Thursday, November 29, 2007

Living on Earth


Living on Earth with Steve Curwood is the weekly environmental news and information program distributed by Public Radio International. Every week approximately 300 Public Radio stations broadcast Living on Earth's news, features, interviews and commentary on a broad range of ecological issues. The show airs in 9 of the 10 top radio markets and reaches 80% of the US.


Thursday, November 1, 2007

Legal Toxins in Toys May Disrupt Male Sexual Development

The United States remains one of the few developed countries to permit the import of plastic toys made with polyvinyl chloride additives called phthalates (pronounced tha-lates), which help make toys soft and pliable enough to be twisted or sucked yet durable enough to survive a 1-year-old's grip.

...Infants, according to the Intergovernmental Forum on Chemical Safety, an affiliate of the World Health Organization, have far less capacity for detoxifying chemicals than do adults, and with toys they face all three points of a "risk triangle": "increased vulnerability" to a chemical's "toxic effects" and plenty of possibilities for exposure through "intimate contact."

Chan's bill also proposed a toy ban on Bisphenol A, but most of the scientists' attention that day was focused on a phthalate called Di(2-ethylhexyl) Phthalate, or DEHP, which when ingested can impede the production of LH, a hormone responsible for triggering cells in the testes to produce testosterone.

...Dr. Earl Gray, who has been studying the effect of endocrine-disrupting chemicals on rodents for seventeen years at the EPA's research facility in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, told the panel that sexual malformations may follow from below-normal LH and testosterone levels.

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Third of primates 'under threat'

The report says many apes, monkeys and other primates are being driven from the forests where they live or killed to make food and medicines.

...Of particular concern are the Hainan gibbon from China and Miss Waldron's red colobus monkey from Ivory Coast, both of which have only a few surviving creatures left in the wild.

The report says the threat to primates is worst in Asia where tropical forests are being destroyed and many monkeys are being hunted or traded as pets.

...Scientists have been warning for decades about the growing human threat to animal species around the world, but this study says we should be especially concerned about primates because they are the closest living relatives of humans.

Thanks to habitat destruction, poaching and being made into bushmeat, medicines and pets, primates are now facing their first possible extinctions in more than a century, according to a recent report by the US-based environmental group Conservation International.

..."You could fit all the surviving members of these 25 species in a single football stadium - that's how few of them remain on earth today," said Russell Mittermeier, president of Conservational International's Primate Specialist Group.

...Mittermeier remarked that the loss of tropical forests and other primate habitats is a major concern in their long-term survival; yet, if reforestation projects were to be included in U.N. programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it could prove to be a "magnificent opportunity" to save both primates and sequester carbon.

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