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December 21, 2011 | By Dean Kuipers
Finally, some sanity regarding smokestack emissions. After decades of political squabbling, on Wednesday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued its Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, or MATS, which will dramatically cut the amount of highly toxic mercury and about 70 other pollutants released in the United States. The rules target the emissions from coal-fired power plants. Mercury is the key element addressed by these rules, but it's only one of many chemicals -- plus fine particulate matter, which plays a role in asthma and other respiratory illnesses nationwide -- that are regulated by MATS.
November 30, 2011 | By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Arsenic levels in some commercial fruit juices may be higher than expected, finds a study from Consumer Reports. The discovery comes just months after television host Dr. Mehmet Oz proclaimed results from his own investigation showed that arsenic levels in apple juice were unhealthful. The Food and Drug Administration claimed Oz's statistics were faulty and said juice was safe to drink. Apple juice contains a certain amount of organic arsenic, and what Oz found, they said, represented the total amount of arsenic and wasn't an accurate reading.
September 16, 2011 | By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but apple juice? That's asking for trouble. Witness the white-hot flames of controversy this week over Dr. Mehmet Oz's claims that apple juice contains unhealthful levels of arsenic. Here's the background in a nutshell: On his syndicated television show, Oz made the claims about apple juice containing arsenic, which prompted the Food and Drug Administration and others to fire back, saying that Oz's claims were unfounded and that the juice was safe to drink.
June 9, 2011 | By Marissa Cevallos, HealthKey / For the Booster Shots blog
Arsenic, chicken feed and the FDA are three terms not normally seen together in health articles. Here’s how such an alignment can happen… An arsenic-containing drug used in chicken feed will no longer be sold in the U.S. after FDA researchers detected a more dangerous form of arsenic in chickens fed the chemical.  The agency announced Wednesday that Pfizer subsidiary Alpharma will discontinue U.S. sales of 3-Nitro, a drug fed to chickens...
December 22, 2010 | By Karen Kaplan and Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
The stage was set by a coy news release from NASA that hinted at a discovery tied to the search for extraterrestrial life. The blogosphere went wild: Had bacteria been found on one of Saturn's moons, or life of some sort on Mars? FOR THE RECORD: Mono Lake bacteria: A Dec. 23 article in Section A about a bacteria from Mono Lake that may be able to survive on the toxic element arsenic quoted Harry Collins, who studies the sociology of scientific knowledge at the University of Cardiff, and said that the university is in England.
December 11, 2010 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
Last week, amid much fanfare, scientists reported they had found an organism that ? unlike all previously observed life on Earth ? was able to do without phosphorus and use the normally deadly element arsenic in its place. This week, skeptical scientists expressed serious concerns about the discovery and the researchers' interpretation of their experimental results. "There must be a hundred things in that paper that have people going, 'Hey, wait, that can't be right,'" said Rosie Redfield, a microbiologist and professor of zoology at the University of British Columbia who kicked off the widespread criticism with a blog post last Saturday.
December 2, 2010 | By Eryn Brown and Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
After days of rampant speculation that NASA was on the cusp of revealing it had detected extraterrestrial life, the reality was slightly more down-to-Earth. A team of scientists revealed Thursday that they had found a remarkable quality in a bacterium growing quietly in California's Mono Lake ? it is the only known life form able to subsist on the deadly element arsenic. The organism even uses arsenic to build the backbone of its DNA. To researchers searching for life elsewhere in the universe, the discovery still qualified as a heaven-sent event.
November 24, 2010 | By Deborah Blum
In the mid-19th century in Europe, a rather strange theory arose ? the idea that eating arsenic could improve one's health. It originated with the discovery that peasants in the Austrian mining region of Styria liked to mix a little of the poison into their morning coffee. As reported in 1855, the miners had discovered that exposure to arsenic ? an element naturally occurring in metallic rocks ? brought "beauty and freshness to the complexion. " This pink-cheeked ideal of health led to what I always think of as the arsenic-eating insanity days of Victorian times.
March 30, 2009 | TMIES WIRE REPORTS
Thirteen officials in central China have been punished after a chemical company contaminated a river with arsenic, state media reported. A local court sentenced Liu Gaili, a former environmental protection bureau official, to two years in jail, the official New China News Agency said, quoting the Shangqiu city government in Henan province. The report said 12 other officials were either sacked or given administrative punishments. The officials were punished after a section of the Dasha river was found contaminated by arsenic in August.
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