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National View: Climate change affects migration of infectious disease

By William B. Miller Jr., M.D.


Posted Apr. 19, 2016 at 2:01 AM 

Zika is all over the news. Zika is surely dangerous, but it has its limitations and is likely to be well contained. However, its greater significance extends beyond any current spread. Instead, it exemplifies the crucial emerging trend of a novel infectious agent that has swiftly become a global threat.

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Climate Change An Imminent Health Risk, White House Reports

A new report released by the White House warns that climate change is an imminent and growing threat to public health, and that extreme heat will kill around 27,000 US residents per year by 2100.

A science advisor to the Obama administration by the name of John Holdren commented on the report at a recent press conference, noting that extreme heat waves will make outdoor work periodically “impossible:”

“People who work outdoors will be unable to control their body temperature and will die. This is a really, really big deal.”

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EPA Targets Ebola, Pathogen Disinfectant Claims

April 8 — The Environmental Protection Agency has issued aguidance document clarifying the claims disinfectant makers can and can't make during outbreaks of emerging pathogens.

The guidance is meant to prevent some of the confusion that occurred during the recent Ebola outbreak, when some cleaning industry companies were unsure if they could legally market their products as being effective at killing the virus.

It also creates a way around the EPA's rule preventing companies from making claims that their product can kill a specific microbe without lab studies on that specific microbe. In the case of many new or emerging pathogens, such as Ebola or avian influenza, efficacy tests in a lab could be infeasible or even dangerous.

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Green" industrialization part of focus for African Development Week

 

Carlos Lopes. File Photo: UNECA

Migration, climate change and what's been called "green" industrialization are just some of the issues topping the agenda when African economic and finance ministers gather in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, beginning this Thursday.

The conference is part of the wider events for the first African Development Week organized by the UN Economic Commission for Africa, known as the ECA, and the African Union.

Carlos Lopes is the ECA Executive Secretary at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

Ernest Chicho asked him about the background for the week and what to expect.

Duration: 4'28"

see more on: http://www.unmultimedia.org/radio/english/2016/03/green-industrialization-part-of-focus-for-african-development-week/#.Vv0A1tIrJdh

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Social Progress Index 2015

socialprogressimperative.org

CLICK HERE - Social Progress Index 2015 (158 page .PDF report)

MEASURING NATIONAL PROGRESS – To truly advance social progress, we must learn to measure it, comprehensively and rigorously. The Social Progress Index offers a rich framework for measuring the multiple dimensions of social progress, benchmarking success, and catalyzing greater human wellbeing. The 2015 version of the Social Progress Index has improved upon the 2014 version through generous feedback from many observers and covers an expanded number of countries with 52 indicators.

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CLICK HERE - Publications

http://www.socialprogressimperative.org

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Argentine & Brazilian Doctors Suspect Mosquito Insecticide as Cause of Microcephaly

          

Since 2014, the insecticide Pyriproxyfen has been used to kill mosquitos in water tanks in Brazil. Water tank in Bahia state, northeast Brazil. Photo: Francois Le Minh via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

gmwatch.org - by Claire Robinson - February 10, 2016

A report from the Argentine doctors’ organisation, Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns,[1] challenges the theory that the Zika virus epidemic in Brazil is the cause of the increase in the birth defect microcephaly among newborns.  

The increase in this birth defect, in which the baby is born with an abnormally small head and often has brain damage, was quickly linked to the Zika virus by the Brazilian Ministry of Health. However, according to the Physicians in the Crop-Sprayed Towns, the Ministry failed to recognise that in the area where most sick people live, a chemical larvicide that produces malformations in mosquitoes was introduced into the drinking water supply in 2014. This poison, Pyriproxyfen, is used in a State-controlled programme aimed at eradicating disease-carrying mosquitoes. . . .

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Japan: Fukushima Clean-Up May Take Up To 40 years, Plant's Operator Says

          

A TEPCO employee walks in front of the No. 1 reactor building.  REUTERS/Toru Hanai

cnn.com - by Yoko Wakatsuki and Elaine Yu - February 11, 2016

Cleaning up Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which suffered catastrophic meltdowns after an earthquake and tsunami hit in 2011, may take up to 40 years.

The crippled nuclear reactor is now stable but the decommissioning process is making slow progress, says the plant's operator Tokyo Electric Power Co, better known as TEPCO. . . .

. . . The biggest obstacle to closing down the plant permanently is removing all the melted nuclear fuel debris from three reactors, Ono told reporters after a press tour of the plant this week.

But TEPCO says it is in the dark about the current state of the debris.

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The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the Future of Plastics

submitted by Albert Gomez

ellenmacarthurfoundation.org - January 19, 2016

Applying circular economy principles to global plastic packaging flows could transform the plastics economy and drastically reduce negative externalities such as leakage into oceans, according to this new report.

The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics provides, for the first time, a vision of a global economy in which plastics never become waste, and outlines concrete steps towards achieving the systemic shift needed.

The report was produced by the World Economic Forum and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, with analytical support from McKinsey & Company, as part of Project MainStream, a global, multi-industry initiative that aims to accelerate business-driven innovations to help scale the circular economy. It was financially supported by the MAVA Foundation.

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NOAA: Salt Marshes Combat Climate Change

             

Shorebirds feed in the shallows of Estero Bay State Preserve.  In the background are black mangroves, which are part of a salt marsh, which absorbs large amounts of carbon dioxide.  (Photo: File photo by Andrew West)

CLICK HERE - RESEARCH - PLOS One - Living Shorelines: Coastal Resilience with a Blue Carbon Benefit

news-press.com - by Chad Gillis - December 24, 2015

Natural, living shorelines in areas like the Gulf of Mexico absorb a lot of carbon dioxide and will help blunt the effects of climate change.

And coastal wetlands store several times the amount that can be absorbed by mature tropical forests, the research shows.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration studied wetlands in North Carolina and reports that plants, sand and rocks are better for the environment than man-made features like concrete sea walls and high-rise condominiums.

The report, published earlier this month in the journal PLOS One, shows that natural features in coastal areas help keep atmospheric carbon dioxide levels lower.

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