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EHN New Year's Headlines: New Documentary on U.S. Wildfire Crisis; Maine Shrimpers Face Total-Loss Season

Roundup of health news stories from around the United States.

Above the Fold News
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(CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA) - New scientific findings provide evidence that exposure to certain POPs in the womb may be associated with an increased risk of developing asthma that persists into young adulthood. At age 20, children of mothers with the highest blood concentrations of two different POPs during pregnancy, HCB and a specific PCB, were nearly twice as likely as children of mothers with the lowest concentrations to have been prescribed asthma medication. More...

Daily links to top stories in the news about environmental health.

America burning - The Yarnell Hill fire tragedy and the nation's wildfire crisis. Given the explosive and powerful nature of fires, fighting them could never be entirely free of risks. But one of the biggest threats firefighters face today are not from the truly wildfires, burning far from civilization, but instead come from places where homes and entire neighborhoods are constructed in the midst of forests and grasslands. The Weather Channel

Daunting calculus for Maine shrimpers as entire season is lost. Shrimping in the Gulf of Maine was so bad last season that Randy Cushman, a longtime fisherman, wondered if there was any point in going out at all. Regulators recently closed the 2014 Gulf of Maine shrimping season — which, in a normal year, might have run from December through the spring. New York Times [Registration Required]

Safety questions after North Dakota oil train derailment. A fiery oil train derailment's near-miss of a small North Dakota town had its mayor angrily calling for federal officials to do more to guarantee the safety of the nation's growing shipment of oil by rail. Associated Press

Ten environmental victories and triumphs of 2013. During 2013, native peoples reintroduced fading species, restored habitats and stopped big industry in its tracks. They drew attention to these causes and showed how they unify Indigenous Peoples and European descendants alike. Indian Country Today Media Network

Endangered Species Act turns 40. Environmentalists are celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, which they say is a powerful and successful tool for preserving the nation's biodiversity. But critics say the law is costly, poorly administered and has resulted in the recovery of only a fraction of protected species. San Francisco KQED Public Radio, California.

West Nile virus blamed for death of eagles in Utah. An unusual wintertime outbreak of West Nile virus has killed more than two dozen bald eagles in Utah and thousands of shore birds around the Great Salt Lake, state wildlife officials said on Tuesday. Reuters

New Oklahoma disclosure rules target chemicals used in fracking. Beginning today, operators of all oil and gas wells in the state must report the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing either directly to the website or to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which will add the information to the FracFocus database. Oklahoman, Oklahoma.

US House to start 2014 with bill curbing EPA. House Republicans have scheduled work on legislation next week aimed at easing environmental regulations and forcing federal facilities to comply with state-level rules. The Hill, District of Columbia.

A ghost train devastates a family and a town. An unlit train sped by, sparks flying at the tracks. Trains ran through Lac-Mégantic, the small lakeside resort town, all day and night, and people there knew the rhythmic chugging the way they knew the sound of the rain. But there was nothing familiar about this dark train, or its deafening, sibilant noise, like a massive teakettle about to blow. New York Times [Registration Required]

Key Pennsylvania gas drilling health study collecting data. Almost two years after it began, a much-publicized plan to study possible health impacts from gas drilling is still in the process of collecting data. Associated Press

Mexican communities on guard against thirst for oil. The Terra 123 oil and gas well in the southeastern Mexican state of Tabasco was in flames since late October, just 1.5 kilometers from a community of 1,500 Oxiacaque indigenous villagers, who were never evacuated. Inter Press Service

Food company in Japan apologizes for 'major error' about health effects of pesticide. Maruha Nichiro Holdings Inc. apologized Dec. 31 for grossly understating the potential health effects caused by consuming frozen food products tainted with a pesticide. Asahi Shimbun, Japan.

Cars or coal? Scientists split over main culprit of Beijing's air pollution. As China enters 2014 reeling from one of the worst polluted winters in recent years, experts from two major research institutes have openly disagreed over what is the main culprit behind the capital city's dismal air pollution. South China Morning Post, China.

Public health issues dominated news in 2013. The spread of infectious diseases whose ranges are expanding or shifting because of climate change was among the top health news of 2013 - a year that began in the midst of a severe flu season and alarm over a deadly new strain of bird flu in China, called H7N9. USA Today

Behavior and biology: The accidental epigeneticist. During the 1980s, public-school officials in Canada identified many impoverished neighbourhoods in Montreal as places where kindergarten children disproportionately displayed severe behavioral problems, such as aggression. Over the past three decades, they have served as living laboratories in the study of aggression. Nature

Delaware, others challenge EPA rule allowing longer running of generators. Delaware and environmental and industry petitioners have asked a federal appeals court to vacate provisions of a 2013 Environmental Protection Agency final rule that allows backup stationary engines that generate electricity to run for up to 100 hours per year for emergency demand response without emissions controls. Bloomberg BNA

Secret memo shows intent of Canada's science library closures. A federal document marked "secret" indicates the closure of more than half a dozen world famous science libraries has little if anything to do with digitizing books as claimed by the Harper government. In fact, it mentions only the "culling of materials" as the main activity. Vancouver Tyee, British Columbia.

End of the road for old-style light bulbs. It’ll soon be lights out for popular light bulbs that generations of Americans have used for decades. Beginning today, it’s illegal to manufacture or import incandescent 40- and 60-watt light bulbs, the pear-shaped general service bulbs with tungsten filaments popular in residences for more than a century. St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Missouri.

More news from today
80 more stories, including:
West Nile Virus likely culprit in Utah bald eagle deaths
Spate of fatal lyme cases surprises health officials
Climate: Water risk as world warms; 2013 was LA's driest year on record; Cloud changes linked to warming
And the biggest consumer story was...
Stories from Afghanistan, Japan, China, Vietnam, Australia, Canada
US stories from KY, LA, ND, NM, OR, CA
Editorials: US Army Corps clueless as carp close in; New York governor must end fracking debate

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