Environmental Health

Category archives for Environmental Health

In the span of just a couple years, five of Heather Buren’s colleagues at the San Francisco Fire Department were diagnosed with breast cancer. At first, Buren thought the diagnoses were part of the unfortunate toll that comes with age. Still, something felt amiss — “it just felt so disproportionate to me,” she said.

A recent study of air quality around unconventional oil and gas extraction sites — more commonly referred to as fracking — found high levels of benzene, hydrogen sulfide and formaldehyde, all of which pose risks to human health. But what makes this study particularly interesting is that the air samples were collected by the very people who live near the extraction sites, and the collection times were specifically triggered by the onset of health symptoms.

Despite significant unanswered questions about human and environmental health impacts – and no exposure monitoring requirements – the EPA has approved a new herbicide called Enlist Duo for use on genetically engineered corn and soybeans in six Midwestern states. Environmental groups and farmers are suing to block approval, saying EPA failed to adequately assess health risks.

“If the California Public Health Department had been able to find out that my company was using a chemical that was killing people, I might never have gotten so sick that I had to have a lung transplant,” Ricardo Corona told a California Judiciary Committee last April, testifying in favor of California Senate Bill (SB) 193 that Governor Jerry Brown signed into law on September 29th.

“Yes, you can use my name because it doesn’t matter. They have already done everything they can do to me.” Those are words from Eliceo, a former dairy farm worker in upstate New York. Earlier this year, Eliceo, 36, decided to speak up and share his story with local advocates who are tirelessly working to improve conditions on New York dairy farms and end persistent reports of workplace safety violations, preventable work-related injuries, wage theft, exploitation and in some cases, worker deaths.

In announcing National Farm Safety Week, President Obama emphasized his Administration’s commitment to reducing hazards of agricultural work – including for young people. So how are we doing at protecting children and teens working on farms and ranches? Note: There is no federally required safety training for youth working in agriculture. Estimated injury rate is 38 per day and fatalities, 115 per year

About one in every 10 U.S. children is living with asthma — that’s closing in on 7 million kids. And while we have a good handle on what triggers asthma attacks and exacerbates respiratory symptoms, exactly what causes asthma in the first place is still somewhat of a mystery. However, new research points to some possible new culprits that are difficult, if not nearly impossible, to avoid.

Andrea Kidd-Taylor: Public health leader, worker safety advocate, justice seeker

The public health community is mourning the loss of Andrea Kidd-Taylor, DrPH, MSPH, 59, who died on September 1 from cancer.

Forget pink or blue. It turns out that the best color for baby may be green. In a new study, researchers found that mothers living in neighborhoods with plenty of greenness — grass, trees and other types of lush vegetation — were more likely to carry their pregnancies to full term and deliver babies at healthier weights.

If the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) give their approval to a new herbicide called Enlist Duo and to corn and soybean seeds genetically engineered (GE) to resist that chemical, the United States could see a significant increase in what is already one of the country’s most widely used herbicides.…