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Showing posts from February, 2017

Tires are big ocean polluters

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Most of us are aware of the part that Styrofoam and plastic bags have played in contributing to the load of plastics in the oceans. Have you ever wondered what happens to the stuff of tires when they wear down? The tiny bits that wear off your tires and those of all those other “rubber” tires around the world mostly ends up in the oceans.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature(IUCN) has published a report that points to two big polluters – tiny plastic particles from modern tires and synthetic clothing.
Both contribute about 30% of the overall plastic load being funneled into our oceans today. These two sources alone are estimated to add about 9.5 million tonnes annually to our waters.
The IUCN lists the top seven plastic polluters and surprisingly plastic shopping bags don’t make the list. Following are the seven worst polluters according to the group.
·Tires – many are not made of rubber any longer but are a complex mixture including plastics·Synthetic textiles – the gr…

Nanoparticles in your food may alter your gut

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Are you ingesting tiny metal particles with your food and candy? Nanoparticles are very tiny particles. They have become ubiquitous over the past few years and not much thought is usually given to them. It may be that we can’t see them, so we ignore them. But our bodies don’t ignore them.
Titanium dioxide nanoparticles are found in many consumer products – cosmetics, agricultural chemicals, processed food and nutritional supplements. It is also a useful thickener for paints. This metal is found in nearly any modern processed food.
Should we worry about consuming it? The FDA lists it as “generally recognized as safe”. Isn’t that a guarantee of safety? That picture may be changing. Recent work conducted at Binghampton University in New York has raised some concerns.
Researcher used tissue cultures of small intestine tissue and subjected the tissues to both acute and chronic doses of titanium dioxide. They found that acute doses did not alter the gut tissue, but chronic exposure did. The…

California pounded by Pacific storms

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California dealing with widespread flooding
California can’t catch a break as a series of rain storms is pounding the coast from North to South. Earlier this month the Oroville Dam in northern California was in crisis mode as the regular spillway developed a large hole and started to erode the hillside below the dam. In a rare move, dam officials decided to use the emergency spillway to quickly lower the reservoir. That had to be stopped as water started to badly erode the ground forcing about 200 000 people living below the dam to evacuate.
They have since been allowed to return to their homes. Workers are working 24 hours a day attempting to shore up the ground in case the reservoir will need to be drained.
This past weekend a storm hit the state causing landslides, flooding and loss of life.
Salinas was flooded. A local state of emergency was declared as flood waters coursed through the streets. Adding to the danger were gale force winds which toppled trees and electric wires. 
E…

California dam forces 200 000 from homes

The Oroville Dam in northern California continues to give authorities headaches. Last Tuesday a gaping hole appeared in the spillway. It quickly grew to over 300 feet across and the water further eroded the spillway.
The dam operators could not shut down the spillway as rain storms had filled the dam. Water continued to pour down the broken concrete conduit at the rate of 100 000 cubic feet per second. As more of the surrounding hillside became eroded, it was decided to use the emergency spillway. It allows the water to spill over a concrete lip, down the hill and into the Feather River. The emergency route is not paved.
Sunday as the ground below began to erode badly, an evacuation order went out to communities below the dam. With only a few minutes to leave many were unprepared to stay away for long but many jumped into vehicles, creating a major traffic jam. The jam did not clear for hours during which time some ran out of gas and some filling stations ran out of fuel.
500 inmates…

Calfornia Dam Uses Emergency Spillway to Control Water

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Water flowing over the emergency spillway at Oroville Dam The massive Oroville Dam in northern California is currently using an emergency spillway to spill excess water from its reservoir after the failure of its concrete lined spillway. Tuesday trouble showed up as the dam operators opened the regular spillway to move excess water more directly into the Feather River. What is normally an impressive flow of water suddenly turned into a turbulent maelstrom halfway down the concrete chute.
Water was shooting out of the concrete pathway and spilling sideways gouging out rocks, dirt and trees.
Workers shut down the spillway to investigate and found that a large hole had opened in the massive chute.
Heavy rains had filled the lake to 98% capacity and more was coming down. If they shut the spillway, the amount that could be released at the base of the dam would not be enough to prevent the lake from overfilling and spill uncontrollably over the top of the 700+ foot dam. So the workers deci…

Climate change and human health changes are connected

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South Florida is already coping with sea level rise. The World Health Organization has recently published a report showing how the changing climate and health impacts are related. They divided the report into three broad categories: direct health impacts, ecosystem mediated health impacts and deferred and displacement or populations.
While all humans are predicted to face some increased health hazards from the changes, the poor and disenfranchised are expected to pay a greater price for the changes. An unexpected conclusion as I read the report was that females(human) are disproportionately affected by a warming climate. WHO made a distinction between sex – male, female – and gender roles. They opined that while physiology may play a role in the greater number of women dying in an event, the greater factor was the gender roles that women play in many cultures.
In an extreme weather event, women may be required to stay at home until a male family member gives them permission to move to…