As OSHA emphasizes safety, long term health risks fester

If you were one of millions of viewers who watched the documentary Blackfish on CNN this past week, then you know how the orca Tilikum killed SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010. Ms. Brancheau’s death was tragic in and of itself but more so because it could and should have been prevented. This was not an isolated event, but rather one in a series of attacks involving captive killer whales in water shows. The film raises important issues from animal rights to worker…

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HBCD alternatives assessment: narrow focus misses large problems

Polymeric flame retardant evaluated as HBCD alternative in Environmental Protection Agency’s Design for the Environment (EPA DfE) assessment presents unknown risks and possible undesirable trade-offs In reading the Executive Summary of the recent EPA DfE alternatives assessment it may appear that there is a safer chemical replacement for the flame retardant hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), which is being globally phased out. Unlike HBCD, the replacement is a polymer or polymeric, meaning that many smaller pieces are joined together to make a large molecule,…

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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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