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  • 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
  • News

    4 ways to tackle ocean trash besides Ocean Cleanup’s broken system

    Cleaning up ocean pollution is no simple task, as an effort to fish plastic out of the Pacific Ocean is revealing.

    In September, scientists launched a 600-meter-long boom meant to herd plastic debris from the great Pacific garbage patch into a net (SN Online: 9/7/18). The trash accumulation, which is twice the size of Texas, swirls in waters between California and Hawaii.

    But some...

    01/04/2019 - 15:48 Pollution
  • News

    Satellites make mapping hot spots of ammonia pollution easier

    Satellites may be a more accurate way to track smog-producing ammonia.

    It’s notoriously tricky to pinpoint accurate numbers for ammonia gas emissions from sources such as animal feedlots and fertilizer plants. But new maps, generated from infrared radiation measurements gathered by satellites, reveal global ammonia hot spots in greater detail than before. The new data suggest that...

    01/04/2019 - 07:00 Pollution, Climate
  • Feature

    Engineers are plugging holes in drinking water treatment

    Off a gravel road at the edge of a college campus — next door to the town’s holding pen for stray dogs — is a busy test site for the newest technologies in drinking water treatment.

    In the large shed-turned-laboratory, University of Massachusetts Amherst engineer David Reckhow has started a movement. More people want to use his lab to test new water treatment technologies than the...

    11/25/2018 - 06:00 Pollution, Health
  • Science Stats

    Car tires and brake pads produce harmful microplastics

    There’s a big problem where the rubber meets the road: microplastics.

    Scientists analyzed more than 500 small particles pulled from the air around three busy German highways, and found that the vast majority — 89 percent — came from vehicle tires, brake systems and roads themselves. All together, these particles are classified by the researchers as microplastics, though they include...

    11/12/2018 - 08:38 Pollution, Technology