2018/10/17: New research shows microplastics in 90 percent of the table salt brands sampled worldwide. Of 39 salt brands tested, 36 had microplastics in them, according to a new analysis by researchers in South Korea and Greenpeace East Asia. Salt samples from 21 countries in Europe, North and South America, Africa, and Asia were analyzed. The three brands that did not contain microplastics are from Taiwan (refined sea salt), China (refined rock salt), and France (unrefined sea salt produced by solar evaporation). The study was published this month in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
The density of microplastics found in salt varied dramatically among different brands, but those from Asian brands were especially high, the study found. The highest quantities of microplastics were found in salt sold in Indonesia. Asia is a hot spot for plastic pollution, and Indonesia -- with 34,000 miles (54,720 km) of coastline -- ranked in an unrelated 2015 study as suffering the second-worst level of plastic pollution in the world. In another indicator of the geographic density of plastic pollution, microplastics levels were highest in sea salt, followed by lake salt and then rock salt.
Even though the study found that the average adult consumes approximately 2,000 microplastics per year through salt, it's not clear what the health consequences are.
the focus on microplastics may divert attention from worse environmental (and more easily identifiable) pollution problems, such as small particles released from car tires.
2018/09/19: Nine out of ten people live in places where outdoor air pollution exceeds guidelines set by the World Health Organization (WHO). Hotspots are congested urban areas in low- and middle-income countries such as India, Nigeria and China. In some megacities — Mexico City, for example — authorities have begun to adopt cleaner vehicle standards. But fine particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide from vehicular traffic, energy production, industry and heating remain a serious public-health risk in most built-up areas.
Even many cities in wealthy Europe fail to meet the WHO standards.
as air-quality concerns continue to grow, the forum must liaise more with city leaders and health specialists to make sure they get the tools and data they need.
The results of this environmental science should be shared with countries worldwide. The situation is bad in rich countries: the WHO says that about half of city dwellers in developed nations are exposed to air that does not meet its guidelines. In cities of more than 100,000 people in the developing world, that figure rises to include almost everybody (97%). India alone has nine of the world’s ten most-polluted cities. Air is a shared resource. Research and tools to make it safe to breathe should be shared as well.
2018/07/26: almost 4.5 million people die each year from health problems caused by inhaling indoor smoke generated by burning solid fuel. Worldwide, 38 percent of the population – 2.7 billion people – cook with wood collected unsustainably from forest and farm landscapes.
In sub-Saharan Africa, the backbreaking process of gathering firewood by hand – often by women and girls – and carrying it home provides the main source of fuel for cooking and heating.
Although liquid fuels, solar energy and hydropower could offer possible alternatives, high costs, infrastructure shortcomings and local habits make sustainable use of wood fuel, including firewood and charcoal, a more viable option in the region.
As a result, researchers at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) and the Wangari Maathai Institute (WMI) in Nairobi, Royal Institute of Technology, Lund University, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, Center for International Forestry Research are trying to find healthier, more efficient energy conversion technologies that emit less pollution and simultaneously produce biochar (biomass charcoal) for soil amendment to improve plant growth and health.
Not only is it strenuous work to gather wood, it detracts women from other pursuits such as agriculture or operating small businesses to generate income,” said Njenga. “Women spend about one working day per week in collecting firewood from forests. This implies that women are essentially living on a 20 percent pay cut as their productive days in a week are normally five as they spend Saturdays attending to domestic chores.”
2018/09/11: The future of food in the world will depend on what Africa does with agriculture.
one recent study estimates that elevated carbon dioxide (co2) could cause an additional 33.6 million in sub-Saharan Africa to become zinc deficient and another 16 million protein deficient by 2050 if levels continue to increase unabated. Today, an estimated 60 million African children under 5 years old are stunted due to inadequate nutrition.
Africa contributes little to global greenhouse gas emissions, but is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change due to its weak ability to adapt to related weather impacts, as well as its dependence on rain-fed agriculture.
A range of actions across sectors is needed to ensure the sustainability of Africa’s food and land use systems - and the health and well-being of millions of children.
2018/09/16: there is a massive association between air pollution a mother breathes in and the effect it has on the foetus.
This study suggests [these] children have worse life chances when it comes to their education and their future jobs.
children with early onset and persistent asthma fared far less well in education than those without the condition.
children with asthma were three and half times more likely to leave school at the age of 16 with only basic education and were also twice as likely to drop out of university courses.
Our results provide the first evidence that inhaled pollution particles can move from the lungs into the circulation and then to the placenta.
We do not know whether the particles we found could also move across into the foetus, but our evidence suggests that this is indeed possible.
The evidence suggests that an increased risk of low birthweight can happen even at levels of pollution that are lower than the European Union recommended annual limit.
This new research suggests a possible mechanism of how babies are affected by pollution while being theoretically protected in the womb.
We need stricter policies for cleaner air to reduce the impact of pollution on health worldwide because we are already seeing a new population of young adults with health issues.
Smaller antennas are easier to install and will be loss obtrusive, reducing the concerns of urban preservationists to unsightly tower masts that have long plagued the deployment of 4G antennas in communities across the United States.
Perhaps most importantly, these small cells emit less radiation, since they are not designed to provide as wide of coverage as traditional cell sites. The telecom industry has long vociferously denied a link between antennas and health outcomes, although California’s Department of Public Health has issued warnings about potential health effects of personal cell phone antennas. Reduced radiation emissions from 5G antennas compared to 4G antennas would presumably further reduce any health effects of this technology.
Restrictions like Mill Valley’s will make it nearly impossible to deploy 5G in a timely manner. As one industry representative told me in an interview a few months ago, “It takes 18 months to get the permit to deploy, and 2 hours to install.” Multiplied by the hundreds of sites required to cover a reasonably-sized urban neighborhood, and the 5G rollout goes beyond daunting to well-near impossible.
How much of the water required for producing our food can be saved by shifting to a healthy diet? Up to 35% for meat containing diet and up to 55% for pescetarian & vegetarian diets
2018/07/16: the first ever report to quantify the growing risks and assess the opportunities of the global cooling challenge.
There are over 1.1 billion people globally who face immediate risks from lack of access to cooling. Cooling underpins the ability of millions to escape poverty, to keep our children healthy, vaccines stable, food nutritious, and our economies productive. Access to cooling is now a fundamental issue of equity, and as temperatures hit record levels, this could also mean the difference between life or death for some.
These risks are both a development and climate change issue, as they pose challenges for the health, safety, and productivity of populations across the world – especially countries in Asia and Africa where access gaps are the largest. Yet this challenge also offers business and entrepreneurs the opportunity of major new consumer markets which want super-efficient, affordable technologies to meet their cooling needs.
In a world facing continuously rising temperatures, access to cooling is not a luxury – it’s essential for everyday life. It guarantees safe cold supply chains for fresh produce, safe storage of life-saving vaccines, and safe work and housing conditions-
2018/07/03: “There is this false narrative, this dangerous lie, that people on bikes are somehow getting away with something, that they’re not paying their way,” Toderian explains. “This isn’t just a little wrong, it’s a lot wrong. We know factually that walking and biking are the two ways of getting around that actually save society money for each kilometre travelled. And that’s even before we consider all the many benefits that aren’t just about money.”
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Inside the hyperengineered, savagely marketed, addiction-creating battle for American "stomach share."
Never before have so many Norwegian young men used potency-boosting medicine, the numbers from the Prescription Register indicate, something that has been ascribed to both stronger and more demanding women and an absence of father figures.
A pair of researchers with the Ragnar Frisch Centre for Economic Research in Norway has found that IQ test scores have been slowly dropping over the past several decades. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Bernt Bratsberg and Ole Rogeberg describe their study and the results they found. They also offer some possible explanations for their findings.
Size matters. Just not when it comes to your yard. Indeed, "the size of new homes has been growing for decades now, but it's coming at the expense of yard...
2018/05/10: That Uber car you jump into, the hotel room you stay in, even a classroom where smoking hasn’t been allowed for decades: These are places where you are often exposed to a lot more than you expect
Marine plastic pollution has been studied for decades, but the extent and effects of plastic pollution elsewhere is only just beginning to be explored.
A deposit scheme for bottles won't make a scrap of difference. This stuff is in our food, our clothes - and in us, writes John Vidal, a former Guardian environment editor
Humans may have reached height, lifespan and performance limits - and these could decrease with climate and other environmental change: Frontiers in Physiology
According to new research, the vast majority of vegetarians and even vegans eventually return to meat-eating. Here are the implications for the animal rights movement.