public health


There Would Be No Smoke If There Were No Fires

Sarah Henderson, PhD
, , UCS

Right now Indonesian farmers are burning hundreds of thousands of hectares of the oldest rainforests on earth to clear land for plantation crops. The resulting smoke has covered Southeast Asia in a thick haze, affecting the health of hundreds of millions of people. This happens every year, which is incredibly frustrating because the Indonesian government made slash-and-burn agriculture largely illegal in 2001, following the severe regional haze it generated 1997-1998. On paper those laws were strengthened in 2009 and again 2014, but in actuality the 2015-2016 season is likely to be the worst on record.

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A Double Homicide on the House Floor

, sr. Washington rep., Center for Science & Democracy

I am used to the House of Representatives passing unwise bills that would make it difficult for agencies to use science to protect the environment and public health and safety. I understand that wealthy special interests are spending millions of dollars to advance their anti-regulatory agenda in Washington. But even I was shocked that a terrible legislative proposal could grow even worse. But that’s what happened in the House on July 28. Read more >

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The Science Community Must Fight Attacks on Science-Based Regulations

, director, Center for Science & Democracy

It is easy in the day-to-day work of science to miss the struggle now being waged in Washington over the role science plays in crafting health and safety protections for America. But that struggle is heating up and the outcome matters not only for the science community but for the country. The Center for Science and Democracy at UCS, and our Steering Committee of eminent scientists and public servants, are asking you to join the fight in a Policy Forum article published in Science May 29th.
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Lead Poisoning: A Modern Plague among Children

Dr. Wornie Reed
, , UCS

I am an advocate for bringing more public attention to the critical issue of childhood lead poisoning. It is the number one environmental health threat to children. Lead present in paint, dust, and soil is possibly our most significant toxic waste problem in terms of the seriousness and the extent of human health effects. Lead poisoning is more dangerous than some forms of cancer—yet it is virtually ignored by the American public. Read more >

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Is Small Farmers’ Firewood Use Burning up the Forests?

, sr. scientist & dir., Climate Research and Analysis

For many years, small farmers in developing countries have been blamed for deforestation because of the way that they make breakfast. While in developed countries nearly everyone cooks with fossil fuels, or with electricity generated by fossil fuels or hydroelectricity, in developing countries firewood still predominates, especially among the poorest people in rural areas. But is this really an important driver of deforestation—and thus a major contributor to global warming? A new study—the most in-depth and comprehensive look at the subject yet—says no.

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