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Feature Articles, Books, and Documents
June 2002

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Feature Items:

C. Arden Pope III, Richard T. Burnett, Michael J. Thun, Eugenia E. Calle, Daniel Krewski, Kazuhiko Ito, and George D. Thurston

Lung Cancer, Cardiopulmonary Mortality, and Long-term Exposure to Fine Particulate Air Pollution. (... the authors attempted to see if a relationship [existed] between long-term exposure to fine particulate air pollution and death from a variety of causes including lung cancer and cardiopulmonary [heart/lung] problems.
Information for the study was collected from questionaires obtained through the American Cancer Society's Cancer Prevention II study, an ongoing prospective mortality [death rate] study, which enrolled approximately 1.2 million U.S. adults in 1982. Each participant in this study listed health risk factors like weight, smoking history, diet, and alcohol consumption on their questionaire. The health risk factor information for approximately 500,000 adults [was then] linked with air pollution data for metropolitan areas throughout the United States and combined with vital status and cause of death data through December 31, 1998.
From the information they collected, the authors conclude that long-term exposure to combustion-related fine particulate air pollution [common to many U.S. metropolitan areas] is an important environmental risk factor for death from lung cancer and cardiopulmonary causes. Other keywords and phrases -- heart -- from the text of the abstract and the article)
JAMA--The Journal of the American Medical Association Volume 287, Number 9 (March 6, 2002): 1132-1141.

Sophie L. Wilkinson

Combating Alzheimer's: Treatments Have Eluded Drug Developers to Date, But the Disease's Multiple Contributing Factors Suggest Numerous Therapeutic Approaches. (... a review of current research efforts to develop treatments that will delay the onset of or cure Alzheimer's disease [AD].
The article also provides a concise, very understandable description and explanation of Alzheimer's disease including its two forms--early-onset, familial AD [which] accounts for about 5% of cases and generally begins between the ages of 30 and 65 and the more common form of the illness, sporadic AD, which usually develops after age 65. Other keywords and phrases -- amyloid, anti-inflammatories, BACE1, brain lesions, brain plaques, chelation therapy, cognitively stimulating activities, control of inflammation, enzyme inhibitors, estrogen, etiology, genetic risk factors, head trauma, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hormone, hormones, immune therapy, intellectually challenging activities, Lewy bodies, NSAIDs, neurofibrillary tangles, nutritional supplements, plaque, senile plaques, sex hormones, tau tangles, vaccine, vaccines, vitamins -- from the text of the article; please note the bibliographic references scattered throughout the text)

Chemical & Engineering News Volume 80, Number 10 (March 11, 2002): 45-57.

**The complete text of the article is currently available through the Web site of Chemical & Engineering News**

Committee on the Causes and Management of Eutrophication, Ocean Studies Board, Water Science and Technology Board, (United States) National Research Council

Clean Coastal Waters: Understanding and Reducing the Effects of Nutrient Pollution. (... an extensive report and analysis of the growing problem of the introduction of excess nutrients from upstream watersheds into the waters of oceans and seas near the coasts. This phenomenon can at times lead to events such as red tides, fish kills, some marine mammal deathes, outbreaks of shellfish poisonings, loss of seagrass habitats, coral reef destruction, and the Gulf of Mexico's "dead zone". While the causes of occurrences such as these are very complex and may vary from one location to another, the main driving force [behind them] is the accumulation of nitrogen and phosphorus in fresh water on its way to the sea. Sources of the excess nutrients can include runoff from agricultural land, animal feeding operations, and urban areas plus discharge from wastewater treatment plants and atmospheric deposition of compounds released during fossil-fuel combustion. Other keywords and phrases -- coastal, ecosystem, ecosystems, effects, environment, environmental, eutrophication, nutrient enrichment, nutrient over-enrichment, organic, water quality -- from the text of the report)

National Academy Press (2000): 428 pages.

**The complete text of the report is currently available through the Web site of the National Academy Press. The report can also be purchased in paper format from the National Academy Press.**

Brian C. O'Neill and Michael Oppenheimer

Climate Change: Dangerous Climate Impacts and the Kyoto Protocol. (... defining a long-term goal for climate change policy remains a critical international challenge. Article 2 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change defines the long-term objective of that agreement as stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations at a level that avoids "dangerous anthropogenic [human-produced] interference" with the climate system. What that precisely means though has been and is a subject of debate, can be viewed from a myriad of scientific and non-scientific perspectives, and a good deal of the "science" underlying it is still uncertain.
The authors attempt to make the discussion more concrete by proposing several plausible interpretations of dangerous interference in terms of particular environmental outcomes and examine the consistency between the Kyoto Protocol [the initial step toward implementing the Convention on Climate Change] and emissions changes over time that would avoid these outcomes. The authors suggest three environmental happenings--large-scale eradication of coral reef systems, disintegration of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet [WAIS], and the weakening or shutdown of the density-driven, large-scale circulation of the oceans [thermohaline circulation or THC]--as cases through which specific global emissions limits of greenhouse gases could be determined.
Using a stabilized global atmospheric concentration of 450 ppm of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide [CO2] by the year 2100, the authors conclude that stabilizing CO2 concentrations near 450 ppm would likely preserve the option of avoiding shutdown of the THC and may also forestall the disintegration of WAIS, although it appears to be inadequate for preventing severe damage to at least one unique ecosystem [the coral reefs]. Taking into account uncertainties in the working of the carbon cycle, the cumulative Kyoto target [the industralized countries meeting greenhouse gas emissions targets by 2010] is consistent with this goal. Delaying reductions by industrial countries beyond 2010 risks making the 450 ppm target level unattainable. Other keywords and phrases -- bleaching, gases, global warming, greenhouse effect, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC], melting, raise, raising sea level -- from the text of the article; please see the bibliography)

Science Volume 296, Number 5575 (June 14, 2002): 1971-1972.

S.B. McLaughlin, D.G. de la Torre Ugarte, C.T. Garten, Jr., L.R. Lynd, M.A. Sanderson, V.R. Tolbert, and D.D. Wolf

High-Value Renewable Energy from Prairie Grasses. (... the true social costs of energy include not only the prices that are reflected in market exchange but also the other direct and indirect nonmarket costs and benefits [externalities] associated with the acquisition, processing, conversion, and use of that energy. For instance, global warming, acidic deposition [acid rain], groundwater contamination, and human health effects are just some of the environmental costs associated with the use of fossil fuels that are not reflected in their market prices. A growing awareness of the social costs of fossil fuels and the awareness of potential limitations in mid-term oil supply has highlighted the need to consider alternate, more sustainable, and less ecologically expensive energy sources.
With that as a context, the authors consider the case for cellulosic feedstocks. Cellulosic feedstocks are available from forestry and mill residues, urban wood wastes, agricultural residues, and dedicated energy crops. They can be used to produce clean-burning liquid fuels such as ethanol, electricity, and bio-based chemicals. Bioenergy and bio-based products offer the potential for significant economic and environmental benefits to society including near-zero net emissions of greenhouse gases [GHG], improved soil and water quality, and increased net economic returns to a depressed rural economy.
In particular, the authors look at one specific cellulosic feedstock--switchgrass [Panicum virgatum], a native, perennial, warm season prairie grass. Based on their calculations, the authors predict substantial economic, social, and environmental benefits through the use of switchgrass as a source of renewable energy including higher profits for switchgrass than conventional crops which could then lead to an increase of billions of dollars in net farm income returns, a large reduction in U.S. Federal Government subsidies to agriculture, and elimination of a substantial amount of greenhouse gas emissions all compared to the use of fossil fuels as an energy source. Other keywords and phrases -- alternative energy, bioenergy, biomass, climate change, ecological, electric power, global warming, greenhouse effect, improved water quality, oil dependency, reduced soil erosion, remove nitrate and phosphate from agricultural runoff, soil carbon sequestration, tall grass prairie, wildlife -- from the text of the article)

Environmental Science & Technology Volume 36, Number 10 (May 15, 2002): 2122-2129.

Larry A. Green

First Morning Back. (... a physician in the United States returns to private medical practice after a 2-year leave of absence working at a health policy center and records his impressions, frustrations, and successes during his first morning back at work seeing patients. A very interesting snapshot of the state of health care in the United States in 2002. Other keywords and phrases -- america, american, authorization, billing, documentation, eligibility, healthcare, insurance, paperwork, patient-physician relationships)

JAMA--The Journal of the American Medical Association Volume 287, Number 23 (June 19, 2002): 3053-3054.

Joshua Cohen

Evaluating the Risk to Workers and the Public from Styrene Exposure. (... Styrene is used in the manufacture of a wide variety of products, including construction and packaging materials, tires and automotive parts, and household and office appliances. The Harvard Center for Risk Analysis [HCRA] convened a panel of scientists with expertise in epidemiology, toxicology, exposure assessment, and risk assessment in 1999 to evaluate the risk to health that exposure to styrene may have for the public and for workers in manufacturing facilities that use styrene.
After a review of the existing research literature on the health effects of styrene, the panel concluded that styrene's carcinogenicity [likelihood to cause cancer] in humans cannot be ruled out at this time. However, styrene exposure levels among the general population and among most workers are for the most part very low. And, even if styrene can cause cancer in humans, it is likely that humans may be at less risk than mice [some studies have indicated an association between breathing in styrene and a greater incidence of lung tumors in mice]. Other keywords and phrases -- ambient air, beef, cigarette, epidemiological, food, foods, inhalation, inhale, mouse, occupational levels, rat, rats, smoking, spices, strawberries, waste materials, water -- from the text of the article)

Risk in Perspective Volume 10, Number 3 (May 2002): 1-6.

**The complete text of the article is currently available through the Web site of Risk in Perspective (in PDF)**

How to find the above journals, magazines, and other publications? See Step 3: Locate of the Information Strategy for details.

Questions about any or all of the above? Please let me know.


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