Health, Science, Environment

Plant Conservation
5:00 am
Mon April 23, 2012

Missouri Botanical Garden to help build online global plant database

The new online World Flora database will include information on all known land plants. This Robiquetia cerina orchid was on display at the Missouri Botanical Garden's annual Orchid Show.
(Missouri Botanical Garden)

The Missouri Botanical Garden has announced plans to help build an online database of the world’s plants.

Working with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, and the New York Botanical Garden, the Missouri Botanical Garden will compile information on as many as 400,000 land plant species, with the goal of having all the data available online by 2020.

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Doe Run - Lead
2:39 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

Mo. Atty. Gen. Koster reaches settlement with Doe Run for lead cleanup

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster.

Attorney General Chris Koster has filed a consent decree to address environmental violations at Doe Run’s Sweetwater Mine and Mill in Reynolds County.

Here's a map detailing the approximate location of the mine near Ellington, Mo.:

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Hellbender Song
2:16 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

Endangered hellbender salamander inspires song

Adult Ozark hellbenders can reach up to two feet in length.
(Jeff Briggler, Missouri Department of Conservation)

You may remember our story about the St. Louis Zoo successfully breeding an endangered giant salamander. Now the hellbender is being honored in song:

The St. Louis band FIRE DOG is offering its hellbender song as a free download on Sunday in honor of Earth Day.

In the meantime, here are the lyrics:

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East St. Louis / North Alcoa
3:18 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Cleanup of North Alcoa site in East St. Louis subject of public meeting Tues. night

Aerial view shows the North Alcoa site in East St. Louis. The inner boundary line indicates Operable Unit 1, the target of EPA's proposed cleanup plan. The three residue disposal ponds are marked with the dotted lines.
(via EPA.gov)

The Environmental Protection Agency is holding a public meeting tonight in East St. Louis. 

The agency will to explain its proposed plan to clean up the North Alcoa site. The property is bounded on the north by Lake Drive, on the east by the Alton and Southern railroad, on the south by Missouri Avenue and on the west by 29th Street.

EPA's remedial project manager for the 400-acre site, Dion Novak, says the area is contaminated with waste products produced over 100 years ago by a former alumina refinery.

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Big River
12:50 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

EPA to test for lead contamination near Big River

A map from the Environmental Protection Agency showing the location of the Southwest Jefferson County Mining site. An investigation by the EPA is looking into lead contamination resulting from mining at the site long ago.
(via EPA.gov)

The Environmental Protection Agency plans to test 256 Jefferson County residential properties amid concerns that lead in the Big River is contaminating soil.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that testing is expected to be completed by midsummer. Recent studies and samples indicated widespread lead contamination in the flood plain that extends from Leadwood in St. Francois County to the confluence with the Meramec River near Eureka.

Roxana, Illinois - Pollution
11:46 am
Tue April 17, 2012

Second suit filed over contamination from Roxana, Ill. oil refinery

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

A second lawsuit has been filed over contamination from the Wood River Oil Refinery in Roxana, Ill.

In the suit, Roxana property owners allege that carcinogenic chemicals, including benzene, released from the refinery have contaminated their properties.

The property owners are seeking compensation for the alleged damage.

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Science - Baseball
6:24 am
Fri April 13, 2012

The science of baseball: a conversation

A diagram showing the forces involved in the common curveball.
(via Wikimedia Commons)

Today is the Cardinals' home opener against the Chicago Cubs.

For St. Louis Public Radio’s Véronique LaCapra, baseball season means it’s time to talk about the science behind America’s national pastime.

And Washington University aerospace engineer David Peters was happy to join in.

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Coldwater Creek
9:15 am
Thu April 12, 2012

North County residents seek answers on Coldwater Creek contamination

A map of the Coldwater Creek area.
(via Napoli, Bern, Ripka, Shkolnik & Associates LLP Attorneys at Law and Byron, Carlson, Petri & Kalb, LLC Attorneys at Law)

Updated at 12:15 p.m. to revise the caption of the Hazelwood/Florissant health map.

Concerned North County residents got an opportunity last night to meet with attorneys who are involved in two lawsuits relating to radioactive contamination in Coldwater Creek.

The lawsuits allege that North County residents have developed cancers and other illnesses from exposure to radioactive waste produced by the Mallinckrodt chemical company.

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E. coli in Missouri
10:44 am
Tue April 10, 2012

5 in Missouri reported ill from E. coli

Low-temperature electron micrograph of a cluster of E. coli bacteria, magnified 10,000 times. Each individual bacterium is oblong shaped.
(Via Wikimedia Commons/Eric Erbe, digital colorization by Christopher Pooley, both of USDA, ARS, EMU)

State health officials say five people from central Missouri, including two toddlers, have contracted E. coli since late March.

The state health department said Monday it had not determined the source of the bacteria. But a Boone County health spokeswoman says three of the patients, including a 2-year-old, reported drinking raw dairy products.

The department says the 2-year-old was hospitalized and a 17-month-old developed life-threatening complications affecting the kidneys.

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Steam Pipe Rupture - Asbestos
5:20 pm
Fri April 6, 2012

Health Department: Health risk 'minimal' following downtown steam pipe rupture

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Updated 3:54 p.m. with comment from Walker

We have an update on that steam pipe rupture that happened in downtown St. Louis Thursday morning.  The City of St. Louis Department of Health says that "while swab samples have indicated small amounts of ground level asbestos, air quality tests have come back clean."

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