August 23, 2016

Zika virus – the name itself instills fear in many today, whether they are North or South of the equator.  It may have sound foreign to Americans a few years ago; however now it’s been creeping its way north, one degree at a time, same as the global rise in temperature.

Zika is a flavivirus, a type of virus that mutates frequently, and is spread through animal vectors, in this case: the A. aegypti mosquito.  Numerous birth defects and other side effects have been attributed to a new mutation in the Zika virus; most commonly, infected pregnant mothers have been giving birth to babies with abnormally small heads and neurological disorders like Guillan-Barre syndrome.  Until recently, most of these tragic stories hav...

August 1, 2016

This Summer’s Heating Up – And Fast 

Scorching hot temperatures gripped much of the continental U.S. this past weekend, reaching all the way from North Dakota to the mid-Atlantic states and into the deep South. 

Of course it is the middle of the summer, so warm weather is to be expected – but not to this high a degree.  According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), temperatures reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher in several states such as Georgia, Texas, and Kansas this weekend; with the highest temperature in the United States recorded at 121 degrees Fahrenheit in Death Valley, California, this past Saturday.  These temperatures may not be record-breaking; however their length of st...

July 19, 2016

Fracking-Induced Earthquakes in Central U.S.

Two new studies by scientists at the University of Colorado Boulder and the United States Geological Survey (USGS) have found that the recent increase in the amount and magnitude of earthquakes in the Central U.S. is associated with the injection wells used for wastewater from fracking.

Hydraulic fracturing, also known as ‘fracking,’ has been used by petroleum engineers since the 1940s in order to increase well production at oil and gas extraction sites.  It is a technique designed to extract oil and gas from shale rock by injecting a mixture of sand, chemicals, and water into the rock at a high pressure; thus widening and opening existing fissures in the shale rock, and...

July 13, 2016

With the flash of colors long-faded from this past weekend’s sky, the 4th of July fireworks spectaculars across the country may have already escaped the minds of many.  But what they have yet to escape is the air, soil, waterways, and living environment surrounding these colorful explosions.  It is here that red, white, and blue translates into a deadly brew of lithium, aluminum, and copper compounds.  All of which can easily bioaccumulate, increase cancer risks, and cause a host of health problems such as contact dermitis, SIDS, and lung irritation.  The chemicals and heavy metals used in fireworks can remain airborne at very high concentrations for days following their combustion.  Dr. Richard Wilkin of the Env...

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