Air Pollution/Toxic Exposure

Legal Battles Smolder Six Decades After 'the Greatest Health Protection in Cigarette History'

Legal Battles Smolder Six Decades After ‘the Greatest Health Protection in Cigarette History’

It’s hard to think of anything more reckless than adding a deadly carcinogen to a product that already causes cancer — and then bragging about the health benefits. That’s what Lorillard Tobacco did 60 years ago when it introduced Kent cigarettes, whose patented “Micronite” filter contained a particularly virulent form of asbestos.

‘Chemical brain drain’ endangers generations of children

According to some scholars, toxic exposures contributed to the collapse of the Roman Empire. Roman rulers were poisoned by water cisterns and food containers fashioned from lead. These extreme exposures could have gradually made the Patrician families deranged and infertile – leaving no competent leaders to run the Empire. A similar fate seems to have […]

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Lead Exposure in Older Homes Means Children “Pay With Their Lives”

Q&A: Authors Say Toll From the Toxic Metal Still Plagues U.S.

U.S. health authorities estimate that about 535,000 children are still at risk of developmental problems due to elevated levels of lead in their blood. In an interview, public health historians Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner discuss the history and scope of the lead problem.

The Radon Threat Is Still With Us

“I AM really sorry to tell you this, but you have less than a 50 percent chance of living for one year and about a 15 percent chance of living for five years.” This gloomy prognosis is delivered each year to thousands of Americans who have been given a diagnosis of lung cancer caused by […]

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While Protecting Its Own Citizens from Asbestos, Canada Aims to Keep Selling to Other Countries

Canada, like other countries, has taken steps to guard its citizens from the ravages of asbestos, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people exposed to its lung-scarring fibers. Yet Canadian officials are also trying to revive the country’s flagging asbestos mining industry in order to export the dangerous mineral to the developing world.

Obama Administration Blows Off Resistance to Air Pollution Rules

Even as the Obama administration battles Republican opposition to one of its initiatives to curb air pollution from power plants, it is moving ahead with another effort to reduce emissions by these major polluters. The administration has announced its intention to regulate, for the first time, carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants. As the Los […]

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Peril in the West

After Three Decades, Officials Ponder Action on Cancer-Causing Erionite

Mesothelioma, an exceedingly lethal form of cancer, was once thought to be caused only by inhaling asbestos fibers. Then in the 1970s, when astonishing rates of mesothelioma devastated villages in central Turkey, erionite, a mineral even more dangerous than asbestos, was found to be the cause. In the U.S., the Turkish epidemic was portrayed as a distant catastrophe. This ignored a key fact: Erionite deposits are present in at least a dozen western U.S. states. Only now, with new development stirring up remote areas of the West, are officials starting to talk about how to deal with the issue.

Environmental Risks of Proposed Oil Pipeline Worry Farmers, Ranchers

Even though it could mean thousands of new jobs at a time when the U.S. is suffering from sky-high unemployment, the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline — which would bring Canadian crude to refineries on Texas’ Gulf Coast — is running into some strong opposition in the nation’s heartland. As the Los Angeles Times reports, […]

Shop Towels with Toxic Residues Called Hidden Hazard to Workers’ Health

Those freshly laundered shop towels used by millions of automotive and manufacturing workers in the U.S. might be exposing them to toxic heavy metals at levels up to 7,700 times what is considered safe by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. So says a new report that warns against exposure to residues of oil, grease and metals that remain behind in commercially laundered towels. Workers who wipe sweat from […]

Two Common Chemicals Added by U.S. Officials to Cancer Warning List

Federal health authorities have added formaldehyde to a list of known human carcinogens, and said that evidence shows a second common chemical, styrene, most likely causes cancer. The warnings were included in the most recent update of the Report on Carcinogens issued by the National Toxicology Program, a branch of the Department of Health and […]