We begin with an epidemiological warning in Casa esnl’s neighborhood via Outbreak News Today:
Berkeley officials warn of possible measles exposure at local libraries
Just one week after Berkeley health officials warned of a possible measles exposure at the La Mediterranee restaurant, city officials say an adult who may have measles (it has not yet been confirmed) was at the City of Berkeley West Branch Library throughout the day on February 27 and February 28, and was at the Central Branch Library on the afternoon of February 27 only.
Individuals who were at these locations could have been exposed. Patrons of these libraries during these dates should monitor themselves for symptoms until March 21. The risk is very slight for those who have received the recommended two doses of the measles vaccine.
On the days in question, the person had not yet developed the tell-tale rash -a circumstance that contributes to the rapid spread of the highly infectious, airborne virus- so did not know that the illness might be measles-. Symptoms can develop between 7 and 21 days after exposure to the virus.
Health costs of hormone disrupting chemicals over €150bn a year in Europe, says study
- Lower IQ, adult obesity and 5% of autism cases are all linked to exposure to endocrine disruptors found in food containers, plastics, furniture, toys, carpeting and cosmetics, says new expert study
Europe is experiencing an explosion in health costs caused by endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that is comparable to the cost of lead and mercury poisoning, according to the most comprehensive study of the subject yet published.
Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with the human hormone system, and can be found in food containers, plastics, furniture, toys, carpeting and cosmetics.
The new series of reports by 18 of the world’s foremost experts on endocrine science pegs the health costs of exposure to them at between €157bn-€270bn (£113bn-£195bn), or at least 1.23% of the continent’s GDP.
“The shocking thing is that the major component of that cost is related to the loss of brain function in the next generation,” one of the report’s authors, Professor Philippe Grandjean of Harvard University, told the Guardian.
“Our brains need particular hormones to develop normally – the thyroid hormone and sex hormones like testosterone and oestrogen. They’re very important in pregnancy and a child can very well be mentally retarded because of a lack of iodine and the thyroid hormone caused by chemical exposure.”
And number for another outbreak, via Outbreak News Today:
Chikungunya cases rise by 9,000, most new cases from Colombia
While some countries in the Caribbeans have seen their chikungunya situation get under control, in fact Dominica declared their outbreak over earlier this week, some areas of South America are reporting an increase in cases of the mosquito borne viral disease.
During the past week, Colombia saw an increase of 7,848 cases bringing the country’s total to more than 185,000 suspected and confirmed cases, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), by far the most on the continent.
Colombia has also reported three chikungunya related fatalities. Other South American countries seeing an increase in confirmed chikungunya cases include Bolivia (+45), Ecuador (+147) and Paraguay (+130).
Still anouther outbreak this time from StarAfrica:
Mozambique warns against the deadly dengue outbreak
Mozambique´s Health authorities in the northern province of Nampula have warned against outbreak of dengue, a deadly fever, that is transmitted by the bite of female mosquitoes and causes severe pain, reports said on Saturday.
State-controlled Radio Mozambique quotes the provincial health chief, Jocelina Clavete as saying that at least 90 samples of suspected cases were taken and analyzed at the hospital in Nampula, of which 50 percent tested positive. She said further laboratory tests are being carried out on suspected patients in the region.
There is no vaccine for dengue, which kills an estimated 20,000 people each year and infects up to 100 million around the world, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). However, experts say the number of people infected each year could be more than three times the WHO estimate.
From the Guardian, dry resignation in the Golden State:
California farmers resign themselves to drought: ‘Nobody’s fault but God’s’
- Despite efforts to dig deeper into the earth to get at diminishing groundwater, the spectre of desertification may cost Central Valley farmers too much to carry on
As California faces a likely fourth year of drought, demand for drilling in the Central Valley has exploded. Hammond’s company, Arthur & Orum, can barely keep up: its seven rigs are working flat-out, yet a white folder with pending requests is thicker than three telephone books.
The waiting list has grown to three years, leaving many farmers to contemplate parched fields and ruin in what has been one of the world’s most productive agricultural regions. It supplies half of America’s fruit, nuts and vegetables.
“We’re overwhelmed. We’re going crazy,” said Hammond. “Everyone is in a desperate situation. Everyone has a sad story.”
Arthur & Orum has bought an additional rig for $1.2m, and out-of-state drillers have moved into the area. But as drills criss-cross the landscape, boring ever deeper into the earth, there is a haunting fear: what if they suck up all the groundwater? What if, one day, the water runs out?
And CCTV America covers another kind of environmental devastation:
Patagonia forest fires may be worst in Argentina’s history
Fires have been raging in the thousands of years old forests of southern Argentina in Patagonia. While the operation to save the local environment is still on-going, the question is how and why the fires started in the first place. The Patagonia forest fires have been called the worst fires in the country’s history.
From the McClatchy Washington Bureau, on the wrong track?:
Derailments put oil train expansion in the crosshairs
After a BNSF Railway oil train derailed and burst into flames Thursday near Galena, Ill., at least one community group has asked the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to suspend permits for rail expansions along the upper Mississippi River.
Of the 70 oil trains a week that leave North Dakota’s Bakken region for coastal refineries, more than half of them funnel through a roughly 400-mile stretch from Minnesota’s Twin Cities to the Quad Cities on the Illinois-Iowa border.
BNSF and Canadian Pacific haul both crude oil and ethanol on both sides of the Mississippi River, and the region has become a bottleneck. BNSF alone plans to spend more than $780 million in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois this year to add new track and improve signal systems.
Because the projects affect wetlands along the river, the railroads must seek permits under the federal Clean Water Act. And as elsewhere in the country, the permitting process has become a primary tool of community and environmental groups to slow or stop the growth of such rail shipments.
And a similar problem north of the border, via the Guardian:
Third oil train in less than a month derails in Ontario and starts fire
- CN Rail has seen three derailments in Canadian province since 14 February
- No injuries reported in Saturday blaze
Train operator CN Rail said on Saturday a train carrying crude oil had derailed in northern Ontario, setting off a fire at the site. There were no reports of injuries.
It is the third CN oil train derailment in northern Ontario in less than a month, and the second in the same area.
A CN spokeswoman, Emily Hamer, said the crew on the eastbound freight train reported that cars derailed about 2.45am near Gogama, Ontario, about 125 miles north of Sudbury. She said emergency crew were assessing the site and activating an emergency response plan. Photos on social media showed a large fireball at the site.
A CN freight train derailed on Thursday east of Hornepayne; on 14 February 29 cars of a CN freight train carrying crude oil derailed in a remote area south of Timmins, Ontario.
Obama notes an oily problem, via CBC News:
Canadian oil extraction is ‘extraordinarily dirty’ process, Obama says
- Keystone XL pipeline vetoed by president in February
U.S. President Barack Obama has some less-than-laudatory words for Canada’s oil industry in a new example of his increasingly critical take on the oilsands.
He was asked about the Keystone XL pipeline during a town-hall session Friday — and he launched into an explanation of why so many environmentalists oppose it.
“The way that you get oil out in Canada is an extraordinarily dirty way of extracting oil,” Obama said during the event at a South Carolina college. “Obviously,” he added, “there are always risks in piping a lot of oil through Nebraska farmland and other parts of the country.”
After the jump, yet more oil woes — in the form of corruption — in Brazil, a deeply endangered species, on to Fukushimapocalypse Now!, first with watery woes, a reluctance to return, and California researchers get a look at the reactor [plus video], and another reminder of nuclear sins of the past. . . Continue reading