Health, Science, Environment

Hydraulic Fracturing
5:22 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Public Comment Period Opens For Illinois 'Fracking' Legislation

Illustration of water cycle for hydraulic fracturing.
Credit (via U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is seeking public feedback on the state's first-ever regulations for high-volume oil and gas drilling.

The DNR published proposed regulations for hydraulic fracturing today, which begins a public comment period that will last until Jan. 3.

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Childhood Obesity
5:00 am
Thu November 7, 2013

Preventing Childhood Obesity: A Conversation With Wash U's Debra Haire-Joshu

(Via Flickr/InspiredHomeFitness)

Obesity has increased dramatically in the United States over the past several decades.

In Missouri, almost two-thirds of adults ― and more than a quarter of children and teens ― are either overweight or obese.

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Water Quality
2:30 pm
Wed November 6, 2013

Missouri Approves Sweeping Revisions Of Clean Water Standards

Missouri's new clean water standards will protect tens-of-thousands of additional miles of rivers and streams.
Kelsey Proud, St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5:50 p.m. with quote by Sara Parker Pauley; updated at 3:41 p.m. with quote by Lorin Crandall.

The Missouri Clean Water Commission has approved a sweeping regulatory overhaul of the state's water quality standards.

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Healthcare
6:01 pm
Mon November 4, 2013

St. Louis Safety-Net Healthcare Provider ConnectCare To Close All Services

A doctor's stethoscope
(Via Flickr/Rosemary)

The St. Louis-based safety-net healthcare provider ConnectCare will close its remaining facilities at the end of next week.

The Smiley Urgent Care Center, along with ConnectCare’s radiology, pharmacy, laboratory and preventative services will all close on Nov. 15.

The nonprofit organization, which served patients regardless of their ability to pay, had already discontinued outpatient specialty care and transportation services last month.

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Metro East - Pollution
5:34 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Toxic Site In Metro East Enters New Phase Of Cleanup

Aerial view of the former Chemetco secondary copper smelter in Hartford, Illinois.
(via US Environmental Protection Agency)

The US Environmental Protection Agency held a community meeting in Hartford, Illinois, on Wednesday, to inform residents about the ongoing cleanup of the former Chemetco copper smelter.

This is the second of three open houses being held this year. Another will be held in December.

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Stroke Care
8:01 am
Sat October 26, 2013

Wash U Study Confirms Medication, Lifestyle Changes Safer Than Surgery For Some Stroke Patients

(via Wikimedia Commons/Blausen Medical)

Research led by Washington University confirms that medication and lifestyle changes are safer and more effective at preventing certain strokes than surgery.

Most strokes are caused by a reduction in blood flow to the brain ― usually from a blocked artery in the heart or neck. In about a tenth of cases, a narrowed brain artery is to blame.

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Air Pollution
4:47 pm
Thu October 24, 2013

Smoke From Distant Wildfires Poses Health Risk To Illinois And Missouri Residents

This aerial photograph of this year's Idaho wildfires shows large smoke plumes traveling eastward.
Credit via NASA

A new report released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council warns that smoke from wildfires poses health risks to people living far from the actual blaze.

The study used data from 2011, an especially bad year for wildfires in the US, to rank states with the greatest number of residents affected by wildfire smoke for longer than a week.

Illinois and Missouri were ranked second and fourth respectively, despite having no wildfires of their own.

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Bridgeton Landfill
3:23 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Radioactivity Testing At Bridgeton Landfill To Start Next Week

An underground fire has been smoldering at the Bridgeton landfill for more than 2 years.
(Véronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated 4:07 p.m.

Preliminary work to build a firebreak at the Bridgeton Landfill will begin next week. But a local environmental group is worried about what it could stir up.

To figure out where they can safely dig the trench that will separate the underground fire from the radioactive waste, contractors will test the soil for radioactivity. That involves clearing trees and shrubs away from where the firebreak will be built.

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West Lake Landfill
6:22 pm
Fri October 18, 2013

EPA Considering Landfill Fires In Re-evaluating What To Do With Radioactive Waste In Bridgeton

This map from May, 2013, shows part of the West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton. The underground fire is shaded in red, the radioactive waste in orange. The 1993 fire was in the north quarry, closer to the radioactive waste.
Missouri Department of Natural Resources

This isn't the first time a fire has smoldered underground at the landfill in Bridgeton.

The Missouri Coalition for the Environment says another subsurface fire burned there in 1993.

They found a reference to that fire in an old report related to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's management of radioactive waste at the landfill.

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GMO Labeling
5:39 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

So What Happens If The Movement To Label GMOs Succeeds?

Labels on bags of snack foods indicate they are non-GMO food products.
Robyn Beck AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 7:09 pm

I have a story on All Things Considered Wednesday (click on the audio link above to hear it) about the campaign to put labels on food containing genetically modified organisms, or GMOs. The idea is gaining ground in the Northeast — Maine and Connecticut passed labeling laws this summer, though they won't take effect unless more states do the same. And GMO labeling is on the ballot this November in Washington state.

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