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Pollen Fragments Linger After Rains, Leaving Allergy Sufferers Miserable

Spring showers bring … pollen.

That's the surprising discovery made by researchers when they measured tree pollen fragment concentrations during and after spring rains of varying intensity in Iowa City between April 17 and May 31, 2019.

Rain fell on 28 days of the study period, which is prime tree pollen season. There were light rains, thunderstorms, and a severe stor...

Venturing Out?  Guard Yourself Against Disease-Carrying Ticks

As pandemic-related restrictions ease and people return to parks and other outdoor spaces, remember to protect yourself against another threat -- ticks.

"With our latest mild winter, ticks have been active in much of the region on warmer days all winter long," said Jody Gangloff-Kaufmann, an entomologist at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., who said it's too soon to predict populati...

Planet Already Seeing Temperatures Beyond Human Tolerability

Researchers have predicted that if climate change goes unabated, the planet will experience intolerable heat in several decades. But a new study has found that in certain global hot spots, it's already happening.

In recent years, certain regions -- including the Persian Gulf, Indian subcontinent and some Mexican locales -- have recorded off-the-charts combinations of heat and humidity...

Will Warmer Temps Help Contain Coronavirus? Two Studies Say Not Really

Two new reports suggest that the warm summer months will not significantly slow the novel coronavirus as it spreads around the globe.

"Summer is not going to make this go away," said Dionne Gesink, an epidemiologist at the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health who co-authored a May 8 report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that found neither temp...

Modern Livestock Farming Can Pose Public Health Risk

High-intensity livestock farming practices such as antibiotic overuse, along with large numbers and low genetic diversity of animals increase the risk of epidemics in humans, British researchers warn.

They studied the evolution of Campylobacter jejuni, a bacterium that's carried by cattle and is the leading cause of gastroenteritis among people in wealthy nations.

The...

Replace That Old Carpet to Shield Your Kids From Toxins

If you have kids and carpets, it might be time to redecorate. Older carpets are a major source of kids' exposure to harmful chemicals known as PFAS, researchers say.

PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are associated with serious health risks in kids and adults, including impaired neurodevelopment, immune system dysfunction, hormone disruption and cancer.

The chemical...

More Trees, Parks May Mean Longer Lives for City Dwellers

More green spaces in cities could significantly reduce premature deaths and their costs, researchers say.

Focusing on Philadelphia, they concluded that increasing the city's tree canopy by about one-third -- from 20% to 30% of land area -- could prevent more than 400 premature deaths a year and save nearly $4 billion in related economic costs.

Increases of 5% and...

Greenhouse Gases Bad for Your Brain

Rising levels of greenhouse gases may do more than drive climate change, they may eventually impair your thinking, researchers warn.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels tend to be higher indoors than outdoors. As CO2 concentrations increase in the atmosphere, there will be higher levels of the gas indoors, possibly triggering significant declines in people's decision-making skills and strate...

Dirtier Air May Bring More COVID-19 Deaths

Parts of Europe with consistently high levels of air pollution have higher COVID-19 death rates, a new study finds.

The study compared confirmed COVID-19 deaths with air quality data, including satellite readings of nitrogen dioxide air pollution.

Nitrogen dioxide damages the respiratory tract and is known to cause many types of respiratory and heart diseases, according to s...

Nearly Half of Americans Breathe Polluted Air

Almost half of the U.S. population -- 150 million people -- are exposed to air pollution that puts their health at risk, the American Lung Association says.

Climate change is making air pollution worse due to record levels of particle pollution and higher ozone pollution (smog) caused by wildfires. Air pollution poses a threat to everyone, especially children, older adults and people ...

AHA News: Farms Flourish and Nourish in Philadelphia Neighborhood

When Karyn Hopkins first saw people working the soil and then harvesting vegetables on a lot tucked away behind homes in the Haddington neighborhood of West Philadelphia, she couldn't believe food was being grown in her city.

"If I heard the word 'farm,' I might think Idaho, but never Philly," she said. "It was like magic, and so cool. They were growing tomatoes, peppers, collards."

...

Exhaled 'Aerosols' Spread Coronavirus Up to 13 Feet, Shoes Carry Virus, Too

Recent studies show that people infected with the new coronavirus could be spreading "aerosolized" viral particles as they cough, breathe or talk in a 13-foot radius, and viral particles can also move around on people's shoes.

But there was also good news from the studies: Standard protective gear appears to effectively shield health care workers from these aerosolized droplets and in...

Long Periods in Space Alter Astronauts' Brains

Long periods of time in space may cause brain volume increases in astronauts, new research shows.

Extended periods in space have long been known to cause vision problems. And more than half of International Space Station crew members have reported vision changes.

Increased pressure inside the head might contribute to vision problems, scientists have suggested.

To l...

Handle DIY Cleaning Products With Care During Coronavirus Pandemic

If you're one of the many people making your own cleaning products at home because you can't find them in stores, you need to be sure what you make is safe and effective, an environmental medicine expert says.

Do-it-yourself (DIY) cleaning products made from ingredients such as vinegar, essential oils and baking soda are safe, but they haven't been shown to kill viruses or bacteria, s...

Bedroom Air Filters May Help Kids With Asthma Breathe Easier

A bedroom air filter can significantly improve breathing in kids with asthma, new research shows.

The study included 43 children with mild to moderate asthma, and was conducted during a period of moderately high fine particulate matter (PM2.5) air pollution in Shanghai, China.

Particulate matter pollution originates from fossil fuels and can be found in various sizes. PM2.5...

Extreme Heat of Climate Change Could Triple Heart-Related Deaths

Heart disease deaths spike with extreme heat, and rising temperatures due to climate change may lead to a surge in such deaths in hot regions, researchers say.

For the study, the investigators analyzed 2010 to 2016 data on more than 15,000 heart-related deaths among people aged 15 and older in Kuwait, which has an average temperature of 82.2 degrees Fahrenheit (F).

Compared ...

Dirty Air Might Raise Your Odds for Dementia

Smog drives up dementia risk, particularly for older men and women with heart disease, according to a new Swedish study.

For more than a decade, researchers tracked exposure to air pollution and dementia cases among nearly 3,000 Stockholm residents aged 60 and up.

Lead author Dr. Giulia Grande noted that exposure to dirty air has long been linked to an increased risk for lun...

Electric Cars Still Better for the Planet Than Gas Vehicles

Electric cars really are greener than gasoline ones, researchers report.

Some have questioned whether electric cars could actually increase carbon emissions when the generation of the electricity to run them is taken into account.

But a new study concluded that in most areas of the world, electric cars reduce carbon emissions overall, even if the generation of electricity to...

Climate Change's Hotter Days Will Take Toll on Mental Health

As the days heat up, people tend to report more emotional distress, a new study finds, adding to concerns that global warming could take a growing mental health toll.

The study of more than 3 million Americans found that the longer people had to sweat out 80-degree days, the bigger the mental health drain. They were more likely to report problems with depression, stress and emotional ...

High Heat, Humidity Could Affect More Than 1.2 Billion People by End of Century

As the Earth continues to warm from climate change, an estimated 1.2 billion people will be affected by heat stress from extreme heat and humidity by 2100, a new study predicts.

That is four times more people than are affected today and over 12 times more than would have been affected if climate change hadn't happened, researchers say.

"When we look at the risks of a warme...

Global Warming Could Trigger Even More Extreme Weather Than Thought

Using past weather data to predict climate change-linked increases in extreme weather events may underestimate how often they'll occur, with potentially serious consequences, a Stanford University study says.

It found that predictions based solely on historical records underestimated by about half the actual number of extremely hot days in Europe and East Asia, as well as the number o...

Study Suggests COVID-19 Might Follow Seasonal Pattern

The novel coronavirus appears to be seasonal in nature, with major outbreaks occurring mainly in regions that match a specific set of climate conditions, a new study argues.

All areas experiencing significant outbreaks of COVID-19 fall within a northern corridor that has an average temperature of 41 to 52 degrees Fahrenheit and an average humidity of 47% to 79%, according to v...

Obesity Might Be 'Contagious' Among Teens

Teens who live around lots of obese or overweight kids come to see their body types as ideal, a new study suggests.

As a result, these teens tend to be obese or overweight themselves, researchers say.

"Higher obesity rates may normalize unhealthy weight in teens and make obesity prevention harder," said lead researcher Ashlesha Datar. She's a senior economist at the Center...

Plastic Smells Like Lunch to Sea Turtles, Putting Them at Risk: Study

Sea turtles mistake the smell of stinky plastic for food, researchers say.

Sea turtles worldwide are threatened by marine plastic debris, mostly due to eating it and getting tangled in it, noted the authors of the study published March 9 in the journal Current Biology.

"We found that loggerhead sea turtles respond to odors from biofouled plastics in the same way they ...

Not All Nature Is Created Equal

Access to nature is growing harder for urban folks to find, with relatively wild places few and far between.

Now, researchers with the University of Washington (UW), in Seattle, have found that not all forms of nature equally benefit human well-being. Wildness is especially important for both physical and mental health, the new study finds.

"It was clear from our results tha...

An Allergist Offers His Expert Advice for a Sneeze-Free Spring

While many Americans are ready to celebrate the end of winter, those with seasonal allergies are already dreading the sneezing, wheezing, itchy eyes and runny nose that spring brings.

"Spring allergies can be tricky to treat because not everyone is allergic to the same things, even though symptoms may look a lot alike," said Dr. J. Allen Meadows, president of the American College of A...

Rx for Stressed-Out College Students: Spend Time With Nature

Just a bit of time spent with nature each day can reduce college students' stress, researchers say.

They reviewed studies on the effects of being in nature on 15- to 30-year-olds to see how much time college students should be spending outdoors and the best ways to reap the benefits.

Ten to 50 minutes of sitting or walking in natural spaces did the most efficient job of impr...

Dirty Air Cuts Millions of Lives Short Worldwide: Study

Worldwide, air pollution may be shortening people's life expectancy by an average of three years, according to new estimates.

Researchers calculate that air pollution actually has a bigger impact on life expectancy than tobacco smoking, HIV/AIDS or violence.

While that might sound surprising, it reflects the ubiquity of air pollution, said study co-author Jos Lelieveld of th...

Pick Summer Camps Carefully When Your Kid Has Allergies, Asthma

If you child has allergies or asthma, you need to take that into consideration when selecting a summer camp.

"Parents and kids alike who are dealing with asthma or severe allergies need to know there's a good fit and that the child's medical needs are being met," said Dr. J. Allen Meadows, president of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

"Take the time to...

How Coronavirus Raced Through Quarantined Cruise Ship

The crisis aboard the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan shows how germs can spread rapidly through air conditioning systems that can't filter out particles as small as the new coronavirus, one air quality expert says.

The quarantine ended last Wednesday, but not before the number of coronavirus cases reached 690 and three deaths were reported, according to the Asso...

Many Americans Lack Knowledge, Not Desire, to Eat Plant-Based Diets

A new poll suggests that education is all that stops most Americans from embracing plant-based diets that are better for the planet.

The poll, of just over 1,000 adults nationwide, found that 51% said they would eat more plant-based foods if they knew more about the environmental impacts of their eating habits, but 70% said they rarely or never discuss this issue with friends ...

Keep Your Kids Safe, Warm in Wintertime Fun

Sledding, skiing and ice skating are big fun in the winter, but can lead to big injuries, too.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) reminds parents to take steps to help their kids avoid injury and make sure they're dressed appropriately for the cold weather.

"This is the time of year when we see people return from winter break vacations with knee injuries from skiing, ...

Air Pollution Made in One State Can Cause Deaths in Others

Deadly air pollution doesn't stop at state borders, researchers warn.

Their analysis of 2005-2018 data on different types of air pollution from a variety of sources showed that half of pollutants generated in one state are carried by winds to affect the health and life span of people in other states.

More than half of early deaths related to air pollution in the United State...

Consumers Waste Twice as Much Food as Experts Thought

Much more food is wasted worldwide than commonly thought, a new study shows.

In 2005, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimated that one-third of all food available for human consumption was wasted.

This figure has been used to show the extent of food waste worldwide, but it considers supply alone and not consumer behavior.

The new...

Will the Lights of Fireflies Be Extinguished?

There is little more magical than the glow of fireflies on a still summer night, but new research suggests that light pollution threatens firefly populations worldwide.

The other major dangers putting some of the more than 2,000 different species of fireflies at risk of extinction include habitat loss and pesticides, according to firefly experts.

There's been a huge increase...

Growing Up in U.S. 'Stroke Belt' Bad for the Brain Later in Life

Americans who grew up in the swath of the South known as the Stroke Belt are more likely to develop thinking declines later in life, even if they moved away as adults, a new study suggests.

But people who grew up elsewhere and moved to the Stroke Belt are less likely to succumb to so-called cognitive decline than if they'd lived there all their lives, researchers found.

"A...

Stricter Clean Air Laws Could Save Thousands of Lives a Year: Study

Daily exposure to ground level ozone increases city residents' risk of early death, researchers warn.

Ground level ozone -- commonly found in cities and suburbs -- forms when pollutants react in sunlight.

New study findings suggest that thousands of ozone-related deaths "could be potentially reduced under stricter air quality standards," according to study co-author Ana Vice...

Tigers, Rhinos and Bears Help Raise Money for Conservation

Zoos that have large, well-known types of animals attract more visitors, which means more money for conservation, a new study finds.

Zoos and aquariums are among the leading sources of conservation funding and refuges for species with dwindling numbers in the wild.

"Our findings show that charismatic animals in the care of accredited zoos, and the visitors that come to see t...

Americans Toss Out Nearly a Third of Food at Home

Before you throw any leftovers away, heed new research that suggests the choice could hit you right in your pocketbook.

It turns out that almost one-third of food in American households goes to waste, costing each household thousands of dollars a year, researchers report.

"Our findings are consistent with previous studies, which have shown that 30% to 40% of the tot...

Vesuvius Eruption Turned One Ancient Resident's Brain Into Glass

The cataclysmic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. created temperatures so hot that one poor soul's brain was transformed into glass, researchers report.

Archaeologists working at the site of Herculaneum -- the other city wiped out in the eruption, alongside Pompeii -- discovered small bits of black glass inside the skull of one of the victims.

Tests of the glassy materia...

Flame Retardants, Pesticides Remain Threat to U.S. Health: Study

While health problems from childhood exposure to lead and mercury are on the decline, these and other toxic chemicals continue to take a toll, a new study reports.

The progress likely owes to decades of restrictions on use of heavy metals. But researchers from NYU Grossman School of Medicine in New York City said that exposure to other toxic chemicals -- especially flame retardants ...

Another Cost of Climate Change: More Wildfires

Wildfires like the ones that have ravaged Australia in recent months are likely to become more common as climate change continues to wreak havoc on the planet, a new study suggests.

The Australian wildfires prompted British researchers to review 57 studies published since 2013.

All of the studies show an association between human-driven climate change and increased frequency...

Why Tidying Up Is Sometimes Harder Than Expected

If you can't quite bring yourself to declutter your home and toss out unneeded possessions, one reason why might surprise you.

Researchers say the emotional tug you feel might be loneliness.

"When consumers make decisions about how to get rid of multiple possessions, perhaps when they are moving, it is a time when they are likely to feel lonely," said Catherine Cole. She's a...

Nearly 20 Years Later, Cancer Rates Higher in 9/11 First Responders

Nearly two decades after terrorists attacked New York's World Trade Center, certain cancers are striking police and recovery workers who saved lives, recovered bodies and cleaned up the wreckage.

This particular group of responders appears to have an increased risk of developing thyroid cancer, leukemia and prostate cancer, as well as a slightly elevated overall risk of cancer, resear...

Climate Change May Translate Into More Fatal Injuries

If climate change continues unabated, the United States should prepare for an increase in deaths from injuries, a new study claims.

Looking at data on injury deaths and temperature over 38 years, researchers found a correlation between unusually high temperatures and increased rates of death from a range of causes -- traffic accidents, drownings, assault and suicide.

The res...

Wildfires Send Kids to ERs for Breathing Problems

Wildfires are becoming increasingly common, and along with the rising environmental damage, a new study finds more breathing problems for kids.

In December 2017, a small wildfire in San Diego County, Calif., resulted in 16 more kids a day than usual showing up in emergency departments with trouble breathing, respiratory distress, wheezing or asthma.

Before it was over, the...

Banned for Decades, DDT and Dioxins Are Still Harming U.S. Babies

Decades-banned pesticides apparently continue to interfere with fetal growth during U.S. pregnancies, a new study reports.

DDT was banned in 1972 in the United States, but low levels of it and other organic chemical pollutants can still be found in the blood of pregnant American women, researchers reported online Dec. 30 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Women carrying even low levels ...

Insecticides Tied to Heart Disease Deaths

People with high levels of a common insecticide in their system are far more vulnerable to heart disease, a new study suggests.

According to Wei Bao, assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa College of Public Health, and colleagues, people who have been exposed to pyrethroid insecticides are three times more likely to die from cardiovascular disease than those wit...

Your TV, Smartphone Screens May Send Toxins Into Your Home

Your smartphone, television and computer screens may be contaminating your home with potentially toxic chemicals, a new study suggests.

An international team of researchers found the chemicals -- called liquid crystal monomers -- in nearly half of dozens of samples of household dust they collected.

Liquid crystal monomers are used in a wide number of products ranging from fl...

Is Green the Feel-Good Color of the Holidays?

There's one type of green Christmas that's likely to bring joy to gift-givers and recipients alike, a new Canadian study suggests.

That's one based on green consumerism -- a push to buy gifts produced in ways that protect the natural environment.

For this study, researchers at Concordia University in Montreal asked volunteers how a number of green and not-green products mad...

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