Derailed Rules: North Dakota's New Oil-by-Rail Standard Doesn’t Address Causes of Recent Catastrophes

On Dec. 9, North Dakota announced a new rule for rail shipments of highly volatile crude oil from the Bakken shale formation. The standard issued by the North Dakota Industrial Commission is intended to respond to spills, fires, and derailments that have injured and killed people and harmed the environment.

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Beef Industry Groups Meet to Discuss Sustainability but Leave with a Marketing Plan

A coalition of beef producers and major food companies met last month in Brazil to address an issue of increasing importance: the significant, harmful environmental impact of raising beef cattle in a world with a growing population and declining resources.

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New York State Moves to Ban Fracking, Citing Health Concerns

New York State officials gave residents an early Christmas present when they moved to ban high-volume hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) within state lines. The decision followed the release of a long-anticipated public health study that found many potential negative impacts from the natural gas drilling method.

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Congress Slashes EPA Budget Again Despite Strong Public Support for Strengthening Health Protections

In a continuing effort to dismantle the ability of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect public health and the environment, Congress is poised to adopt a fiscal year 2015 budget that would reduce the agency's funding for the fifth year in a row.

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Lead and Mercury in Kids' Toys? A New York County Is Cracking Down on Dangerous Chemicals in Children's Products

On Monday, New York’s Albany County legislature overwhelmingly passed a bill that would protect children from toxins in toys and other products. The Toxic-Free Toys Act bans certain dangerous chemicals from any children’s products sold in the county. The bill is an important step toward safeguarding children from toxins that affect development and cause other health problems.

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Strawberry Fields Forever? California's Pesticide Addiction Harms Local Communities

If you've eaten strawberries recently, you can probably thank a California grower. Mild temperatures and an extended growing season mean that at least 80 percent of strawberries sold in the U.S. originate from the state. However, new research suggests that the tasty fruit comes with a heavy price for local communities because of the extensive use of harmful pesticides.   Those living near strawberry fields face higher risks of cancer and other health problems from exposure to the chemicals.

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Outgoing Maryland Governor Proposes Strongest Fracking Protections in the Nation

Maryland may soon join neighboring West Virginia and Pennsylvania by allowing fracking in the state. Outgoing Governor Martin O’Malley announced that he will open the doors to drilling companies as long as they follow strict safeguards for protecting public health and the environment.

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Fall 2014 Unified Agenda: What Health and Safety Standards Can We Expect in the Year Ahead?

Just before Thanksgiving, the White House quietly released the fall 2014 Unified Agenda, updating the status of public protections under development by agencies across the federal government. The fall agenda indicates that agencies expect to finalize several key health and safety rules in 2015, but other important protections will progress much more slowly or have been pushed far into the future.

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EPA's War on Pollution: Agency Tackles Smog Standard to Improve Our Health

Almost five years after first proposing to strengthen the national air quality standard for ozone pollution, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Nov. 25 that it intends to again propose a more health-protective air quality standard for ground-level ozone pollution. Breathing ozone, also known as smog, can cause health issues ranging from asthma attacks to early death from heart and lung disease.

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Foul Fowl? Why Your Thanksgiving Turkey May Be Getting Riskier

As we sit down to Thanksgiving dinner in a couple of days, we might be worried about who gets the drumstick or whether our crazy uncle will dominate the conversation. But we’re probably not worrying about whether the turkey is safe to eat because we’ve had a robust food inspection system in place for over a hundred years. That might be changing – parts of our food inspection system may not be keeping up with the threats posed by our current food production system.

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