Report shows cancer declining among adults but rising among children in California. Experts said trends such as successful efforts to reduce smoking contributed to the reduction in cancer among adults that was noted in the report by the California HealthCare Foundation. Since 1989, the rate of new cancers in California adults has fallen from 456 per 100,000 residents to 413, about a 9 percent decline. Among children, however, rates rose about 12 percent from 15.4 cases, to 17.3 cases, per 100,000 California kids. Experts said the reasons for the rise in childhood cancer, which typically is leukemia, are not clear. One bit of good news: cancer survival rates improved for adults and children. California Watch

Environmental and civil rights groups file complaint to block California anti-pollution plan. The groups argue that the pioneering program by the California Air Resources Board to reduce greenhouse gas emissions discriminates against minorities. Their complaint, filed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, accuses air board officials of violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by agreeing to allow polluters in low-income areas to avoid reducing their emissions in those neighborhoods by buying allowances from other operations. The so-called cap and trade approach denies low-income neighborhoods “the benefits that would occur through direct regulation,” a lawyer for the activists said. San Francisco Chronicle

Critics accuse university drilling research institute of pro-industry bias. On campus and elsewhere, controversy has been stirred by a report released last month by the University at Buffalo’s Shale Resources and Society Institute. It said state regulation in Pennsylvania had made its natural gas drilling far safer and that New York rules were even more likely to ensure safety once drilling begins there. University officials said they founded the institute to bring academic rigor to issues raised by gas drilling. The controversy at the university, a major research center in the State University of New York system, taps into widespread concerns in academia about the growing influence of corporate money in research. The New York Times

International Energy Agency’s chief economist sees benefits and drawbacks in gas drilling. The IEA’s Fatih Birol, in an interview, said he expects China very soon to follow the U.S., Canada and Australia with an “unconventional gas boom” — mainly drilling with the controversial technique known as fracking. He said China, which is heavily reliant on coal, a major source of carbon emissions, will switch to using more gas, which could reduce pollution. But Birol warned that shale gas extraction, “if it is not done properly,” releases methane into the atmosphere, “and this is another important, dangerous greenhouse gas.” He also urged governments to continue investing in renewable energy. Yale Environment 360

Chicago area shooting range faces up to $111,000 in workplace safety fines. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Illinois Gun Works of Elmwood Park, Ill., on 28 safety violations. Investigators who inspected the site in January found that employees were exposed to airborne lead levels up to 12 times more than the legal level. Separately, OSHA proposed fines of $43,400 against a Rydal, Ga.,-based siding contractor, Woodland Interiors. The agency accused the company of two offenses — including a willful violation, its most serious charge — for failing to provide fall protection for employees working on a lift 18 feet off the ground at a grocery store in Hiram, Ga. OSHA

Legislative effort quietly advancing to remove premium, hand-rolled cigars from federal regulation. The anti-smoking group Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is concerned that the move could block regulation of fruit-flavored cigars favored by teenagers. Lawmakers from Georgia figure prominently in the effort. A House bill, the Traditional Cigar Manufacturing and Small Business Jobs Preservation Act, is being backed by a majority of Georgia’s representatives. In the Senate, a similar bill is supported by Georgia Republican Saxby Chambliss. The law would curtail legislation signed in 2009 giving the Food and Drug Administration authority to regulate the marketing of tobacco products. The Atlanta-Journal Constitution

Recalls and warnings: Pork Shaomi Dumplings, One Gun Ranch and Organic Soup Kitchen soups

Compiled by Stuart Silverstein

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