pollution

In Louisville, Kentucky, traditionally known as a hotbed of air pollution and an uncomfortable place to live for a person with asthma, a community-run study is using big data to figure out how to make its residents healthier.

Bright, Bluish-White LED Streetlamps Disrupt Sleep Cycles, AMA Says

Jun 21, 2016

Bright, energy-efficient LED streetlamps can be bad for our health, according to the American Medical Association.

Specifically, high-intensity LEDs that release mostly blue light — as opposed to the "warmer-looking" light of older streetlamps — create glare and mess with sleep cycles, the organization says.

Jean-Pierre via Flickr

For decades, chemical company Dupont hid evidence of the serious health effects of PFOA (a key ingredient of Teflon until recently), while continuing to pollute a rural area with chemical waste. As the New York Times Magazine reports, one lawyer's epic 15-year-legal battle finally made Dupont accountable. And the industry has phased out PFOA, which can cause birth defects and cancerous tumors in lab animals.

Residents of Flint, Michigan say the city's officials exposed them to lead and other toxins in the 18 months the city got its water from a nearby river. The number of kids with above average lead levels in their blood has doubled. The mayor has declared a state of emergency as the city prepares to deal with long-term effects of lead exposure. As the Washington Post reports:

Jake Harper/Side Effects

Retired farmer Dick Himsel’s Danville, Indiana property looks like an idyllic Midwestern small farm. Trees line the driveway, leading up to an old-fashioned wooden farmhouse that’s surrounded by tall stalks of corn.

One thing the property does not have, though, is fresh air.


EPA Announces New Rules To Protect Farmworkers From Pesticides

Sep 29, 2015

The Environmental Protection Agency has released a final version of updated rules intended to keep farmworkers from being poisoned by pesticides. The previous "worker protection standard" for farms has been in effect since 1992.

Wildfire Smoke Becomes The Health Threat That Won't Go Away

Aug 25, 2015

I stepped out my parents' front door last Thursday, expecting a typically glorious summer day in southern Oregon. Instead, I was hit with acrid wood smoke that stung my eyes and throat. The air was thick with haze that obscured the mountains. I quickly retreated inside.

Health departments across the West are mobilizing to protect residents from smoke generated by dozens of fires that have sent smoke as far east as the Midwest.

In an event that has led to health warnings and turned a river orange, the Environmental Protection Agency says one of its safety teams accidentally released contaminated water from a mine into the Animas River in southwest Colorado.

The spill, which sent heavy metals, arsenic and other contaminants into a waterway that flows into the San Juan National Forest, occurred Wednesday. The EPA initially said 1 million gallons of wastewater had been released, but that figure has risen sharply.

From member station KUNC, Stephanie Paige Ogburn reports for our Newscast unit:

Air pollution comes from many sources — power plants, industrial production and fires, to name a few. In Pittsburgh, the most polluted city east of California, according the American Lung Association, avoiding dirty air while outdoors can be difficult, if not impossible. But a new device, available through the public library system, helps people identify and reduce bad air quality inside their homes.

Asthma affects children regardless of where they live and whether they are rich or poor. But scientists have long thought that living in poor urban neighborhoods adds an extra risk for this troublesome lung inflammation. A new study suggests that's not necessarily the case.

Asthma is often triggered by something in the environment, so in the 1960s, scientists started looking for places where asthma was especially bad.

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