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Friday Finds: Daryl Hannah Gets Her Hands Dirty

Daryl Hannah faces off against tar sands pipeline
She may have lost her other eye in a standoff against Uma Thurman (aka “The Bride”) in the movie Kill Bill, but when it comes to facing off against environmental evil-doers, actress Daryl Hannah has chick-kicking staying power, reports Mother Nature Network. Her latest standoff resulted in her arrest outside the White House while protesting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, a controversial network of pipes that would transport tar sands crude oil from Alberta, Canada to U.S. refineries in the Gulf of Mexico. Recently, the State Department gave a green light to the dirty oil pipeline, concluding that it would have “minimal effect on the environment.” Obviously, activists like Hannah disagree. Before her arrest, Hannah told ABC News that “We cannot risk these precious resources and we cannot shackle ourselves to this type of destructive energy future when we have solutions available to us,” adding that “we have American-made, American-grown, clean safe energy.”

Getting inked may give you cancer
Getting an impulsive tattoo may cause you more than just embarrassment when that sub-navel tribal logo starts sagging years later, reports Environmental Health News. New research has found that tattoos contain all kinds of toxic chemicals, some of which have been shown to cause cancer and disrupt your endocrine system. For example, inks can contain phthalates, a commonly used chemical to soften plastics that can mimic estrogen, disrupt testosterone and have even been linked to “feminization of the reproductive tract” and sperm defects. Black tattoo inks can also contain benzo(a)pyrene, a carcinogen so potent that it's often used to grow tumors in animal test subjects. In addition to these new findings, people have known for years that tattoos can cause infections, allergies and scarring, but despite these risks almost half of adults in their late 20s have them. Though the Food and Drug Administration has the ability to regulate tattoo inks, so far it has declined to do so, a decision that may change with this latest tatoo unveiling.
Climate change may increase mental illness
As the intensity and frequency of droughts, floods, hurricanes and other extreme weather events continue to become the “new normal” in a rapidly warming climate, increases in mental illness will likely follow, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. To date, most of the attention to climate change has been on economic and environmental loss, but a new study that measured the mental health of individuals after catastrophic weather events shows that the effects of climate change can burrow even deeper, to an individual’s mental well-being. For example, in 2006 after cyclone Larry hit Australia, “one in 10 primary school children reported symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder,” the study found. The researchers attribute the cause to a breakdown in social cohesion caused by things like job loss and the stability that comes with it. As a result, governments may want to start including mental health costs in their damage estimates from these extreme weather events.  
 
California librarian takes on plastic bag curriculum
The school year may just be starting, but one fed-up librarian is already busy challenging the establishment by protesting the addition of pro-plastic bag propaganda in state-sponsored curriculum, reports California Watch. So far, Santa Cruz High School librarian Veronica Zaleha has more than 26,000 signatures on a petition she started to remove edits and additions from the American Chemistry Council about the benefits of using plastic shopping bags in an environmental textbook, which was reported on earlier this month by California Watch. Thanks to some “help” by the trade group, the teacher’s edition currently includes a section titled, “The Advantages of Plastic Shopping Bags,” among other things. Said Zaleha, “The recent insertion of pro-plastic bag text into California's state curriculum by the American Chemistry Council…is absolutely inexcusable. Industry lobbyists have no business editing state curricula, especially when the information encourages poor environmental practice and is disputed by factual evidence.” No word yet on whether the petition will be successful in removing the information from California’s textbooks, but in the meantime, Zaleha’s bold move shows that librarians aren’t afraid to school corporate industries on the difference between right and wrong. 

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