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Category Archives: Environmental Law

Air pollution could be significant cause of dementia even for those not predisposed

The Guardian: “Air pollution from traffic is linked to some of the more severe forms of dementia, and could be a significant cause of the condition among those who are not already genetically predisposed to it, research suggests. Research carried out in Atlanta, Georgia, found that people with higher exposure to traffic-related fine particulate matter air pollution were more likely to have high amounts of the amyloid plaques in their brains that are associated with Alzheimer’s. The findings, which will alarm anyone living in a town or city, but particularly those living near busy roads, add to the harms already known to be caused by road traffic pollution, ranging from climate change to respiratory diseases. A team of researchers from Atlanta’s Emory University set out to specifically investigate the effects on people’s brains of exposure the type of fine particulate matter known as PM2.5. This consists of particles of less than 2.5 microns in diameter – about a hundredth the thickness of a human hair – suspended in the air, and is known to penetrate deep into living tissue, including crossing the blood-brain barrier. Traffic-related PM2.5 concentrations are a major source of ambient pollution in the metro-Atlanta area, and also in urban centres across the planet. The Emory researchers examined the brain tissue of 224 people from Atlanta, 90% of whom had a diagnosis of some form of dementia, who had agreed to donate their brains to medical science after their deaths. They also investigated the traffic-related PM2.5 pollution exposure at subjects’ homes in the years leading up to their deaths…The findings are published in the 21 February 2024, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.”

Air pollution linked to more signs of Alzheimer’s in brain

Grace M. Christensen, Zhenjiang Li, Donghai Liang, Stefanie Ebelt, Marla Gearing, Allan I. Levey, James J. Lah, Aliza Wingo, Thomas Wingo, Anke Hüls. Association of PM 2.5 Exposure and Alzheimer Disease Pathology in Brain Bank Donors—Effect Modification by APOE Genotype. Neurology, 2024; 102 (5) “People with higher exposure to traffic-related air pollution were more likely… Continue Reading

The National Wetlands Inventory

Data is Plural: “The National Wetlands Inventory, maintained by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, provides interactive maps and bulk data containing “geospatially referenced information on the status, extent, characteristics and functions of wetland, riparian, deepwater, and related aquatic habitats.” With contributions from 160+ organizations, coordinated through a dedicated national standard, the inventory represents “more… Continue Reading

Mapping Soot and Smog Pollution in the United States

Earth Justice: “Under the Clean Air Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must set standards that protect public health from common air pollutants, such as fine particulate matter (also known as soot) and ground-level ozone (also known as smog). On Feb. 7, the EPA strengthened the annual particulate matter standard from 12 micrograms per cubic meter… Continue Reading

The East Coast Is Sinking

The New York Times interactive [read free] – “New satellite-based research reveals how land along the coast is slumping into the ocean, compounding the danger from global sea level rise. A major culprit: overpumping of groundwater. The most vulnerable areas of Boston have been sinking up to 3.8 centimeters per decade, which adds up to… Continue Reading

State of the World’s Migratory Species report

“The first-ever State of the World’s Migratory Species report was launched today by the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), a UN biodiversity treaty, at the opening of a major UN wildlife conservation conference (CMS COP14). The landmark report reveals: While some migratory species listed under CMS are improving, nearly… Continue Reading

These States Are Basically Begging You to Get a Heat Pump

Wired [read free]: “You need a heat pump, ASAP. Now nine states are teaming up to accelerate the adoption of this climate superhero. Nine states have signed a memorandum of understanding that says that heat pumps should make up at least 65 percent of residential heating, air conditioning, and water-heating shipments by 2030. (“Shipments” here… Continue Reading

The People’s Choice Award – Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2023

Here are the top five images voted for by the public in this year’s People’s Choice Award. “More than 50,000 images were entered into Wildlife Photographer of the Year last year, but our panel of judges can only award 100 finalists. A further 25 memorable images from this year’s entries have been shortlisted by the… Continue Reading

Secondhand EVs Are Starting to Look Like a Bargain

Bloomberg – The energy transition will falter unless consumers feel more comfortable about buying a used battery-powered vehicle. “You need at least £79,000 ($99,000) to buy a new electric Porsche Taycan in the UK; higher-specification versions of these sporty sedans cost tens of thousands more. However, three-year old Taycans are now available for less than… Continue Reading

Study ‘Category 5’ was considered the worst hurricane. There’s something scarier

USA Today: “As fearsome as Category 5 hurricanes can be for people living in harm’s way, a new study reports global warming is supercharging some of the most intense cyclones with winds high enough to merit a hypothetical Category 6.  The world’s most intense hurricanes are growing even more intense, fueled by rising temperatures in… Continue Reading