Just about everyone would like to make a contribution to help out the environment in every small way they can. For most people, this simply means throwing that empty cereal box in the recycling bin instead of the trashcan. Those who really take the issue to heart and have the financial resources can take it a few steps further and have their home fitted with solar panels or drive an electric car.
There is now a whole new way the average person can make more of a difference and it is even easier than recycling. To make a positive environmental impact, all people have to do is wear a pair of jeans. Yes, that is right; wearing a pair of jeans in public can actually help the environment.
Scientist Tony Ryan and fashion mogul Helen Storey have worked together to come up with a brand new pair of jeans that are described as “super cleaner denims.” The two discovered that a dangerous pollutant known as titanium dioxide can stick and cling on to denim like a magnet. Once the compound is on the jeans, it can be completely neutralized when the jeans go in the washer.
Ryan and Storey are currently working on a project called Catalytic Clothing, which is a line of fashion apparel with a theme on environmental awareness.
Roughly 1.3 million people die prematurely as a result of exposure to toxic emissions, which are produced mainly from vehicles and factories. Poor air quality can cause asthma and respiratory illnesses.
There is still much to be studied though theoretically speaking, people in the future can actually protect the environment simply by walking around in their favorite pairs of denims. This seems like a completely plausible scenario given that there are more pair of jeans than there are people in the world. This finding combines fashion with environmental awareness; it is the best of both worlds.
Researchers have long suspected that polluted air can cause health problems. Recent studies are now substantiating these claims. The new study suggests that exposure to ozone can lead to heart complications and even sudden death in the most extreme cases.
Ozone is a common pollutant found at ground level. It is created when smog and waste from vehicles and factories react with sunlight. It is believed that even short-term exposure can put people at a greater risk for heart disease, especially among older people. The study shows even as little as two hours of exposure to ozone may be enough to cause inflammation, which is associated with heart attacks.
While previous studies exist, most of them are on the effects ozone has on the lungs and how it impacts the respiratory system. The newest study consisted of 23 participants who were either exposed to ozone or clean air. The exposure lasted two hours and was administered every two weeks.
Researchers monitored the heart immediately after exposure and again the morning after. The results showed that those exposed to ozone showed a decrease in cells that play a key role in reducing blood clots. They also showed a change in heart rhythm and an increase in inflammation. All volunteers were young and healthy adults, so there was no serious risk involved. However, the implications can be much more severe for older individuals.
Experts say that people can reduce their risk of exposure by spending less time outside, especially during high temperatures when ozone levels are at its peak.
According to the World Health Organization, roughly two million people across the globe have died prematurely from heart complications as a result of ozone exposure. The Environmental Protection Agency has released information on air quality on its website as well as tips on how people can limit exposure.
The Environmental Protection Agency is changing drinking water standards to impose stricter limits on four specific contaminants which can cause cancer.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said that the agency is developing stricter regulations for: tetrachloroethylene, trichloroethylene, acrylamide and epichlorohydrin.
Trichloroethylene, also known as TCE, and tetrachloroethylene are usually used as industrial solvents and can seep into drinking water from contaminated ground or surface water. The other two compounds are impurities which get introduced into drinking water during the water treatment process.
Jackson says that the EPA will issue new rules on TCE and tetrachloroethylene within the coming year. New rules for the other two compounds will follow.
Jackson called for more collaboration among states and the federal government, as well as development of new technologies to meet the needs of urban, rural and other water-stressed communities.
The new strategy would address contaminants as a group to better the efficiency; develop new technologies to address health risks from a vast array of contaminants; use a combination of state and federal laws to protect drinking water; and form partnerships with states.
TCE is an especially problematic chemical compound. It was used to clean nuclear missiles and was frequently dumped at missile sites. Exposure to high concentrations of this chemical causes nervous system problems, liver and lung damage, abnormal heartbeat, coma and death.