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News and Announcements

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Topic-specific News

Items specific to any of the topics in the What We Know section of this site are displayed in the left sidebar of those pages. The same is true for our ScienceServ and Special Partnerships pages.

News and announcements related to environmental impacts on human health, collected from a multitude of sources, especially Environmental Health News. For additional items or to subscribe to this feed, visit healthandenvironment.org/CHE.xml.

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Study shows no long-term cognitive benefit to breastfeeding.

March 30, 2017

While the researchers found that those children who were breastfed for six months or more had lower rates of hyperactivity and improved problem-solving skills at three, those differences were negligible by the time the child turned five. CNN.
[See the study: Breastfeeding, cognitive and noncognitive development in early childhood: a population study]

Occupational exposure and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in a prospective cohort.

March 29, 2017

These results strengthen the evidence suggesting a positive association between ELF-MF exposure and ALS. We did not replicate earlier positive findings for other occupational exposures. Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

A menu for cancer risk reduction? Five truths about the role of food and diet in cancer prevention.

March 29, 2017

While numerous studies have looked at food and cancer, it's challenging to come away with definitive conclusions. Here are five commonly debated truths when it comes to food and cancer. American Society of Clinical Oncology Cancer Perspectives.

Cookbooks give readers (mostly) bad advice on food safety.

March 29, 2017

A recent study finds bestselling cookbooks offer readers little useful advice about reducing food-safety risks, and much of the advice they do provide is inaccurate and not based on sound science. ScienceDaily.
[See the study: Evaluating food safety risk messages in popular cookbooks]

Harvard scientists launch $20M 'stratospheric injection' climate change experiment.

March 29, 2017

Researchers at Harvard are about to begin the largest geoengineering experiment ever, a $20 million project to see if they can simulate the cooling effects of a natural volcano in the atmosphere. Big Think.

Walk, stretch or dance? Dancing may be best for the brain.

March 29, 2017

A new study that compared the neurological effects of country dancing with those of walking and other activities suggests that there may be something unique about learning a social dance. New York Times.
[See the study: White matter integrity declined over 6-months, but dance intervention improved integrity of the fornix of older adults]

No, we can’t say whether cancer is mostly bad luck.

March 29, 2017

Tomasetti and Vogelstein have said that they hope to alleviate the guilt felt by patients—and especially parents of children with cancer—who read that many cancers are preventable and feel that they're to blame for their poor health. That is a noble goal, but there's also a risk of demotivating people who could do something about their cancer risk. The Atlantic.

Let me entertain you – that’s how to get a science message across.

March 27, 2017

Scientists still generally favour focusing on facts and accurate reporting of science over other communication strategies such as framing messages to resonate with audiences' pre-existing beliefs. The concept of framing assumes that the facts, unfortunately, don't speak for themselves. The Conversation.

Industry groups find statutory shortcomings in TSCA ban proposal.

March 27, 2017

The American Chemistry Council and other industry groups have concerns that the US EPA's first proposal to ban a substance under the revised TSCA fails to meet the requirements of the new law. Chemical Watch.

Environmental risk factors for autism: an evidence-based review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

March 27, 2017

Current evidence suggests that several environmental factors including vaccination, maternal smoking, thimerosal exposure, and most likely assisted reproductive technologies are unrelated to risk of ASD. On the contrary, advanced parental age is associated with higher risk of ASD. Birth complications that are associated with trauma or ischemia and hypoxia have also shown strong links to ASD, whereas other pregnancy-related factors such as maternal obesity, maternal diabetes, and caesarian section have shown a less strong (but significant) association with risk of ASD. Molecular Autism.

Call for proposals: SIREN Innovation Grants

March 27, 2017

The Social Interventions Research and Evaluation Network (SIREN) seeks applications for research projects that will contribute rigorous evidence about health care cost and/or utilization impacts of clinical interventions addressing patients' social and economic hardships. The application deadline is June 15, 2017.

Veggie Rx: a fresh produce prescription.

March 27, 2017

A coalition of groups—from health care providers to a network of farmers—came up with "Veggie Rx," a fruit and vegetable prescription program designed to increase intake of fresh produce. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (second article on the linked page.)

What you need to know about hospital roles in community investment.

March 27, 2017

Hospitals and health systems are well-positioned to invest resources in creating healthier communities—a few are already leading the way. Their valuable lessons can help others rethink the role hospitals can play in improving health beyond their walls. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
[See the report: Improving Community Health by Strengthening Community Investment: Roles for Hospitals and Health Systems]

What's the price tag for ignoring climate change?

March 26, 2017

What costs and hardships would stem from allowing climate change to continue unabated? And, will those costs outweigh any losses caused by transforming our energy sector? Albany Democrat-Herald, New York.

Shell oil spills led to ‘astonishingly high’ pollution in Nigeria.

March 26, 2017

Royal Dutch Shell PLC oil spills that haven’t been cleaned up for over eight years have contributed to “astonishingly high” levels of pollution in a Nigerian community, according to a consultant who helped produce a confidential damage assessment for Shell and its partners in the cleanup. Wall Street Journal.

Downstream from a coal mine, villages in Indonesian Borneo suffer from water pollution.

March 26, 2017

It is this mining operation that activists say has rendered the water of the Santan River unusable for drinking, irrigation or aquaculture. Mongabay.

Farmers try new ways to fight manure runoff, but federal spending cuts loom.

March 26, 2017

In some parts of Wisconsin, growers have enrolled in government-organized demonstration projects that use newer runoff reduction methods to try to keep more soil and manure on the land. Wisconsin Public Radio.

What’s the best way to protect people from lead-tainted drinking water?

March 26, 2017

A debate has opened up about overhauling federal regulations on lead in drinking water. And many experts are concerned that the Environmental Protection Agency is considering rule changes that could actually weaken efforts to protect public health. Allegheny Front, Pennsylvania.

EPA gets vote of confidence as pesticide fee bill approved.

March 26, 2017

The House's swift approval of a bill to allow the EPA to levy fees to support its pesticide licensing work is a rare vote of confidence in the often-maligned agency from the GOP-controlled Congress.

Europe poised for total ban on bee-harming pesticides.

March 26, 2017

The world’s most widely used insecticides [neonicotinoids] would be banned from all fields across Europe under draft regulations from the European commission, seen by the Guardian. The Guardian, United Kingdom.

Why the white middle class is dying faster, explained in 6 charts.

March 26, 2017

Dividing the country into 1,000-plus regions, the authors find that the rate of "deaths of despair" (deaths by drugs, alcohol, and suicide) in midlife for white non-Hispanics rose in nearly every part of the country and at every level of urbanization—from deep rural areas to large central cities—hitting men and women similarly. Vox.
[See the Brookings report: Mortality and morbidity in the 21st century]

China's workers need help to fight factories' toxic practices.

March 26, 2017

Cancer-sticken Chinese workers show the shocking price of making smartphones and modern electronics in a new documentary film. New Scientist.
[See the video trailer: Complicit]

USDA drops plan to test for Monsanto weed killer in food.

March 26, 2017

The US Department of Agriculture has quietly dropped a plan to start testing food for residues of glyphosate, the world's most widely used weed killer and the key ingredient in Monsanto Co.'s branded Roundup herbicides. Huffington Post.

Colorado appeals court says state must protect health and environment before allowing oil and gas drilling.

March 26, 2017

The ruling by appeals court judges—in a case that drew heavy state and industry legal opposition—reinterprets the mission of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to require more than balancing industry interests with protection of people and the environment. Denver Post, Colorado.

Another reason to flip the off switch: light pollution.

March 26, 2017

For the 11th year running, cities worldwide will turn their lights off Saturday to mark Earth Hour in a global call to action on climate change. Agence France-Presse.

Race is the biggest indicator in the US of whether you live near toxic waste.

March 26, 2017

In 2016, a study published in Environmental Research Letters found “a consistent pattern over a 30-year period of placing hazardous waste facilities in neighborhoods where poor people and people of color live.” Quartz.
[See the study: Targeting minority, low-income neighborhoods for hazardous waste sites]

More than two-thirds of cancer mutations are due to random DNA copying errors, study says.

March 26, 2017

Overall, they concluded, 66 percent of mutations that contribute to cancer are due to unavoidable DNA-replication mistakes, while 29 percent are attributable to environmental factors and 5 percent to heredity. Washington Post.
[See the study: Stem cell divisions, somatic mutations, cancer etiology, and cancer prevention]

Asbestos still causes cancer. Why is it still used?

March 26, 2017

Despite the known risks of asbestos exposure, it continues to be used, and asbestos-related cancer deaths have increased. Forbes.

The plant next door.

March 26, 2017

The air pollution crisis in St. John the Baptist may be the best illustration of why we need the EPA—and how the imminent slashing of the federal agency's budget will be measurable in illnesses and deaths. The Intercept.

From bad air to birth defects, 5 hidden risks of slashing the EPA.

March 26, 2017

Fifty former officials of the US Environmental Protection Agency are firing back in a lengthy analysis that details, program by program, what amounts to a starvation diet for the EPA. Bloomberg News.