Ed Brown recalls the “funny taste” of Darth Vader’s legs. He also remembers how it never stopped him from chewing more teeth marks into his Star Wars action figure.
“I still wish I was 5 years old,” said Brown. “Playing with my little Transformers or GI Joe guys, not once did I ever think about what those things were made out of — the paint on them, or the plastic they were made out of, or the stickers on the sides of them… My parents, I’m sure they didn’t think about it either.”
Three decades later, and now a parent himself, Brown thinks about those things.
Like a growing number of moms and dads, he thinks about not only what toxic chemicals might lace his kids’ toys, but also what could contaminate school supplies,Halloween costumes, mattresses, paints, cleaners and shampoos.
Such thoughts can be overwhelming.
An estimated 26.9 trillion pounds of some 84,000 different chemicals are produced in or imported into the U.S. every year. That’s about 250 pounds of synthetic substances per U.S. resident, per day, with the potential consequences of exposures to those chemicals going beyond the individual. Researchers have calculated the cost of virtually unregulated chemical use at nearly $80 billion in annual health care costs, lost working hours and stolen IQ points. And such studies are far from comprehensive.
(This story originally appeared in the Huffington. magazine iPad app.)
“The models have typically predicted that will not happen for decades but the measurements that are coming in tell us it is already happening so once again we are decades ahead of schedule.”
Thousands of leatherback turtle eggs and hatchlings have been crushed by heavy machinery along a Trinidad beach widely regarded as the world’s densest nesting area for the biggest of all living sea turtles, conservationists said Monday.
Government work crews with bulldozers were redirecting the Grand Riviere, a shifting river that was threatening a hotel where tourists from around the globe watch the huge endangered turtles lay their eggs. But several conservationists who monitor turtle populations say the crews botched the job, digging up an unnecessarily large swath of the important nesting beach in the tiny coastal town on Trinidad’s northern shore.
Animal sanctuaries in England are caring for hundreds of pet owls that were abandoned by their owners in the past year, a disturbing trend rescuers believe is linked to the end of the “Harry Potter” series.
“Harry Potter” fans enchanted with the boy wizard’s owl sidekick Hedwig drove up demand for the birds during book and movie releases, the Mirror reports. But now that all book installments and film adaptations have been released, many owners are abandoning their pet owls into the wild, where they are unprepared to care for themselves.
WASHINGTON - Under a withering assault from the industry, Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko is stepping down, effective upon the confirmation of his successor, according to a statement from Jaczko.
The resignation follows months of bureaucratic knife-wielding by the four industry-backed members of the five-person panel. Like something out of Dumas, the passionate infighting stretched back decades. The industry effort was spearheaded by Democratic Commissioner Bill Magwood. Magwood, it turned out, had led a strikingly similar coup against his boss at the Department of Energy before taking his spot, a saga first reported by HuffPost late last year as the coup was unfolding.
Read the full story here: http://huff.to/Jrvydj
In a letter sent Tuesday to Gregory B. Jaczko, chairman of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, representatives of the nuclear power industry argued that an enhanced safety feature designed to limit releases of radioactive gases into the environment during a severe accident was being hastily considered by the commission.
More here: http://huff.to/LbP4uq
More than 127 million Americans — about 41 percent of the country — still suffer from pollution levels that can make breathing dangerous, according to a new report.
The American Lung Association State of the Air 2012, released Wednesday, shows signs of air-quality improvement, but also indicates struggles in many regions nationwide. The volunteer health organization examined 2008-2010 ozone levels, the main ingredient of smog air pollution, and air-particle pollution at official measuring sites across the U.S.
Read more here: http://huff.to/IseXST