chemicals

Vermont
1:07 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Bracing For A Battle, Vermont Passes GMO Labeling Bill

A customer shops for produce at the Hunger Mountain Co-op in April 2013 in Montpelier, Vt. More than a dozen food cooperatives supported the bill that would require the labeling of genetically modified foods.
Toby Talbot AP

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 1:46 pm

The Green Mountain State is poised to become the first to require food companies to label products containing genetically modified ingredients.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin tweeted he will sign a bill state lawmakers passed Wednesday mandating that foods with GMOs be labeled as having been produced with "genetic engineering." The bill would also make it illegal for foods with GMOs to be labeled "all natural" or "natural."

Read more
Natural Gas Drilling
2:21 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Documents Show New York's Fracking Health Study Is Ongoing

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 2:37 pm

Documents obtained by a group opposed to hydrofracking in New York show that the Cuomo Administration is conducting a thorough and comprehensive health study on the controversial natural gas drilling process. The Finger Lakes-based organization is wondering, why then, the review has been conducted almost entirely in secret.

Read more
Wildlife
1:42 pm
Wed April 16, 2014

Death Of Popular Hawk Highlights Concerns Over Rat Poison

A red-tailed hawk eats a mouse in Cambridge, Mass. (hbp_pix/Flickr)

Originally published on Thu April 17, 2014 9:03 am

The death of a beloved red-tailed hawk in Cambridge, Mass., has drawn attention to the issue of how rat poison is affecting wildlife.

Veterinarians say the hawk likely died from eating a rodent that consumed rat poison. Local birdwatchers had followed the exploits of the hawk and her mate, which they named Ruby and Buzz, for years.

Read more
What's in the Water?
10:19 am
Mon April 7, 2014

Update on West Virginia's Elk River Chemical Spill

Elk River, Charleston West Virginia
Credit Tim Kiser

In January, West Virginia’s Elk River was contaminated by a chemical spill from a nearby coal processing plant, affecting 300,000 local residents. People were without water for days. Now months later, is the water safe to drink? 

Read more
Where We Live
8:25 am
Thu April 3, 2014

How Clean Is Our Air?

According to the World Health Organization, air pollution exposure was responsible for seven million deaths in 2012.
Credit eutrophication&hypoxia / Creative Commons

A report released by the World Health Organization last week found that some 7 million people died from air pollution exposure in 2012. In other words, one in eight of all global deaths that year resulted from breathing bad air. 

Today, the WHO considers air pollution to be the single greatest environmental health risk, linking it to cases of asthma, heart disease, stroke, and even cancer.

Read more
Chemicals and Kids
4:37 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

A Call for Pesticide-Free Town Greens

A new bill could extend the state's pesticide ban to public parks, playgrounds, and town greens.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons / jetsandzeppelins

Connecticut lawmakers are once again eyeing restrictions on pesticides. A new proposal would ban their use at public parks and town greens.

Read more
Eat Fresh?
6:34 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Almost 500 Foods Contain The 'Yoga Mat' Compound. Should We Care?

Going, going, gone. You won't find azodicarbonamide in Nature's Own products. And Subway is phasing it out, too. But lots of manufacturers are still using the additive.
Meg Vogel NPR

Originally published on Mon March 10, 2014 12:55 pm

That compound found in commercially baked bread — yep, the one that's in yoga mats, too — is in the news again.

A report from the Environmental Working Group finds that the compound, azodicarbonamide, is found in close to 500 food products, from Pillsbury Dinner Rolls to Little Debbie products to Wonder Bread.

Read more
Chemicals At School
8:45 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Is Connecticut's Pesticide Ban on School Grounds Too Restrictive?

Legislators are considering adding an exception to Connecticut's 2010 ban on pesticide use at schools.
Credit Flickr Creative Commons / Valley_Photographs

Legislators are considering a change to a statewide ban of pesticide use on school grounds. It's the first of several proposed challenges to a law that's been in effect since 2010.

Read more
Courts
3:28 am
Mon February 24, 2014

Industry Challenges EPA's Greenhouse Gas Rules In High Court

Not all energy producers find fault with the EPA's rules. Calpine, which helped build the Delta Energy Center in Pittsburg, Calif., says the permitting regulations aren't overly cumbersome.
JAKUB MOSUR AP

Originally published on Mon February 24, 2014 10:35 am

The Supreme Court will hear arguments Monday about the Environmental Protection Agency's first-ever greenhouse gas regulations for the biggest polluting facilities.

The case focuses on a 3-year-old requirement that companies get permits anytime they construct new plants or modify existing ones that will emit a lot of greenhouse gases.

EPA's supporters and most of its challengers agree this case is narrow in scope; the court's ruling is not expected to threaten EPA's broader strategy to fight global warming.

Read more
Food Additives
1:09 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Subway Phasing Out Bread Additive After Blogger Flags Health Concerns

Sandwich chain Subway has announced plans to drop the additive azodicarbonamide from its fresh-baked breads. Above, Subway founder Fred DeLuca poses carrying bread for sandwiches.
Jonathan Nackstrand AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 4:19 pm

Food industry, beware of the power of the online petition.

Just a few days after food blogger Vani Hari, known as Food Babe, created a buzz with an online petition raising questions about the safety of a food additive commonly used in commercial baking, sandwich giant Subway has announced plans to phase it out of its fresh-baked breads.

The additive, azodicarbonamide, is used by the commercial baking industry to bleach flour and condition dough.

Read more
Prescription Drugs
4:09 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Over-the-Counter Drugs: A Prescription for Confusion

Credit Fuse / Thinkstock

At Able Care Pharmacy and Medical Supplies in Enfield, Ashraf Moustafa often tries to avert disasters involving drugs displayed on his store’s shelves. 

Moustafa, the pharmacy manager, recently spoke to an elderly woman seeking ways to treat dark blue patches on her arms. Instead of suggesting any remedies, he asked the woman what medicines she was taking, and discovered that she was dangerously mixing over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs with aspirin and the prescription blood thinner Plavix. He sent the woman to the hospital, fearing that she was suffering from internal bleeding.

“People have the impression that if a drug is approved for over-the-counter use, then it must be much safer than prescription medicine,” Moustafa says. “That’s when trouble happens.”

Read more
Agriculture
5:27 pm
Wed January 22, 2014

Should Farmers Give John Deere And Monsanto Their Data?

Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 8:01 pm

Starting this year, farmers across the Midwest can sign up for a service that lets big agribusiness collect data from their farms, minute by minute, as they plant and harvest their crops.

Monsanto and John Deere are offering competing versions of this service. Both are promising to mine that data for tips that will put more money in farmers' pockets.

Read more
West Virginia
11:43 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Thousands Have Water Again In W.Va. As 'All-Clear' Areas Spread

4:45 p.m. ET, Jan. 14: Areas in red still can't use their water. But the blue area is starting to expand.
West Virginia American Water

Originally published on Tue January 14, 2014 9:23 pm

The map that shows residents of nine counties in West Virginia whether they can start using the water from their taps is slowly starting to change from red to blue.

That's good news because blue means customers in those areas can start flushing their homes' and businesses' pipes — and after that, start using their water again for cooking, cleaning and drinking.

Read more
West Virginia
7:04 am
Mon January 13, 2014

Slowly, Water Is Flowing Again In West Virginia

On Saturday in South Charleston, W.Va., Cathy Mabe was one of many who came to get water from a temporary filling station.
Lisa Hechesky Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Mon January 13, 2014 8:20 pm

  • On 'Morning Edition': Ashton Marra reports from West Virginia

Relief is finally arriving for the 300,000 or so people in nine West Virginia counties who haven't been able to drink, cook or clean with their tap water for more than four days.

Officials announced at noon Monday that tests show the level of a potentially harmful chemical have fallen to the point where the water can be turned back on. But, they cautioned that the process of bringing customers back on line will take several days and has to be done systematically.

Read more
West Virginia
10:12 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Hundreds Of Thousands Still Without Water In W. Va.

Shelves at Krogers remain empty after running out of water in Kanawha City a neighborhood of Charleston on Friday.
Tom Hindman Getty Images

Originally published on Sat January 11, 2014 3:59 pm

(This post was last updated at 4 p.m. ET.)

For the third day in a row, hundreds of thousands of West Virginians are unable to drink, cook or wash with the water in their homes.

During a press conference, West Virginia American Water President Jeff McIntyre, who oversees the states largest water treatment plant, said it could be days before the water is safe for use.

Read more
Genetic Modification
12:39 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

A Green-Movement Website Shakes Up The Debate Over GMOs

After Grist's six-month-long series on genetically modified foods, some loyal readers accused the site of changing directions in the debate.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Fri January 10, 2014 12:52 pm

A 26-part series on genetically modified food was not Nathanael Johnson's idea. And he didn't realize it would take six months, either.

Last year, Johnson was hired as the new food writer for Grist, a website for environmental news and opinion. Grist's editor, Scott Rosenberg, was waiting with an assignment: Dig into the controversy over GMOs.

Read more
Children
9:38 am
Mon December 2, 2013

Toy Safety a Concern as Holiday Shopping Gets Underway

ConnPIRG's annual survey of toy safety warns that not all toys comply with stricter new laws.
Credit polica/iStockphoto / ConnPIRG

With the holiday shopping season underway, the Connecticut Public Interest Research Group has released its annual report on toy safety. Director Abe Scarr cautioned that parents and guardians need to watch out for toys with toxic chemicals on store shelves.

Read more
Artificial Food
6:27 am
Mon November 25, 2013

Connecticut Food Industry Readies for Potential Regulation of Trans Fats

Barbara Bucknam of Stew Leonard's (at right), with Beth Leonard Hollis, said the group is making strides in eliminating trans fats in in-house foods.
Sujata Srinivasan

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is taking steps to reduce artificial trans fats in processed foods. According to the agency, the move could help prevent 20,000 heart attacks and 7,000 deaths each year. This means manufacturers, retailers, and restaurants could have to reformulate some of their recipes.

Read more
Connecticut Law Pending
11:41 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Washington State Says 'No' To GMO Labels

Cars in Tacoma, Wash., promote a "yes" vote on a ballot initiative that would have required genetically engineered foods to be labeled.
Ted S. Warren AP

Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 1:58 pm

Voters appear to have defeated another attempt to require labels on genetically modified foods in Washington state. In early counts, the "no" campaign has what appears to be an insurmountable lead with 54 percent of votes.

The ballot initiative would require labels on the front of packages for most food products, seeds and commodities like soy or corn if they were produced using genetic engineering.

Read more
The Colin McEnroe Show
5:39 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Breaking Bad and the Chemistry Classroom

Credit Starmanseries, Flickr Creative Commons

Now that we're reeling at the prospect of life after "Breaking Bad," let's find out about the real lives of chemistry teachers! Hear from Dr. Donna Nelson, the consultant "Breaking Bad" creator Vince Gilligan hired to make sure the on-screen science was correct, and then go beyond the test tubes, and meet some chemistry teachers to hear about what actually goes on in the classroom.

What did you learn in the chemistry classroom? What's the future of understanding and harnessing the power of chemistry? Remember to wear your safety goggles for this Colin McEnroe Show.

Read more
Syria
11:03 am
Fri September 20, 2013

In First Step, Syria Outlines Chemical Weapons Program

Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department on Friday, where he addressed the situation in Syria and the recent U.N. report on the use of chemical weapons.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 12:45 pm

Syria has submitted the first details of its chemical arsenal to an international watchdog in the Netherlands that monitors compliance with agreements on such weapons.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, or OPCW, says it has received an "initial declaration" from Damascus outlining the extent of the Syrian program — a requirement under a U.S.-Russia deal "to ensure the destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program (CW) in the soonest and safest manner."

Read more
Where We Live
11:03 am
Tue May 14, 2013

Labeling GMOs and Toxic Chemicals in Connecticut

Masahiro Ihara, creative commons

Vegetables that are genetically modified to resist pests have become a part of our daily diet, whether we like it or not. Several states have been considering legislation that would require the labeling of GMO products, but Connecticut could be the first to pass such a law. Opponents of the bill say there’s no health risk, and a law like this would pass on higher prices to consumers.

Read more
Where We Live
10:55 am
Tue May 7, 2013

Syria and Chemical Weapons

anevillemorgan, creative commons

The situation in Syria gets more confusing by the day. The Obama Administration is treading very cautiously around conflicting reports of who actually staged a sarin gas attack, the government of besieged President Bashar al Assad, or the rebels fighting to take over the country.

The U.S. backed Israel’s decision to make military strikes by air in Damascus - but there are questions over whether this might mean an escalation of tensions in the region.

Read more
The Colin McEnroe Show
2:35 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

The Nose: Reddit, Ricin, & Readin' At The Presidential Library

Editor B, Flickr Creative Commons

Read more
The Faith Middleton Show
2:42 pm
Mon April 15, 2013

Food Schmooze: Sodium Girl's Limitless Low-Sodium Cookbook

Andrea Pokrzywinski/flickr creative commons

Read more
Pollution
5:42 pm
Mon July 11, 2011

Massachusetts And G.E. Request Delay In EPA's Housatonic River Clean Up Planning

Nancy Eve Cohen

The Housatonic River flows from Massachusetts down through Connecticut to Long Island Sound. It’s a popular destination for people who canoe and fish. But it’s also considered “impaired” by the state because it’s polluted. The fight to clean it up has played out for decades. Now in the latest round, the state of Massachusetts is squaring off with the E.P.A. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports

Read more
The Faith Middleton Show
8:50 am
Tue April 26, 2011

Report On the Dangers of Paint Fumes and Solvents

creative commons, danielle_blue

Children who sleep with fumes from water-based paints and solvents are two to four times more likely to suffer allergies or asthma, according to a new scientific study. Swedish and U.S. scientists measured the compounds - propylene glycol and glycol ethers - in the bedroom air of 400 toddlers and preschoolers, and discovered that the exposed children had substantially higher rates of asthma, stuffy noses and eczema. The irony is that these compunds are supposed to be healthier than the old, high-polluting, oil-based paints and solvents.

Read more
Health Risks
11:11 am
Fri April 8, 2011

Learning About the Problem of PCBs

Nancy Eve Cohen

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is holding a series of workshops this week on the human health risks of PCBs in the Housatonic River and the different approaches to cleaning them up. WNPR’s Nancy Cohen reports.

Before the mid-1970s, when polychlorinated biphenyls or PCBs were deemed toxic and banned by Congress, the chemical compound was commonly used in manufacturing. General Electric used PCBs when it made electrical transformers at its former plant on the Housatonic River in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Read more
Connecticut Legislature
10:45 am
Fri March 4, 2011

When Cash Register Receipts Cost Too Much

Chion Wolf

The Environment Committee is considering legislation that would ban the use of cash register receipts that contain the chemical, BPA. The bill would also require a research institute at UConn to develop a list of toxic chemicals. 

Read more
Plant Safety
4:05 pm
Fri February 4, 2011

One Year After Middletown Explosion, No National Safety Requirements

Nancy Eve Cohen

Read more