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Global Heat Waves

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August 7  |  climate change, Emergency Preparedness, global warming, Research  |   Webmaster

Heat wave deaths will rise steadily by 2080 as globe warms up

If people cannot adapt to future climate temperatures, deaths caused by severe heat waves will increase dramatically in tropical and subtropical regions, followed closely by Australia, Europe and the United States, a global new Monash-led study shows.

Published today in PLOS Medicine, it is the first global study to predict future heatwave-related deaths and aims to help decision makers in planning adaptation and mitigation strategies for climate change.

Researchers developed a model to estimate the number of deaths related to heatwaves in 412 communities across 20 countries for the period of 2031 to 2080.

The study projected excess mortality in relation to heatwaves in the future under different scenarios characterised by levels of greenhouse gas emissions, preparedness and adaption strategies and population density across these regions.

Study lead and Monash Associate Professor Yuming Guo said the recent media reports detailing deadly heatwaves around the world highlight the importance of the heatwave study.

“Future heatwaves in particular will be more frequent, more intense and will last much longer,” Associate Professor Guo said.

“If we cannot find a way to mitigate the climate change (reduce the heatwave days) and help people adapt to heatwaves, there will be a big increase of heatwave-related deaths in the future, particularly in the poor countries located around the equator.”

A key finding of the study shows that under the extreme scenario, there will be a 471 per cent increase in deaths caused by heatwaves in three Australian cities (Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne) in comparison with the period 1971-2010.

“If the Australia government cannot put effort into reducing the impacts of heatwaves, more people will die because of heatwaves in the future,” Associate Professor Guo said.

The study comes as many countries around the world have been affected by severe heatwaves, leaving thousands dead and tens of thousands more suffering from heatstroke-related illnesses. The collective death toll across India, Greece, Japan and Canada continues to rise as the regions swelter through record temperatures, humidity, and wildfires. Associate Professor Antonio Gasparrini, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and study co-author, said since the turn of the century, it’s thought heatwaves have been responsible for tens of thousands of deaths, including regions of Europe and Russia.

“Worryingly, research shows that is it highly likely that there will be an increase in their frequency and severity under a changing climate, however, evidence about the impacts on mortality at a global scale is limited,” Associate Professor Gasparrini said.

“This research, the largest epidemiological study on the projected impacts of heatwaves under global warming, suggests it could dramatically increase heatwave-related mortality, especially in highly-populated tropical and sub-tropical countries. The good news is that if we mitigate greenhouse gas emissions under scenarios that comply with the Paris Agreement, then the projected impact will be much reduced.”

Associate Professor Gasparrini said he hoped the study’s projections would support decision makes in planning crucial adaptation and mitigation strategies for climate change.

In order to prevent mass population death due to increasingly severe heatwaves, the study recommends the following six adaption interventions, particularly significant for developing countries and tropical and subtropical regions:

  • Individual: information provision, adverting
  • Interpersonal: Information sharing; communication; persuasive arguments; counselling; peer education
  • Community: Strengthening community infrastructure; encouraging community engagement; developing vulnerable people group; livelihoods; neighbourhood watch
  • Institutional: Institutional policies; quality standards; formal procedures and regulations; partnership working
  • Environmental: Urban planning and management; built environment; planting trees; public available drink water; house quality
  • Public policy: Improvement of health services; poverty reduction; redistribution of resources; education; heatwave-warning system.

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MEDIA ENQUIRIES

Monash University
T: +61-3-9903-4840
E: media@monash.edu

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Click on the links below for additional articles on this subject …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cover Crops

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August 6  |  crops, Farm, Farmers, Research, water conservation  |   Webmaster

Cover crops are tools to keep the soil in place, bolster soil health, improve water quality and reduce pollution from agricultural activities. 

  • They include cereals, brassicas, legumes and other broadleaf species, and can be annual or perennial plants. Cover crops can be adapted to fit almost any production system.
  • Popular cover crops include cereal rye, crimson clover and oilseed radish. Familiar small grain crops, like winter wheat and barley, can also be adapted for use as cover crops.

cover crops

What is a Cover Crop?

A cover crop is a plant that is used primarily to slow erosion, improve soil health, enhance water availability, smother weeds, help control pests and diseases, increase biodiversity and bring a host of other benefits to your farm.

Cover crops have also been shown to increase crop yields, break through a plow pan, add organic matter to the soil, improve crop diversity on farms and attract pollinators. There is an increasing body of evidence that growing cover crops increases resilience in the face of erratic and increasingly intensive rainfall, as well as under drought conditions. Cover crops help when it doesn’t rain, they help when it rains, and they help when it pours!

 

Cover Crops at Work

Please see the attached informative pdf documents and visit their website.

Increasing Soil Organic Matter

Prevent Erosion

Improve Soil Conditions and Prevent Pollution

Sustainable Crop Rotations

Keeping Nutrients Out of_Waterways

Discover the Cover (case study)

 

Learn more at www.sare.org/cover-crops

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Beat the Heat

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July 19  |  Emergency Preparedness, News, Newsletters, Opinion, Research  |   Webmaster

Web MD, a trusted source for professional medical information, has provided a timely special report on the importance of water during hot temperatures and other important health tips and resources to stay safe during hot summer days.

slide image

Web MD has a dedicated team of board-certified physicians, award-winning journalists, and trained community moderators, all solely dedicated to providing accurate, timely, daily information about a wide range of personal health care concerns.  They are committed to helping people find the health and medical information, support, and services they need.

Please click on the links below for more information and feel free to subscribe to their electronic newsletter.

Take the Quiz:  How much do you know about Hydration?

Symptoms of Dehydration

Heat Stroke – Symptoms & Treatment

Sign up for Web MD newsletters and information

 

 

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Bottled Water Shockers

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November 22  |  Case Studies, food safety, News, Research, safe drinking water  |   Webmaster

Bottled Water: 10 Shockers “They” Don’t Want You to Know

American bottled watertap water? It’s considered some of the safest in the world. Yet countless Americans shun the stuff that flows from faucets and fountains and buy bottled water instead.
What’s really in the stuff and why does it cost 3,000 times more than tap?

Here Dr. Peter Gleick, the author of “Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water,” shares 10 of the most shocking facts about bottled water.
 

1. The Most Expensive Tap Water on Earth?
Bottled water comes only from pristine streams, right? Not necessarily.

In fact, nearly half of all bottled water is reprocessed tap water, sold at prices up to 3,000 times higher than consumers pay for tap water. And even before the additional processing, the water meets federal water-quality standards.
 

2. Crickets in Water and Nobody Told You?
Like any other products, water gets recalled, but more often than not you don’t hear much about it.

There have been more than 100 recalls of contaminated bottled water, often months after the products were delivered to store shelves, says Dr. Gleick, who worries that the public rarely gets the memo.

What sorts of contaminants have been found in bottled water?

Benzene, mold, sodium hydroxide, kerosene, styrene, algae, yeast, tetrahydrofuran, sand, fecal coliform and other bacteria, elevated chlorine, glass particles, sanitizer, and crickets, says Gleick.

Yes, crickets.
 

3. What Does the Government Really Test?
Think purity standards for bottled water are more stringent than those for tap water? Not so, says Dr. Gleick. Unlike tap water, which is regulated by the EPA, bottled water is regulated by the FDA – and, in addition to allowing for less frequent quality testing, the FDA doesn’t monitor some contaminants that may be in bottled water. What’s more, the FDA doesn’t insist that bottlers provide water quality reports to consumers.

“Our standards for protecting both tap water and bottled water ought to be stricter,” says Dr. Gleick. “But tap water is better regulated.”
 

4. Drowning in Bottled Waterempty-water-bottles3
Americans buy, consume, and throw away the equivalent of nearly 100 billion 12-ounce plastic bottles of water every year, according to Dr. Gleick’s calculations. That translates into roughly 300 bottles for every man, woman, and child. Laid end to end, these bottles would circle the earth more than 600 times – or reach from the earth to the moon and back 30 times.
 

5. Bottled Water Doesn’t Always Taste Better
In blind taste tests, consumers often cannot tell the difference between bottled and tap water, or between expensive bottled water and cheaper brands.

Different waters have different tastes, depending on the natural minerals found in them. But blind taste test after blind taste test has shown that bottled water is not consistently preferred over tap water.
 

6. Few Water Bottles Get Recycledempty-water-bottles dump
While most plastic bottles are “recyclable,” few are actually recycled. In fact, says Dr. Gleick, about seven of 10 plastic water bottles get incinerated, dumped into landfills – or left as litter.

Most plastic water bottles are made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). This wonderful plastic (tasteless, clear, light, flexible, strong) could be recycled and made into new bottles, but it isn’t. Even the fraction of PET that is recycled ends up being “downcycled” into clothes, carpet, toys, and packaging materials.
 

7. Where Does it Really Come From?
Bottled water brand names can be misleading.water-bottle-stream

We get “Arctic Spring Water” from Florida, “Everest” water from Texas, “Glacier Mountain” water from Ohio and New Jersey, and “Yosemite” water from Los Angeles.

Says Dr. Gleick, more stringent rules about bottled water labels would require honest information on where the water comes from, how it has been treated or processed, and where the consumer can go to get up-to-date and independent information on water quality.
 

8. Are Bottles Replacing Fountains?
As bottled water sales have risen in the U.S., public water fountains have been disappearing.

In 2007, for example, the University of Central Florida opened its brand-new 45,000-plus seat football stadium, which had been built without a single water fountain, says Dr. Gleick. In the opening game at the stadium, 78 people had to be treated for heat-related illness.

After the debacle and a Facebook backlash, the stadium installed scores of fountains.

Modern water fountains can chill and filter water and be designed with taps to fill refillable bottles.
 

9. Bottled Water Isn’t Pushing Aside Soda
The bottled water industry says drinking bottled water is good because it’s leading us to cut back on our consumption of soft drinks. In fact, says Dr. Gleick, sales of bottled water and carbonated soft drink are both growing, at the expense of tap water.

Americans now drink more bottled water than milk.
 

10. It Takes Lots of Oil to Make Water Bottles
It takes the equivalent of 17 million barrels of oil just to make the plastic bottles for our bottled water consumption in the U.S., says Dr. Gleick, who worries that our demand for bottled water puts pressure on our energy resources and contributes to our dependence on foreign oil.
 

Source: http://www.cbsnews.com/pictures/bottled-water-10-shockers-they-dont-want-you-to-know/
 

Other information sources:
 

http://www.nrdc.org/water/drinking/qbw.asp
http://www.businessinsider.com/facts-bottled-water-industry-2011-10?op=1
http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2013/04/27/the-blindingly-obvious-truth-about-bottled-water/
http://www.rd.com/health/wellness/rethink-what-you-drink/
http://eatdrinkbetter.com/2011/09/29/the-dirty-truth-about-bottled-water/
http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/tapped/
http://www.tappedthemovie.com/

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Bottled Water vs. Tap Water

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November 9  |  Case Studies, News, Research, safe drinking water, water conservation, water preservation, water stewardship  |   Webmaster

Which is Safer?

Concerns over drugs, chemicals, and contaminants in tap water has prompted people all over the world to buy bottled water.  Recent studies have shown that 3 out of 10 households in Canada drink bottled water at home.

It’s estimated that 2.4 billion litres of bottled water were sold in Canada alone last year; about 68 litres per capita.  In fact, bottled water sales have surpassed milk and beer sales in North America, representing a $170 billion industry.

tap water bottled water

 

 

 

 

 

 

But is bottled water necessarily safer or healthier?  A recent investigation compiled by CBC News and reported by Kazi Stastna, provides a well-researched 7 point comparison of water quality, health risks, sustainability and impact on the environment.

At Puroxi, we maintain that proper treatment of an existing water source will provide safe, clean, clear, and nutritonal water, as well as many benefits, without affecting the quality and sustainability of our environment.

Please click here to view the CBC report.

 

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FDA voluntary guidelines to restrict non-therapeutic use of antibiotics

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July 13  |  antibiotics, Beef, Farm, Farmers, food safety, Immune System, Latest News, Livestock, Nutrition, Pork, Poultry, Research  |   Webmaster

In December, the FDA asked animal health companies to voluntarily stop using antibiotics to promote growth of meatier cows, pigs, and other livestock.  This is known as non-therapeutic use.

According to a recent report by the FDA, 25 sponsors confirmed in writing their intent to engage with FDA as defined in Guidance #213 and have given FDA consent to list their names in this update.  These 25 sponsors hold 99.6 percent of the applications affected by Guidance #213 and include subsidiaries of Bayer and Eli-Lilly.

Click here for a complete list of companies represented.

The guidelines are meant to thwart the growing problem of antibiotic resistance, which some scientists blame on antibiotics in the food supply. Drug-resistant bacteria strike 2 million Americans a year and cause 23,000 deaths, according to the CDC. The FDA has long been under fire for failing to keep a lid on antibiotic use in farm animals. In January, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) released a report containing evidence that the FDA’s scientists were aware of 18 farm antibiotics that posed a high risk of spawning antibiotic-resistant bacteria. 

However, critics claim that 89 percent of antibiotic drugs that the guidelines advise against using to speed growth can still be given to healthy animals for other reasons, such as disease prevention. They also contend that since the system is voluntary, it gives the pharamaceutical companies too much discretion and leeway in conducting their own policy and enforcement methods, especially on large factory farms, and with easily obtained OTC (over the counter) drugs.  Critics are demanding a complete ban on antibiotics/ antimicrobials for non-therapeutic use.

Following is a link to a recent Reuters News article which offers a well-balanced summary of this story.

Reuters U.S. Edition – March 27, 2014.
 

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Health Canada restricts antibiotics

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July 13  |  antibiotics, Beef, Editorial, Farm, Farmers, food safety, Immune System, Opinion, Pork, Poultry, Press Release, Research  |   Webmaster

Health Canada restricts use of antibiotics for growth in livestock

In an effort to curb drug-resistant superbugs, Health Canada is restricting the use of antibiotics in livestock.

Producers will no longer be allowed to continuously feed animals low-level doses as a way to promote growth.

Dr. Trisha Dowling, a pharmacologist with the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, says penicillin and tetracycline have long been fed to livestock in order to reduce the workload of animals’ immune systems, thereby causing them to grow faster using less feed.

She says in many cases, products specifically marketed as growth-promotants are older drugs that have fallen out of use in humans as bacteria have developed resistance.

The rules do still allow in-feed antibiotics as a preventative measure against disease.

Dowling says that in many cases, the exception means business-as-usual for producers.

She says this was especially true in the poultry industry, where improved growth is essentially a side benefit for producers using the drugs to prevent infections that can wipe out whole barns if they get a foothold.

“If you don’t put (antibiotics) in the feed, and you wait until you get an outbreak of necrotic enteritis, you’ve got a lot of dead birds and you’ve lost a lot of money,” she said.

On the cattle side, Saskatchewan Cattlemen’s Association CEO Craig Douglas said most producers don’t feed antibiotics.

“Without singling out any other industry — it’s other sectors where that’s been more of a standard procedure,” he said.

Douglas said most ranchers only reach for the antibiotics when an animal is clearly unwell.

“They’re not medicating their animals unless their sick,” he said, adding that costs as high as $500 per animal tends to keep the use of injected antibiotics in check.

~ The Canadian Press – Friday, July 11, 2014

 

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Climate Change | Water Shortage | Agriculture

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December 29  |  climate change, crops, Editorial, Farm, global warming, Nutrition, Opinion, Research, safe drinking water, water conservation, water preservation, water stewardship  |   Webmaster

While the pundits and partisan experts continue to argue over the validity of global warming, there is little doubt that climate change is a reality.  The rapidly increasing changes in our climate are impacting our water supply.

Scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) have calculated how much of this essential resource the world risks losing to the effects of climate change.  Droughts will become more widespread and wildfires are expected to get bigger, longer and smokier by 2050. The growing world population and its increase in water consumption are also straining fresh water resources.  Water sources are melting and drying out.   

37 nations already make do with the bare minimum in water resources, according to experts at the World Resources Institute (WRI), a co-author of the Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas.  Massive investments in efficient water management are necessary to counter the effects of water scarcity.

 Agriculture is the world’s largest consumer of water

In times of rising food prices, the agricultural sector has become more interesting for investors. Asian companies, particularly in China, as well as their European counterparts are buying up large swaths of land in Africa to grow food products. They, too, have a vested interest in good harvests and are keen on investment in any aspect of agriculture that offers a significant opportunity to reduce its demand for water. However, technical solutions to save water in agriculture will play only a small role due to the high costs.

Changes in the world’s agriculture and eating habits need to be re-examined

Hunger follows on the heels of water scarcity

Agriculture must change in order to counter dwindling water resources. Climate researchers warn of an increased risk of hunger, in particular in poorer countries, with farmers trying to adapt to cycles of recurring drought and extreme, torrential rains.  One way to counter these extremes is through organic farming, which strengthens the capacity of the soil to absorb water, to enrich it and later deliver it again to the plants.

Organic farming could also limit the spread of diseases and pests without farmers having to resort to pesticides.  Crop rotation and diversity would make it more difficult for diseases and crop destroyers to infest cultivated areas.  This was common practice for many generations before industrial farming began.

In addition, consumers will have to alter their habits in ways that include eating less meat and seeking out crops more attuned to local conditions.  In dry regions of the world, farmers could plant the cereal crop millet, which needs significantly less water than corn.

Another climate-friendly measure: growers and consumers should be located closer to one another to decrease theamount of shipments and transports.

Such changes would help feed a constantly growing global population.  Even today, the world produces enough food for 14 billion people.

We don’t need to produce more foodwhat we need is better quality and more diversity.

 

Source:  http://www.dw.de/climate-change-fuels-water-scarcity-and-hunger/a-17325128

 

 

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Global Warming

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September 29  |  climate change, Editorial, global warming, Latest News, Opinion, Research  |   Webmaster

The Global Warming debated has heated up again, following the recent release of a report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

On one side, the climate change deniers emphasize the fact that global warming has remained relatively stable for the past 17 years.  They maintain that this supports the “Hockey Stick” conclusion that global warming has actually leveled off and therefore not expected to increase in the foreseeable future. 

On the other side, the IPCC continues to insist that climate change is real, is caused by human activity, and continues despite regional differences, over a time line of 1400 years.  Furthermore, it maintains that we will see far more dangerous and potentially irreversible impacts in the decades ahead, if we do not choose to reduce global carbon emissions. There has never been a greater urgency to act than there is now.

Which side is right?  Well, maybe they both are, in their own way.  As with most heated / controversial topics,  everyone has their own strong opinion and many will strive mightily to affirm their agenda.  As their almost religious fervor develops, there will  undoubtedly be misdirection, cherry-picking, half-truths, outright falsehoods, and even personal verbal attacks.  At the heart of this controversy is the credibility of the IPCC position and agenda, as well as their format for accepted, qualified peer reviews.

Nevertheless, no one can dispute the facts that polar ice caps are melting and that the world’s oceans are getting warmer, thus setting up even more change for climate patterns around the world.

We urge you all to do your own independent research and make your own informed conclusions.  We have listed some recent links below, to get you started.

http://www.ipcc.ch/news_and_events/press_information.shtml#.Ukh8F3_NmNg

www.climatechange2013.org/images/uploads/WGIAR5-SPM_Approved27Sep2013.pdf

http://scienceblogs.com/significantfigures/index.php/2013/09/27/what-does-the-2013-ipcc-summary-say-about-water/

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/sep/28/ipcc-climate-change-deniers

http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/09/27/un-climate-change-report-dismisses-slowdown-in-global-warming/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2420783/computers-got-effects-greenhouse-gases-wrong.html

http://www.colby.edu/sts/controversy/pages/ipcc_controversy.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_controversy

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-09-27/global-warming-s-slower-pace-hardens-views-on-need-to-act.html

 

 

 

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Antibiotic Resistance in China

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February 16  |  antibiotics, Case Studies, Farm, food safety, Immune System, Latest News, Livestock, Pork, Research  |   Webmaster

More disturbing news from China. A news alert from Food Safety News reveals that manure from Chinese pig farms contains both antibiotic residues and high concentrations of bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics.

The new study published Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences adds to the evidence that antibiotics used by China’s pork producers pose significant health risks. The study also found that once manure leaves the farm, its potential for spreading antibiotic resistance to other surrounding bacteria in the environment is much diminished, but not eliminated. Why should this concern us?  Because it is becoming a worldwide problem.  “We’re not trying to single out the Chinese here. This is a global problem,” said James Tiedje, a microbiologist from Michigan State University who joined the team of Chinese researchers for the project.

Pork production with antibiotic use has been growing rapidly in China, where half of world’s pigs are grown for a country with a growing appetite for pork. Demand for pork has increased in the orient, while it is steadily dropping in western countries, and almost non-existent in the middle and near east countries. For a variety of religious, cultural, and personal health reasons, a huge and growing segment of the world’s population abstains from pork and the mounting evidence seems to support their position.

Closer to home, a recent article by Dr. Mercola detailed surprising and disturbing results in a new investigation by Consumer Reports. It found that 69 percent of all raw pork samples tested — nearly 200 samples in total — were contaminated with the dangerous bacteria Yersinia enterocolitica, which causes fever and gastrointestinal illness with diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach cramps.

The pork also tested positive for other contaminants, including the controversial drug ractopamine, which is banned in many parts of the world. Worst of all, many of the bacteria found in the pork were resistant to multiple antibiotics, weakening the immune system and compromising medical treatment with potentially lethal results. 

And much like other countries, what happens on the farm doesn’t stay on the farm – and it can impact human health.    Said a press release on the study, “Manure, compost, or soil containing antibiotic-resistant bacteria could thwart the efficacy of human antibiotic therapies if it runs off into rivers, leaches into groundwater, is dispersed as dust, or if composted manure is distributed as organic fertilizer, according to the authors.”

There is some good news, however.  Any of our customers operating pig farms have successfully overcome, and in many cases, eliminated these issues by using PurOxi products and systems.  Clean ~ Clear ~ Nutritional ~ Water is a cornerstone in their healthy, prosperous operations.

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Source: http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/02/china-antibiotic-resistent-bacteria-found-in-pig-manure/#.UR_aJfLaKSo

For full report and scientific evidence visit http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/02/05/1222743110 and click on the links provided.  Click here for the pdf file.

 

 

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