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'Greener' aerogel technology holds potential for oil and chemical clean-up
Cleaning up oil spills and metal contaminates in a low-impact, sustainable and inexpensive manner remains a challenge for companies and governments globally.
But a group of researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison is examining alternative materials that can be modified to absorb oil and chemicals without absorbing water. If further developed, the technology may offer a cheaper and "greener" method to absorb oil and heavy metals from water and other surfaces.
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Study: Insecticides linger in homes
The Sacramento Bee
The insecticides found in roach sprays, flea bombs, ant traps and pet shampoos persist indoors for years after use and collect in the bodies of both adults and children, for whom they may pose health risks, a new UC Davis study has concluded.
Levels of the insecticides – called pyrethroids – were found in a majority of the 173 children and adults tested from 2007-09 in Northern California.
Debate rages about chemicals, effects on young brains
CNN via WPLG-TV
The number of chemicals known to be toxic to children's developing brains has doubled over the last seven years, researchers said.
Dr. Philip Landrigan at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and Dr. Philippe Grandjean from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, authors of the review published in The Lancet Neurology journal, say the news is so troubling they are calling for a worldwide overhaul of the regulatory process in order to protect children's brains.
Hydrogen fuel production costs could decrease with new materials
The Green Optimistic
As automakers improve their technology to reduce emissions, one technology that’s slowly coming to fruition is the hydrogen fuel cell. The fuel itself is another matter.
The technology is sound, but still moderately expensive, due to the necessity for some very expensive materials that enable the hydrogen fuel cell to generate electricity from the flow of hydrogen electrons.
Tanke invests second round into the e-waste business
Tanke Inc., a diversified holding company focused on emerging technologies and 'Cleantech,' announced an investment of $2.3 million in E-Waste Systems, Inc. The e-waste and reverse logistics market has become a $100 billion annual business, primarily driven by the ever faster proliferation of smart electronics.
When cosmetics become health risk
Women and girls using cosmetics without understanding them are risking their health and their lives. This is because some of these cosmetics contain toxic chemicals. Gerald Kitabu caught up with Beatrice Kasmir, environmentalist from Envirocare, an organization that is running a project on reducing the impacts of toxic chemicals in products, specifically on cosmetics, and discussed some of the potential risks at hand.
West Virginia chemical spill spurs long-term health study
The odor in drinking water lingering more than a month after a chemical spill in West Virginia is prompting officials to test homes and consider the potential long-term health effects from exposure.
After initial resistance, Governor Earl Ray Tomblin named Andrew Whelton from the University of South Alabama to test water from 10 Charleston-area homes to see if chemical residues are still present. The first batch of samples was shipped to laboratories, and evidence of the chemical’s distinctive licorice odor has been found in at least one home, Whelton said.
Phone battery recycling rates low
Only about 4 percent to 5 percent of lithium-ion batteries were recycled in the EU in 2010, based on the number of batteries sold and what was collected.
Regulations in Great Britain and the EU may have succeeded in keeping smart phone batteries out of landfills, according to The Guardian, but their precious metals are left in limbo. Rather than recycle old mobile phones, they tend to be kept unused in drawers, with the batteries intact.
Study: Chemical banned for decades still in yellow clothing and paper in 'worrisome' levels
A new, unpublished study is turning the spotlight onto a chemical that was banned in the U.S. 35 years ago, but is still present today in everything from yellow clothing, to yellow paper and other consumer products using yellow pigments. Researchers say traces of polychlorinated biphenyls — or PCBs — are leaching out of everyday products found around the globe.
Scientists caution harmful chemicals are seeping into our food
Chemicals commonly used to package, store and process food items may be hazardous to your health even though they are used in legal amounts, according to a provocative new commentary.
The commentary, published on Feb. 19, in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, expressed “a cause for concern for several reasons” that these substances may be leaking into the foods that we eat.
Massachusetts is easing rules for some pollutants
The Boston Globe
Developers will be allowed to leave substantially more arsenic and lead in the soil deep below contaminated construction sites under new state rules, leading environmental advocates to accuse the Patrick administration of rolling back key public health protections.
The regulations, slated to take effect this spring, would double the amount of lead and increase by 150 percent the amount of arsenic allowed to remain in dirt 15 feet or more below the surface.
Rare earth recycling takes on new luster
Rare earth mining companies aren’t exactly setting the investment world on fire, but for that same reason, prepare to hear about more electronics and automotive manufacturers seeking ways to “mine” these and other precious metals out of end-of-life or discarded products — everything from mobile phones to wind turbines to spent batteries.
One notable example is Honda’s move last year with Japan Metals and Chemicals to start reusing rare earth substances in used nickel-metal hydride batteries in new ones — after announcing its intention to do so in 2012.
Neurobehavioural effects of developmental toxicity
Neurodevelopmental disabilities, including autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia and other cognitive impairments, affect millions of children worldwide, and some diagnoses seem to be increasing in frequency. Industrial chemicals that injure the developing brain are among the known causes for this rise in prevalence. In 2006, a systematic review was completed and it identified five industrial chemicals as developmental neurotoxicants: lead, methylmercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, arsenic and toluene. It is postulated that even more neurotoxicants remain undiscovered.
E-waste to exceed 93.5 million tons annually
The global volume of e-waste generated is expected to reach 93.5 million tons in 2016 from 41.5 million tons in 2011, at a compound annual growth rate of 17.6 percent from 2011 to 2016, according to a new report.
Management of e-waste provides benefits such as job creation, improved technological knowledge and environmental benefits. In developing countries, job creation also helps in alleviation of poverty and improved health conditions.
10 surprising sources of off-gassing in your home, and what you should do about it
That woman in the space suit in the 1968 Lestoil ad had the right idea; she's protected from the off-gassing that comes from most cleaning prodcuts. Off-gassing is the release of chemicals from the stuff we bring into our homes, or that our homes are actually made of. In drafty old houses with lots of air changes it wasn't much of a problem, but as we build our houses tighter for energy efficiency, these chemicals can build up inside.
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