Chemicals

Many Contaminants Infiltrate Caves

Along with the usual spooky and spine-tingling sights we have come to expect in caves, another scary inhabitant is turning up — contaminants such as PCBs, pesticides, dioxins, gasoline, fertilizers, sewage, and caffeine.

These pollutants, which are leaching into caves from the surface and groundwater, can pose a threat to the delicate underground environments that are prized by many, and that provide benefits to people, plants, and animals on the surface. The presence of these contaminants underground also serves as a blunt reminder of how pervasive pollutants are.

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Report: 303 Industrial Facilities Pose High Terrorism Risk

The strategy of changing chemical processes at industrial facilities so they use less hazardous materials, and pose less of a threat from terrorism and accidents, gained little traction in the Bush administration after 9/11. But a number of organizations continue to push the idea.

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Gulf War Illness: It's Real, Afflicts About 200K Vets, Says Panel

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.

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USGS Maps Natural Asbestos in AZ, NV, and UT

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.

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