Blog Archives

Geo-medicine: Mapping our pollution exposures

My latest post on The Atlantic’s Cities website explores geo-medicine, a new field that uses GIS mapping to correlate environmental conditions to health risks like heart attacks and cancer. There’s even a free app that allows you to map the types of toxic exposures in everyplace you’ve ever lived and correlate them to the likelihood of developing cancer or dying of a heart attack.

Beyond charting the potential for your own personal doomsday, however, geo-medicine has many other applications: It can allow doctors to zoom in on a patient’s life to create a geographically enhanced medical history. Or it can zoom out to give public health officials, city planners and activists detail-rich insights on how to improve the well-being of entire communities.

Check out my story and let me know what you think!

Peaches not so Peachie – New Report Ranks Pesticides in Produce

News of this new “Shoppers Guide to Pesticides” came to me via Mother Jones this morning. It’s worth a look. It ranks 47 different types of fruit and veggies by the amount of pesticide residue contain.

iband.com imageWe should all care because eating a bunch a pesticides along with your daily portion of produce is known to effect your nervous and hormone systems. Pesticides are toxins with carcinogenic qualities. Coming in contact with them can also irritate your eyes, skin and lungs, according to the report, which cites a slew of scientific studies.

It also offers tips on how to minimize your exposure but they are pretty limited; The authors suggest go organic. They also put in a plug for pressing lawmakers to demand full-disclosure of pesticides used in growing the food we innocently purchase in the supermarkets. And, once we knew, demand those toxins are limited or eliminated altogether.

Good information but pretty lame advice which has been doled out on this subject for some years now with little movement toward full disclosure by the agribusiness giants in this country and abroad that produce so much of our food supply. Luckily, farmers’ market season is approaching. I am, however, sometimes worried that the small farmers who sell at our neighborhood market in Takoma Park might be using the same old pesticides and simply coasting on their “family farm” looks. What guarantee do we have that farmers market sellers are adhering to better practices and using fewer chemical inputs?

GreenLines: Trans-continental Climate Talks Edition!

Wikipedia photo

In Copenhagen, climate negotiations move closer to an accord as the talks head toward the half-way mark, the Washington Post reports.

In Washington, a delegation of area schoolchildren gave a presentation on climate change to youth delegates in Copenhagen via a live feed at a federal building downtown.

The director of one of the world’s biggest cycling events, the Giro d’Italia, met with Mayor Adrian M. Fenty yesterday to discuss plans for Washington to host the start of the 2012 race, the New York Times reports.

Meanwhile, Fenty‘s fraternity brothers – the ones who won the parks & recreation contracts – were called to defend themselves yesterday and insisted their ties to the city administration had nothing to do with their success. Sheesh!

The Park View blog posts on the city’s tree planting plans.

Greater Goods just put out its December newsletter. It’s a bit out of date, listing some events that already took place. But it’s in time to advertise a couple of workshops on “greening” your holiday season including one tomorrow on how to make eco-friendly decorations. Cost: $5. The class calendar hasn’t been updated either, but you can still RSVP by email.

DC Metrocentric went to EcoBuild 09 and has an enthusiastic post about the green building conference at the Washington Convention Center.

Pacific Coast fishermen Say Carbon Dioxide Having ‘Really Scary’ Ocean Effect.

New figures show 10,000 people have died of Swine Flu.

A new study in Sweden has found that high voltage power lines trap cancer-causing pollutants in their electric fields, potentially raising health risks for people who live beneath them.

The DCist has some weekend cultural offerings here and here.