New research show that workers exposed to toxic airborne chemicals following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, two years after the exposure, had a decreased ability to detect odors and irritants.
Pamela Dalton, PhD, MPH, who is the lead author of the study, explained the significance saying that, "The sensory system that detects irritants is the first line of defense to protect the lungs against airborne toxic chemicals. The loss of the ability of the nose to respond to a strong irritant means that the reflexes that protect the lungs from toxic exposures will not be triggered."
Almost none of the people tested were aware that their ability to detect odors and irritants was compromised.
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Continue reading Science Daily: Long-Lasting Sensory Loss in World Trade Center Workers from Airborne Toxins After 9/11 Attacks
Park rangers in Key West, Florida discovered 20 tar balls on the shore Tuesday, as well as oil residue farther west in the Dry Tortugas.
It is too early to conclude whether it is from the BP oil spill. The Coast Guard sent samples of the tar balls to the lab for analysis. However, Coast Guard officials could not recollect a time when a concentration of 20 tar balls were found on Key West in a single day.
A team calculated that the spill would reach the Keys by this weekend and reach Miami by next week.
NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco downplayed the threat to Florida saying that the bulk of the slick remains "dozens of miles” north of the loop current that could drag it towards Florida.
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Continue reading McClatchy: Tar balls, new forecast raise fears oil spill reaching Florida
Mountain top removal coal mining is responsible for flattening approximately 500 mountains in the central Appalachian region.
Law requires that land be restored to its “approximate original contour” but the mining industry exploits a federal statutory provision that exempts them from doing so. The provision applies if there is a plan to develop the land for “equal or better economic use.” Yet 90 percent of the sites have not been converted for economic use.
A study by Appalachian Voices confirmed the extent of mountaintop removal by analyzing aerial images. Matt Wasson of Appalachian Voices said, “The fact that coal companies can blast away the tops of 500 of the oldest and most biodiverse mountains on the continent shows an utter disrespect for the communities that have to live with the destruction of their land, air and water.”
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Continue reading ENN: The Myth of Mountaintop Removal Reclamation
A group of manmade compounds, known as short-chain chlorinated paraffins (SCCP’s), are suddenly under the scrutiny of the Environmental Protection Agency. The compounds are used in the metal working industry and can also be found in rubber, paints, adhesives, sealants, and plastics.
In an unprecedented use of the 1976 Toxic Control Substances Act, the EPA placed SCCP’s on a list of four chemicals that possibly pose a risk to health and the environment. It plans to investigate and manage those risks, possibly banning or restricting future use in the U.S.
These chemicals pose a potential threat because of persistence in the environment. They have been found in air, on land, in foods, in wastewater, and in river and ocean sediments. The chemicals have also been found in human livers, kidneys, fat tissue and breast milk.
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Continue reading EHN: Few people know their name, but these chemicals have become EPA priority