Environmental Protection


Study Suggests Growing Up On a Farm Directly Affects Regulation of the Immune System

Immunological diseases, such as eczema and asthma, are on the increase in Western society and represent a major challenge for 21st century medicine.

Carbonized Coffee Grounds Remove Foul Smells

For coffee lovers, the first cup of the morning is one of life's best aromas. But did you know that the leftover grounds could eliminate one of the worst smells around – sewer gas?

Why Common Tree is Toxic to Snowshoe Hares

Boise State University biologists have uncovered why the chemical defenses in birch, a common type of tree found in North America, are toxic to snowshoe hares.

USDA Creates Online Tool for Mapping Water Use and Drought

Farmers and water managers may soon have an online tool to help them assess drought and irrigation impacts on water use and crop development, thanks to the work of two U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists.

How Soil Production Processes Respond to Erosion

In many ways, soil is fundamental to life. Flora and fauna depend on its presence for their survival as much as they depend on water and air. In order to sustain its soil content, an ecosystem needs to maintain a balance between rates of soil erosion and soil production. Factors such as tectonic plate movement or climate change can tip this balance, and learning how such changes affect soil cover is crucial to our understanding of how the Earth’s surface works.

Biosphere Study at the University of Arizona

Scientists are preparing to launch a 10-year project to study water resources, gas exchange and carbon cycling in three man-made landscapes built in a half-acre laboratory at the University of Arizona’s Biosphere 2.

Stanford Geophysicist Says More Environmental Rules Needed for Shale Gas

In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama praised the potential of the country's tremendous supply of natural gas buried in shale. He echoed the recommendations for safe extraction made by an advisory panel that included Stanford University geophysicist Mark Zoback. The panel made 20 recommendations for regulatory reform, some of which go well beyond what the president mentioned in his address.

Researchers Find Consumers Willing to Buy Sustainable U.S. Cotton

As the interest in environmentally responsible business practices grows globally, researchers are interested in how that interest translates into consumer sales. Researchers from the University of Missouri (MU) have found that United States consumers are more willing to buy clothing made from sustainably grown U.S. cotton than apparel produced using conventional practices in an unknown location.

Engineering Safer Drinking Water in Africa

In the United States and other developed countries, fluoride is often added to drinking water and toothpaste to help strengthen teeth. But too much naturally occurring fluoride can have exactly the opposite effect.

New Model Quantifies Climate Change

Climate change has impacts on forests, fields, rivers -- and thereby on humans that breathe, eat and drink. To assess these impacts more accurately, a comprehensive comparison of computer-based simulations from all over the world will start this week. For the first time, sectors ranging from ecosystems to agriculture to water supplies and health will be scrutinized in a common framework.

New Methodology Assesses Risk of Scarce Metals

Yale researchers have developed a methodology for governments and corporations to determine the availability of critical metals, according to a paper in Environmental Science & Technology.

World's Largest Fuel Cell Can Power 1,400 Homes

Solvay has successfully commissioned its 1-megaWatt industrial demonstration fuel cell at the SolVin plant in Belgium.

New Research Reveals Plants Caused Ice Ages

New research reveals how the arrival of the first plants 470 million years ago triggered a series of ice ages. Led by the Universities of Exeter and Oxford, the study is published in Nature Geoscience.

How Politicians Affect Americans' Feelings Toward Climate Change

More than extreme weather events and the work of scientists, it is national political leaders who influence how much Americans worry about the threat of climate change, new research finds.

Building Energy Efficient Organic LEDs

Incandescent light bulbs are energy hogs, but many people prefer them for the cozy quality of light they emit.

Climate Risk of Toxic Shock

The effects of climate change could expose Australians to greater risks from toxic contamination, a leading scientist has warned.

Tropical Vegetation Stores More Carbon Than Previously Suspected

A study recently published in Nature Climate Change finds that tropical vegetation contains 21 percent more carbon than previous studies had suggested. Using a combination of remote sensing and field data, scientists from Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC), Boston University, and the University of Maryland were able to produce the first "wall-to-wall" map (with a spatial resolution of 500 m x 500 m) of carbon storage of forests, shrublands, and savannas in the tropics of Africa, Asia, and South America.

Northern Forests May Be Losing The Ability to Trap Carbon

The northern forests of western Canada are likely absorbing less carbon dioxide because of climate change, and the decline may be making a bad situation worse, researchers from Quebec and China have concluded.

Researchers Create New Way to Study Ground Fractures

Boise State University geophysics researchers have created a new way to study fractures by producing elastic waves, or vibrations, through using high-intensity light focused directly on the fracture itself. The new technique developed in the Physical Acoustics Lab at Boise State may help determine if there is a fluid, such as magma or water, or natural gas inside fractures in the Earth.

EPA and TDSHS Warn Against Consumption of Contaminated Fish

During the week of Feb. 6-12, 2012, representatives from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) will be in the area of South Alamo, Texas, to speak with residents about the contamination in the Donna Reservoir and Canal. This effort is being made to provide local residents with information about the health risks of consuming fish taken from the Donna Reservoir and Canal. The possession of contaminated fish taken from the reservoir is prohibited by the TDSHS.

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