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Air pollution increases allergenicity of ragweed pollen

Pollution increases allergensExposure to nitrous oxide exhaust gases in the environment makes the common ragweed pollen more allergenic, according to new research.

Pollen allergies affect about 50 million people in the United States, and are the main cause of hay fever and other allergies.

"After studies have already shown that Ambrosia growing along highways is clearly more allergenic than Ambrosia plants growing away from road traffic, we could provide a reason for this," said Dr. Ulrike Frank, a researcher at the German Research Center for Environmental Health at Helmholtz Zentrum München, in a press release. "Since in nature and along roads hundreds of parameters could play a role, until now the situation was not entirely clear."

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China Air Pollution Kills 1.6M Annually

China air pollutionAir pollution kills more than 4,400 people a day in China, a new study by Berkeley Earth claims, with a yearly total of more than 1.6 million deaths.

Using World Health Organization estimates, the authors estimate that pollution is responsible for as much as 17 percent of annual deaths in China.

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Colorado mine spill threatens Lake Powell

Lake PowellA Colorado mine waste spill that has polluted rivers in three western states with 3 million gallons of toxic slurry could make its way to Lake Powell, a key reservoir and tourist draw for the region, the National Park Service warned Thursday.

The mustard-colored sludge, released accidentally by the Environmental Protection Agency during efforts to clean up Colorado’s Gold King mine, contains lead, arsenic, cadmium and other heavy metals — substances that can poison humans if ingested.

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Federal Experts: Current El Niño Could Be Historically Strong

Godzilla El Nino possibleFederal meteorologists say the current El Niño is already the second strongest on record for this time of year and could be one of the most potent weather changers of the past 65 years.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration recorded unusual warmth in the Pacific Ocean in the last three months. El Niño is a heating of the equatorial Pacific that changes weather worldwide, mostly affecting the United States in winter.

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US waterways at risk from thousands of defunct mines lacking cleanup funds

Rivers at riskWhile crews begin the arduous task of cleaning up Colorado’s Animas River — where contamination by heavy metals and toxins leaked from an abandoned hard rock mine turning the water orange — thousands of other natural sites across the American West remain at risk from similarly hazardous defunct quarries.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) estimates that there are currently 2,700 abandoned hard rock mines in need of environmental clean up. Nevada, nicknamed the “Silver State,” has the most, with an estimated 1,100 sites raising environmental concerns.

Abandoned mine lands by state:

California blaze explodes in size as wildfires roast West

california widlfires explode Wildfires are charging through several states in the parched West, scorching homes and forcing people to flee. Flames are plaguing some California residents, who had to evacuate for the second time in recent weeks after blazes exploded in size.

Here's a look at wildfires burning through Western states:

___NORTHERN CALIFORNIA

A Northern California blaze more than doubled in size overnight despite cooler temperatures and higher humidity.

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Massive Mine Waste Spill Reaches New Mexico

Mine spillJust days after workers with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accidentally spilled a million gallons of toxic mine waste into a Colorado waterway, the free-flowing sludge that turned portions of the state’s Animas River orange reached New Mexico, where health and wildlife officials say they were not alerted to any impending contamination.

As the cities of Aztec and Bloomfield scrambled to cut off the river’s access to water treatment plants, they criticized the EPA for what they said was a lackluster effort in providing warnings or answers about the spill. The contaminants seeping into the river—at a rate of 548 gallons per minute—include arsenic, copper, zinc, lead, aluminum and cadmium.

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