Study: Most ocean fish still tainted by toxic chemicals, but levels are gradually decreasing

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Levels of pollutants in seafood vary widely in different regions. @bberwyn photo.

More research needed to determine risk to consumers

Staff Report

Fish in all the world’s oceans are still tainted by a stew of potentially toxic chemicals, but concentrations of the pollutants have decreased in the past 30 years, according to a new study by researchers with the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

The scientists said their findings included both good and bad news. On the up side, the findings suggest that the global community responded to the calls-to-action, such as in the Stockholm Convention, to limit the release of potentially harmful chemicals into the environment. Continue reading

Food: Campbell’s to support mandatory GMO labeling

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GMO labeling coming soon to Campbell’s products. @bberwyn photo.

Citing widespread support among American consumers, Campbell’s has announced it will label products that contain genetically engineered ingredients.

“We are operating with a ‘Consumer First’ mindset. We put the consumer at the center of everything we do,” Campbell’s president and CEO Denise Morrison said in a prepared statement that was distributed to employees.

“That’s how we’ve built trust for nearly 150 years.  We have always believed that consumers have the right to know what’s in their food. GMO has evolved to be a top consumer food issue reaching a critical mass of 92 percent of consumers in favor of putting it on the label,” Morrison said. Continue reading

Health: Feds say eat less meat

What's the energy footprint on your dinner plate? @bberwyn photo.

Lots of veggies and a little fish makes for a healthy meal. @bberwyn photo.

New dietary guidelines point out health benefits reducing red meat consumption

Staff Report

For the first time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has issued a new set of dietary guidelines calling on Americans — especially men — to cut back at least a bit on consumption of red meat.

The new guidelines were greeted as a positive step by environmental groups like the Natural Resources Defense Council, which said in a release that cutting meat consumption is not only good for public health, but benefits the environment by reducing climate and water pollution from the meat industry.

The report advises that cutting back on meat can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes and some types of cancer. Read the new guidelines here. Continue reading

Activists challenge permit for Navajo Generating Station

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A lawsuit claims the federal government didn’t follow open-meeting requirements as it developed a permitting plan for the Navajo Generating Station near Page. Ariz. Photo via Wikimedia and the Creative Commons.

Legal complaint alleges federal agencies violated open meeting rules

Staff Report

Community activists will challenge the federal government’s permit for the pollution-spewing Navajo Generating Station, alleging in a lawsuit that the EPA and the U.S. Department of Interior violated open-meeting regulations during the permitting process.

The plant, located on Navajo lands near Page, Arizona, is one of the nation’s oldest and dirtiest coal-fired plants. Toxic emissions fall especially heavily on the Navajo Nation, which suffers some of the highest rates of asthma and other lung problems in any community in the country. Continue reading

Study links dengue fever outbreaks with El Niño

New study can help tropical countries prepare

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El Niño cycles can have public health impacts.

Staff Report

This year’s El Niño could bring a widespread dengue fever outbreak across Southeast Asia, scientists said after tracking a link between the disease and warmer temperatures.

The warning came after a team of international scientists found that an increase in dengue incidence swept through eight countries of Southeast Asia in 1997 and 1998 during a historically intense El Niño weather event.

“Dengue infects large numbers of people across the tropics each year, but incidence can vary dramatically from year to year in any setting,” said University of Florida biology professor Derek Cummings, senior author of the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Continue reading

Study tracks spike in zipline accidents

Children under 10 tabbed as most susceptible to serious injury; researchers call for better safety standards

Staff Report

Popular zipline attractions should be subject to uniform safety standards across all jurisdictions to protect children from serious injuries, public health researchers said this week after documenting an alarming spike in injuries.

The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found that an estimated 16,850 non-fatal zipline-related injuries were treated in U.S. emergency departments from 1997 through 2012, with 70 percent of the injuries occurred during the last four years of the study period, indicating a growing problem.

In 2012 alone, there were more than 3,600 people treated in U.S. emergency departments for zipline-related injuries, nearly 10 per day. Children younger than 10 years of age accounted for almost half (45 percent) of the zipline-related injuries while youth, ages 10-19, accounted for an additional 33 percent of injured patients. Continue reading

Study says U.S. consumers waste 1.3 billion pounds of seafood per year

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A fisherman in Piran, Slovenia, tends his nets. @bberwyn photo.

Discarded seafood could feed 10 million people

Staff Report

With food waste on the UN agenda this week, researchers at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future say that as much as 47 percent of the edible U.S. seafood supply is lost each year — mainly from consumer waste.

In the U.S. and around the world, people are being advised to eat more seafood, but overfishing, climate change, pollution, habitat destruction and the use of fish for other purposes besides human consumption threaten the global seafood supply. Continue reading

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