• The Train Derailment in Ohio Was a Disaster Waiting to Happen

    By John McCracken

    The derailment of a freight train filled with volatile chemicals in rural Ohio earlier this month captured the headlines, but researchers and chemical spill experts say it’s a situation that plays out far too often across the country. Trains carry hazardous chemicals everyday. They’re also dangerously unregulated.

  • Train Derailments Get More Headlines, but Truck Crashes Involving Hazardous Chemicals Are More Frequent and Deadly in U.S.

    By Michael F. Gorman

    Highway crash of hazmat-carrying trucks do not draw national attention the way train derailments do, or trigger a flood of calls for more trucking regulation like the U.S. is seeing for train regulation. Truck crashes tend to be local and less dramatic than a pile of derailed train cars on fire, even if they’re deadlier. Federal data shows that rail has had far fewer incidents, deaths and damage when moving hazardous materials in the U.S. than trucks.

  • How Dangerous Was the Ohio Chemical Train Derailment? An Environmental Engineer Assesses the Long-Term risks

    By Andrew J. Whelton

    Headaches and lingering chemical smells from a fiery train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio, have left residents worried about their air and water – and misinformation on social media hasn’t helped. The slow release of information after the derailment has left many questions unanswered about the risks and longer-term impact.

  • Train Cars Which Derailed in Ohio Were Labeled Non-Hazardous

    By John McCracken

    Nearly two weeks after a train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed in rural Ohio, questions still linger about the lasting effects of the incident and the speed at which residents were returned to their homes. What we do know is that the train cars were marked as non-hazardous, and thus officials weren’t notified that the train would be crossing through the state.

  • Public Awareness of “Nuclear Winter” Too Low Given Current Risks

    The scientific theory of nuclear winter sees detonations from nuclear exchanges throw vast amounts of debris into the stratosphere, which ultimately blocks out much of the sun for up to a decade, causing global drops in temperature, mass crop failure and widespread famine. The combined nuclear arsenals of the U.S. and Russia have about 1,450 megatons. The use of only 0.1% of this joint arsenal would cause a nuclear winter which will claim 225 million lives.

  • Superbug Threat Grows

    A new report provides evidence that the environment plays a key role in the development, transmission and spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).  Prevention is at the core of the action and environment is a key part of the solution.

  • American Democracy and Pandemic Security

    Covid-19 cost the nation and the world millions of lives and trillions of dollars in economic losses and caused major societal deficits in learning, health, and well-being. The United States faced specific challenges in how its national pandemic response, rooted in its culture and federated system of public health, was organized and executed. National crises have historically brought the country together. Yet, the United States was unable to organize cohesive leadership at the national, state, local, and tribal levels, and it failed to rapidly unify its citizens to act in solidarity to suppress the emerging pandemic.

  • Study Links Adoption of Electric Vehicles with Less Air Pollution and Improved Health

    Researchers from the Keck School of Medicine of USC conducted one of the first-ever studies showing that electric cars are associated with real-world reductions in both air pollution and respiratory problems.

  • The Last of Us: Why We Should All Think Like Preppers – and How to Do It

    By Kamran Mahroof and Liz Breen

    “Prepping” – as it is widely known – is a way of anticipating and adapting to impending conditions of calamity by preparing homes, rooms and bunkers to survive in. Despite attempts by preppers to push back on stereotypes, prepping does still come with associations of doomsday and apocalyptic thinking. If done in the right way, however, prepping – thinking ahead and being proactive – is the opposite of panic, irrationality, or conspiratorial tendencies.

  • Warmer Climate May Drive Fungi to Be More Dangerous

    The world is filled with tiny creatures that find us delicious. Bacteria and viruses are the obvious bad guys, drivers of deadly global pandemics and annoying infections. But the pathogens we haven’t had to reckon with as much – yet – are the fungi.

  • Few Island Nations with Potential to Produce Enough Food in a Nuclear Winter

    New Zealand is one of only a few island nations that could continue to produce enough food to feed its population in a nuclear winter, researchers have found. The term “nuclear winter” refers to reduced sunlight and cooler temperatures caused by soot in the atmosphere following a nuclear war in the Northern Hemisphere.

  • Could Bird Flu in Mink Signal Threat of a Human Pandemic?

    By Jeannette Cwienk

    A bird flu outbreak on a Spanish mink farm has alarmed scientists. The virus may be spreading for the first time from mammal to mammal — and could become a danger for humans.

  • Disease X: How to End Pandemics

    A new book tracks how the world can stop future pandemics. It offers a perspective on the COVID-19 response and lays out a roadmap to prepare to beat the next Disease X. The book challenges us to understand continual and growing infectious disease threats, but also offers hope and looks ahead to a pandemic-free future.

  • Exxon Disputed Climate Findings for Years. Its Scientists Knew Better.

    By Alice McCarthy

    Projections created internally by ExxonMobil starting in the late 1970s on the impact of fossil fuels on climate change were very accurate, even surpassing those of some academic and governmental scientists. The oil company executives sought to mislead the public about the industry’s role in climate change, contradicting the findings of the company’s own scientists and drawing a growing number of lawsuits by states and cities.

  • U.S. Secret Service Report Examines Five Years of Mass Violence Data

    The U.S. Secret Service National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) the other day released a comprehensive report examining 173 incidents of targeted violence and highlighting the observable commonalities among the attackers.