• WildfiresStudy of Wildfires Reveals Increase in Mortality Rate

    A new study comprehensively links short term exposure to wildfire-related fine particulate matters (PM2.5) in the air and all-cause, respiratory and cardiovascular mortalities across cities and regions around the globe.

  • Water securityRiver Backwaters and High Water Quality Standards

    Clean drinking water is essential. Scientists are investigating how water quality in riverine floodplains, often used as drinking water resources, changes as a result of heavy rainfall and flooding.

  • First responders9/11: Twenty Years Later, Responders Still Paying a Heavy Price

    More than 91,000 responders were exposed to a range of hazards during recovery and clean-up operations, with 80,785 enrolling in the World Trade Center Health Program (WTCHP) set up after the attacks. 3,439 are now dead – far more than the 412 who died on the day of the attacks – and many of those alive have been suffering from a series of ailments related to the work at the Twin Towers site.

  • Cyanide detectionKeeping First Responders Safe by Detecting Cyanide Poisoning after Fires

    When first responders rush to a burning building to subdue the fire and save lives, it is not just the flames that are dangerous and potentially lethal, but also toxic fumes like cyanide that are released when certain materials are incinerated. These fumes, mixed with smoke, are so toxic that even in very low quantities may pose more risk than the fire itself. Chemists at DHS S&T have invented a test to indicate possible toxic cyanide exposure at the fire scene.

  • Nuclear wasteFuture Solutions for Spent Nuclear Fuel

    Nuclear technology has been used in the United States for decades for national defense, research and development, and carbon-free electric power generation. Nuclear power is a key element of the U.S. response to climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, nuclear energy, as an essential form of electricity production, generates radioactive waste in the form of spent nuclear fuel. Spent nuclear fuel must be handled, stored, and ultimately disposed of in a manner that won’t harm the environment.

  • Radiation detectionRadSecure 100 Radiological Security Initiative Launched in 100 U.S. Cities

    The RadSecure 100 Initiative focuses on removing radioactive material from facilities where feasible and improving security at the remaining facilities located in 100 metropolitan areas throughout the United States. Partnerships with local medical facilities, industrial firms, and law enforcement will be key to the project.

  • Natural hazardsMitigating Hazards with Vulnerability in Mind

    By Andrew Logan

    From tropical storms to landslides, the form and frequency of natural hazards vary widely. To mitigate natural hazards equitably, an MIT Ph.D. candidate is incorporating social vulnerability into resilience engineering and hazard recovery.

  • The next pandemicInvestments in Nature Needed to Stop the Next Pandemic: Experts

    A group of leading scientific experts from the U.S., Latin America, Africa and South Asia released a report outlining the strong scientific foundations for taking actions to stop the next pandemic by preventing the spillover of pathogens from animals to people. Among other findings, the report notes that protecting forests and changing agricultural practices are essential, cost-effective actions to prevent pandemics.

  • Zoonotic DiseasesFocusing on Zoonotic Diseases

    Experts warn that zoonotic diseases—diseases caused by germs that spread from animals to people—are a growing and increasingly dangerous threat to global public health. Veterinarian and PNNL data scientist Lauren Charles talks animal-borne diseases—and how biosurveillance can help combat them

  • Chem-bio weaponsParasites Fight Chemical and Biological Weapons

    Harnessing parasites to help soldiers and first responders counter chemical and biological weapon attacks in war zones.

  • Health securityMedicine Manufacturing Limits Poses Risk to U.S. Health Security

    By Jill Young Miller

    More than 80 percent of the active ingredients in medicines the U.S. Food and Drug Administration deems essential for public health have no U.S. manufacturing source. Essential medicines include antibiotics, antivirals, blood pressure pills, steroids and many others. This vulnerability of the U.S. public health care system is not only matter of health care security, but of national security as well.

  • China watchMembers of Scientific Journal Editorial Board Resign over China Genetics Papers

    Eight members of the editorial board of Molecular Genetics & Genomic Medicine have resigned after the journal published several controversial papers which “critics fear could be used for DNA profiling and persecution of ethnic minorities in China.”

  • ARGUMENT: Water systems securityWater Systems Vulnerable to Cyberthreats

    In February, a hacker tried to manipulate the water utility’s computers in Oldsmar, Fla. so that the level of lye in the water would be raised. Joel Griffin writes that “had the perpetrator not been caught…. this cyber-attack could have resulted in actual physical harm to residents and potentially even deaths. The simplicity of this cyber-attack … also illustrates the gravity of the situation facing water utilities,” as they try to implement contemporary IT security solutions to decades-old equipment ad operational technology.

  • BOOKSHELF: Health misinformationNew Book Helps Readers Spot Online Health Scams

    UBC’s Dr. Bernie Garrett, the author of a new book on health scams, misinformation, and disinformation, says that “Scam marketers are well-versed in modern advertising techniques and the psychology of persuasion. They know all the triggers that can help sell a product.” He adds that, during the COVID period, such scams “definitely have proliferated, and this has been aided by social media… Unfortunately, people can post misinformation on social media with no real consequences.”

  • FirefightersProtecting Lives on the Wildland Fire Line

    Unlike first responders who fight structural fires, wildland firefighters are unable to use the current standard respirator systems, which are heavy, limited to 45 minutes of air and are too bulky. Since the current standard equipment for respiratory protection is a bandanna, DHS S&T and partners designed the Wildfire Respirator around a lightweight mask covering just the mouth and nose, relying on filtration rather than on heavy tanks of compressed air.