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EarthTalk®
Written by the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine   
Tuesday, 29 December 2009 09:12

Dear EarthTalk: I am very concerned about the amount of chlorine in my tap

earthtalkchlorinetapwater
Researchers have now linked
chlorine in drinking water to
higher incidences of bladder,
rectal and breast cancers. A
recent study found that women
with breast cancer have 50-60
percent higher levels of
organochlorines (chlorination by-
products) in their breast tissue
than cancer-free women."
This image courtesy of "Getty Images."

water. I called my water company and they said it is safe just let the tap run for awhile to rid the smell of the chlorine. But that just gets rid of the smell, perhaps, not the chlorine?   -- Anita Frigo, Milford, CT

Thousands of American municipalities add chlorine to their drinking water to get rid of microbes.  But this inexpensive and highly effective disinfectant has a dark side. “Chlorine, added as an inexpensive and effective drinking water disinfectant, is also a known poison to the body,” says Vanessa Lausch of filter manufacturer Aquasana. “It is certainly no coincidence that chlorine gas was used with deadly effectiveness as a weapon in the First World War.” The gas would severely burn the lungs and other body tissues when inhaled, and is no less powerful when ingested by mouth.

 
EarthTalk®
Written by the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine   
Monday, 21 December 2009 15:54

Dear EarthTalk: I’ve been following reports about President Obama’s stimulus

earthtalkstimulusbusinesses

Some $7 billion in stimulus money has been
allocated to help businesses, institutions, public
utilities and government agencies reduce their
environmental footprints in any number
of ways, such as for upgrading fleets to electric
or plug-in hybrid cars or trucks, which can score
tax credits of between $2,500 and $7,500 per
vehicle. "image "geonerd, courtesy Flickr."

package and what it may mean for creating green jobs. Beyond that, are there programs in place to help businesses switch to greener raw materials and/or to green up operations overall?   -- Diane, via e-mail

 

Even though the push to create green jobs is getting the lion’s share of business news headlines right now, almost $7 billion of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, the stimulus bill President Obama signed into law earlier this year, has been allocated to help businesses reduce their environmental footprints in any number of ways.

For starters, the stimulus package rewards businesses (as well as individuals) for investments in energy efficiency—that is, for doing more with less power. The federal government has extended its tax credit program for energy efficient business improvements—whereby 30 percent of qualified expenses up to $1,500 can be credited against your tax bill—through 2010. No one knows yet if the program will be extended beyond that, so 2010 could be a great time to finally go for that upgrade you've been putting off.

 
EarthTalk®
Written by From the Editors of E/The Environmental Magazine   
Monday, 14 December 2009 13:48

Dear EarthTalk: What is the current status of whales?  How effective is the

earthtalkwhales

Some larger whale species (including the Humpback,
pictured here) have been recovering since the dark
days before the whaling industry was regulated, but
the majority of cetaceans -­ which include whales,
dolphins and porpoises -­ are in decline, with some likely
headed for extinction in the near term."
 Image Courtesy of Stan Butler.

International Whaling Commission and which countries are involved in illegal whaling? -- Jonathan Wingate, Yulee, FL

Some larger whale species have been recovering since the dark days before the whaling industry was regulated, but the majority of cetaceans—that is, the distinct order of marine mammals consisting of whales, dolphins and porpoises—are in decline, with some likely headed for extinction in the near term.

According to data collected by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which maintains a “Red List” of threatened or endangered species, two of the largest whale species, humpbacks and southern rights, have rebounded since 1982 when the International Whaling Commission (IWC) imposed a moratorium on commercial whaling. Based on IUCN’s 2008 survey of cetaceans, both species, while still threatened, were upgraded from “Vulnerable” to “Least Concern” status on the Red List. “Humpbacks and southern right whales are making a comeback in much of their range mainly because they have been protected from commercial hunting,” says Randall Reeves, IUCN’s assessment leader. “This is a great conservation success and clearly shows what needs to be done to ensure these ocean giants survive.”

 
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