Health, Science, Environment

Health, science, and environmental news

(Christian Mundigler)

Archeologists from the University of Missouri-St. Louis have discovered continental Europe’s earliest known written record.

The clay tablet fragment dates back to between 1490 and 1390 BC – at least 100 years before any other known writings from mainland Europe.

(Véronique LaCapra/St. Louis Public Radio)

More than a million Americans are living with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. About a quarter of them are women, and in St. Louis and throughout the country, African-American women are disproportionately affected.

An HIV diagnosis can lead not just to debilitating medical problems, but to social stigma and isolation. But as St. Louis Public Radio’s Véronique LaCapra reports, a photography project is giving some HIV-positive women a new way to look at their disease and its challenges.

Scientists have taken another step toward understanding human nutrition.

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine have shown they can grow entire collections of human intestinal microbes in the laboratory.

Washington University microbiologist Dr. Jeffrey Gordon says his team then transplanted the bacterial communities into previously germ-free mice, to see how the lab-grown bacteria would respond to a human diet.

(via Flickr/Sam Beebe-Ecotrust)

A lawsuit filed in California is challenging the federal government's deregulation of alfalfa that is genetically altered to withstand the popular weed killer Roundup.

A Nuclear Regulatory Commission inspection team is at Ameren Corp.'s Callaway nuclear plant near Fulton after concerns were raised about lubrication of an auxiliary feedwater pump.

An Ameren spokesman says the inspection is unrelated to heightened concerns at nuclear plants following the damage to the plant in Japan.

The NRC says an oil sample taken Feb. 8 showed the auxiliary pump might have been inadequately lubricated.

View Callaway nuclear power plant in a larger map

Missouri’s sole nuclear power plant was built to handle “worst case” natural disasters.

That’s what Ameren officials told reporters Friday morning, at a press conference called in response to the nuclear crisis in Japan.

(Véronique LaCapra, St. Louis Public Radio)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has proposed the first-ever national standards for air pollution from power plants.

The new rules would require many power plants to install technologies to control mercury, arsenic and other toxic air pollutants.

Environment Missouri's Ted Mathys says the new standards would help protect the health of Missourians.

Ameren Missouri is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the company by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

The suit filed in January alleges that Ameren violated the Clean Air Act by making multi-million-dollar modifications to its coal-fired power plant in Festus without installing required pollution controls and obtaining the necessary permits.

(St. Louis Public Radio)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is giving a reprieve to southwestern Illinois and other U.S. areas guarded by levees it was to have deemed functionally useless.

FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate told federal lawmakers Thursday that the agency would hold off on decertifying 64 miles of earthen levees protecting St. Louis' Illinois suburbs.

Fugate says the agency would stop using a questioned assessment technique and turn to a more nuanced measure of the actual protection the levees provide.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has added the Washington County Lead District-Furnace Creek site in Washington County, Missouri, to the federal Superfund National Priorities List (NPL).

The NPL is a list of the nation's hazardous waste sites with the highest priority for cleanup.

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