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What A Week It Was: Apocadocuments from
View By Scenario:
Species Collapse:(8)
Plague/Virus:(2)
Climate Chaos:(9)
Resource Depletion: (4)
Biology Breach:(9)
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This Week's Top Ten Very Scary Tags:
climate impacts  ~ contamination  ~ global warming  ~ smart policy  ~ holyshit  ~ ecosystem interrelationships  ~ water issues  ~ airborne pollutants  ~ stupid humans  ~ hunting to extinction  ~ rights of nature  



ApocaDocuments (10) matching "contamination" from this week
[see full week] ~ [see all stories tagged "contamination"]
Sat, Mar 7, 2009
from CNET News:
Cell phones helping spread hospital superbugs?
Perhaps you, too, have friends who go nowhere without their hand sanitizer. Perhaps you, too, laugh at them beneath your clenched top lip. However, researchers at Ondokiz Mayis University in Turkey are discovering that germs lurk everywhere. Especially in cell phones belonging to doctors and nurses, according to an Agence France Presse report. In fact, these phones may be a significant source of infections such as MRSA, which seems to have become an increasing danger in hospitals all over the world. In researching the cell phones and dominant hands of 200 doctors and nurses, the researchers found that 95 percent of the phones were home to at least one bacterium. Nearly 35 percent hosted two. And 11 percent enjoyed three or more bugs of various descriptions. What is perhaps most stunning is that 1 in 8 were found to harbor the potentially deadly MRSA bug, which is said to be the cause of 60 percent of all hospital infections. ...


Can you fear me now?

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Sat, Mar 7, 2009
from Yale Environment 360:
The Pacific Garbage Patch
Speaking at the recent TED Conference in California, oceanographer Charles Moore -- who discovered and publicized the huge oceanic gyre of plastic waste known as the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch" -- outlined the toll taken on marine life by plastic bottles and caps. Moore, founder of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, said that the massive use of plastic bottles -- Americans purchase 2 million plastic bottles every 5 minutes -- is leading to floating swaths of trash that are killing large numbers of seabirds and contaminating fish. Hundreds of thousands of albatross chicks die in the Pacific every year when their parents pluck bottle caps out of the sea -- thinking they are food -- and feed them to their offspring, Moore said. As the bottles and caps break down, they turn into plastic pellets that are ubiquitous in the Pacific "garbage patch," which is twice as large as Texas. One-third of the fish sampled by Moore's foundation contained plastic pellets in their stomachs, he said, adding that the pellets accumulate extremely high levels of so-called persistent organic pollutants. The solution, he said, is to change the world's "throwaway culture" and contain plastic waste on land. ...


New for Christmas '09: The Pacific Garbage Patch Dolls -- made from garbage!

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Sat, Mar 7, 2009
from Montreal Gazette:
The Styrofoam dilemma
It's in your plastic cutlery, it's under your meat, it's the lid on your latte. And it's in your world -- for at least 200 years longer than you will be -- clogging up storm drains and landfills. So why is this tenacious product, better known by its trademark, Styrofoam, still being used to wrap everything from green peppers to sirloin steaks?...Some numbers: - According to the French ministry of ecology and sustainable development, more than 14 million tons of polystyrene are produced every year around the world. Given its light weight -- Styrofoam is 95-per-cent air -- the volume it represents is huge. - Americans throw away an estimated 25 billion Styrofoam cups every year -- or about 82 cups per person. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says of the 3 million tons of polystyrene produced in the U.S., 2.3 million tons end up in landfills, with much of the remainder finding its way into waterways. - Indeed, so-called "white pollution" is the most common form of marine debris and costs local governments millions in storm-drain cleanup costs. ...


What's the dilemma? Just stop using it!

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Fri, Mar 6, 2009
from Bloomberg News:
India Failing to Control Open Defecation Blunts Nation's Growth
Until May 2007, Meera Devi rose before dawn each day and walked a half mile to a vegetable patch outside the village of Kachpura to find a secluded place. Dodging leering men and stick-wielding farmers and avoiding spots that her neighbors had soiled, the mother of three pulled up her sari and defecated with the Taj Mahal in plain view. With that act, she added to the estimated 100,000 tons of human excrement that Indians leave each day in fields of potatoes, carrots and spinach, on banks that line rivers used for drinking and bathing and along roads jammed with scooters, trucks and pedestrians.... In the shadow of its new suburbs, torrid growth and 300-million-plus-strong middle class, India is struggling with a sanitation emergency. From the stream in Devi's village to the nation's holiest river, the Ganges, 75 percent of the country's surface water is contaminated by human and agricultural waste and industrial effluent. Everyone in Indian cities is at risk of consuming human feces, if they're not already, the Ministry of Urban Development concluded in September. ...


At least their shit is out in the open.

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Thu, Mar 5, 2009
from LA Weekly:
San Fernando Valley's Galaxy of Chemical Goo
West Hills resident Bonnie Klea is vivacious and no-nonsense. She won a battle over a rare bladder cancer diagnosed in 1995, and has long suspected the toxins that taint a big piece of land near her home -- land on which, if Los Angeles planners get their way, more building will soon be allowed. "I had surgery and was in the hospital nine times in nine months," Klea says. Of the cancer itself, Klea says, "Itís in the neighborhood. On my little street alone, I have two neighbors who have had bladder cancer." Sixteen cancers have afflicted residents in 15 homes on Kleaís block. A 1990 state health department survey of cancer records showed elevated levels of bladder cancer in west San Fernando Valley census tracts, including tract 1132, where Klea lives. Klea is in a fight that she began 14 years ago, battling Los Angeles city planners and state Department of Toxic Substances Control bureaucrats over a proposed development at "Corporate Pointe at West Hills" in Canoga Park, where a well-known West Valley landmark, the former DeVry University, stands. The expanse of land is riddled with heavy metal, chemical and radiological contamination. ...


Call it the San Fernandodo Valley.

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Thu, Mar 5, 2009
from Charleston Gazette:
C8 might damage sperm, study says
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Men with higher levels of C8 and similar chemicals in their blood have lower sperm counts and fewer normal sperm, according to a new scientific study published this week. The study, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, is believed to be the first to link exposure to perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs, to problems with human semen quality. Authors of the study say the findings might "contribute to the otherwise unexplained low semen quality often seen in young men," but added that more research is needed. The study also adds to the growing body of science about the potential dangers of exposure to C8, which also is known as perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA. In January, another study found that women with higher levels of these chemicals in their blood took longer to become pregnant than women with lower levels. Scientists in Demark produced the study, based on blood and semen samples from more than 100 men examined in 2003. The data was collected as part of a program through which such samples are provided when men report for Denmark's military draft. They found that men with high combined levels of PFOA and a related chemical, PFOS, had a median of 6.2 million normal sperm in their ejaculate, compared to 15.5 million normal sperm among men with lower levels of the chemicals. ...


Given our global population problems is this such a bad thing?

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Wed, Mar 4, 2009
from Environmental Health News:
Migrating vultures succumb to lead
An increasingly rare species of vulture that migrates from Mongolia to overwintering grounds in South Korea can pick up enough lead along the way to poison and kill them. Lead poisoning may be the reason a globally threatened species of vulture is frequently found dead in the wild. The vulture is native to Europe and Asia. One large population overwinters in South Korea near the demilitarized zone (DMZ). Researchers examined 20 dead birds found in the area. They analyzed the animals' kidneys, liver and bones for lead and other metals. They found very high levels of lead in these birds. Fourteen individuals had potentially toxic levels in their liver and kidneys.... The results also highlight that wildlife can transport toxic chemicals to new locations where it can then enter different food webs. The authors suggest that the birds may pick up the poisonous lead during their migration by feeding on other animals that are contaminated with the heavy metal. The lead might come from ammunition used for hunting. ...


And who, prey tell, will feed on the vulture?

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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.

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Tue, Mar 3, 2009
from Minneapolis Star Tribune:
More lake fish contain former 3M chemical
A former 3M chemical has been found in fish taken from more metro area lakes, including Cedar, Calhoun and Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis. The compound, known as PFOS, was measured at levels of concern in 13 of 22 lakes, mostly in bluegills, black crappies and largemouth bass. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) released the data Monday from fish tested in 2008, the agency's third year of checking fish. Pat McCann, research scientist for the Minnesota Department of Health, said that the data are being reviewed and that the department may issue advice about eating fish less often from some of the lakes. ...


I'll bet PFOS are especially hard on po' folks.

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Tue, Mar 3, 2009
from Associated Press:
Study: Combining pesticides makes them more deadly for fish
Common agricultural pesticides that attack the nervous systems of salmon can turn more deadly when they combine with other pesticides, researchers have found. Scientists from the NOAA Fisheries Service and Washington State University were expecting that the harmful effects would add up as they accumulated in the water. They were surprised to find a deadly synergy occurred with some combinations, which made the mix more harmful and at lower levels of exposure than the sum of the parts. The study looked at five common pesticides: diazinon, malathion, chlorpyrifos, carbaryl and carbofuran, all of which suppress an enzyme necessary for nerves to function properly. The findings suggest that the current practice of testing pesticides - one at a time to see how much is needed to kill a fish - fails to show the true risks, especially for fish protected by the Endangered Species Act, the authors concluded in the study published Monday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. ...


Like I'm supposed to be soooo surprised by "a deadly synergy"?

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