As the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan drag on, new light has been shed on the environmental health impacts of the 1991 Gulf War. On Nov. 17, 2008, the Congressionally-mandated Research Advisory Committee on Gulf War Veterans' Illnesses released a major report which concluded that from 175,000 to 210,000 of the nearly 700,000 U.S. veterans of the first Gulf War suffer from Gulf War illness.
In a bold move to crack the reality show and celebrity-oriented entertainment worlds, the National Academy of Sciences is offering inside information to writers, producers, and entertainment industry moguls about its own views of reality.
The last vestiges of the dam-building era continue. But the era of the dam removers is well under way, as communities try to improve river habitat, restore fish migrations, or remove hazardous dams that are crumbling or no longer serve a useful purpose (though dam removal can also have potentially adverse consequences, such as the release of toxic sediments, or reductions in species that had adapted to the dam environment).
In 2008, about 60 dams were removed, according to the advocacy group American Rivers. That adds substantially to the more than 300 dams that have been removed since 1999, and about 790 dams removed in the last 100 years, according to the group's tally.
As it leaves office, the Bush administration is rushing to complete regulations that will bind the Obama administration.
How health may be affected; accusation that Bush administration drastically altered CDC testimony to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Oct. 23, 2007.
Most news about ground-level ozone pollution focuses on its considerable impacts to human health. But there may be a far broader and potentially bigger story: Ground-level ozone pollution significantly impairs plants' ability to absorb CO2 - which in turn exacerbates climate change, reduces agricultural yields (think: food shortages), and damages ecosystems.
Hot on the heels of the announcement of EPA's controversial revised ground-level ozone standard, the agency is required by court order to release its proposal for a revised airborne lead standard no later than May 1, 2008. A final rule is required by Sept. 1, 2008.
A wet, snowy winter has set the table for spring flooding in much of the eastern US and a few western states. NOAA published a forecast on March 20, 2008, of the areas most likely to get swamped. Among the states at risk are "much of the Mississippi River basin, the Ohio River basin, the lower Missouri River basin, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, most of New York, all of New England, and portions of the West, including Colorado and Idaho."
In the past few years, there have been several instances in which disturbance of sites containing naturally-occurring asbestos, via construction or other land use changes, has posed a potential health threat. As one tool for reducing such problems, on March 13, 2008, USGS released its fourth in a series of reports on US sites with naturally-occurring asbestos, covering 121 locations in AZ, NV, and UT.
One of the best parts of the environment beat is getting out in the field. Now you can bring "the field" (whether it's your town or the whole world) to your audience through interactive maps. In many cases, you can create great interactive and even collaborative online maps with basic technical skills, using free or cheap tools.