Ninth Circuit Holds that Dry Cleaning Equipment Manufacturers Must Engage in Active, Not Merely Passive, Activities to be Liable Under RCRA

In litigation involving soil and/or groundwater contamination from releases related to dry cleaning equipment and PCE, it has been common for injured property owners to sue the dry cleaning equipment manufacturers, among others. One of the primary legal tools used in such litigation is the citizen-suit...

Update on BPA Use and Production

The post on March 18, Steps Are Being Taken by Various Entities to Reduce Consumer Exposure to BPA , noted that Campbell's was planning on removing BPA from its soup cans. Other companies are also taking steps to decrease, minimize, or eliminate BPA from their food storage containers. As noted...

California Adds Methanol to the Prop 65 List as a Reproductive Toxicant

The Office of Health Hazard Assessment ("OEHHA") [pronounced Oh-we-hah] has added methanol (CAS No. 67-56-1) to the list of chemicals known to the State to cause reproductive toxicity for purposes of Proposition 65. A "reproductive toxicant" is one that causes birth defects and/or...

Bush Meat Can Be a Potent Source of Viruses that Cross the Species "Barrier" and Threaten Human Health

Prior posts have noted the animal origin of many diseases that adversely impact humans (e.g., measles, chicken pox, H5N1 "bird flu"); a recent devastating example, of course, is HIV. Some of these diseases, like HIV and measles, diverged from their animal progenitor such that they are independently...

Evolutionary Change Is Just That, Change, and Change Often Is a Mixed Bag and More Complex Than Anticipated

There is an unfortunate tendency to conceive of evolutionary change as causing an adaption to a selection factor that marks an improvement in addressing the environment in which the selection factor exists. Were it only so simple. Change may be an improvement, but sometimes it brings unfortunate baggage...

Nanoparticles Impair Blood Vessel Function

Prior posts have noted the wide range of materials and consumer products in which nanoparticles are used, and also that nanoparticles can cross the so-called blood-brain barrier. New research, using animal models, suggests that such materials may impair blood vessel function. Researchers exposed rats...

FDA Rejects Ban on BPA (Bisphenol A) from Food Packaging

Prior posts have noted the numerous studies involving various animals that have indicated the potential estrongenic effects from exposure to BPA. Prior posts have also noted that the primary vector of exposure is cash register receipts. In 2008, the NRDC petitioned FDA to remove BPA from food packaging...

The temperature of the test environment impacts the results derived from laboratory mice

Only one drug in ten that holds the potential for being useful in humans because of the results of tests with mice proves to so be. One obvious reason is that mice are not humans even though we are both mammals. Another reason is less obvious. Human patients can be afforded, if they wish and have the...

Noise Can Alter the Composition of an Ecosystem

Prior posts have reviewed the wide variety of "selection factors" than can drive evolution in a species. Now it appears that noise can alter the makeup of an entire ecosystem. Researchers have found that noise can drive away some species and sometimes encourage others, which in turn can influence...

Nanopollutants Harm the Functioning of Arterioles

Prior posts have noted the adverse health impact of nanoparticles, and that they can cross the so-called blood-brain barrier. Now, animal tests suggest that they affect the function of arterioles, the vessels that connect arteries to capillaries (see Wikipedia- Arteriole ). Researchers exposed rats...

Bee Explorers Have a Slightly Different Genetic Makeup than the Rest of the Hive

Researchers have found that honey bees who consistently explore new environments for food have different genetic activity in their brains than their less-adventurous hive mates. In a demonstration how nature often uses the same tools in various settings, though sometimes to yield different mechanisms...

Having the Right Blend of "Personalities" Can Impact the Survival of the Animal Group

It was not that long ago that anyone who suggested that animals had "personalities" was seen as anthropomorphizing. While that criticism is not without some merit, research has shown that it may not be correct in all or most circumstances. Research is showing that it is not just the meal...

DNA Predicts Only a Few Disorders

Prior posts have noted that gene functioning can be modified by a number of processes, such as methylation. Recently animal tests have found that some of these modifications are passed on to off-spring even though no change is made to the gene itself, only to its expression. Prior posts have also noted...

Agricultural Food Exports Use a Lot of Water

When examining the issue of water shortages and water usage, most of the emphasis is on domestic utilization. Rarely is the issue posed in terms of the impact of trade on water usage. However, such an analysis poses an alternative, and interesting, methodology to think about and examine water utilization...

Photoelectric Cells to Dye For - Solar Power From Indoor Lights

Is it possible to efficiently harness the often dim and indirect light found inside a room (e.g., from incandescent bulbs, fluorescent tubes, compact fluorescent bulbs, and light emitting diodes). The answer would now appear to be "yes." A Walsh firm claims to have taken the efficiency of...

Hunter-Gatherers Built Shelters Long Before the Rise of Farming

It was not that many years ago that the accepted wisdom was that villages, even small ones, were preceded by farming of some sort, if only learning to exploit wild grains. Prior posts have noted the growing evidence that this wisdom is inaccurate. Now, the evidence has grown significantly. Researchers...

Unique Marine Ecosystems Indicate How Ocean Acidification Will Affect Sea Life

A number of adverse environmental impacts are projected to occur from global warming. Although several atmospherically located substances will drive temperature increases, significant levels of CO2 may acidify the oceans. Ocean acidification is the name given to the ongoing decrease in the pH (see Wikipedia...

Natural Gas Fracking Itself Is Not Contaminating Groundwater; Poor Waste Management and Bore Wells Are

Prior posts have noted groundwater contamination associated with natural gas produced from deep shale deposits by hydraulic fracturing. A study by researchers (with no industry contributions) concludes that such pollution results not from liquids pumped down to the shale deposits to fracture the deep...

Unexpectedly, Prions Can Move Between Species and Target Organs Other Than the Brain

A recent post noted that viruses from bush meat can jump from one species to the next, and that as such bush meat poses a major health threat. The mobility of prions has also been underestimated. (For a general description of prions, see Prion .) Researchers have shown that engineered mice can be infected...

Stress May Increase Inflammation and the Diseases Associated Therewith

Prior posts have noted that for toxic torts causation is the central focus, and that it is very difficult to prove. Prior posts have also noted that the makeup of the bacteria in one's GI tract can have a major influence on generating inflammation; a healthy diet can modify the makeup of these bacteria...

Acidification of Oceans May Affect the Brains of Fish

Yesterday's post noted some of the adverse consequences that are likely to arise from acidification of oceans. Another recent study shows that such acidification can influence the behavior of fish because of impacts on their brains; the response of nerve cells can be reversed as acidifying seawater...

As Much as 1/3 of Earth's Biomass Lives Beneath the Ocean Floor

They are referred to as intraterrestrials, organisms that live inside the Earth. Most live beneath the bottom of the oceans. Some live in the tens of meters of mud just beneath the seafloors; others, following fractures in rock, live hundreds of meters down. By some estimates, as much as one-third of...

What Makes a Mammal? The Boundaries May Be Getting a Tad Fuzzy

What makes an animal a mammal? Well, in school we all learned the characteristics that determine what is a mammal: "warm blooded" (endothermy), body hair, three middle ear bones, live birth, and functional mammary glands in mothers with young. Most mammals also have sweat glands and specialised...

More Studies are Focusing on the Types of Bacteria that are Part of all Humans

Prior posts have noted that a) for every 1 human cell there are 10 bacteria in or on our bodies; b) these bacteria are key to the digestion of our food, production of necessary nutrients, and disease prevention; c) the nature of our diet influences the make-up of bacterial colonies in our GI tract; d...

Coyotes May Be Indirectly Responsible for Spreading Lyme Disease

Deer often are blamed for the spread of tick-borne Lyme disease; many local programs focus on deer populations as a method to control Lyme disease. A new thesis suggests these programs are not targeting the actual driving force, coyotes. Researchers note that records from the past three decades link...