April 25th, 2011
05:00 PM ET
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed stronger air emissions standards for polyvinyl chloride production facilities in an effort to improve the air quality and health in communities nearby.
The standards would require these plants to reduce emissions of such potentially carcinogenic chemicals as vinyl chloride and dioxin.
“In particular, children are known to be more sensitive to the cancer risks posed by inhaling vinyl chloride,” the EPA said in a news release announcing the proposed standards.
March 23rd, 2011
05:31 PM ET
With ongoing problems at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant – including the latest warning that radiation has turned up in Tokyo’s drinking water – CNN is looking at past nuclear accidents for a hint of the long-term impact.
The worst nuclear accident ever took place in 1986 when there was a massive explosion at the plant in Chernobyl, in the Ukraine region of the former Soviet Union. A team from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, has conducted long-term studies looking at cancer rates in the area. Scott Davis, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington, leads the research, including three studies of childhood cancer, one childhood leukemia study and a study now under way on breast cancer rates.
The team compares people who have the illness being studied, with people who are not sick, while estimating the amount of radiation each individual was exposed to. Through this method they estimate the increase in cancer cases that can be attributed to radiation exposure. An important part of the approach involves making estimates of each individual’s exposure; this is done through computer models and interviews with each person about his or her location and movements.
December 28th, 2010
03:22 PM ET
Officials in Hialeah, Florida, are conducting autopsies on the bodies of five teenagers, who apparently died from carbon monoxide poisoning inside of their suburban Miami motel room. They had left a car running in a closed garage under their room after they had problems starting it earlier.
Sadly, around this time of year, we often hear about people getting sick and dying from carbon monoxide poisoning. This tragedy in Florida is a good reminder of the importance of knowing the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
July 29th, 2010
04:53 PM ET
A doctor told a House committee Thursday that reducing pollution in “hot spot” communities such as Mossville, Louisiana, was one reason Congress should overhaul the law governing toxic chemicals.
Dr. Mark Mitchell, who has served on the Environmental Protection Agency's National Environmental Justice Advisory Council, sited Mossville and West Louisville, Kentucky, as communities surrounded by chemical plants, including plastic manufacturers.
July 28th, 2010
12:58 PM ET
The Gulf oil disaster has already caused at least 2,239 days of beach closing, advisories, and notices in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, according to a report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
One-fifth of monitored beaches in the Gulf have been subject to closure or advisories because of the spill, the non-profit environmental group reported.
July 27th, 2010
11:43 AM ET
EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson wants her agency to consider “environmental justice” before taking action.
"Historically, the low-income and minority communities that carry the greatest environmental burdens haven't had a voice in our policy development or rule making,” Jackson said in a statement.
June 23rd, 2010
05:51 PM ET
By Caleb Hellerman
The state of California proposed new rules Monday that could force makers of consumer products to show they're not using harmful plastics or other ingredients, or face restrictions including a possible ban on selling those products. If the rules go into effect, they could have a ripple effect beyond California, since many companies are unlikely to develop separate product lines, just for that state.
Maziar Movassaghi, acting director of California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control, says the ambitious plan seeks to totally reshape the way new products are developed. “We’ve had 30 years relying on [federal law], and it’s had limited success,” Movassaghi said. “The idea here is to go up the pipeline to the desk of individuals designing products, asking them to design products safe for use, and safe for the environment.”
June 22nd, 2010
11:00 AM ET
By David S. Martin
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson is asking Congress to reinstate a tax on oil, gas and chemical companies to help fund cleanup costs at some of America’s most polluted places.
The so-called “polluters pay” provision funds cleanup at Superfund sites where those responsible for the pollution either can’t be found, don’t have the money or have gone out of business.
June 21st, 2010
12:01 AM ET
By Caleb Hellerman
Flame retardant chemicals found in a wide variety of products may affect the function of the thyroid gland, according to a study published Monday by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley. Known as polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), the chemicals are used in television and computer screens, as well as in polyurethane foam for furniture and carpeting.
Researchers examined 270 pregnant women, checking the level of PBDEs in their bloodstream, and the level of TSH, a hormone linked to thyroid function. On average, higher levels of PBDEs were linked to lower TSH levels – which means that women with a high PBDE exposure tended to have overly active thyroid glands. (The lower the TSH level, the more active the thyroid gland).
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.