Monitoring chemicals in our environment with wristbands

Whether to show support for a cause or track daily activity, wristbands and tracking bracelets have become a trendy modern accessory. Silicone strips can also be useful chemical monitoring devices. They have long chainlike structures that create channels similar in size to the pores in human cell membranes…

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A Perfect Storm

The phrase “a perfect storm” has gone from wildly popular to wildly unpopular. Detractors say it should be banned due to overuse. But it’s not banned yet. A perfect storm is “a critical or disastrous situation created by a powerful concurrence of factors.” It’s just the “right” factors leading to just the wrong outcome. High rates of exposure to organohalogen flame retardants can be seen as a perfect storm that’s hitting all of us, but especially children.…

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Lead in Water Action Kits Now Available

We’ve heard the stories about lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan. The situation is appalling, infuriating, heartbreaking. But, as NY Times columnist Nick Kristof writes in Are You a Toxic Waste Disposal Site?,“many parts of America have even higher rates of child lead poisoning than Flint.” And lead is only one of the industrial chemicals found in drinking water. …

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“Remove the Handle” – Calling on the CPSC to Turn Off the Toxic Pump

Kim Harley, PhD, is an environmental epidemiologist at the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health, University of California, Berkeley. Through her research, she tracks the sources and causes of disease. She studies how often diseases occur in different groups of people and why, then applies this knowledge to the prevention of further harm, especially to pregnant women and children.…

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Backfire: Unintended Consequences of Flame Retardants

Combustion scientist, Donald Lucas, started his career doing research at temperatures near absolute zero (−430°F) before working in combustion, where temperatures can exceed 4,500°F. As he says, you can get “burned” by both the very cold and the very hot.

Dr. Lucas received a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from UC Berkeley, and is a retired scientist in the Environmental Energy Technologies Division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. His principal areas of research are combustion generated air pollutants, experimental chemical kinetics, and combustion chemistry. I’ll resist the urge to call him “The Boy Who Played with Fire.”…

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Organic flame retardants can have effects in wildlife: An avian outcome pathway model approach

Speaker: Robert Letcher, National Wildlife Research Centre, Carleton University, Canada

Event: Flame Retardant Dilemma Symposium

April 12, 2013

University of California
Berkeley, CA…

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Environmental injustice

Vulnerable communities bear higher burdens of flame retardants A recent study of Mexican-American children in California found that those who live in areas with little access to safe outdoor play spaces tend to have higher levels of the toxic flame retardant chemicals known as PBDEs in their blood. The study, conducted by researchers from the Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health and the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that children who spend more time indoors may have higher exposures to…

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