Used in the proper amounts, it can make teeth stronger and aid in the treatment of osteoporosis. When excessive amounts are consumed, however, it can be a killer — a carcinogen that causes bone, lung and bladder cancers. The “it” is fluorid…
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a strategy for expanding and strengthening sewage sludge (biosolids) research and programs. Under the strategy, which responds to recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council, EPA will undertake the following activities:
– Update the science underlying the rule by conducting research in priority areas;
– Strengthen the sewage sludge program by incorporating results of research, both within and outside EPA; and
-Continue ongoing efforts to increase partnerships and communication with the public and other stakeholders.
The federal Clean Air Act of 1990 appears to be successful in reducing two major types of air pollutants that contribute to acid rain, and signs of recovery are beginning to occur in lakes and streams in the Midwest and East, according to a report from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Steve Kahl, director of the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Environmental and Watershed Research at the University of Maine, led the EPA research effort in New England and helped to lead the team that wrote the report. Katherine Webster, UMaine assistant professor of biological sciences, was a co-author of the report.
A pesticide used extensively all over the world is receiving attention these days more for methods being used to clean it up than for its use as chemical to control insects and mites. Endosulfan, classified as an organochlorine (the same family as DDT), is registered for use as a pesticide on 60 U.S. crops. Its residues have been found in the atmosphere, soils, sediments, surface and ground waters, and food. Now, researchers from the University of California-Riverside and the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan, have identified specific microorganisms which can breakdown the toxicity of endosulfan.
In case there was any doubt, researchers in — where else? — Los Angeles have determined that living near a freeway exposes you to a lot more pollution than if you lived further away. Specifically, a UCLA team found people who live, work or travel within 165 feet downwind of a major freeway or busy intersection are exposed to potentially hazardous particle concentrations up to 30 times greater than normal background levels.
By 2005, 130 million cell phones will be thrown out each year, according to a new study funded in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Counting the phones, batteries and chargers, that comes to 65,000 tons a year, most of which will end up in landfills or being incinerated. And that has environmentalists freaked. “This is becoming a very serious problem, because the amount of cell phone waste is growing tremendously,” said Eric Most, a director at Inform, the group which issued the report. “These chemicals accumulate and persist in the environment. They get in the plants, soil, water, and then move up the stream to humans.” One approach to countering the increase that seems to have general support is a “take-back” program, in which phone manufacturers must agree to take-back old phones when consumers upgrade. Another plan sure to be DOA: Limiting waste by standardizing design elements so consumers have fewer reasons to buy new phones. “If we had had a government standard in the beginning,” one industry rep told the New York Times, “we’d still all be speaking on analog phones. And that means no e-mail, no text messaging, no Caller ID. Competition equals innovation in this case.”