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WORLD
December 20, 2013 | By Henry Chu
LONDON - Britain will help eliminate Syria's chemical stockpile by taking and destroying 165 tons of substances that could be used to make highly toxic nerve agents, British officials said Friday. The industrial-grade chemicals are to be shipped to Britain in securely sealed containers, then transferred to a commercial facility and incinerated there, the government said. By themselves, the chemicals, known as “B precursors,” are not very dangerous, officials said. Only when combined with other specific substances known as “A precursors” do they create a poisonous nerve agent.
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SCIENCE
December 16, 2013 | By Neela Banerjee
Water samples collected at Colorado sites where hydraulic fracturing was used to extract natural gas show the presence of chemicals that have been linked to infertility, birth defects and cancer, scientists reported Monday. The study, published in the journal Endocrinology, also found elevated levels of the hormone-disrupting chemicals in the Colorado River, where wastewater released during accidental spills at nearby wells could wind up. Tests of water from sites with no fracking activity also revealed the activity of so-called endocrine-disrupting chemicals, or EDCs.
BUSINESS
December 13, 2013 | By Ronald D. White
At a Garden Grove manufacturing plant, chemists confer over batches of lavender, parsley and other natural ingredients, testing them for strength and quality. Other tests ensure that the products are pure and pour well. Visitors might be excused for thinking the facility was crafting a fine wine or artisan beer. But at Earth Friendly Products, plants have a higher purpose: getting your house and clothing clean without hurting the environment. Earth Friendly Products makes dozens of natural cleaning products, including the best-selling Ecos laundry detergent, which is carried online, in supermarkets and at big-box stores such as Wal-Mart and Costco.
WORLD
December 12, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT - A United Nations report released Thursday concluded that chemical weapons probably were deployed on several occasions in Syria, the most convincing evidence coming from the Aug. 21 attacks outside Damascus that left hundreds dead. Chemical weapons may have been deployed in five of seven cases investigated, occurring between March and August, including the Aug. 21 incident, according to the report. The five locations were Ghouta, Khan Assal, Jobar, Saraqeb and Ashrafiah Sahnaya.
SCIENCE
December 9, 2013 | By Amina Khan
Billions of years ago, when early life was just taking hold on Earth, Mars was home to an ancient lake filled with the right chemical ingredients for life to thrive, scientists said Monday. Drilling into dry rock, NASA's Curiosity rover has discovered signs that Gale Crater was once watery, perhaps ringed with ice and snow, and could potentially have hosted an entire Martian biosphere based on a type of microbe found in caves on Earth. Such primitive organisms, called chemolithoautotrophs, feed on chemicals found in rocks and make their own energy.
WORLD
December 5, 2013 | By David S. Cloud
WASHINGTON - The Pentagon is outfitting a 647-foot cargo ship with high-tech equipment in an effort to safely destroy hundreds of tons of lethal chemical weapons agents that were collected in Syria after a deadly gas attack this summer sparked an international outcry. Two specially developed hydrolysis machines, which use water or bleach to neutralize the chemicals that produce nerve gases, have been installed aboard the Cape Ray at the U.S. naval base in Norfolk, Va., officials said Thursday.
NATIONAL
November 29, 2013 | By Cindy Carcamo
Most of the 400 residents who were evacuated in a small northern Ohio town have been allowed to return to their homes after a train car leaked thousands of gallons of a highly flammable chemical earlier this week. The homes closest to Tuesday's derailment in the town of Willard will remain off-limits as the cleanup continues, according a statement by the railroad company CSX Transportation. About three dozen homes are still in the evacuation zone, according to the city. Officials lifted the evacuation for the bulk of the homes on Thursday afternoon, allowing residents to return in time for Thanksgiving after 13,000 gallons of styrene monomer leaked from a train car. No injuries were reported.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 22, 2013 | By Matt Stevens
Preliminary testing at Malibu High School has uncovered toxic chemicals at levels that exceed regulatory limits, according to a statement released Friday by the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. The findings trigger what could be a "very large, very expensive" remediation plan in which the district will have to conduct additional testing and ultimately clean up the chemicals, district Supt. Sandra Lyon said. That potentially years-long process will be overseen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, she added.
WORLD
November 21, 2013 | By Carol J. Williams
The international agency tasked with locating and destroying Syria's chemical weapons said Thursday it was calling for help from private industry in neutralizing 1,000 metric tons of chemicals and munitions after U.S. ally Albania balked at hosting the operation. In a report on its "detailed plan of destruction" approved Thursday, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons laid out its prioritized destruction schedule under which the most dangerous chemical arms and substances -- already removed from the country -- will be rendered harmless and buried in secure waste sites.
ENTERTAINMENT
November 21, 2013 | By Joseph Lapin
Jerry Stahl believes it's impossible to shock an audience anymore, but in his new novel, "Happy Mutant Baby Pills" (Harper Perennial, $14.99 pp.), he comes close. His main character, Lloyd, falls in love with a murderous woman named Nora who wants to take down Monsanto and Dow Chemical. After an absurd, paranoid and somehow comic murder spree, they decide to create a mutant baby in protest of capitalism by ingesting as many prescriptions, GMOs and pesticide-laden products as possible - while shooting endless amounts of heroin.
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