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Toxic Exposure: Chemicals Are in Our Water, Food, Air and Furniture

When her kids were young, Tracey Woodruff, PhD, MPH, knew more than most people about environmental toxics. After all, she was a senior scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). But even she never dreamed, as she rocked her children to sleep at night, that the plastic baby bottles she used to feed them contained toxic chemicals that could leach into the warm milk. 

Back then, in the late 1990s, it wasn’t widely known that the chemicals used in plastic sippy cups and baby bottles can potentially disrupt child development by interfering with the hormone system. That, in turn, could alter the functionality of their reproductive systems or increase their risk of disease later in their lives. 




Toxic Exposure: Chemicals Are in Our Water, Food, Air and Furniture

When her kids were young, Tracey Woodruff, PhD, MPH, knew more than most people about environmental toxics. After all, she was a senior scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). But even she never dreamed, as she rocked her children to sleep at night, that the plastic baby bottles she used to feed them contained toxic chemicals that could leach into the warm milk. 

Back then, in the late 1990s, it wasn’t widely known that the chemicals used in plastic sippy cups and baby bottles can potentially disrupt child development by interfering with the hormone system. That, in turn, could alter the functionality of their reproductive systems or increase their risk of disease later in their lives. 




Critical gaps in our knowledge of where infectious diseases occur

Today Scientists have called for action. The scientific journal Nature ecology & evolution have published a joint statement from scientists at Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, University of Copenhagen and North Carolina State University. The scientists call attention to a serious lack of data on the worldwide distribution of disease-causing organisms. Without this knowledge, predicting where and when the next disease outbreak will emerge is hardly possible. Macroecologists hold the expertise to create the needed data network and close the knowledge gaps.




Critical gaps in our knowledge of where infectious diseases occur

Today Scientists have called for action. The scientific journal Nature ecology & evolution have published a joint statement from scientists at Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, University of Copenhagen and North Carolina State University. The scientists call attention to a serious lack of data on the worldwide distribution of disease-causing organisms. Without this knowledge, predicting where and when the next disease outbreak will emerge is hardly possible. Macroecologists hold the expertise to create the needed data network and close the knowledge gaps.




Burn Without Concern

The USDA Forest Service in the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area (BWCWA) will continue to use controlled burns without worrying about fish health in associated watersheds, researchers say.

“Fire is a part of this community,” said soil scientist Randall Kolka of the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station, one of the lead authors in the study. “By using it you can lessen the chance of wildfire.”

Controlled burns prevent wildfires from ripping through the BWCWA in northern Minnesota. The million-acre area encompasses forested hills, wetlands, over 1,100 lakes, and hundreds of miles of streams. Without occasional burns, fallen trees accumulate like matchsticks, creating the perfect environment for uncontrollable wildfires.




Burn Without Concern

The USDA Forest Service in the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area (BWCWA) will continue to use controlled burns without worrying about fish health in associated watersheds, researchers say.

“Fire is a part of this community,” said soil scientist Randall Kolka of the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station, one of the lead authors in the study. “By using it you can lessen the chance of wildfire.”

Controlled burns prevent wildfires from ripping through the BWCWA in northern Minnesota. The million-acre area encompasses forested hills, wetlands, over 1,100 lakes, and hundreds of miles of streams. Without occasional burns, fallen trees accumulate like matchsticks, creating the perfect environment for uncontrollable wildfires.




Transportation Noise Increases Risk for Cardiovascular Diseases and Diabetes

How transportation noise affects the health of people remains in many aspects unexplained. Since 2014, an interdisciplinary Swiss consortium has been studying the short- and long-term effects of transportation noise for the population in Switzerland in the frame of the SiRENE study of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

Increased risk for developing cardiovascular diseases

The results published so far show that aircraft, rail and road traffic noise in Switzerland leads to adverse health effects. For cardiovascular disease mortality, the most distinct association was found for road noise. The risk of dying of a myocardial infarction increases by 4 per cent per 10 decibel increase in road noise at home. Also the risk of hypertension and heart failure increases with transportation noise. "Particularly critical are most likely noise events at night regularly disturbing sleep," says Martin Röösli, principal investigator of SiRENE and professor of environmental epidemiology at Swiss TPH and the University of Basel. "The threshold for negative health impact is lower than previously suspected."




Vibrations can be bad for farmers' backs

Researcher Catherine Trask and recent master’s graduate Xiaoke Zeng have found that farmers experience prolonged “body shock” when riding horses or driving farming machinery on uneven terrain during an average workday. Whole body vibration is a major risk factor for developing back pain, they say.  

“Farmers are often unaware that body vibration from machinery use is a potentially harmful physical hazard,” said Trask, U of S Canada Research Chair in Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Health




Antibacterials in Many Consumer Products Cause More Harm Than Good

Two antimicrobial chemicals already banned in antiseptic wash products by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are still found in more than 2,000 widely used consumer products, despite offering no health benefits and actually causing health and environmental harm, according to more than 200 scientists and medical professionals.




African plant extract offers new hope for Alzheimer's treatment

A plant extract used for centuries in traditional medicine in Nigeria could form the basis of a new drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease, researchers at The University of Nottingham have found.




African plant extract offers new hope for Alzheimer's treatment

A plant extract used for centuries in traditional medicine in Nigeria could form the basis of a new drug to treat Alzheimer’s disease, researchers at The University of Nottingham have found.




California Named State with the Worst Air Quality (Again)

The quality of the air in California may be improving, but it's still dire.

That's according to the American Lung Association's recent "State of the Air 2017" report, which labeled the state and region a leader in air pollution, with the highest ozone levels.

The annual study ranks the cleanest and most polluted areas in the country by grading counties in the U.S. based on harmful recorded levels of ozone (smog) and particle pollution. The 2017 report used data collected from 2013 to 2015.




Deadly heatwaves could affect 74 percent of the world's population

Seventy-four percent of the world’s population will be exposed to deadly heatwaves by 2100 if carbon gas emissions continue to rise at current rates, according to a study published in Nature Climate Change. Even if emissions are aggressively reduced, the percent of the world’s human population affected is expected to reach 48 percent.

“We are running out of choices for the future,” said Camilo Mora, associate professor of geography in the College of Social Sciences at the University of Hawai?i at M?noa and lead author of the study. “For heatwaves, our options are now between bad or terrible. Many people around the world are already paying the ultimate price of heatwaves, and while models suggest that this is likely to continue, it could be much worse if emissions are not considerably reduced. The human body can only function within a narrow range of core body temperatures around 37°C. Heatwaves pose a considerable risk to human life because hot weather, aggravated with high humidity, can raise body temperature, leading to life threatening conditions.”




UCLA researchers find antibiotic-resistant genes in parks in four California cities

The anxiety over antibiotic-resistant superbugs, which are responsible for 23,000 deaths a year in the United States, is likely to grow in California, following the recent discovery by UCLA researchers of high levels of antibiotic-resistant genes in parks in four cities.

Antibiotic-resistant genes, or ARGs, lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. And with antibiotic resistance rapidly increasing, worldwide they are expected to kill 10 million people annually by 2050 — more than cancer.




UCLA researchers find antibiotic-resistant genes in parks in four California cities

The anxiety over antibiotic-resistant superbugs, which are responsible for 23,000 deaths a year in the United States, is likely to grow in California, following the recent discovery by UCLA researchers of high levels of antibiotic-resistant genes in parks in four cities.

Antibiotic-resistant genes, or ARGs, lead to antibiotic-resistant bacteria. And with antibiotic resistance rapidly increasing, worldwide they are expected to kill 10 million people annually by 2050 — more than cancer.




Broccoli in focus when new substance against diabetes has been identified

Researchers have identified an antioxidant – richly occurring in broccoli – as a new antidiabetic substance. A patient study shows significantly lower blood sugar levels in participants who ate broccoli extract with high levels of sulforaphane.

“There are strong indications that this can become a valuable supplement to existing medication,” says Anders Rosengren, Docent in Metabolic Physiology at the University of Gothenburg.




New web calculator to more accurately predict bowel cancer survival

“How long do I have, doctor?” For many cancer patients, following the initial shock of their diagnosis, thoughts quickly turn to estimating how much precious time they have left with family and friends or whether certain treatments could prolong their life.




New web calculator to more accurately predict bowel cancer survival

“How long do I have, doctor?” For many cancer patients, following the initial shock of their diagnosis, thoughts quickly turn to estimating how much precious time they have left with family and friends or whether certain treatments could prolong their life.




Researchers find way to reduce environmental impact of idling buses and delivery trucks

Researchers at the University of Waterloo have developed a system for service vehicles that could reduce emissions and save companies and governments millions of dollars per year in fuel costs.

In a study recently published in Energy, Waterloo engineers found a way to capture waste energy from service vehicles, such as buses or refrigerated food delivery trucks, as they are slowing down.

They also figured out how to use that energy to replace the fossil fuels that are currently needed to operate secondary systems, such as air conditioning or refrigeration units, when the vehicles are stopped and idling.




Researchers use light to manipulate mosquitoes

Scientists at the University of Notre Dame have found that exposure to just 10 minutes of light at night suppresses biting and manipulates flight behavior in the Anopheles gambiae mosquito, the major vector for transmission of malaria in Africa, according to new research published in the journal Parasites and Vectors.

Critical behaviors exhibited by the species, such as feeding, egg laying and flying, are time-of-day specific, including a greater propensity for nighttime biting. A recent report from the World Health Organization stated an estimated 212 million people worldwide are infected with the disease, resulting in 429,000 deaths – mostly children.




Researchers use light to manipulate mosquitoes

Scientists at the University of Notre Dame have found that exposure to just 10 minutes of light at night suppresses biting and manipulates flight behavior in the Anopheles gambiae mosquito, the major vector for transmission of malaria in Africa, according to new research published in the journal Parasites and Vectors.

Critical behaviors exhibited by the species, such as feeding, egg laying and flying, are time-of-day specific, including a greater propensity for nighttime biting. A recent report from the World Health Organization stated an estimated 212 million people worldwide are infected with the disease, resulting in 429,000 deaths – mostly children.




Increase in ciguatera fish poisoning cases in Europe

Fish is a healthy diet, it supplies important omega-3 fatty acids and trace elements like iodine and selenium. However, eating fish caught in certain regions can sometimes also have its risks. In Bavaria, there have recently been reports of multiple cases of diarrhoea, vomiting and cold pain following consumption of imported deep-frozen fish. The symptoms are typical signs of ciguatera - one of the most frequent fish poisonings worldwide caused by ciguatoxins in edible fish.




Increase in ciguatera fish poisoning cases in Europe

Fish is a healthy diet, it supplies important omega-3 fatty acids and trace elements like iodine and selenium. However, eating fish caught in certain regions can sometimes also have its risks. In Bavaria, there have recently been reports of multiple cases of diarrhoea, vomiting and cold pain following consumption of imported deep-frozen fish. The symptoms are typical signs of ciguatera - one of the most frequent fish poisonings worldwide caused by ciguatoxins in edible fish.




New flu test: One drop of blood could save your life

Dr Benjamin Tang and his team have developed a world first test to identify which influenza patients will need urgent, life-saving, medical treatment.

The High-risk Influenza Screen Test (HIST) measures ‘an early warning signal’ released by the patient’s body into their blood to ‘kick start’ their immune system’s fight against the infection.




New flu test: One drop of blood could save your life

Dr Benjamin Tang and his team have developed a world first test to identify which influenza patients will need urgent, life-saving, medical treatment.

The High-risk Influenza Screen Test (HIST) measures ‘an early warning signal’ released by the patient’s body into their blood to ‘kick start’ their immune system’s fight against the infection.