5 countries now on notice face potential legal action
By Bob Berwyn
Five large EU countries are on warning after repeatedly failing to meet air pollution standards for nitrogen oxide, a precursor to smog and a serious health risk in and of itself. If Member States fail to act within two months, the Commission may decide to take the matter to the Court of Justice of the EU.
Studies have shown that more than 400,000 people die prematurely each year due to poor air quality, while millions more suffer from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Persistently high levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) caused almost 70 000 premature deaths in Europe in 2013, which was almost three times the number of deaths by road traffic accidents in the same year.
Because of the persistent breaches, the European Commission this week sent final warning to Germany, France, Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom, urging those countries to improve air quality and safeguard public health.
Patients using cannabis as alternative to prescription drugs
A new study by health experts at the University of Georgia suggests that people are using marijuana as an alternative to prescription medications for ailments that range from pain to sleep disorders.
That trend translates to about $165.2 million in savings for Medicare’s prescription drug benefit program in 2013, the researchers reported in the journal Health Affairs.The results suggest that if all states had implemented medical marijuana the overall savings to Medicare would have been around $468 million.
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 “Food: Campbell’s to support mandatory GMO labeling”→
New dietary guidelines point out health benefits reducing red meat consumption
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.
Legal complaint alleges federal agencies violated open meeting rules
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.
FRISCO — Scientists taking a close look at the last 50 years — the modern global warming era — found that droughts and heat waves are happening simultaneously much more frequently than in the past.
The climate experts at the University of California, Irvine analyzed data gathered from ground sensors and gauges since 1960 and crunched the numbers with a statistical model to track the upswing.
“Heat waves can kill people and crops while worsening air quality, and droughts exacerbate those serious impacts,” said senior author Amir AghaKouchak, assistant professor of civil & environmental engineering. “With these two extremes happening at the same time, the threat is far more significant.” Continue reading “Climate: Heatwaves and drought are piling up”→