Archive | Effects Of Air Pollution

Britain Eyes CO2 for More Oil Production

DURHAM, England, Oct. 14 (UPI) — Britain could reap a $240 billion North Sea oil bonanza using carbon dioxide to extract oil, but only if the current infrastructure is enhanced, a study says.

Research at Durham University shows that using CO2 to enhance recovery could yield an extra 3 billion barrels of oil during the next 20 years, a university release said. That amount of oil could power, heat and fuel transport in Britain for two years with every other form of energy switched off, researchers say.

The process is almost carbon neutral, with almost as much carbon being put back in the ground as would be taken out, they say.

“Time is running out to make best use of our precious remaining oil reserves because we’re losing vital infrastructure as the oil fields decline and are abandoned,” Jon Gluyas, a professor in Durham’s department of earth sciences, say. “Once the infrastructure is removed, we will never go back and the opportunity will be wasted.

“We need to act now to develop the capture and transportation infrastructure to take the CO2 to where it is needed,” Gluyas said.

Oil is usually recovered by flushing oil wells through with water pressure. Since the 1970s oil fields in Texas have been successfully exploited by pumping CO2 as a liquid into parts of the reservoirs water injection doesn’t reach, resulting in a 4 percent to 12 percent increase in oil production.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Infrastructure, Other, Transportation0 Comments

U.S. Getting Unlabeled Chinese Fish Oil

KANSAS CITY, Mo., Oct. 10 (UPI) — Chinese imports account for a fifth of the U.S. fish oil market, but consumers wouldn’t know it, a newspaper’s investigation found.

An investigation by The Kansas City Star found that importers evade labeling rules, and U.S. authorities let them.

One in five American adults now takes fish oil. It is the No. 3 dietary supplement and a nearly $1 billion annual business.

Chinese fish oil has not been implicated in major recalls or health scandals, and a spokesman for Beijing said it is of good quality, the newspaper reported

But Leo Hepner, an international consultant on food and dietary supplement ingredients, told the Star that if he knew some fish oil capsules were manufactured in China, “I would prefer to buy something else.”

U.S. Food and Drug Administration rules say supplement labels should include “a truthful representation of geographical origin.”

But enforcement of import labeling is up to U.S. Customs and Border Control, which has been letting the importers get around the law. Importers assert that just bottling the capsules in the United States “transforms” them into a U.S. product, so they don’t have to be labeled as imports, the newspaper reported.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Fish, Other0 Comments

Study Finds Brain Changes During Sleep

PALO ALTO, Calif., Oct. 7 (UPI) — The number of connections, or synapses, in a particular region of the brain varies between night and day and appears to be regulated by a gene, researchers say.

Stanford University scientists have been studying what happens in the brain while you sleep and how the circadian clock and sleep affect neuron-to-neuron connections, a university release says.

Why we need to sleep and how, exactly, sleep is restorative are unanswered questions in biology.

Using zebrafish, a popular aquarium fish that, like humans, are active during the day and sleep at night, they studied “synaptic plasticity,” the ability of synapses to change strength and even form and erase.

“This is the first time differences in the number of synapses between day and night and between wake and sleep have been shown in a living animal,” researcher Lior Appelbaum, said.

They theorize that nighttime changes in the number and strength of synapses — the synaptic plasticity — help recharge the brain and, in turn, benefits memory, learning and other functions.

“It gets ready for new activity by telling the neurons they have to shut down synapses during this time of day but increase them at other times of the day,” he said.

They also identified a gene that appears to be involved in regulating the rhythmic changes in synapses.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Fish, Other0 Comments

Mercury Levels in Fish Puzzle Scientists

RALEIGH, N.C., Oct. 6 (UPI) — In a surprise finding, U.S. researchers say fish located near coal-fired power plants have lower levels of mercury than fish that live farther away.

North Carolina State University researchers say the result may be linked to high levels of another element, selenium, found near coal-fired facilities, which can present problems of its own, a release by the school said.

“We found that fish in lakes located at least 30 kilometers (18 miles) from a coal-fired power plant had mercury levels more than three times higher than fish of the same species in lakes that are within 10 km (6 miles) of a plant,” Dana Sackett, a doctoral student at N.C. State, said. “This information will inform health and wildlife officials who make determinations about fish consumption advisories and wildlife management decisions.”

The results were unexpected since coal-fired power plants are the leading source of mercury air emissions in the world and a significant amount of that mercury is expected to settle out of the air within 6 miles of a plant’s smokestacks.

The researchers theorize lower mercury levels near power plants are likely linked to selenium levels, as fish tested within 6 miles of a plant showed selenium levels three times higher than samples taken from fish located further away. The higher the selenium level, the lower the mercury level, the researchers found.

Selenium, also emitted by coal-fired plants, is known to have an antagonistic relationship to mercury, though the specific mechanisms at work at not completely understood.

High levels of selenium pose their own risks, scientists said.

“Selenium is an important dietary element,” said Dr. Derek Aday, associate professor of biology at N.C. State. “But at high levels, it can have serious consequences — including lethal effects and an array of health problems for fish and wildlife.”

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Coal, Consumption, Fish, Other0 Comments

High Fish Oil Link to Colon Cancer in Mice

EAST LANSING, Mich., Oct. 6 (UPI) — In a study of mice, U.S. researchers found high doses of fish oil induced severe colitis and colon cancer — a finding researchers described as “surprising.”

Study leader Jenifer Fenton, a food science and human nutrition researcher at Michigan State University, said the researchers hypothesized feeding fish oil enriched with docosahexaenoic acid to mice prone to inflammatory-like bowel disease would decrease their cancer risk.

“We actually found the opposite,” Fenton said in a statement. “We found that mice developed deadly, late-stage colon cancer when given high doses of fish oil — more importantly, with the increased inflammation, it only took four weeks for the tumors to develop.”

The study, published in the journal Cancer Research, found an increase in the severity of the cancer and an aggressive progression of the cancer in not only the mice receiving the highest doses of DHA but those receiving lower doses as well.

However, Fenton cautioned people may not need to avoid fish oil — with any nutrient, there is a “bell curve” effect, with those on the left deficient in a nutrient and those on the right in excess.

“Currently, there is a call by academics and the food industry to establish dietary guidelines for omega-3 consumption,” Fenton said. “Most Americans are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids, and there is substantial evidence supporting the beneficial effects of the consumption.”

The findings support a growing body of literature implicating the harmful effects of high doses of fish oil in relation to certain diseases, Fenton added.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Consumption, Fish, Food Industry, Literature, Other0 Comments

Virus Threatens Survival of British Frogs

LONDON, Oct. 3 (UPI) — A virus that makes frogs bleed to death is wiping them out in much of Britain, biologists said.

The ranavirus has killed off 80 percent of common frogs in the worst-hit areas and threatens other amphibians, a senior research fellow at the Zoological Society of London told The Sunday Telegraph.

Scientist Trent Garner said, “Many of these populations are hanging on by a handful of frogs. If the disease causes the frog populations to fall so low then so many other factors come into play that could cause local extinctions.”

The researchers examined frog numbers in a selection of populations around the country where ranavirus disease has been reported since 1996.

In half of the populations surveyed, there were repeated outbreaks. In almost a quarter of the cases, frog numbers dropped by more than 80 per cent.

Ranavirus is thought to have appeared in Britain in the 1980s, introduced through imported fish or amphibians. The plague was first reported in the southeast England and has spread as far as Manchester, Cornwall and Wales.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Amphibians, Fish, Other0 Comments

Researchers Find Small Tigers

DHAKA, Bangladesh, Oct. 1 (UPI) — U.S. researchers said tigers in the Sundarbans forests of Bangladesh weigh about half as much as Bengal tigers in other areas.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service research, carried out by the University of Minnesota and the Bangladesh Forest Department, found the average female Sunderbans tiger weighs 170 pounds, compared to 304 pounds for other wild Bengal tigers in South Asia, the BBC reported Friday.

Adam Barlow, a co-author of the research, said the team is unsure of the cause behind the comparative smallness of the tigers.

“This could be related to the small size of deer available to tigers in the Sundarbans, compared to the larger deer and other prey available to tigers in other parts,” he said.

The team said the Sundarbans tigers could be among the smallest tigers in the world.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Fish, Other0 Comments

Food Items Fail Hong Kong Safety Checks

HONG KONG, Sept. 30 (UPI) — Food safety authorities in Hong Kong say recent tests of 3,900 food samples in local shops and restaurants found 14 food items that failed safety checks.

Hong Kong’s Center for Food Safety took about 2,700 samples for chemical tests and the remainder for microbiological and other tests, Xinhua news agency reported.

Among the food items failing were frozen suckling pig with excessive levels of a veterinary drug, frozen fish and shrimp with high mercury levels, and some fresh fish with elevated levels of cadmium, Xinhua said.

A sample of Singaporean-style fried noodles was contaminated with bacteria, while other foods were found to contain banned preservative chemicals.

The food safety center issued citations to the shops and restaurants involved, Xinhua reported.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Chemicals, Fish, Other0 Comments

China Opens Polar Marine Museum

TIANJIN, China, Sept. 30 (UPI) — China says its newly opened marine museum in the northern port city of Tianjin, displaying thousands of rare polar marine species, is the country’s largest.

With a display space of half a million square feet, the Tianjin Polar Marine Museum has more than 2,000 polar species from Russia, Canada, Australia and other countries on display, China’s state-run news agency Xinhua reported Thursday.

Visitors at Thursday’s opening could experience a 100-foot-long “touch pond” to touch and feel a selection of fish, shrimps, crabs, shellfishes, marine algae and coral.

Within the museum is a performance venue capable of accommodating an audience of 2,000.

The polar marine museum is part of a “polar marine world” project of Chinese company Haichang (Group) Co. Ltd., which is still under construction.

The investment for the whole project is about $538 million, Xinhua reported.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Fish, Other0 Comments

Student Builds Solar-power Motorcycle

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind., Sept. 29 (UPI) — A Purdue University student has created a street-legal solar powered motorcycle he says can carry a commuter for a penny a mile.

Physics major Tony Danger Coiro spent $2,500 redesigning and retrofitting the 1978 Suzuki bought for $50 to create the vehicle that has a top speed of 45 mph, a university release said Wednesday.

“The riding experience is surreal,” Coiro said. “I get instant, silent, constant acceleration that outpaces urban traffic. It’s like riding a magic carpet.”

The lead acid batteries that get power from the bike’s solar cells can also be charged by plugging into household current.

Coiro, along with two other solar-power vehicle enthusiasts, has started the Purdue Electric Vehicles Club to help like-minded students expand environmentally friendly transportation options.

“Purdue Electric Vehicles will encourage enthusiasm for, and knowledge and development of, electric vehicles by students and the community,” Coiro said.

Coiro is already designing a 100-horsepower motorcycle that will travel up to 100 miles per charge, top 100 mph and draw even more of its energy from the sun, he said.

“I’ve learned a lot building this first bike, and now I’m ready to make a game-changer,” Coiro said.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI). Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI’s prior written consent.

Posted in Other, Solar, Transportation0 Comments

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