmental Health News:
Future hazy for cleaner school buses
...While pollution-fighting technologies are widely available, fledgling efforts to clean up the nation's aging fleet of half a million school buses may stall as budget revenues plummet... About 24 million American children spend an average of an hour and a half every weekday riding school buses, nearly all of them powered by diesel fuel. Scientists say diesel exhaust contains carcinogens, and that its fine particles can sink deep into lungs, triggering respiratory infections, asthma attacks and heart attacks, and reducing lung capacity. ...


I'm sure these children would be happy to stay home and telecommute!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Nov 14, 2008
from Chicago Tribune:
U.S. undercuts clean-air rule
Looking to bolster the fight against childhood lead poisoning, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last month approved a tough new rule aimed at clearing the nation's air of the toxic metal. A key part of the initiative is a new network of monitors that will track lead emissions from factories. But the Bush administration quietly weakened that provision at the last minute by exempting dozens of polluters from scrutiny, federal documents show. ...


Apparently, the Bush administration doesn't have lungs!

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Fri, Oct 24, 2008
from Inter Press Service:
Worst Forms of Pollution Killing Millions
Gold mining and recycling car batteries are two of the world's Top 10 most dangerous pollution problems, and the least known, according a new report. The health of hundreds of millions of people is affected and millions die because of preventable pollution problems like toxic waste, air pollution, ground and surface water contamination, metal smelting and processing, used car battery recycling and artisanal gold mining, the "Top Ten" report found....In previous years, the Blacksmith Institute has released a Top Ten list of toxic sites. The Institute continues to compile a detailed database with over 600 toxic sites and will release the world's first detailed global inventory in a couple of years. However, this year, rather than focus on places, it wants to bring specific pollution issues to world attention. And in particular highlight the health impacts -- a 2007 Cornell University study that 40 percent of all deaths worldwide are directly attributable to pollution, he said. ...


Great news for the hazmat and respirator industries!

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Tue, Oct 21, 2008
from Telegraph.co.uk:
Cow burps are making a growing contribution to global warming
Dr Andy Thorpe, an economist at the University of Portsmouth, found a herd of 200 cows can produce annual emissions of methane roughly equivalent in energy terms to driving a family car more than 100,000 miles (180,000km).... He added that while carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have increased by 31 per cent during the past 250 years, methane has increased by 149 per cent during the same period. ...


Maalox? Bean-o? What's the right additive? Or maybe we just stop eating so much beef!

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Tue, Oct 14, 2008
from Discovery News:
Ozone Pollution to Worsen Under Climate Change
Surface-level ozone, a poisonous gas that claims tens of thousands of lives annually, could get much worse thanks to the effects of climate change, according to new research... "It's the third most important greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide and methane," David Fowler of the National Environmental Research Council in the United Kingdom said. "But it's not the biggest one, and it's not the biggest threat to human health -- particulates in the atmosphere are worse. So it's a sort of Cinderella gas that has been mostly ignored." ...


If only we could find some giant slipper to capture and sequester this ozone.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Sep 29, 2008
from Chicago Tribune:
Chicago's toxic air
People living in Chicago and nearby suburbs face some of the highest risks in the nation for cancer, lung disease and other health problems linked to toxic chemicals pouring from industry smokestacks, according to a Tribune analysis of federal data.... the Tribune is posting the information on its Web site, where users can easily find nearby polluters and the chemicals going into their air... The Tribune also found Chicago was among the 10 worst cities in the U.S. ...


My kind of town ... to wear a respirator!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Sep 12, 2008
from Muskegon Chronicle:
Soot-spewing ships pollute environment
Ocean freighters spew twice as much soot into the air as previously believed and tugboats are among the worst maritime offenders when it comes to air pollution, according to a new government study. Soot is comprised of tiny particles of black carbon, which become airborne during the burning of diesel and other fossil fuels, wildfires and the burning of vegetation for agricultural purposes. Soot can settle in human lungs, causing asthma and premature deaths; researchers also believe soot emissions may contribute to global warming. ...


I'm guessing oceanlife ain't too happy about it either.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Sep 6, 2008
from Toronto Globe and Mail:
Oil refineries underestimate release of emissions, study says
A study by the Alberta Research Council that investigated the plume of contaminants emanating from a Canadian oil refinery using high-tech sniffing equipment found the facility dramatically underestimated its releases of dangerous air pollutants... Based on the study, funded by the federal, Alberta and Ontario governments, it is likely that all refineries in Canada and the United States are seriously undercounting emissions because they follow an estimating protocol developed by the Washington-based American Petroleum Institute and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Under the protocol, refineries don't calculate their actual emissions, but try to reach approximate figures using technical assumptions and mathematical equations. ...


You've heard of "fuzzy math"? Well, this is "Cheney math"!

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Aug 31, 2008
from McClatchy Newspapers:
Scientists fear impact of Asian pollutants on U.S.
"From 500 miles in space, satellites track brown clouds of dust, soot and other toxic pollutants from China and elsewhere in Asia as they stream across the Pacific and take dead aim at the western U.S... By some estimates more than 10 billion pounds of airborne pollutants from Asia - ranging from soot to mercury to carbon dioxide to ozone - reach the U.S. annually. The problem is only expected to worsen: Some Chinese officials have warned that pollution in their country could quadruple in the next 15 years." ...


So ... um ... why is it only scientists are afraid?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Aug 27, 2008
from Citizens Voice (PA):
Federal agency: Cancer cluster exists between Tamaqua, McAdoo
The federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry on Monday confirmed something that residents of an area at the intersections of Schuylkill, Carbon and Luzerne counties have felt sure of for many years -- that an unusually high number of people there are suffering from a rare blood cancer.... The report found three environmental similarities in common in the cluster areas: hazardous waste sites, air pollution and coal mining operations. ...


Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble, eye of newt and hazardous brew.

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Aug 19, 2008
from Science News:
Carcinogens from car exhaust can linger
"The daily exposure to free radicals from car exhaust, smokestacks and even your neighbors' barbecue could be as harmful as smoking, according to a new study. Many combustion processes, such as those in a car, create tiny particles that may act as brewing pots and carriers for free radicals -- chemicals believed to cause lung cancer and cardiovascular diseases." ...


I'm just gonna climb into my Chevy Marlboro and drive on out of here!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Aug 8, 2008
from Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
'Alarming' elevated cancer risk in South Seattle linked to air pollution
"Residents of a broad swath of South Seattle from Seward Park to West Seattle face elevated cancer risks because of air pollution, according to a soon-to-be released government study... The risks are significantly elevated in pockets of industrial pollution -- and skyrocket within about 200 yards of highways, says the long-awaited study by state and federal scientists." ...


If you live near industrial pollution that's also near a highway, you are double screwed!

ApocaDoc
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Fri, Aug 1, 2008
from Environmental Health Perspectives:
The Global Sweep Of Pollution: Satellite Snapshots Capture Long-Distance Movement
"Towering smokestacks were a popular mid-twentieth-century "remedy" for industrial emissions. Pump the stuff high enough into the air, went the thinking, and the problem would go away. But evidence collected since then has strongly suggested that tall smokestacks are not sufficient to mitigate the effects of pollution -- those pollutants eventually came down somewhere, dozens or thousands of miles away." ...


You mean... what goes up must come down?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jul 28, 2008
from Houston Chronicle:
Scientists find soot has an even darker side
"Soot is one of mankind's oldest pollutants. Cavemen blackened their walls with it. During the Industrial Revolution, soot so thoroughly coated the English countryside that white moths died out and were largely replaced by black-bodied descendants to preserve their camouflaging abilities. Despite its long history, however, soot remained one of the least understood components of our air. But now, a raft of new studies is beginning to make clear how soot may play a critical role in everything from human health to global warming to whether it will rain tomorrow in Houston." ...


Where's Mary Poppins when you need her?

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jul 28, 2008
from NOAA, via ScienceDaily:
Northern Wildfire Smoke May Delay Arctic Warming
The Arctic may get some temporary relief from global warming if the annual North American wildfire season intensifies, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Colorado and NOAA. Smoke transported to the Arctic from northern forest fires may cool the surface for several weeks to months at a time, according to the most detailed analysis yet of how smoke influences the Arctic climate relative to the amount of snow and ice cover. ...


How's that for a silver lining?

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Jul 23, 2008
from Seattle Post-Intelligencer:
Fresh scent may hide toxic secret
Ten of the 100 volatile organic compounds identified qualified under federal rules as toxic or hazardous, and three of those -- 1,4-dioxane, acetaldehyde and chloromethane -- are "hazardous air pollutants" considered unsafe to breathe at any concentration, according to the study.... [A]s this UW study shows, it's disturbingly easy to find toxic chemicals in everyday products like these because companies don't have to say what's in their products." ...


But how else can I get the smell of faux nature in my sheets?

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Jul 22, 2008
from Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, via EurekAlert:
Study reveals air pollution is causing widespread and serious impacts to ecosystems
[A]ir pollution is degrading every major ecosystem type in the northeastern and mid-Atlantic United States.... "Deposited pollutants have tangible human impacts. Mercury contamination results in fish that are unsafe to eat. Acidification kills fish and strips nutrients from soils. Excess nitrogen pollutes estuaries, to the detriment of coastal fisheries. And ground-level ozone reduces plant growth, a threat to forestry and agriculture." ...


Take a deep breath...
again... again...

ApocaDoc
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Sun, Jul 6, 2008
from KTLA (California):
Fireworks Leave Tons of Pollutants For Months
When the rockets and the bombs burst in the air tonight, spectators will experience more than a spectacular show celebrating America's birthday. When their blends of black powder, metals, oxidizers, fuels and other toxic ingredients are ignited, traces wind up in the environment, often spreading long distances and lasting for days, even months. Although pyrotechnic experts are developing environmentally friendly fireworks, Fourth of July revelers this year will be watching essentially the same high-polluting technology that their grandparents experienced decades ago. ...


Those rockets' red glare
just keep glaring.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Jun 2, 2008
from Annals of Neurology, via Science Daily:
Even Low Levels Of Air Pollution May Pose Stroke Risk
These findings support the hypotheses that recent exposure to fine particulate matter may increase the risk of ischemic cerebrovascular events specifically. There is experimental evidence that particulate air pollution is associated with acute artery vasoconstriction and with increases in plasma viscosity (thickening of the blood) which may enhance the potential for blood clots, although this requires further study. ...


So thickening the air thickens the blood... and sickens the brain.

ApocaDoc
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Thu, May 1, 2008
from Environmental Science & Technology:
DDT levels in Antarctic penguins present a complex mystery
"The use of DDT peaked several decades ago at more than 36,000 metric tons per year (t/yr). Today, less than 1000 t of the organochlorine pesticide -- banned in most countries since the 1980s -- is applied annually for mosquito control and farming, mainly in the Southern Hemisphere. Despite this drop, Adelie penguins in the Antarctic continue to have the same levels of total DDT in their bodies as they did 30 years ago. New research published in ES&T (DOI: 10.1021/es702919n) identifies Antarctic meltwater as the continued source of total DDT, and possibly other pollutants, in the southern continent's ecosystems." ...


Those penguin feet get less and less happy all the time.

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Apr 28, 2008
from PERI, University of Massachussetts, Amherst:
The Toxic 100: The Top Corporate Air Polluters in the U.S.
The Toxic 100 index identifies the top U.S. air polluters among the world's largest corporations. The index relies on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Risk Screening Environmental Indicators (RSEI) project. The starting point for the RSEI is the EPA's Toxics Release Inventory (TRI), which reports on releases of toxic chemicals at facilities across the United States.... [Toxic 100 Top Ten:] E. I. Du Pont de Nemours & Co., Nissan Motor, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Bayer Group, Dow Chemical, Eastman Kodak, General Electric, Arcelor Mittal, U.S. Steel, ExxonMobil. [And 90 others.] ...


A big "smokestacks up!" for the top ten!
You guys rule! (with impunity).

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Apr 12, 2008
from London Daily Telegraph:
Pollution is making flowers smell less
"Air pollution from power plants and cars is destroying the fragrance and thereby inhibiting the ability of pollinating insects to follow scent trails to their source, a new University of Virginia study indicates. This could partially explain why wild populations of some pollinators, particularly bees - which need nectar for food - are declining in areas around the world, from California to the Netherlands.... The result, potentially, is a vicious cycle where pollinators struggle to find enough food to sustain their populations, and populations of flowering plants, in turn, do not get pollinated sufficiently to proliferate and diversify." ...


Maybe the flowers need little gas masks.

ApocaDoc
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Sat, Apr 12, 2008
from Associated Press:
EPA advisors slam new smog rule
"An advisory panel of scientists told the Environmental Protection Agency that its new air quality standard for smog fails to protect public health as required by law and should be strengthened. In a stern letter to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, the advisors expressed frustration that their unanimous recommendation for a more stringent standard was ignored when Johnson set the new smog requirements last month." ...


Way to go, advisers! Send a "stern letter" to EPA's chief. Now that's pushing the envelope!

ApocaDoc
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Mon, Apr 7, 2008
from San Francisco Chronicle:
Health problems reported after aerial spraying
"On a clear night in September, the Wilcox family got ready for the airplane that would soon fly overhead and spray a pesticide to fight an invasive moth discovered on the Monterey Peninsula. They shut the windows and stayed indoors. "I didn't think much of it. We thought it wouldn't be harmful," said Air Force Maj. Timothy Wilcox, who's enrolled in the U.S. Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey. The very next day, the Wilcoxes' 11-month-old son, Jack, started wheezing. It got so bad, his eyes rolled back in his head, the boy's father said. The baby spent his first birthday in the hospital on oxygen and medication." ...


Makes you wonder if inhaling the invasive moth would be any worse than this.

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Mar 12, 2008
from Associated Press:
EPA hikes rules to cut smog-clogged air
"WASHINGTON - The air in hundreds of U.S. counties is simply too dirty to breathe, the government said Wednesday, ordering a multibillion-dollar expansion of efforts to clean up smog in cities and towns nationwide. The federal action, which lowers ozone limits for the atmosphere, means that 345 counties will now be in violation of the health requirement, about four times as many as under the old rules. However, scientists said the change still isn't enough to significantly reduce heart and asthma attacks from breathing smog-clogged air, and they pressed the Environmental Protection Agency to issue even more stringent requirements.... EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, already a target of intense criticism over emissions linked to global warming and regulation of mercury from power plants, decided to take the middle ground when it comes to smog." ...


ApocHaiku:
EPA adopts
new smog requirements that will
kill us more slowly

ApocaDoc
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Wed, Mar 5, 2008
from Associated Press:
Industry trying to block smog cleanup
"WASHINGTON -- Big industries are waging an intense lobbying effort to block new, tougher limits on air pollution that is blamed for hundreds of heart attacks, deaths and cases of asthma, bronchitis and other breathing problems. The Environmental Protection Agency is to decide within weeks whether to reduce the allowable amount of ozone -- commonly referred to as smog -- in the air. A tougher standard would require hundreds of counties across the country to find new ways to reduce smog-causing emissions of nitrogen oxides and chemical compounds from tailpipes and smokestacks. Groups representing manufacturers, automakers, electric utilities, grocers and cement makers met with White House officials recently in a last-ditch effort to keep the health standard unchanged. They argued that tightening it would be costly and harm the economy in areas that will have to find additional air pollution controls." ...


Grocers? Grocers? We can understand the automakers and utilities carin' more for their bottom line than for reg'lar folks like me and you ... but the grocers? Say it ain't so, Joe!

ApocaDoc
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Tue, Feb 12, 2008
from Chicago Tribune:
Refinery pollution may soar
"Global-warming pollution from Midwest oil refineries is expected to soar by as much as 40 percent during the next decade, a dramatic increase that runs counter to regional and national efforts to curb heat-trapping gases. Expansion plans at the BP refinery in Whiting would boost the facility's greenhouse-gas emissions to 5.8 million tons a year, the company told the Tribune. That would be equivalent to adding 320,000 cars to the nation's highways. While greenhouse gases from the tailpipes of cars get the most attention, the refineries that keep cars and trucks running also contribute to global warming. Fuel must be burned to make gasoline from oil, generating carbon-dioxide pollution." ...


As long as we got us one of them amphibious cars with a spanking air conditioning system who the hell cares?

ApocaDoc
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Thu, Jan 17, 2008
from OC Register:
Research tracks arctic warming
"As much as a third of the warming trend in arctic regions is caused by "dirty snow," not by greenhouse gases, UC Irvine researchers say, a finding that could have implications for pollution control efforts across the Northern Hemisphere. Because darker surfaces absorb more heat from sunshine, [climate researcher Charlie] Zender said, soot is making a significant contribution to Arctic warming, which is melting permafrost, increasing spring runoff and causing a variety of woes for the people who live in these regions. Better control of pollution sources that emit large amounts of soot -- coal-fired power plants in China, for example -- could be a relatively easy way to reduce arctic warming, he said." ...


Apocaiku:
And if people stop
pissing their names into the
snow that'll help, too!

ApocaDoc
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