Health, Science, Environment

Times Beach testing
4:59 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

Times Beach, Mo. site of EPA dioxin tests once again

Aerial photo of former site of Times Beach, MO
Google Earth

In the 1980s, the town of Times Beach, Mo. hired a contractor to spray the town’s dirt streets with oil to cut down on dust.  That oil was later found to contain extremely high levels of dioxin, a known cause of cancer.  Tests in the town revealed levels of dioxin 300 times what is considered safe by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Read more
3:56 pm
Mon June 4, 2012

Beetle to make Missouri comeback tomorrow

A pair of American burying beetles prepares to bury a bobwhite quail carcass.
Dan Kirk

An endangered beetle will be making its Missouri comeback on Tuesday.

That's when about 250 American burying beetles will be reintroduced in the Wah’Kon-Tah prairie, about 60 miles northwest of Springfield.

It's a joint effort of the Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Missouri Department of Conservation, and the St. Louis Zoo.

It's been 40 years since a confirmed sighting of the insect in Missouri, and the director of the zoo’s Center for American Burying Beetle Conservation, Bob Merz, says he hopes it will get reestablished in the state.

Read more
6:35 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Transit of Venus: twice-in-a-lifetime phenomenon visible Tuesday over St. Louis

David Cortner

You don’t want to miss this, because it won’t happen again for more than 100 years.

Tuesday afternoon, starting just after 5 p.m., a rare astronomical event will be visible in the skies over St. Louis. It’s known as the transit of Venus. 

St. Louis Public Radio's Véronique LaCapra asked University of Missouri-St. Louis astrophysicist Erika Gibb to help explain this twice-in-a-lifetime phenomenon.

Read more
8:54 am
Sat June 2, 2012

This spring in Illinois was the warmest on record

(via Flickr/jetsandzepplins)

For those who think this may just be the warmest spring ever in Illinois, the state's climatologist has this to say: You're right.

In a news release, Jim Angel of the Illinois State Water Survey says March, April and May were warmer than at any time since records started being kept all the way back in 1895.

This year's spring temperatures averaged 59.1 degrees, or nearly 2 degrees warmer than the average temperature of 57.3 in 1977.

The average temperature of 48.8 degrees from January through the end of May was also the highest on record.

Water Systems
10:54 am
Thu May 31, 2012

Judge gives preliminary OK to herbicide settlement

(via Flickr/Rocpoc)

A federal judge in southern Illinois has given preliminary approval to a $105 million settlement between Syngenta and community water systems in six states over one of the chemical maker's popular agricultural herbicides.

U.S. District Judge J. Phil Gilbert on Wednesday ruled that the deal announced last week appears to be "a good compromised result for the parties."

Read more
Roxana, Illinois - Pollution
3:34 pm
Tue May 29, 2012

Third lawsuit filed over groundwater pollution in Roxana, Ill.

A view of the Wood River Oil Refinery in Roxana, Ill.
(Art Chimes)

Updated at 6:20 p.m. with comments from Phillips66 and Shell Oil.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is the latest filer of a lawsuit regarding groundwater pollution from the Wood River Refinery in Roxana, Ill.

Read more
Black Bears / Missouri
11:17 am
Fri May 25, 2012

How many black bears are there in Missouri?

Estimated black bear distribution in Missouri based on reported observations, 1989-2010 . Points represent individual observations; estimated density of sightings ranges from high (red areas) to low (white areas).
(Black Bear Project website)

The current answer to that question is unclear, the Kansas City Star says, but in the last two years, scientists with the Missouri Black Bear Project have tagged 108 bears in Missouri.

Now, scientists have begun the third year of a project to document the increasing number of black bears in the state.

Hundreds of wildlife cameras and hair snare traps are in place around the state, ready for the Missouri Department of Conservation to count the bears and document their movements.

Read more
Pollution Cleanup
5:36 pm
Thu May 24, 2012

St. Louis to get $400,000 from EPA to clean up polluted sites

Some of the EPA funding will go toward the cleanup of underground storage tanks, like this one at 4266 McRee Ave. in St. Louis. This cleanup was undertaken by the Garden District Commission with funding from the EPA and the Brownfields Cleanup Fund.
(Amy Lampe/SLDC)

The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded $400,000 in grants to the St. Louis Development Corporation. The funds will be used to assess and plan for cleaning up hazardous substances.

EPA Regional Administrator Karl Brooks says the Agency has a long history of working with the SLDC to clean up contaminated properties, also known as brownfields.

Read more
Women's Health - Contraceptives
4:02 pm
Wed May 23, 2012

Study: IUDs, implants 20 times better than pill at preventing pregnancies

IUDs and implants are 20 times more effective at preventing pregnancy than short-term birth control options like the pill, patch, or vaginal ring (pictured).
(Via Wikimedia Commons/Victor byckttor)

A new study out of Washington University has found that long-term birth control methods are 20 times more effective at preventing unplanned pregnancies.

The research compared the rates of contraceptive failure in women using long-term methods like intrauterine devices or contraceptive implants to those using short-term methods like oral birth control pills or a contraceptive patch.

Read more
6:30 am
Mon May 21, 2012

WashU study says folic acid may fight childhood cancer

A new study by Washington University indicates that folic acid may be responsible for reductions in certain kinds of childhood cancer.

Kimberly Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Public Health at Washington University, she says  folic acid has been a supplement in enriched grains since 1998.

“The study says that there is a correlation between fortification of the food supply,  with folic acid and a reduction in the incidence of some types of childhood cancer,” says Johnson.

Read more