Pollution

A dress with a built-in air purifier

The Centre for Sustainable Fashion's "catalytic clothing" strips pollutants out of the air and breaks them down harmlessly. Here's an atmospheric (ha) video of an air-purifying dress, but they've also got jeans, which significantly improves the chances of getting enough people wearing catalytic clothing to actually make a difference in air quality. (None of this is available for purchase or anything crazy like that, but in theory, if it were, you'd probably want the jeans.)

Here's what an hour's worth of ocean trash looks like

This artwork by Chris Jordan is made up of 2.4 million pieces of plastic, all collected from the Pacific Ocean. (You can see details here.) This is already staggering, but it's actually only a fraction of what gets pumped into the ocean every hour. If every one of these pieces were a pound of plastic, and it looked more like a garbage slurry and less like a classic Japanese print, that would be an hour's worth of plastic pollution.

Chesapeake Bay dead zone could be the largest ever

One-third of the Chesapeake Bay is a dead zone this year. The Washington Post reports: Especially heavy flows of tainted water from the Susquehanna River brought as much nutrient pollution into the bay by May as normally comes in an entire average year, a Maryland Department of Natural Resources researcher said. As a result, “in Maryland we saw the worst June” ever for nutrient pollution, said Bruce Michael, director of the DNR’s resource assessment service. The dead zone could grow to be the largest ever.

Sunlight can disinfect water

Turns out the nonsensical yuppie idea that bottled water is “cleaner” is actually true, in very very specific circumstances. In areas where it’s hard to find drinkable water, plastic bottles and sunlight can save lives. SODIS, or solar water disinfection, is a fancy way of saying, "Leave germy water in a plastic bottle out on your hot roof and eventually all the bad stuff will die." It's a simple idea, but remarkably effective at dealing with water contamination.

The EPA does not want you feeding arsenic to your baby

It's only 16 months until the next election, and you know what that means: We are in the thick of political ad season. Mostly that makes everybody want to crawl under a sofa, but sometimes you get arresting ads like this one from American Family Voices.

Why doesn't the U.S. government allow teleworking when it's hot?

Feds are allowed to stay home when it snows, but not when it's so hot that the pavement is literally melting. Wha?

Why 107-degree overnight temperatures should freak you out

Government conspiracy heat wave or no government conspiracy heat wave, this summer is setting records -- not just record maximum temperatures, but also record minimums. On June 27, Oman recorded the world’s highest ever minimum temperature when the mercury failed to drop below 107.1 degrees F, even overnight. And that’s more important, in a global sense, than the record highs.

States can't be trusted to monitor their own drinking water

Lest you think we were getting all worked up for no reason, here is some evidence that states should not be left to their own devices when it comes to making sure our water is clean.  A GAO report released yesterday found that states were underreporting or misreporting 84 percent of safe drinking water monitoring violations.

Critical List: Republicans vote to give states power over clean water; deer ticks in the Great Lakes

House Republicans voted yesterday to let states decide whether a company is living up to the Clean Water Act or not. The EPA's decision to prevent West Virginia coal companies from dumping waste into rivers prompted the bill to begin with, so it's pretty safe to assume that the bill's not meant to strengthen CWA protections. The federal government says the cost of carbon is $21 per ton; a group of pro-environment economists says the cost is closer to $900 per ton. China's feeding its "strategic pork reserve" with soybeans grown in Brazil on environmentally sensitive land. As Moscow more than doubles in size, it will raze acres of forestland.

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