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Category Archives: Environmental Law

Study on Pollution: Long-Term Exposure to Fine Particulate Matter

Long-Term Exposure to Fine Particulate Matter, Residential Proximity to Major Roads and Measures of Brain Structure – Elissa H. Wilker, Sarah R. Preis, Alexa S. Beiser, Philip A. Wolf, Rhoda Au, Itai Kloog, Wenyuan Li, Joel Schwartz, Petros Koutrakis, Charles DeCarli, Sudha Seshadri, and Murray A. Mittleman. Stroke, 2015 DOI: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.114.008348

“Background and Purpose—Long-term exposure to ambient air pollution is associated with cerebrovascular disease and cognitive impairment, but whether it is related to structural changes in the brain is not clear. We examined the associations between residential long-term exposure to ambient air pollution and markers of brain aging using magnetic resonance imaging.

Methods—Framingham Offspring Study participants who attended the seventh examination were at least 60 years old and free of dementia and stroke were included. We evaluated associations between exposures (fine particulate matter [PM2.5] and residential proximity to major roadways) and measures of total cerebral brain volume, hippocampal volume, white matter hyperintensity volume (log-transformed and extensive white matter hyperintensity volume for age), and covert brain infarcts. Models were adjusted for age, clinical covariates, indicators of socioeconomic position, and temporal trends.

Results—A 2-μg/m3 increase in PM2.5 was associated with −0.32% (95% confidence interval, −0.59 to −0.05) smaller total cerebral brain volume and 1.46 (95% confidence interval, 1.10 to 1.94) higher odds of covert brain infarcts. Living further away from a major roadway was associated with 0.10 (95% confidence interval, 0.01 to 0.19) greater log-transformed white matter hyperintensity volume for an interquartile range difference in distance, but no clear pattern of association was observed for extensive white matter.

Conclusions—Exposure to elevated levels of PM2.5 was associated with smaller total cerebral brain volume, a marker of age-associated brain atrophy, and with higher odds of covert brain infarcts. These findings suggest that air pollution is associated with insidious effects on structural brain aging even in dementia- and stroke-free persons.”

The Chernobyl Story – 29th Anniversary

Andrew Leatherbarrow: “At precisely 01:23:40 on the morning of April 26th, 1986, a control room operator named Alexander Akimov made his fateful decision to press the Emergency Shutdown button at Ukraine’s Chernobyl nuclear power station. The reactor exploded, annihilating its containment building and sending a lethal cloud of radioactive particles across Europe. This unprecedented accidentContinue Reading

Why understanding the legally disruptive nature of climate change matters

Liz Fisher, Eloise Scotford, and Emily Barritt:  “It is now commonly recognized by governments that climate change is an issue that must be addressed. The 21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change to be held in Paris in December 2015 is the most high profile example of this, butContinue Reading

Ten simple choices for a healthier planet

Ten Simple Things You Can Do to Help Protect the Earth “Reduce, reuse, and recycle. Cut down on what you throw away. Follow the three “R’s” to conserve natural resources and landfill space. Volunteer. Volunteer for cleanups in your community. You can get involved in protecting your watershed, too. Educate. When you further your ownContinue Reading

Deep Water: The Gulf Oil Disaster and the Future of Offshore Drilling

“On April 20, 2010, the Macondo well blew out, costing the lives of 11 men and beginning a catastrophe that sank the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and spilled nearly 5 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The spill disrupted an entire region’s economy, damaged fisheries and critical habitats, and brought vividlyContinue Reading

NOAA – Fifty-four early restoration projects underway in Gulf

“We have 54 early restoration projects underway throughout the Gulf, and now you can track our progress quickly and easily using our new interactive map. Go straight to your state using the tabs at the top or use your cursor to navigate around. Each location has a link to more project information that will provideContinue Reading

Earth Day – April 22 2015

Every day, every year, should be Earth Day, not just one designated day each year. Earth Day, April 22 – On the first Earth Day in 1970, 22 million Americans celebrated clean air, land, and water.

NOAA Builds Tool to Hold Unprecedented Amounts of Data from Studying Unprecedented Oil Spill

“This is the seventh in a series of stories over the coming weeks looking at various topics related to the response, the Natural Resource Damage Assessment science, restoration efforts, and the future of the Gulf of Mexico. APRIL 17, 2015 — The Deepwater Horizon oil spill was the largest marine oil spill in U.S. history.Continue Reading

Impact of Global Pollution Shared Through Social Media

David C. Roberts – Quartz – “Every year, outdoor air pollution kills more people worldwide than malaria and HIV combined. People in China, particularly in its largest cities, are some of the most affected, since the country’s rapid economic growth has come at the cost of air quality. This issue remained largely unaddressed until the USContinue Reading

NOAA – Status of US Fishing Stocks 2014

Overfishing and Overfished Numbers Hit All-Time Lows – “As a result of the combined efforts of NOAA Fisheries, the regional fishery management councils, and all our partners, the number of stocks listed as subject to overfishing or overfished continues to decline and is at an all-time low. Status of Stocks 2014 Report Press release AdditionalContinue Reading

EPA Fracking Waste Dumping Permits in Wyoming Challenged

Elizabeth Shogren – High Country News – April 14, 2015 – “The Environmental Protection Agency last month issued revised permits for oil companies to dump literally rivers of wastewater—including hydraulic fracturing fluids—on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. When the companies pump oil, water from deep in the earth comes up too. This water canContinue Reading

CityLab – Gorgeous Atlas of New York Tree Species

John Metcalfe: “Though New York can sometimes seem like a drab warren of chain-link fence and oily pavement, the city actually has an impressive number of trees. On the streets alone—not counting private properties and parks—there were 592,130 at last reckoning, a leafy explosion you can now peruse in this great visualization of tree species.Continue Reading