- Author: Ann Brody Guy
We’ve all noticed the changed landscape on the grocery shelves: eco-friendly brands like Mrs. Meyers, Seventh Generation and even Clorox’s Sierra Club-endorsed Green Works sit next to conventional stalwarts like Tide, Cheer and those ferocious scrubbing bubbles. The new products are the consumers'-eye-view into a quiet “green chemistry” revolution taking shape in university and commercial labs across the country, and in education and public policy.
Even if the proliferation of green cleaning products, office supplies, packaging and appliances make the planet and its inhabitants healthier, the fact remains that more than 80,000 chemicals with uncertain health and environmental impacts currently are registered with the...
- Author: Jeannette E. Warnert
With the early childhood eating habits of toddlers and young children, it is no surprise that preschools and child care centers often have problems with ants and cockroaches. Schools for the state’s youngest residents may also have concerns about black widow spiders, yellow jackets, mosquitos, rodents and other pests.
Many of the centers respond to the problem with pesticide sprays and foggers that could expose children and staff to residues on surfaces and in the air, a 2010 survey by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation revealed.
California’s Healthy Schools Act requires DPR to collect information about pesticide use and pest management in...
- Author: Janet Byron
Technology that allows orchard sprayers to skip the space between trees can protect the environment while saving growers money.
The idea is simple: when orchards receive dormant and in-season sprays of agricultural chemicals, the spray should only fall on the trees where it is needed, rather than on the ground, where it is not.
Orchard sprayers can be retrofit with target sensors that activate spray nozzles only when a tree is present.
A review of research on this “smart” sprayer technology, published in the April-June 2011 issue of the University of California’s California Agriculture journal, found that...
- Author: Jaime Adler
Whether you are enjoying a family day at the beach or a hike through the woods, the pictures you take not only document your memories, but they also capture observations in nature. The relatively new website, iNaturalist, creates a forum for the public to be able to share those photos as a living record of our environment.
iNaturalist works in three different ways. You can post your own observations by creating a free account and uploading a picture of a beautiful patch of wildflowers or a type of bird you have never seen before. Other users can then comment on your photo and also help you identify the species you observed. You can also use the site to explore your neighborhood,...
- Author: Janet L. White
"Biofilms" surround us. They pervade our environment and our bodies. They form the dental plaque on our teeth and establish the chronic infections in our childrens' ear canals. They can spread on the watery surface of a contact lens.
Biofilms are now thought to be involved in 80 percent of human microbial infections, and are likely responsible for the resistance of chronic infections to antibiotics. Biofilms even form around "extremophiles" – such as the ancient blue-green cyanobacteria that thrive in extreme environments like the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park and the lake crusts of Antarctica. These microorganisms with fossil records going back 3.5 billion years also clog water pipes and create the slimy...