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Get the Facts: Arsenic in New Jersey Well Water

A new initiative aims to help homeowners in New Jersey cope with arsenic contamination in private wells—a problem that has only come to light in recent years, and about which many homeowners are still unaware.

by |June 16, 2016

By the Numbers: Air Quality and Pollution in New York City

New York City is known for many things, but having clean air isn’t one of them. Explore some of the issues and challenges the Big Apple faces in clearing NYC’s air through interactive maps and data.

Dog ticks (left) and black legged or deer ticks (right). The latter spread Lyme disease in the eastern United States. Climate variability can influence the spread of Lyme and other vector-borne diseases. Photo: Jim Occi

The Connection Between Climate and Public Health

International Research Institute for Climate and Society and the Mailman School of Public Health will hold a two-day meeting to talk about how climate influences issues of public health, from heat waves to infectious diseases. The event will be livestreamed, and you also can follow it on Twitter at #healthclimate2016.

by |June 1, 2016

Miracle on the Potomac: The New Bipartisan Law Regulating Toxics

The new law is far from perfect, but it is a major improvement over the ineffectual 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act. Under that law, only five of the over 80,000 chemicals now in use have been banned or substantially restricted in use.

by |May 31, 2016

The Importance of New York City’s Water Infrastructure

New York City has a magnificent system of water supply. It is an example of farsighted long-term leadership and investment without which the modern city of New York could never have been built.

by |April 11, 2016
Jhohora Akhter, 30, of Iruain village, draws water from the family well, which is contaminated with arsenic. Jhohora’s mother Jahanara Begum died of arsenic-related health conditions. Her father suffers from diabetes, an illness associated with chronic arsenic exposure. Her brother Ruhul Amin also suffers arsenic-related health conditions. Photo: © 2016 Atish Saha for Human Rights Watch

Report Charges ‘Nepotism and Neglect’ on Bangladesh Arsenic Poisoning

Two decades after arsenic was found to be contaminating drinking water across Bangladesh, tens of millions of people are still exposed to the deadly chemical. Now a new report from the group Human Rights Watch charges that the Bangladesh government “is failing to adequately respond” to the issue, and that political favoritism and neglect have corrupted the government’s efforts.

by |April 7, 2016
The melting toe of the Athabasca Glacier in Canada Photo: Wing-Chi Poon

The Damaging Effects of Black Carbon

Air pollution, both outdoors and indoors, causes millions of premature deaths each year. The deaths are mainly caused by the inhalation of particulate matter, especially black carbon. But black carbon not only has impacts on human health, it also affects visibility, harms ecosystems, reduces agricultural productivity and exacerbates global warming.

by |March 22, 2016
Aedes aegypti. Photo: Centers for Disease Control

Are Zika Virus and the Climate Related?

Madeleine Thomson, a scientist at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society, studies the relationship between diseases like Zika, dengue, malaria and others and changes in climate. She spoke at length recently with the Wellcome Trust, a health-focused charity, about the connection.

by |March 7, 2016

Protecting Our Drinking Water

The reason we have federal water quality standards is to ensure that local economic issues, politics, racism or other factors do not control decisions about water supply. But in Flint, decisions on water supply were not subject to effective federal review.

by |February 29, 2016

Federal Environmental Policy Can’t Find the 21st Century

The issue comes down to willingness to pay upfront for improved systems, rather than pay to address environmental emergencies later on, when pieces of the system fall apart. Both water and energy systems carry user charges, but weak, ideologically-bound politicians refuse to allow these fees to grow to pay the capital cost of modern infrastructure.

by |February 15, 2016