February 14, 2012
By Mike Barrett
Recent research shows that cadmium could very well be more dangerous to children’s health than lead.
While heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, and mercury are often the first to pop up when discussing or thinking about heavy metals and human health, cadmium remains the lesser mentioned metal compromising the health of many — especially children.
Current and future research will likely continue to make the dangers of cadmium more well known.
Is Cadmium More Dangerous for Children than Lead?
The study, led by Harvard University researchers, found that children with higher cadmium levels are three times as likely to have learning disabilities than those with lower levels. Study’s senior author Dr. Robert Wright explains:
One of the important points of the study is that we didn’t study a population of kids who had very high exposures. We studied a population representative of the U.S. That we found any [effect] suggests this is occurring at relatively low levels…It does certainly point to the fact that we need more attention paid to the neurotoxic effects of cadmium in children
A total of 2,199 children between the ages 6 and 15 were included in the study, with 12.6 percent of them having a learning disability and 10.5 percent being enrolled in special education classes. Those with the highest cadmium levels were 3.21 times more likely to have a learning disability than children less exposed.
Although cadmium is naturally found in much of the soil across the United States, the heavy metal is also released by battery manufacturers, smelters, electroplating plants, and other industries. Cadmium is also present in inexpensive jewelry for kids.
April 11th, 2011
This tiniest device measures upto one square millimeter, but don’t go on the small size of this computer because pack inside the tiniest device is an ultra low power microprocessor, a pressure sensor , solar cell, wireless radio for communication to an external reader device, memory and a thin film battery.
Remember Gulliver’s travel to Lilliput, maybe our world is also turning smaller day by day because in the future this smallest computer (Unnamed uptill now) can be use efficiently for tracking, surveillance, military purposes and what not?
The miniscule computer system is developed by Professor Dennis Sylvester, David Wentzloff and David Blaauw.
Dennis Sylvester, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan further explained and said:” This is the very first true millimeter-scale complete computing system; small computing systems are possible by the usage of low-power components that can fit on a chip. A complete millimeter scale computer system enables us to collect, store and transmit data”.
The first application of millimeter scale computing system is in the field of medical. This device is implanted in the human eye to measure eye pressure and track the progress of glaucoma , which is a potential blinding disease.
The system starts working after every 15 minutes to take measurements and uses an average of 5.3 nanowatts energy, battery is charged through 10 hours of indoor light each day or 1.5 hours of sunlight.
The device is equipped with a wireless radio for communicating to external reader device but it can not communicate with computer systems of its own type.
Scientists are now working on decreasing the radio’s power consumption so that it’s compatible with millimeter-scale batteries.
Let’s hope this incredible device will open doors for further advancements in the miniscule computer systems.
April 29, 2010
by Matt Cover
A new government report says global warming could lead to an increase in both cancer and mental illness worldwide, and it calls for more federally funded research to determine how that might happen.
The report, A Human Health Perspective on Climate Change, was published by the Interagency Working Group on Climate Change and Health – a combination of scientists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NIH, State Department, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Agriculture, the EPA, and the Department of Health and Human Services.
The report’s overall thrust is for more federally funded research to investigate the alleged links between global warming and public health, including the potentially negative effects from warming and the potentially negative side-effect of green technologies.
While the report touches on, for example, the health effects of unclean water and respiratory ailments, it also deals with two other types of health issues not normally associated with global warming: cancer and mental illness.
While the report does not claim that global warming will cause new types of cancer, it says that “higher ambient temperatures” caused by global warming will have an effect on cancer rates, probably pushing them higher.
“There are potential impacts on cancer both directly from climate change and indirectly from climate change mitigation strategies,” the report said.
This increased risk supposedly comes from increased exposure to toxic chemicals, caused by global warming. The report also said that global warming would cause heavy rainfall, which would wash these toxic chemicals into the water. Hotter temperatures may also make these toxic chemicals even more toxic.
“One possible direct impact of climate change on cancer may be through increases in exposure to toxic chemicals that are known or suspected to cause cancer following heavy rainfall and by increased volatilization of chemicals under conditions of increased temperature,” states the report.
Another way that global warming will cause more cancer, the report said, was from increased exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which is known to cause some types of skin cancer. While UV exposure happens every time you go out into the sun, the report said that global warming will make it worse, leading to potentially more skin cancer.
“Another direct effect of climate change, depletion of stratospheric ozone, will result in increased ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure. UV radiation exposure increases the risk of skin cancers and cataracts,” the report stated.
The report also highlighted a surprising way that global warming may cause more cancer: the development of green technologies. Green technologies often involve exotic metals and alloys that, according to the report, may cause cancer.
“Increased use of NiMH [nickel-metal-hydride] batteries [used in hybrid and electric cars] will necessarily require significant increases in nickel production and the impacts associated with nickel mining and refining,” states the report. “High-level nickel exposure is associated with increased cancer risk, respiratory disease, and birth defects; the same is true with certain other metals, especially cadmium and lead [used in solar cells and batteries].
“Increased production of solar cells also can lead to increased environmental risks,” reads the report. “For example, cadmium-tellurium (CdTe) compounds in photovoltaic systems and the potential for increased cadmium emissions from mining, refining, and the manufacture, utilization, and disposal of photovoltaic modules. Cadmium and cadmium compounds like CdTe are classified as known human carcinogens.”
Despite these warnings and predictions, the report admitted that the government knows little about whether or not any of these supposed new causes of cancer will actually cause any more cancer.
A globe is projected as people are seen in Town Hall Square on the opening day of the Climate Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, Monday Dec. 7, 2009. The largest and most important U.N. climate change conference in history opened Monday, with organizers warning diplomats from 192 nations that this could be the best, last chance for a deal to protect the world from calamitous global warming. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
“Very little is known about how such transfers will affect people’s exposure to these chemicals — some of which are known carcinogens — and its ultimate impact on incidence of cancer,” the report states. “The largest research gaps are in the materials and methods used for mitigation and adaptation, and their potential to increase or decrease cancer risks.”
Another effect of global warming, the report said, was increased mental illness caused by natural disasters. These disasters, which already occur but will be more catastrophic as the world warms, cause stress and anxiety, which can lead to mental illness.
“A variety of psychological impacts can be associated with extreme weather and other climate related events,” reads the interagency report.
The people most likely to be affected by global warming-caused mental illness are those already susceptible to mental illness, especially stress-induced mental illness.
The report states: “Extreme weather events such as hurricanes, wildfires, and flooding, can create increased anxiety and emotional stress about the future, as well as create added stress to vulnerable communities already experiencing social, economic, and environmental disruption. Individuals already vulnerable to mental health disease and stress-related disorders are likely to be at increased risk of exacerbated effects following extreme weather or other climate change events.”
The possible mental health conditions that could be caused by global warming range from irritability to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, sexual dysfunction, and drug abuse.
“The most common mental health conditions associated with extreme events range from acute traumatic stress to more chronic stress-related conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, complicated grief, depression, anxiety disorders, somatic complaints, poor concentration, sleep difficulties, sexual dysfunction, social avoidance, irritability, and drug or alcohol abuse,” reads the report.
As with global warming-caused cancer, the report admits that much more scientific work is needed on the links between global warming and mental illness, saying “numerous research gaps exist.”
“More work is necessary to understand the effects of climate change and extreme weather events on mental health status, to determine how to mitigate these effects, and to overcome the barriers to utilization and delivery of mental health services following extreme weather events,” says the interagency report.
Despite the admissions that more research was needed, the report concluded that there was “abundant evidence” of man-caused global warming, saying that “climate change will have” direct impacts on public health.
“There is abundant evidence that human activities are altering the earth’s climate and that climate change will have significant health impacts both domestically and globally.”
The report then called for an “overarching” international research effort to determine how all of the “abundant evidence” of global warming would lead to poorer public health.
“To be successful, an overarching research program needs to be integrated, focused, interdisciplinary, supported, and sustainable, yet flexible enough to adjust to new information and broad enough to cover the very diverse components described in this document,” states the report. “The effort must also be multinational, multiagency, and multidisciplinary, bringing together the strengths of all partners.”
The other public health effects of global warming cited in the report include: asthma and other respiratory diseases, cardiovascular disease, heat-related deaths, human developmental effects, neurological diseases, waterborne diseases, weather-related deaths, and infectious and animal-borne diseases.
February 8, 2010
By David Derbyshire
The battery, which has powered our lives for generations, may soon be consigned to the dustbin of history.
British scientists say they have created a plastic that can store and release electricity, revolutionising the way we use phones, drive cars - and even wear clothes.
It means the cases of mobiles and iPods could soon double up as their power source - leading to gadgets as thin as credit cards.
The technology could also lead to flexible computer screens that can be folded up and carried around like a piece of paper.
And it could even be used to create ‘electric clothes’ that charge up as a person moves around and which slowly release heat when the weather gets cold.
Dr Emile Greenhalgh, from Imperial College London’s Department of Aeronautics, said the material is not really a battery, but a supercapacitor – similar to those found in typical electrical circuits.
His team’s prototype – which is around five inches square and wafer-thin – takes five seconds to charge from a normal power supply and can light an LED for 20 minutes.
Dr Greenhalgh, who is working with car company Volvo on a three-year, £3million project to use the material in hybrid petrol-electric cars, said: ‘We think the car of the future could be drawing power from its roof or even the door, thanks to our material.
‘The applications for this material don’t stop there – you might have a mobile that is as thin as a credit card because it no longer needs a bulky battery, or a laptop that can draw energy from its casing so it can run for longer.’
The material charges and discharges electricity quicker than a conventional battery, and does not use chemical processes – giving it a longer lifespan, he added.
The scientists plan to use it to replace the metal floor of a Volvo car’s boot which holds the spare wheel.
This would mean Volvo could shrink the size of its hybrid battery – and cut down the weight of the car, making it more efficient.
Dr Greenhalgh said: ‘No one has created a material like this – within ten years it could replace batteries.’