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  • News

    Home fires, farm fumes are leading causes of air-pollution deaths

    There’s no doubt air pollution is a killer, causing more than 3 million deaths worldwide each year. But the top culprits behind the deadly air may come as a surprise.

    Particles from small-scale energy use, mainly household fires for cooking and heating, are the leading cause of air-pollution deaths in many areas of Asia, researchers report in the Sept. 17 Nature. But in the northeastern...

    09/16/2015 - 13:06 Pollution, Health, Toxicology
  • News

    Molting seals shed mercury along with fur

    After smoke stacks and industrial waste, researchers can add lounging seals to the list of mercury polluters.

    Hair from Northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris) is loaded with the toxic metal. And when shed, that hair can boost mercury levels in surrounding seawater by about 17 times, researchers report September 7 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


    09/07/2015 - 15:00 Pollution, Toxicology, Oceans
  • News

    Latest BPA replacement seeps into people’s blood and urine

    Handling grocery receipts may cost extra — at least in terms of health risks, a new study suggests.

    Two chemicals in receipt paper that replace the toxic compound bisphenol A, or BPA, are just as capable of soaking into the human body as their predecessor, researchers report August 25 in Environmental Health Perspectives. The study marks the first time that one of the two compounds,...

    09/04/2015 - 12:53 Toxicology, Health
  • News

    Bacteria in flowers may boost honeybees’ healthy gut microbes

    Honeybees were into probiotics way before they were cool, a new study suggests.

    The hipster insects serve up beneficial bacteria that may help baby bees develop a healthy blend of gut microbes, researchers report online August 7 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Without those thriving gut communities, the critical pollinators may have trouble digesting their plant-based food....

    08/16/2015 - 07:00 Microbes, Animals, Toxicology
  • News

    Dust components may promote obesity

    Dust bunnies that breed under furniture may be bad news for waistlines, a new study suggests. But it’s far too early to add dusting to a weight loss plan, researchers caution.

    Components of indoor dust may signal human fat cells to grow and may alter metabolism, potentially contributing to weight problems, researchers report July 14 in Environmental Science & Technology.


    08/03/2015 - 17:21 Toxicology, Pollution, Health
  • News

    Mystery toxins in tainted New Zealand honey nabbed

    In a sticky sting operation, researchers may have nabbed the last toxic members of a honey-tainting ring in New Zealand.

    Cloaked in sugars, two forms of tutin — a potent neurotoxin that can cause delirium and seizures — have been found lurking in poisoned honey, researchers report online May 21 in the Journal of Natural Products. The discovery of the incognito toxins helps to explain...

    06/01/2015 - 07:45 Toxicology, Chemistry
  • News

    Rising dolphin deaths linked to Deepwater Horizon spill

    The April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill helped spark a massive, ongoing die-off of dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico, a new study suggests.

    Dead common bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) examined in the region had lung lesions and adrenal gland damage, injuries previously linked to oil exposure, researchers report May 20 in PLOS ONE. Following the blow out at BP’s Macondo well five...

    05/21/2015 - 18:14 Pollution, Toxicology, Oceans
  • Science Ticker

    E-cigarette flavorings may harm lungs

    Certain flavorings in e-cigarettes can harm lung cells, researchers report May 17 at the American Thoracic Society International Conference in Denver.

    Researchers exposed human lung cells to various doses of 13 flavorings for either 30 minutes or 24 hours. Five of the flavorings tested caused harmful effects, such as reducing cell replication. At higher doses, these same flavorings — hot...

    05/18/2015 - 15:00 Toxicology, Health
  • News

    Bees may like neonicotinoids, but some may be harmed

    Bees don’t have the mouthpart sensitivity to taste — and thus can’t avoid — nectar tainted with neonicotinoid pesticides, new lab tests indicate. And the charm of nicotine may even seduce bees into favoring pesticide-spiked nectar.

    Outdoor tests also show that neonicotinoid exposure for some wild bees can be worrisome, a second paper reports. Together, the studies renew questions about...

    04/22/2015 - 13:00 Animals, Conservation, Toxicology
  • News

    Natural acids in soil could protect rice from toxic nanoparticles

    A dose of dirt could defend rice plants from the damaging effects of toxic nanoparticles.

    Acids naturally found in the organic matter of soil, collectively called humic acid, can protect rice seedlings from the cell damage and stunted root growth caused by copper oxide nanoparticles, researchers report April 13 in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. These toxic nanoparticles are used...

    04/17/2015 - 14:30 Pollution, Toxicology