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Risky Business: EPA Builds List of Potentially Dangerous Chemicals...

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. — As the rates of learning disabilities, autism and related conditions rise, the Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to release a roster of the pollutants likely to contribute to these or other neurological disorders. In an ongoing, three-year effort, an EPA team has determined which developmental neurotoxicants — chemicals that damage a fetal and infant brain — may pose the biggest risk to the American public. Some compounds on the EPA’s list are ubiquitous in household products, drinking water, medicine, and within the environment. They range from cadmium, used to etch colorful cartoons onto children’s glasses, to flame retardants used to fireproof upholstered furniture....

posted on: Dec 23, 2010 | author: Staff writer

Air Monitoring for Public Safety: Lessons Learned from the BP Gulf Oil Spill...

It can happen anywhere. A train derails releasing a tank car full of toxic chemicals; a refinery accident blankets a residential community in a cloud of gas; or an offshore oil rig explodes, spewing crude oil into the ocean, causing coastal residents to complain of odors and health symptoms for weeks… When environmental disasters like these take place, local communities and health care providers need information fast – they need to know what’s in the air, how high the levels are, and what to do to protect people’s health. That’s where the EPA and other agencies come in. Government emergency response programs are essential for protecting health. Unfortunately, there are gaps in this important safety system. Read...

posted on: Oct 28, 2010 | author: Staff writer

Toxic Air Hovers Over 600 U.S. Neighborhoods...

The EPA report says that more than 2 million people live in areas where the cancer risk over a 70-year lifetime is greater than 100 in 1 million. The estimate comes from a county-by-county assessment of contaminants found in the air. This risk level is unacceptable to EPA standards and requires corrective action. A risk level of between 10 in 1 million and 100 in 1 million usually triggers a deeper inquiry into the causes of the high pollution levels. This assessment is based on air emissions for 2002. The last NATA used 1999 emissions inventory data. Between the two periods, the average cancer risk in the US actually went down from 41.5 in million in 1999 to...

Toxic Air Hovers Over 600 U.S. Neighborhoods
posted on: Jun 30, 2009 | author: Staff writer

Tennessee Coal Ash Spill: What’s To Come?...

Luckily, there was no cost in human life. But now, residents have huge worries on their minds: * What long-term effects on health will happen, considering the harmful toxic substances contained in the ashy sludge such as arsenic, lead and thallium? * What will happen to property values, the local economy and culture, in a territory long known for its picturesque waterways? The Kingston plant is located near a point where three river meet — Emory River, Clinch River and Tennessee River. Decades ago, the area suffered frequent flooding. The Tennessee Valley Authority, which owns and operates the Kingston power plant, built a dam nearby which helped to tame the once-deadly floods and converted the area into a...

Tennessee Coal Ash Spill: What’s To Come?
posted on: Jan 1, 2009 | author: Staff writer

Wildfires Could Worsen With Climate Change...

The wildfires occurred as researchers at the University of California-Berkeley released a report last week warning that wildfires along with rising sea levels and extreme weather conditions related to climate change could threaten more of California’s valuable real estate and billions of dollars worth of infrastructure and other facilities. The researchers said the basic problem in California’s fires is related to continuing changes in the availability of seasonal water. One key factor is the snowpack in Sierra Nevada, which used to supply melting water for the duration of the summer. The snowpack is disappearing, as increasing temperatures make the snow melt earlier. The consequence: no more water in summer. This leads to the drying up of forest soils...

Wildfires Could Worsen With Climate Change
posted on: Nov 22, 2008 | author: Staff writer

Is Bad Air Bad for Economy?

Meeting federal standards on air pollution in these two regions could result in annual savings of $28 billion, according to researchers at California State University-Fullerton. The South Coast Air Basin (the area in and around Los Angeles) and the San Joaquin Valley are two California regions with the worst air pollution levels in the United States. The thick pollution results in heavy economic costs linked to poor health — missed work days, missed school days, upper respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases, and premature deaths. The researchers wanted to estimate the potential economic benefits that might be realized if ozone and fine particulate levels in the air were to fall within federal standards. A number of previous studies have pointed...

Is Bad Air Bad for Economy?
posted on: Nov 13, 2008 | author: Staff writer

EPA Toughens Airborne Lead Standard

It has been 30 years since the EPA first acted on reducing lead emissions by phasing out lead in gasoline. This new ruling came only after the U.S. District Court in St. Louis, Missouri ordered the agency to establish a new standard by midnight Wednesday. The court order after the Missouri Coalition for the Environment filed a suit charging the EPA with failure to review the lead standard as required by law — which mandates a review every 5 years. About 18 counties in 12 states (Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas) will not be able to meet the standard. The state and local governments will be given more than...

EPA Toughens Airborne Lead Standard
posted on: Oct 18, 2008 | author: Staff writer

Air Pollution Worsens Heart Condition

While previous studies have shown that pollution can trigger attacks, the mechanism for this is not well-known. The team found that fine particles in air pollution, whether from traffic or non-traffic sources, can adversely affect the way electrical signals in the heart system are conducted. The research team, which was led by a Harvard professor of medicine and environmental health, collected data on 48 patients with coronary artery disease. All these patients had histories of hospitalization for treatment of heart attack and deteriorating status of coronary artery disease. They all came from the Boston area. Portable electrocardiograph machines were used to monitor the patients on a 24-hour basis, for fluctuations in the electrical conductivity around the heart system...

Air Pollution Worsens Heart Condition
posted on: Sep 10, 2008 | author: Staff writer

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