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Rising radon readings linked to fracking

radon and frackingThe odorless radioactive gas known as radon is on the rise in Pennsylvania, and researchers suggest fracking is to blame. Since 2004, the year hydraulic fracturing activity kicked into high gear, radon readings in homes have been spiking.

A new study, conducted by researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, found that 42 percent of radon readings in the state registered above what the federal government defines as safe. Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking.


Greenpeace Activists Have Barnacled Themselves to Shell Oil Drilling Rig Bound for Seattle

GreenpeaceGreenpeace reports that this morning, six activists from the Esperanza—the Greenpeace vessel tracking a Shell oil drilling platform called the Polar Pioneer as it travels across the Pacific Ocean—managed to scale the rig and affix themselves to the underside of the main deck.

The six are now tweeting from the rig, located 750 miles northwest of Hawaii.

In 2012, Shell won an injunction that kept Greenpeace activists away from its rigs. This drilling season, Seattle-based activists are also planning to greet the rigs with a flotilla of kayaks in Elliott Bay. The Polar Pioneer is due to arrive in Port Angeles on April 12, according to, and activists expect it to pull into Seattle a few days later.


Activists fear dangers of oil trains remain unaddressed by new rule

oil trainsAfter almost two years of deliberation, Barack Obama’s administration is expected to enact regulations next month that will attempt to protect trackside communities from exploding oil trains.

However, the new rule won’t take the one step that could decrease the risk almost immediately — requiring North Dakota oil producers to either reduce their product’s explosiveness or ship it in pressurized cars.


Study: W. Canada to lose 70% of glaciers

Canada glaciers The glaciers of western Canada are expected to drastically reduce in size in just three generations, according to a study that scientists warn underscores the real consequences of climate change.

The glaciers of Alberta and British Columbia — deemed by many to be among the world’s most picturesque mountain ranges — are set to shrink by 75 percent in area by 2100, when compared to 2005 levels, and by 70 percent in volume, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience.


Fukushima disaster radiation detected off Canada's coast

Vancouver IslandRadiation from Japan’s 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster has for the first time been detected along a North American shoreline, though at levels too low to pose a significant threat to human or marine life, scientists said.

Trace amounts of Cesium-134 and Cesium-137 were detected in samples collected on 19 February off the coast of Ucluelet, a small town on Vancouver Island in Canada’s British Columbia, said Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientist Ken Buesseler.


More than 1 million Californians don’t have reliable access to clean water

million californians no access to waterCalifornians who grumble about not being able to water their lawns everyday during the fourth year of a historic drought should swing by this small town in southern Kern County.

Drought or no drought, residents of this rural community can’t drink water from the tap and can’t even use it for cooking because high levels of arsenic — known to cause — become even more concentrated when water is boiled.

“They worry about little things,” said Salvador Partida, president of the Committee for a Better Arvin, of the rest of the state. “We’re worried about not being able to drink the water.”


EPA: Pesticide may have caused illness in family staying at Virgin Islands resort

Pesticide cause family illnessThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Friday said exposure to a pesticide with restricted use in the United States may have caused severe illness in a Delaware family vacationing at a Virgin Islands resort.

Steve Esmond, his wife and two teenage sons had been renting a villa at the Sirenusa resort on St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands since March 14. The EPA received reports of the family falling ill on March 20; paramedics had found Esmond unconscious and his wife and sons, 14 and 16, having seizures.


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