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  • News

    Many of the world’s rivers are flush with dangerous levels of antibiotics

    In a massive survey of rivers across 72 countries, researchers found antibiotics at 66 percent of 711 sites sampled. Many of the most drug-polluted waterways were in Asia and Africa, where there hadn’t been much data until now.

    Environmental pollution from antibiotics is one driver of microbial drug resistance, which threatens public health. People should be as concerned about resistance...

    06/14/2019 - 09:00 Ecosystems, Pollution, Sustainability
  • News in Brief

    Some Canadian lakes still store DDT in their mud

    Five decades after DDT was last sprayed across Canadian forests, this harmful pesticide can still be found at the bottom of several lakes.

    Researchers analyzed sediment from five lakes in New Brunswick, Canada, where airplanes spewed DDT to combat spruce budworm outbreaks before the insecticide was phased out circa 1970. Millions of kilograms of DDT were sprayed across the province,...

    06/13/2019 - 06:01 Pollution, Ecosystems
  • News in Brief

    Tiny plastic debris is accumulating far beneath the ocean surface

    Vast swathes of litter floating on the ocean, like the great Pacific garbage patch, may just be the tip of the trash heap.

    Divers have reportedly spotted plastic bags and candy wrappers as deep as the Mariana Trench. Now, a survey of microplastics at various depths off the coast of California suggests that this debris is most common several hundred meters below the surface, scientists...

    06/06/2019 - 09:00 Oceans, Pollution, Animals
  • News in Brief

    How one fern hoards toxic arsenic in its fronds and doesn’t die

    The Chinese brake fern looks unassuming. But Pteris vittata has a superpower: It sucks up arsenic, tucks the toxic metal away in its fronds and lives to tell the tale.

    No other plants or animals are known to match its ability to hoard the heavy metal. Now researchers have identified three genes essential to how the fern accumulates arsenic, according to a study in the May 20 Current...

    06/04/2019 - 09:00 Pollution, Ecosystems, Plants
  • News

    Emissions of a banned ozone-destroying chemical have been traced to China

    China has continued producing an ozone-destroying chemical called CFC-11 in violation of an international agreement, an analysis of atmospheric gas finds.

    Air samples collected in South Korea and Japan suggest that eastern China emitted around 7,000 metric tons more trichlorofluoromethane a year from 2014 to 2017 than it did from 2008 to 2012. This boost in emissions explains a large...

    05/22/2019 - 13:00 Pollution, Chemistry
  • Science Stats

    1 million species are under threat. Here are 5 ways we speed up extinctions

    Stories about individual species on the brink of extinction may be all too familiar. But a new tally now reveals the breadth of the conservation crisis: One million of the world’s species are now poised to vanish, some as soon as within the next few decades.

    That number, which amounts to 1 in every 8 animal or plant species on Earth, comes from a sweeping new analysis of about 15,000...

    05/08/2019 - 06:00 Conservation, Climate, Pollution, Science & Society
  • News

    Tiny microplastics travel far on the wind

    Plastic pollution from Paris doesn’t necessarily stay in Paris.

    Tiny bits of plastic that originated in cities were carried by wind to a remote mountain location at least 95 kilometers away, a study finds. It’s the first demonstration that microplastics, tiny particles ranging from a few nanometers to 5 millimeters in size, can travel far through the atmosphere.

    Even more startling...

    04/15/2019 - 11:00 Climate, Pollution
  • News

    Why kids may be at risk from vinyl floors and fire-resistant couches

    WASHINGTON — Home decor like furniture and flooring may not be notorious polluters like gas-guzzlers, but these indoor consumer products can also be significant sources of potentially dangerous chemicals.

    Kids who live in homes with all vinyl flooring or living room couches that contain flame retardants have much higher concentrations of chemicals called semivolatile organic compounds in...

    02/21/2019 - 06:00 Chemistry, Health, Pollution
  • News

    Chinese ‘tweets’ hint that happiness drops as air pollution rises

    Air pollution is recognized as a public health threat in China, linked to heart disease, cancer, cognitive decline and even risky behavior. Now a study analyzing air quality data and social media posts on China’s version of Twitter suggests that poor air quality may also harm people’s sense of well-being.

    “The higher the levels of air pollution in Chinese cities, the lower people’s...

    01/30/2019 - 11:19 Health, Pollution