If we want more evidence-based practice, we need more practice-based evidence.*

Chapter 17 - Archives of Headlines
Control of Atmospheric Pollution

" Bioterrorism Alleging Use of Anthrax and Interim Guidelines for Management --- U.S." View this week's MMWR as a web page at: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00056353.htm

From October 30 through December 23, 1998, CDC received reports of a series of bioterroristic threats of anthrax exposure. Letters alleged to contain anthrax were sent to health clinics on October 30, 1998, in Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. During December 17-23 in California, a letter alleged to contain anthrax was sent to a private business, and three telephone threats of anthrax contamination of ventilation systems were made to private and public buildings. All threats were hoaxes and are under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and local law enforcement officials. The public health implications of these threats were investigated to assist in developing national public health guidelines for responding to bioterrorism. This report summarizes the findings of these investigations and provides interim guidance for public health authorities on bioterrorism related to anthrax.

Nations bicker over global warming treaty schedule. BUENOS AIRES (Reuters,Nov. 13, 1998) - Industrialized countries pressed to wrap up U.N. global warming talks Friday by setting a schedule for curbing the world's heat-trapping pollution, but a group of developing countries furiously resisted. "We need deadlines at a minimum to have success, and we still don't have deadlines. Without that, there's nothing formal to show from this meeting," said Michael Oppenheimer, of the Environmental Defense Fund, a green lobby that helped to draw up the U.S. climate position. Representatives of some 160 countries gathered in the Argentine capital were set later Friday to end two weeks of talks aimed at developing a plan to implement the climate change agreement struck a year ago in Kyoto, Japan.

First German N-plant likely to shut in 2000. BONN (Reuters) - Chancellor-elect Gerhard Schroeder's future government is likely to start phasing out Germany's nuclear power stations in 2000, a senior official from his Social Democrats (SPD) was quoted as saying Wednesday. A senior member of Schroeder's future coalition partners, the Greens, said the first plant to go would probably be Germany's oldest, Obrigheim in the south-west. Wolfgang Juettner, SPD environment minister in Lower Saxony  state, told Die Zeit weekly the first round of so-called energy consensus talks with coalition partners the ecological Greens and industry chiefs would start next month.

Wind Power to Replace Some of Europe's Dependency on Fossil Fuels. Copenhagen (Reuters, Nov. 12, 1998) - The west coast of Britain may soon be dotted with vast offshore fields of swirling wind power stations if Denmark's environmental minister and a growing European environmental lobby has its way. The world's fledgling wind power industry, experiencing explosive 25% annual growth rates, now hopes to provide around one-tenth of global electricity needs by 2017. And Britain's gusty sea coast provides just the terrain new wind stations require, Danish Environment Minister Svend Auken said at U.N. climate talks Wednesday. Denmark currently captures some 8% of its electricity from the wind.

U.S. set to sign Kyoto Climate treaty. BUENOS AIRES (Reuters, Nov. 12, 1998) - The United States was set Thursday to sign the agreement reached last year in Japan to fight global warming, U.S. senators and environmentalists attending climate talks here said. The Clinton administration, facing stiff opposition to the climate treaty from the Republican-led Congress, is among the last of the rich governments to sign the accord reached in Kyoto for industrialized nations to reduce their heat-trapping pollution. At the United Nations, U.S. officials confirmed that Peter Burleigh, the American representative at the U.N., would sign the treaty Thursday afternoon.

The American Federation of Teachers, in AMERICAN TEACHER, uncovered a 1997 article in HEARING REHABILITATION QUARTERLY that speaks (quietly) to the issue of noise pollution and its effect on student performance. In that article, Dr. Arline L. Bronzaft, professor emeritus at Lehman College-CUNY, writes about a study she conducted in 1975 with D.B. McCarthy in one New York City grade school located next to train tracks. The researchers compared reading scores of students in classrooms on the noisy side of the school with students located on the more quiet side.   The result: Students in grades 2, 4 and 6 who sat on the noisy side performed worse than their friends on the quiet side of the school. After several modifications were made to halt the noise pollution, researchers in 1981 re-tested the students and found students on each side of the building were reading at the same level.  For more info: www.lhh.org/noise  (League for the Hard of Hearing)

EU heads aim for consensus on global warming. LONDON (Reuters, Oct. 30, 1998) - The European Union will do whatever it can to forge international consensus on how best to fight global warming at next week's United Nations climate talks in Buenos Aires, EU officials said Friday. But Europe should not be expected to broker deals between the United States and poorer countries on the key issue of voluntary cuts in harmful gas emissions, Peter Jorgensen, spokesman for the EU's executive Commission, said. Environment ministers and leading climate experts from around the world will meet in Buenos Aires next week to map a course for industrialized countries as they rein in their emissions of greenhouse gases harmful to the earth's atmosphere.

Bacteria munches methane, may ease global warming. WASHINGTON (Reuters, Oct. 9, 1998) - Scientists have discovered a methane-munching bacterium that could play a major role in fighting global warming by preventing the greenhouse gas from reaching the atmosphere, researchers said Thursday. A team of international researchers identified the organism in the acidic peat bogs of Western Siberia. The partly decayed, moisture-absorbing plant matter turns methane into energy before the gas escapes into the atmosphere. "This discovery is very important in terms of reducing greenhouse gases," said Jizhong Zhou, a molecular biologist at Michigan State University.

BP plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. WASHINGTON (Reuters, Sept. 18, 1998) - British Petroleum Co. PLC, plans to pledge Friday to reduce its "greenhouse gas" emissions by 10% below 1990 levels within 12 years, the Washington Post reported Friday. The newspaper said the company's chairman, John Browne, would announce plans to reduce - by 4 million tons - the global oil company's annual emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants that have been blamed for global warming. BP produced 40 million tons of these so-called greenhouse gases in 1990. Browne told the Post he believed BP, the world's third-largest publicly traded oil and gas company, could deliver on its promise without compromising either growth or profits.

Conference on climate change ends with no progress. TOKYO (Reuters, Sept. 18, 1998) - Delegates from more than 20 major developed and developing countries ended a two-day meeting Friday with no fresh agreements on ways to combat global warming. Despite the lack of visible progress, delegates said that the closed-door ministerial conference played an instrumental role in maintaining the "momentum" gained last November in Kyoto. The Tokyo conference was held to lay a groundwork for an annual U.N. conference on climate change scheduled to be held in Buenos Aires in November. In the ancient Japanese capital of Kyoto last December, a gathering of 159 countries agreed on cutting greenhouse gas emissions after frenetic negotiations.

Entire world polluted, Canadian scientists report.
CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters, Sept. 9, 1998) - Pesticides and other toxic chemicals used in agriculture and industry are polluting every place on Earth, even the most frigid, uninhabited polar regions, according to a team of Canadian scientists. In a study of snow in remote areas of the Canadian Rocky Mountains published in the scientific journal Nature Thursday, researchers from the University of Alberta found high levels of the harsh chemicals, even though samples were taken far from any pesticide use or industrial activity. The chemicals, known as organochlorine compounds, traveled through the atmosphere from where they were used and fell on to the mountains with rain and snow as the air became cooler, said research team member David Schindler, a biological science professor at the university, located in Edmonton.

Canada environmentalists seeth at new pollution report. TORONTO (Reuters, Oct. 9, 1998) - Environmentalists are brandishing a report on North American industrial emissions as proof that Canada is waning in its commitment to clean up its act. The report released this week by the Commission for Environmental Co-operation, a Montreal-based watchdog created under the North American Free Trade Agreement reveals that toxic chemical waste in Canada is on the rise. The 268.4 million pounds of pollution spewed out by Canadian industries in 1995 was an increase of 4% over 1994. This compares unfavorably with the U.S., which saw an overall decline of 2%.

New site on climate change
(25 September 1998) When the subject of climate change comes up, health is high on the agenda. Canadians know that climate change will have an important impact on the good health, and good health services, that they have come to enjoy. In spite of these risks, we are finding solutions to counter the effects of climate change. For more information, visit http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/english/protection/climate.html

Mexicans slam U.S. Senate okay of Texas nuke dump
MEXICO CITY (Reuters, Sept 3, 1998) - Mexicans lashed out at their northern neighbor Thursday, after the U.S. Senate voted to approve a low-level nuclear waste dump just miles from their border. The U.S. Senate voted late Wednesday to allow Vermont and Maine to ship nuclear waste from hospitals and research labs to a dump site in southwest Texas. The site is in Sierra Blanca, a sparsely populated town some 20 miles from the border. In the United States, the Sierra Club, the League of United Latin American Citizens and religious groups have opposed the legislation to approve the site, saying it unfairly targeted a poor, largely Hispanic community with little political clout.


IHPR homeReturn to Community & Population Health Home Page
Back to topReturn to the top of this page
Back to topReturn to Chapter 17