High PFAS levels associated with breastfeeding issues

September 17, 2021 by  
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A study of 1,286 pregnant women found that those with high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances ( PFAS ) in their bodies are 20% more likely to stop breastfeeding early. Published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, research also found that PFAS affect pregnancy outcomes, growth and development into puberty and other aspects of reproductive health. PFAS are synthetic chemicals commonly used in oil- and water-resistant materials. Common products that may contain PFAS include carpets, textiles and cookware. While common in the manufacturing field, PFAS are dangerous to the human body. These chemicals do not easily break down and thus accumulated over time. Related: Indoor air contains concerning levels of forever chemicals Dr. Clara Amalie Gade Timmermann, a co-author of the study and professor at the University of Southern Denmark in Copenhagen, Denmark, says that the findings must be taken seriously Almost everyone is exposed to PFAS and the risks associated with the chemical. “Our findings are important because almost every human on the planet is exposed to PFAS. These man-made chemicals accumulate in our bodies and have detrimental effects on reproductive health ,” said Timmermann. In the past, lack of breast milk in the early stages of breastfeeding was associated with stress. The study authors now say that, while mental and emotional health is important, other factors must be considered. “Early unwanted weaning has been traditionally attributed to psychological factors, which are without a doubt important, but hopefully our research will help shift the focus and highlight that not all mothers can breastfeed despite good intentions and support from family and healthcare professionals,” said Timmermann Researchers analyzed blood samples and collected information about each participant’s breastfeeding habits through mobile phone questionnaires. The researchers found that those with high levels of PFAS in their system were more likely to stop breastfeeding early. “Because breastfeeding is crucial to promote both child and maternal health, adverse PFAS effects on the ability to breastfeed may have long-term health consequences,” Timmermann said. Via Newswise Lead image via Pexels

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High PFAS levels associated with breastfeeding issues

Los Angeles County to begin phasing out oil and gas drilling

September 17, 2021 by  
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When people think of  Los Angeles , celebrities and fast cars probably come to mind before oil and gas drilling. But the county has a surprising number of active and abandoned wells. On Wednesday, Los Angeles County supervisors said no more drilling. As County Supervisor Janice Hahn put it, the plan is “a framework for how we transition from dirty  fossil fuels  to clean energy and make sure we bring our labor partners with us.” L.A. County currently has 1,046 active oil wells, 637 idle wells and 2,731 abandoned wells. The supervisors voted to start a program that will make sure the wells are properly closed and the land cleaned up. The county will also expand a task force to help fossil fuel workers transition to another kind of employment. Related: Big Oil is in big trouble as courts, shareholders demand accountability “The goal is to provide direction to county departments to begin addressing the variety of issues, environmental and climate impacts created by these active and inactive  oil  and gas wells,” said Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell, as reported by EcoWatch. Mitchell’s district includes Inglewood Oil Field, one of the country’s largest urban oil fields. Owned by Sentinel Peak Resources, Inglewood covers 1,000 acres and contains more than half the gas and oil wells found in L.A. County’s unincorporated area. In the last decade, Inglewood produced between 2.5 million and 3.1 million barrels of oil per year. Closing Inglewood Oil Field will probably delight many locals and help them breathe deeply again. Residents of nearby Ladera Heights, Baldwin Hills and View Park have been complaining of bad smells and worrying about the oil field’s impact on their  health  for years. Some have seen oil bubbling up in sidewalk cracks. “There are tens of thousands of people who live in very close proximity to oil wells, 73% of whom are people of color,” said Mitchell. “So, for me, it really is an  equity issue .” Via EcoWatch Lead image via Pixabay

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Los Angeles County to begin phasing out oil and gas drilling

Nissan’s new EV ecosystem could give free power to EV owners

October 5, 2017 by  
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The future looks bright for electric vehicle (EV) owners. Nissan recently unveiled plans for the four pillars of their EV ecosystem, including a commitment to expand what they called the biggest fast charger network in Europe by 20 percent. They also aim to offer free power for EV owners who have a vehicle-to-grid (V2G) system, which feeds power from a car’s battery pack to the grid or a home. Nissan sketched plans for the future recently at the Nissan Futures 3.0 event in Norway. They showed off the new Nissan Leaf , which they said can travel 378 kilometers, or around 235 miles, on one charge. They also announced a longer-range all-electric e-NV200 van, which has a 280-kilometer, or 174-mile, range. Related: People in Denmark are earning up to $1,530 just by parking their EVs The second pillar of their plan is their commitment to infrastructure . During the upcoming 18 months, they plan to increase the number of fast chargers in Europe from 4,600 to 5,600. Their third pillar is new home and business chargers; their double-speed seven kilowatt (kW) home charger can recharge a vehicle in five and a half hours. Meanwhile, their 22 kW charger, targeted at businesses, can charge an EV in two hours. They also showcased the xStorage , their home energy storage system. And they have a scheme to get owners free power. xStorage is bidirectional, which means with it EV owners can send power to the grid from a car battery pack. They have been testing the free energy idea in Denmark. Nissan explained in a press release, “Using Nissan bidirectional charging, customers can draw energy from the grid to power their car or van and then ‘sell’ back to the grid for others to use. This means, once a nominal charge has been paid by the business for the installation of a V2G charger there are no fuel or energy costs – just free power for your EV.” They announced a United Kingdom collaboration with OVO allowing owners to buy xStorage at a discounted price, enabling them to charge an EV or start selling power to the grid. Nissan said these owners could make around £350, or around $461, a year. They hope to explore the idea of free power for EV owners in other regions of Europe. Via Nissan and Electrek Images via Nissan

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Drone video offers sneak peek at BIGs LEGO House, set to open next month

August 29, 2017 by  
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After four years, the long-awaited LEGO House is set to open next month—and we can’t wait! Designed by Bjarke Ingels Group , this larger-than-life LEGO building is a treat for the eyes with its 21 interlocking LEGO-like parts and stunning keystone on top. Set to open to the public on September 28, the 130,000-square-foot building will offer free and paid “experiences” all centered around play and exploration in Billund, Denmark. LEGO’s drone video shot earlier this summer shows off the building near completion. The company recently carried out a “test visit” where LEGO employees and their families were invited to try out the building for the first time. Nicknamed ‘Home of the Brick,’ the museum is dedicate to LEGO-themed experiences in all aspects of the building including its many interactive exhibitions, three restaurants, conference space, store, and 22,000-square-foot public square . One of the biggest highlights is a 50-foot-tall, 20-ton “Tree of Creativity” made of over 6.3 million LEGO bricks. Related: BIG’s LEGO House tops out with opening date in September The Home of the Brick is expected to accommodate 250,000 visitors annually. To keep the center open to the community , the interior LEGO Square will be publicly accessible and select activities will be free to the public. Visitors with tickets can explore the four color-coded Experience Zones, each with larger-than-life interactive exhibits that embody the brand’s “Learning Through Play” philosophy. Advance tickets can be purchased on the LEGO House website . + LEGO House + BIG Via ArchDaily

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Drone video offers sneak peek at BIGs LEGO House, set to open next month

New light-filled learning center celebrates the food history in one of Denmarks oldest towns

August 3, 2017 by  
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Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter just won a competition to design a new cultural center for one of the oldest settlements in Denmark . The winning proposal, called Kornets Hus (“Grain House”), will be an activity-based learning center in Hjørring focused on the importance of grain to Jutland—a region believed to have been populated 10,000 years ago. Kornets Hus will be of a minimalist and modern design built largely from brick and timber that takes inspiration from the region’s diverse landscapes, folk culture, and agricultural heritage. Commissioned by Realdania , the L-shaped 680-square-meter Kornets Hus is set on a site with an existing farm and bakery. The learning center will offer visitors as well as locals and employees engaging educational experiences about the region’s rich food and farming culture. In addition to educational and exhibition spaces, the building will also include a cafe, store, and offices. Related: Norwegian Mountaineering Centre mimics a dramatic snow-covered mountain The building features a simple and flexible plan to accommodate a wide variety of activities. Two brick-clad light wells , reminiscent of baker kilns, bookend the structure’s two ends. Skylights and large windows also help maximize access to natural light . Glazing on the west facade frame views of wheat fields and connect to an outdoor terrace. A large bread oven forms the heart of the public spaces. + Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter Images via Reiulf Ramstad Arkitekter

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New light-filled learning center celebrates the food history in one of Denmarks oldest towns

Light-filled Danish home with flexible interiors welcomes the forest indoors

July 28, 2017 by  
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Who needs wallpaper when you’ve got exquisitely framed forest views in almost every room? C.F. Møller Architects designed Villa Rypen, a 158-square-meter dwelling that blurs the lines between indoor and outdoor living. Built on the edge of a forest in Aarhus , Denmark, this light-filled home offers a lovely contemporary living environment with large glazed openings that offer front-row seats to nature’s changing seasons. Villa Rypen has a rectangular footprint with two roughly triangular outdoor terraces that extend to the garden in the southeast and the forest to the northwest. The single-story interior centers on an open-plan living, dining, and kitchen space that offers easy access to both terraces. Floor-to-ceiling glazing frames views of the garden and forest and allows ample amounts of natural light indoors. Sliding doors give the family the flexibility to change the living environment as they please. One such option is turning one of the living spaces into an extra bedroom for a maximum of three east-facing bedrooms. Related: C.F. Møller Architects designs Danish school that optimizes learning through design “Large window sections in a serrated design idiom ensure an inflow of light from several directions, and the view of the forest is exquisitely framed, to provide a unique backdrop to the living rooms in the house,” wrote the architects. The home is built with timber and a terra-cotta tilec screen facade to blend into the forested landscape. + C.F. Møller Architects Via ArchDaily Images © Julian Weyer

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Light-filled Danish home with flexible interiors welcomes the forest indoors

Doctor warns falling sperm counts could lead to human extinction

July 26, 2017 by  
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Will our lifestyle lead to our extinction ? New findings from an international team of eight researchers indicate sperm counts in men from North America, New Zealand, Australia, and Europe have halved in under 40 years. Lead author epidemiologist Hagai Levine of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem told the BBC, “If we will not change the ways that we are living and the environment and the chemicals that we are exposed to, I am very worried about what will happen in the future.” Sperm count studies have been controversial in the past. This recent one, published this week in the Oxford Academic journal Human Reproduction Update , is one of the biggest assessments ever undertaken, according to the BBC. Researchers pored over 185 studies between 1973 and 2011. Levine detected a 52.4 percent decline in sperm concentration and 59.3 percent drop in total sperm count in the men from those regions of the world listed above. The rate of decline continues and may even be increasing, according to the researchers. They didn’t see the same decline in men from Africa, Asia, or South America, but said there have been fewer studies from these regions. Related: Alarming new study suggests Zika virus could cause infertility in men Levine told the BBC, “Eventually we may have a problem, and with reproduction in general, and it may be the extinction of the human species.” Skeptics say a large proportion of past studies that have pointed to sperm count drops have been flawed, such as only including men who have gone to fertility clinics, and would be likely to possess low sperm counts. But the researchers involved in the new study said they accounted for some of the flaws. Professor Allan Pacey of Sheffield University told the BBC, “I’ve never been particularly convinced by the many studies published so far claiming that human sperm counts have declined in the recent past. However, the study today by Dr. Levine and his colleagues deals head-on with many of the deficiencies of previous studies.” Other scientists praised the quality of the new study but said it may be too soon to come to the conclusion that humans could be on the path to extinction. Researchers at institutions in Denmark, the United States, and Spain were also part of the research. Via the BBC Images via Wikimedia Commons and Pixabay

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BIG hides an invisible museum beneath Denmarks sand dunes

July 14, 2017 by  
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Don’t be fooled by these gentle sand dunes—hidden in the landscape is an “invisible museum.” Bjarke Ingels Group designed TIRPITZ, a recently opened museum embedded into Denmark’s protected Blåvand shorelines, also a historic war site. The TIRPITZ museum offers a unique experience within a building that skillfully camouflages into the dunes, providing a sharp contrast to its neighbor, a monolithic German WWII bunker . Developed by Varde Museums , TIRPITZ is a cultural complex comprising four exhibitions inside a renovated and expanded wartime bunker. The 2,800-square-meter “invisible museum” is mostly buried underground and looks nearly imperceptible from above until visitors draw close to the heavy bunker and see the walls cut into the dunes from all sides. An outdoor courtyard provides access to the four underground galleries—illuminated with a surprising abundance of natural light let in by 6-meter-tall glass panels—that connect to the historic bunker. “The architecture of the TIRPITZ is the antithesis to the WWII bunker,” said Bjarke Ingels , Founding Partner at BIG. “The heavy hermetic object is countered by the inviting lightness and openness of the new museum. The galleries are integrated into the dunes like an open oasis in the sand – a sharp contrast to the Nazi fortress’ concrete monolith. The surrounding heath-lined pathways cut into the dunes from all sides descending to meet in a central clearing, bringing daylight and air into the heart of the complex. The bunker remains the only landmark of a not so distant dark heritage that upon close inspection marks the entrance to a new cultural meeting place.” Related: Century-old WWI bunker is reborn as a contemporary alpine shelter Dutch agency Tinker Imagineers designed the exhibitions to showcase permanent and temporary themed experiences that adhere to a storyline, from the Hitler-related ‘Army of Concrete’ to the exhibition of amber in ‘Gold of the West Coast.’ The building is built mainly of concrete, steel, glass, and wood—all materials found in the existing structures and natural landscape. The groundbreaking museum is expected to attract around 100,000 visitors annually. + BIG Images by Mike Bink Photography, Laurian Ghinitoiu,  John Seymour, Rasmus Hjortshoj, Colin John Seymour, Rasmus Bendix

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Fossil-free islands: A blueprint for sustainable development?

June 14, 2017 by  
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From Hawaii’s Molokai to Samso, Denmark, islands are becoming a hotbed for experimentation with renewable energy, waste reduction and water conservation.

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Fossil-free islands: A blueprint for sustainable development?

100 seeds for a sustainable future: Part 10

June 9, 2017 by  
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A sustainable campus in Denmark saves $5.3 million, the University of Oxford cuts a third of emissions and a business school teaches brave leadership.

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100 seeds for a sustainable future: Part 10

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