The global death toll from COVID-19 has now passed a million. To slow the spread of the disease, we need to better understand why some places have higher numbers of cases and deaths than other
Today humans are exposed to thousands of man-made chemicals. Yet the effects on people’s health are still not fully understood.
When you breathe in smoke from a wildfire, you’re probably inhaling more toxic chemicals than you realize.
Wildfires have burned millions of acres in the western United States this year. Tens of thousands have been evacuated and thousands of buildings and other structures destroyed.
Since the pandemic struck, most people have been spending the majority of their time in the house. Those working from home have become ever more reliant on electricity for running office essentials, including computers, printers, phones and broadband.
Two forces of nature are colliding in the western United States, and wildland firefighters are caught in the middle.
Asphalt is a significant source of air pollutants in urban areas, especially on hot and sunny days, according to a new study.
By 2050, 70% of the world’s population is expected to live in towns and cities. Urban living brings many benefits, but city dwellers worldwide are seeing a rapid increase in noncommunicable health problems, such as asthma and inflammatory bowel disease.
Short trips. Masks for everyone. Far fewer passengers than before. Those are my top recommendations for how America’s school buses should take kids to and from school during the pandemic.
If I dare to give the coronavirus credit for anything, I would say it has made people more conscious of the air they breathe.
Heatwaves undoubtedly bring a certain joy at the opportunity to be out in the sunshine. But as the planet heats and weather records tumble, increasingly normal bouts of baking heat aren’t all sun and games.
Malnutrition can lead to stunted growth. A new study of children in Bangladesh implicates 14 types of bacteria in the small intestine.
Reviews of hundreds of studies show that a growing number of chemicals—in pesticides, flame retardants, and certain plastics—are linked to widespread health problems, including infertility, diabetes, and impaired brain development.
COVID-19 brought the relation between humans and animals to the core of social and scientific debates.
There’s a lesser-known source of pollution causing billions of dollars worth of health costs every year: indoor wood-fired heaters.
American communities with more fast food restaurants, a larger share of extraction industry-based jobs, or higher population density have shorter life expectancies, according to new research.
Experiencing wildness is particularly important for physical and mental health, according to a new study on urban parks.
Scientists estimate that each year in the U.S., outdoor air pollution shortens the lives of about 100,000 people by one to two decades.
The sky is powder blue, and the sun magnificent, as I stride through glittering grass and fallen sycamore seeds to Dowth, a Neolithic passage tomb in County Meath.
Up to 55% of roadside traffic pollution is made of non-exhaust particles, with around 20% of that pollution coming from brake dust.
The Trump administration is working to weaken U.S. environmental regulations in many areas, from water and air pollution to energy development and land conservation.
A federal jury in California has unanimously decided that the weedkiller Roundup was a “substantial factor” in causing the lymphoma of 70-year-old Edwin Hardeman, who had used Roundup on his property for many years.
By 2050, many scientists estimate that the world food supply will have to increase sharply from today’s level to meet anticipated demand from a global population of 9 to 10 billion people.
Blue light has gotten a bad rap, getting blamed for loss of sleep and eye damage. Personal electronic devices emit more blue light than any other color.
When we hear about the horrors of industrial livestock farming – the pollution, the waste, the miserable lives of billions of animals – it is hard not to feel a twinge of guilt and conclude that we should eat less meat.
In megacities across the world, including Mexico City, Jakarta, New Delhi, Beijing, Los Angeles, Paris and London, humans are polluting air at a rate that Earth can no longer sustain.
Many people believe that chemicals, particularly the man-made ones, are highly dangerous.
Like humans, many bacteria like to spend time at the beach. The so-called flesh-eating bacteria, Vibrio vulnificus, don’t just like the beach; they need it, and rely on seasalt for survival.
The World Health Organisation recently published its latest noise pollution guidelines for Europe. The guidelines recommend outdoor noise levels that should not be exceeded for aircraft, road and rail noise and two new sources: wind turbine and leisure noise.
Everything is a toxin, or has the potential to be, in the field of toxicology.
You vacuum it, sweep it and wipe it off your furniture. But do you know what it actually is – and how it may affect your health?
Bed nets. Insecticides. Sterile and genetically modified insects. Now scientists are adding a genetically engineered toxic fungus to the arsenal of weapons to wipe out mosquitoes that carry the malaria parasite.
I recently found myself in the surreal world of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas discussing the next generation of pollution sensors that one day you might find inside your phone.
The measles outbreaks continue to spread, with New York City declaring a public health emergency and requiring people in four ZIP codes to have their children vaccinated or face penalties, including a fine of US$1,000 and or imprisonment.
Following a measles outbreak in Rockland County in New York State, authorities there have declared a state of emergency, with unvaccinated children barred from public spaces
Demand for food is increasing rapidly – the global population is expected to reach 11.2 billion by 2100. To keep up with the additional mouths to feed, intensive farming practices have maximised production, but often at the expense of the environment and human health.
Many Democratic lawmakers aim to pass a Green New Deal, a package of policies that would mobilize vast amounts of money to create new jobs and address inequality while fighting climate change.
With the extreme heat it is vital that everyone take appropriate steps to manage the heat, including drinking plenty of fluids.
Not only is air pollution bad for our lungs and heart, it turns out it could actually be making us less intelligent, too.
The winter holidays are a busy time for many businesses, including retail stores, grocers, liquor stores – and dry cleaners.
It is easy to romanticise about escaping to the country, with its clean air, green space, and idyllic views. But our latest research, a review of 39 studies from around the world, suggests the need for a bit of an adjustment: it turns out that people living in rural locations are less likely to survive cancer.
Fine particulate matter smaller than 2.5 millionths of a meter, known as PM2.5, was the fifth-leading cause of death in the world in 2015, factoring in approximately 4.1 million global deaths annually. In the United States, PM2.5 contributed to about 88,000 deaths in 2015 – more than diabetes, influenza, kidney disease or suicide.
The average lifespan of residents of Copenhagen could increase by an entire year in 2040 if there were cuts in pollution to the level found in the countryside.
A major dust storm swept through Sydney and regional New South Wales this week. Red skies over Broken Hill on Wednesday night and Sydney on Thursday resembled those seen during intense bushfire activity and the massive 2009 dust storm.
We are living in a world where environmental pollution has become part of life. Civilized humans today must live in cramped urban areas, drink contaminated water, take in polluted air, eat contaminated foods, and endure loud, disturbing noises. What can we do?
As you read this, a strange object that looks like a 2,000-foot floating pool noodle is drifting slowly through the central north Pacific Ocean. This object is designed to solve an enormous environmental problem. But in so doing, it brings attention to a number of others.
Bad news for bacon lovers and barbecue afficionados. The World Health Organisation now deems bacon, sausage – and other processed meats – a serious cancer risk
The World Health Organization recently published its latest noise pollution guidelines for Europe. The guidelines recommend outdoor noise levels that should not be exceeded for aircraft, road and rail noise and two new sources: wind turbine and leisure noise.
Despite overall lower levels of harmful emissions from power plants and vehicles throughout the year, winter air pollution in the Eastern United States remains high. A new study explains why.
Carbon monoxide (CO), like many gases, cannot be detected by our human senses. We cannot see it, smell it or taste it. But unlike many gases, small amounts are extremely harmful to us.
Night has always been a difficult realm for humans: we’ve had to learn to cope with the cold and the dark to thrive in it. Since the industrial revolution we’ve found ways to adapt our homes and cities to operate during the night. But as our conquest of the dark continues, the border between night and day is becoming increasingly blurry.
The credibility of scientific findings hinges on their reproducibility. As a scientist, it is therefore disastrous when you are unable to replicate your own findings. Our laboratory has found itself in just this situation several times; in each instance, unintended environmental exposure distorted our data. Our first accidental foray into toxicology 20 years ago convinced us of the need to understand the reproductive effects of environmental chemical contaminants. The latest twist in our journey down that road adds a new dimension to an old concern, BPA.
Not everyone will readily admit to peeing in swimming pools, but it does happen. An anonymous survey from 2012 found that 19 percent of adults admitted they had peed in a pool at least once. But when you use a pool as a giant toilet, that yellow trail contains some nasty bacteria and parasites.
One of the main problems with plastics is that although we may only need them fleetingly – seconds in the case of microbeads in personal care products, or minutes as in plastic grocery bags – they stick around for hundreds of years. Unfortunately, much of this plastic ends up as environmental pollution.
In the first of many pending lawsuits to go to trial, a jury in San Francisco concluded on Aug. 10 that the plaintiff had developed cancer from exposure to Roundup, Monsanto’s widely used herbicide, and ordered the company to pay US$289 million in damages. The plaintiff, Dewayne Johnson, had used Roundup in his job as groundskeeper in a California school district. He later developed non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The jury awarded Johnson $39 million in compensatory damages to cover pain, suffering and medical bills due to negligence by Monsanto, plus an additional $250 million in punitive damages.
Today, nearly 40 percent of U.S. adults and 21 percent of youth are obese. This trend is on the upswing and the worldwide population is becoming more obese – which is increasing the risk of other conditions like Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease whose prevalence has doubled globally in the last 30 years. But you may be surprised to learn that it’s not just food that is making us fat.
During recent summers, children living on the West Coast of Canada have been breathing some of the most polluted air on record. This is due to seasonal wildfires, which have burned through vast zones of North America and affected even larger areas with their smoke.
As you pack your bags for the cottage or campground this weekend, don’t forget to bring light clothes with long sleeves — and a truckload or two of insect repellent.
The health risk presented by air pollution depends on how much dirty air we breathe over time. But people’s exposure to pollution can vary greatly between people living on the same street, or even the same house.
How can you tell whether an agency has been captured?
It’s recently been reported that scientists have managed to create a test to measure how much urine is in a swimming pool.
Mercury pollution is a problem usually associated with fish consumption. But some people in China, the world’s largest mercury emitter, are exposed to more methylmercury from rice than they are from fish.
Exposure to fracking chemicals in utero may harm the immune system and diminish the ability of female offspring to fend off diseases like multiple sclerosis, according to a new study with mice.
It’s hard not to empathize with the people in the smoggy images of New Delhi or Ulaanbataar or Kathmandu, often wearing masks, walking to school or work though soupy cloudiness.
There is growing evidence to suggest that air pollution does not just affect our health – it affects our behavior too.
A new scientific study shows that bright electric light exposure of preschool children in the evening suppresses melatonin production almost completely, an important addition to the growing body of research in this area.
We poisoned ourselves with lead during the 20th century in most industrial nations. We used the metal widely, because lead paint is durable, engines run better on leaded gasoline and lead water pipes don’t rust.
Graphene is something of a celebrity in the world of nanoscale materials. Isolated in 2004 by Nobel Prize winners Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov
Anxiety caused by exposure to pollution may make people more prone to cheating and unethical behavior, according to new research. And that can be a driver behind the higher crime rates in high-pollution areas.
The search for autism’s causes is a daunting task — but researchers are investigating a variety of factors that might play a role.
Theresa May’s new environment plan sets ambitious goals for plastic waste reduction. But there’s lots of room for slippage. One goal is to eradicate all “avoidable” plastic waste, though it’s not clear how “avoidable” will be defined.
A common herbicide is ending up in our food, thanks to the growing practice of using it to dry crops in preparation for harvest. In addition to speeding crop drying, glyphosate can help synchronize ripening in plants at harvest time.
Humans have built high-rises since ancient Roman times, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that they became the default work space for a significant slice of the world’s workers. While these buildings are certainly efficient, they can cause real health issues.
Runoff from melting snow carries road salt into streams and lakes, and causes extraordinarily high salinity.
Antibiotics are losing their ability to kill bacteria. One of the main reasons for the rise in antibiotic resistance is the improper use of antibiotics, but our latest research shows that the ingredients in commonly-used weed killers like Round-up and Kamba can also cause bacteria to become less susceptible to antibiotics.
Infectious diseases are spreading faster due to warmer temperatures, hunger and malnourishment is worsening, allergy seasons are getting longer and sometimes it’s simply too hot for farmers to tend to their crops. But what would happen if we treated climate change as a health problem rather than an environmental one?
The higher the level of particulates in the air, a new study shows, the greater the indications of psychological distress. Where a person lives can make a big difference to health and quality of life. Every increase in pollution of 5 micrograms per cubic meter had the same effect as a 1.5-year loss in education.
What substances in wildfire smoke are most dangerous to human health? What kinds of impacts can they have? Is a brief exposure, say for a few hours, dangerous, or is smoke mainly a concern if it lingers for days?
New sales of petrol and diesel cars will be banned by 2040 in the UK; France. Sweden and Scotland by 2032; Norway by 2025. Coupled with increasing concern over the carcinogenic effects of diesel emissions, the Volkswagen defeat device scandal, and the link between diesel particulates and Alzheimer’s, focus has turned again to electric cars.
In the end, the military campaign was called Operation Ranch Hand, but it originally went by a more appropriately hellish appellation
People in northern China have a reduced life expectancy when compared with people living in the south due to higher concentrations of air pollution, a new study suggests.
Subways are vital for commuting in crowded cities, something that will become more and more important over time – according to a United Nations 2014 report, half of the world’s population is now urban. They can also play a part in reducing outdoor air pollution in large metropolises by helping to reduce motor-vehicle use.
Mice exposed to household fabrics contaminated with third-hand tobacco smoke showed changes in biological markers of health after only one month, a recent study found.
The most heavily used pesticide in California, elemental sulfur, may harm the respiratory health of children who live near farms that use it, new research suggests.
Scientists have developed a method for removing more than 99 percent of bisphenol A (also known as BPA) from water quickly and cheaply.
Toxicology’s founding father, Paracelsus, is famous for proclaiming that “the dose makes the poison.”
A new electronic sensor can monitor water quality in homes or cities, informing residents or officials of the presence of lead in water within nine days—all for around $20.
Researchers measuring the exposure to pollution inside cars during rush hour commutes have found that the levels of some harmful particulate matter are twice as high as previously believed.
Summer is the season for harmful algae blooms in many U.S. lakes and bays
The change in urban environments because of development, associated with a rapid increase in chronic disease, is a global phenomenon in developed countries. Getting further and further away from nature, it turns out, isn’t great for our health.
It’s hard to think back to what English pubs and clubs were like before the law about smoke-free public places came into force ten years ago.
We live in a dirty world. Wherever we go, we are among microbes. Bacteria, fungi and viruses live on our phones, bus seats, door handles and park benches.
The environmental advocacy group Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) on June 15 released a study about dietary lead exposure, with a focus on food intended for babies and young children.
People who live near airports are at increased risk of high blood pressure, our latest research shows. We found that exposure to high levels of noise, especially during the night
When President Donald Trump announced on June 1 that he had decided to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord, he asserted that staying in the pact would prevent our nation from further developing its fossil fuel reserves.
I had assumed that the small lump in my breast was a blocked milk duct from nursing my seven-month-old son.
A “congestion tax” that discourages downtown driving not only cuts traffic and pollution, but also sharply reduces children’s asthma attacks.
A new way to test for a wide range of micropollutants in waterways has already turned up a nightmarish cocktail of contaminants.