Algae: The Missing PCB Link?

Toxic chemicals known as P-C-B’s haven’t been used in the U.S. for morethan two decades. But dangerous levels of P-C-B’s remain in the naturalenvironment and pose a threat to human health. To address this problem,scientists are trying to understand how these chemicals get into thefood chain. Now, a scientist at Northwestern University has found alikely answer. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Steve Frenkelreports:

Are Sperm Counts Declining?

Are sperm counts on the decline? Federal researchers hope they can find out. The government is about to launch the largest project ever to find out if something’s gone wrong with male reproductive health. The study will follow a recent report from the California Department of Health Services that startled the scientific community. The study found a significant drop in sperm count and raised questions about whether environmental chemicals are the culprit. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Julie Edelson Halpert has more:

Rat Patrol

They can chew through cinderblock…tread water for days…And survive…if necessary, by just eating dog feces. But they’re not some kind of mutant superhero…they’re rats. And in cities, where rat populations can quickly explode, there’s a constant battle against the resilient rodents. Today, some cities are winning the war with some surprisingly simple solutions. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Wendy Nelson explains:

New Technology Curtails Airport Runoff

Recent studies have shown that the use of ethylene glycol to ridairplanes of ice and frost is costly to both airlines and theenvironment. While efforts are underway to gather up more and more ofthis toxic liquid so that it can be recycled, another airport isimplementing an entirely new technology to drastically reduce the use ofglycol even in the most extreme conditions. The Great Lakes RadioConsortium’s Todd Witter reports:

Superfund Remediation

The Great Lakes Region is home to thousands of inactive, abandonedhazardous waste sites. Cleaning them up is often the responsibility ofeach individual state. But the process often takes years and ishampered by a lack of funds, a lack of scientific knowledge, and a lackof political will. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Bud Lowell isfollowing the clean-up at one New York site. Today, the siteassessment:

Drinking Water Linked to Miscarriages

A new government-sponsored study of three California towns has turned up a potentially serious finding: that some tap water could be dangerous for pregnant women. The study is the first to find that high levels of chemicals used to disinfect water could increase the risk of miscarriage. That’s raised a red flag at the Environmental Protection Agency. And now the EPA’s moving quickly to see if the California findings hold true elsewhere. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Julie Edelson Halpert reports:

Female Hormones Found in Waste Water

Millions of American women rely on birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. Millions more depend on replacement hormones to prevent symptoms of menopause like hot flashes and osteoporosis. Both medications contain a synthetic version of the female hormone estrogen. And now, researchers at the University of Mississippi found that some of that estrogen ends up in wastewater. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Steve Frenkel has more on the potential effects:

Are Airports Polluting Our Local Waterways?

For most of us, the arrival of spring means good bye to snow and ice. But not at many of the nation’s airports. Frost on the ground and low temperatures mean planes must be sprayed with de-icing fluids for months to come. But there’s growing concern that these fluids are polluting the nation’s waterways. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Steve Frenkel reports:

Cooking Methods Lower Exposure

For years, residents around the Great Lakes have been warned not to eat certain species of contaminated fish. But a new report to be published in the American Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that certain cooking techniques can minimize the risk of exposure to toxins like P-C-B’s. However, environmentalists say the report may missing the bigger picture. The Great Lakes Radio Consortium’s Steve Frenkel has more: