environmental health

Ben Stephenson/Wikimedia Commons

Pollution from power plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania caused up to 4,400 premature deaths across the country in 2015, according to a new study. 

Study: Persistent asthma in childhood has long-term effects

May 20, 2016

Children who live with persistent asthma in childhood are at a higher risk of developing lung problems later in life, according to new findings from a national asthma study that began in the 1990s. A small number of patients even exhibited symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, in early adulthood.

Air Pollution Costs U.S. $130 Billion A Year – And That’s An Improvement

Mar 1, 2016
A nighttime view of the Keystone Generating Facility, a coal-fired power plant in southwestern Pennsylvania.
Zach Frailey / Uprooted Photographer

For years, scientists have known that pollution from burning fossil fuels is bad for us. But just how bad? And can we place a dollar amount on the hidden costs of burning coal and other fossil fuels for electricity?

Jean-Pierre via Flickr

For decades, chemical company Dupont hid evidence of the serious health effects of PFOA (a key ingredient of Teflon until recently), while continuing to pollute a rural area with chemical waste. As the New York Times Magazine reports, one lawyer's epic 15-year-legal battle finally made Dupont accountable. And the industry has phased out PFOA, which can cause birth defects and cancerous tumors in lab animals.

Jake Harper/Side Effects

Retired farmer Dick Himsel’s Danville, Indiana property looks like an idyllic Midwestern small farm. Trees line the driveway, leading up to an old-fashioned wooden farmhouse that’s surrounded by tall stalks of corn.

One thing the property does not have, though, is fresh air.

A new rule from the Obama Administration aims to further reduce the main ingredient in smog. That might sound like good news if you live in a city where smog is a problem. But after the rule was announced, there were plenty of complaints about it.

EPA Announces New Rules To Protect Farmworkers From Pesticides

Sep 29, 2015

The Environmental Protection Agency has released a final version of updated rules intended to keep farmworkers from being poisoned by pesticides. The previous "worker protection standard" for farms has been in effect since 1992.

Wildfire Smoke Becomes The Health Threat That Won't Go Away

Aug 25, 2015

I stepped out my parents' front door last Thursday, expecting a typically glorious summer day in southern Oregon. Instead, I was hit with acrid wood smoke that stung my eyes and throat. The air was thick with haze that obscured the mountains. I quickly retreated inside.

Health departments across the West are mobilizing to protect residents from smoke generated by dozens of fires that have sent smoke as far east as the Midwest.

In Texas, A Coal Mine Opens To Power Mexico

Aug 25, 2015
Ingrid Lobet

The coal industry is struggling as cheaper and cleaner natural gas undercuts coal, and environmental regulations push utilities to shut down their older coal-burning plants.

Yet new coal mines open and others expand. In one Texas county on the Mexican border, local officials and residents seem nearly united in their opposition to a new coal strip mine, the Eagle Pass Mine. The company that owns it, Dos Republicas Coal Partnership, says it intends to ship out the first load of coal by train next month.

When Flint, Michigan stopped buying water from Detroit and starting treating the nearby Flint River for its drinking water, quality plummeted. As this piece in The Atlantic explains other cash-strapped cities around the country may risk similar problems as they struggle to upkeep infrastructure. “Flint is an extreme case, but nationally, there’s been a lack of investment in water infrastructure,” Eric Scorsone, an economist at Michigan State University told the Atlantic. “This is a common problem nationally.”