Health, Science, Environment

Health, science, and environmental news

Griffin 3D is a local start-up that makes original design 3D printers. Here, the Griffin Pro Mini, prints an octopus at the Science Center's First Friday event in November.
Rebecca Smith/St. Louis Public Radio

Most people have heard of 3D printing, but few have ever seen these printers up close and in action.

Scott Rocca, co-owner of Griffin 3D, a St. Louis start-up, is trying to change this by showcasing his company’s printers at numerous events, such as the Science Center’s First Fridays. People can come and watch the printers. Soon they will be able to buy their own. 

Véronique LaCapra / St. Louis Public Radio

Post updated 11:13 a.m. on Monday, 11/24/14. 

After four years and a court order that pitted environmental groups against the coal industry, the Environmental Protection Agency is nearing its December deadline to finalize regulations for how coal-fired power plants dispose of the ash they create.  

Coal ash — which contains toxic substances like mercury, lead and arsenic — can leach into groundwater if not properly contained. That has raised concerns among environmental groups who say Missouri does not properly regulate coal ash disposal.  

The Ebola virus, shown through transmission electron micrograph.
CDC

A female nurse who was admitted to Mercy Hospital Jefferson with a fever after returning from Liberia has returned home, officials confirmed Saturday night. 

Donald Danforth Plant Science Center
mshipp via Flickr

Several factors are helping St. Louis make a name for itself as a startup city.

“First of all is talent,” Thomas Osha told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Thursday. Osha is managing director of innovation and economic development for Wexford Science + Technology. “Talent trumps everything. That’s why it is the fuel of entrepreneurial activity. Innovation is totally a social enterprise, so the more folks you can bring into that orbit, the more chance you have of being able to scale those entrepreneurial businesses.”

The Ebola virus, shown through transmission electron micrograph.
CDC

Updated at 6:40 p.m.

A Jefferson County woman who was showing symptoms of Ebola has initially tested negative for the virus at Mercy Hospital in Crystal City. As a precautionary measure, officials said she will remain in an isolation room for treatment and will be monitored according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.

Flickr/rosemary

To date, Missouri has failed to expand its Medicaid program as part of the Affordable Care Act, aka "Obamacare." As a result, federal dollars that would normally flow to underserved areas are being transferred to states that have expanded their programs. This loss of funding has major implications for health care in our state especially for those in areas of poverty and who are underserved. One particularly susceptible area is rural Missouri.

Sac-Osage Hospital in Osceola is a telling example.

Curesa Atkins sits in her apartment at the Garfield Commons.
Durrie Bouscaren / St. Louis Public Radio

When Curesa Atkins moved into her apartment at Garfield Commons, a group from her church decorated it for her.

“It was snowing, and I just thought, 'Thank God. I’m watching it from the other side of the window when there’s so, so many people out there,'” Atkins said.

Atkins, a 42-year-old former dental assistant, said she became homeless after a dealing with series of car repairs, a change in her marital status and, eventually, the loss of her job.

via Flickr / Mark Hadley

Farms surrounding St. Louis now dedicate much less land to growing fruits and vegetables than they did 80 years ago.  According to a report released Wednesday by the Missouri Coalition for the Environment, only one tenth of 1 percent of the cropland surrounding St. Louis is dedicated to produce. Commodity crops such as corn and soybeans take up the vast majority of the agricultural land within a 100-mile radius of the city.

McDonald's Chicken McNugget Happy Meal
McDonald's

Two things are certain: Kids like toys and nearly every story has a St. Louis connection. Case in point: The genesis of McDonald's Happy Meal.

In the 1970s, St. Louis native Joe Johnston went to work for a Cleveland marketing agency. That's where he had a hand in changing fast food.

(Courtesy University City Children's Center)

About 12,300 fewer children attended federally subsidized day cares in Missouri during fiscal year 2013 than in 2012. That marks the largest decline in the country. But child service nonprofits say it’s unlikely the decline is due entirely to a reduction in need. Instead, it may be due to changes within the state agency that administers the funds.

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