Friday Finds: BPA's Bearded Ladies
EU moves forward on chemical regs while U.S. gets bearded females
The European Union recently announced that it will ban six toxic substances under its Registration, Evaluation, Authorization & Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) program, reports Chemical & Engineering News. The landmark move, which includes phasing out three plastic softening chemicals and a flame retardant, stands in stark contrast to the U.S.'s chemical romance, particularly with the controversial chemical, Bisphenol A (BPA), a plastic additive that messes with people's hormones and is found in levels twice as high in Americans than in Canadians. But not to worry, says Maine's Gov. Paul LePage. The worst that could happen is that BPA exposure might cause women to start growing "little beards."
This should perk you up. Researchers have found that breathing dirty air triggers more heart attacks than doing cocaine, reports Reuters, a scary notion considering that you can't exactly avoid air pollution unless you want to walk around all day in a gas mask. The U.S. EPA recently issued new rules that will limit air pollution from industrial boilers and incinerators, but we still have a long way to go in cleaning up our air. Declare your right to breathe clean air today.
Nuclear war could stop global warming, but comes with caveats
Just in time, scientists have found a cure for global warming, reports National Geographic. Just set off an atomic bomb and the smoke, dust and ash from the explosion's resulting fires should blot out the sun. Problem solved? Not so fast. A regional nuclear conflict between, say, India and Pakistan, may cool the planet, but it would also bring about drought and starvation from tinkering with the planet's atmospheric and circulation patterns. Until scientists iron out those minor details, it looks like for now we'll have to avoid causing catastrophic climate change the old-fashioned (and proven) way, by cutting carbon emissions.
Chowing down on Thin Mints leads to dead trees, orangutans
It's that time of year again when idealistic young girls come marching to your door armed with the tastiest of treats, Girl Scout cookies. But before you whip out that 20 (or 40) dollar bill, you might want to consider that many of the cookies contain palm oil, "the No. 1 culprit behind deforestation in Southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia and Malaysia," reports Grist. Destroying the forest leads to all kinds of horrible repercussions, like killing orangutans, displacing indigenous people and contributing to forest fires, which is why many groups are working to get the Girl Scouts USA to switch to a greener (and healthier) option, such as canola oil.
BP's sticky truth on remaining oil
A recently released video suggests that most of the oil left over from the BP spill this past summer is still lying at the bottom of the ocean, reports AP, calling into question the many claims from BP and government officials that microbes have taken care of most of the oil. The marine scientist who shot the video, Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia, told AP that "[m]agic microbes consumed maybe 10 percent of the total discharge, the rest of it we don't know." In the meantime, BP continues to vie for the Worst Company Ever award with its most recent decision to renege on a deal to rebuild oyster beds and repair wetlands. Now all they need to do is kill some baby dolphins. Oh, wait.