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Environment & ecology.

Drinking safely New low-cost, at-home treatments for microbe-contaminated drinking water could save millions of lives in developing countries (163: 136, 403 *).

Air sickness Studies of outwardly healthy people showed harmful effects from their regularly breathing hazy air (164: 72 *).

Toxics treaty Countries must reduce or eliminate the production and use of 16 persistent pollutants, under a United Nations treaty that went into effect (164: 301).

Puberty hang-up Even low concentrations of lead in a girl's body may delay her reproductive maturation (163: 408).

Flaming out After studies linked a ubiquitous family of flame retardants to toxic effects in animals (164: 266 *, 269), the U.S. manufacturer of one of the chemicals volunteered to phase out its production next year (164: 275 *, 294).

Nonstick risks A pollutant shed by nonstick coatings and surfactants was shown to kill birds and rats and impair development in rodents (163: 355; 164: 142).

Quicksilver skies Certain pollutants can foster the localized fallout of mercury, a toxic heavy metal (163: 72 *).

Fished out In less than a generation, modern industrial-scale fishing can exhaust the edible bounty of a plot of ocean (164: 59 *).

Wrong number The primary chemical in some plastics caused female mice to produce eggs with abnormal numbers of chromosomes (163: 213).

Count down Scientists linked reduced fertility in men with exposure to chemicals called phthalates, but not the phthalates anticipated to cause problems (163: 339 *).

Choke hold Oxygen deprivation altered sex hormones in carp and it might underlie declines in some other fresh-water fish and amphibians (163: 132).

Cottoning to Bt Yields from small farms in India and industrial fields in Arizona showed the bright side of genetically engineered cotton (163: 85 *).

Night shift Women who had worked at least a few nights a month for many years appeared to face an increased risk of colorectal cancer (164: 13).

Mixed results Tests of genes that might escape from sunflowers engineered to resist white mold found little probable impact on wild plants, but similar tests with sunflowers that make Bt pesticide predicted a significant impact (164: 232 *).

Cleaned out Trace amounts of the chemicals used to battle bacteria in kitchens and bathrooms may kill off algae in streams, with potentially far-reaching consequences, studies found (163: 196 *).

ECOBULLIES

U.S. scientists are looking for means to contain invasive environmental threats, including tiny greenhouse frogs, normative garden plants, and Asian termites (163: 11 *, 232 *; 164: 344 *).

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Title Annotation:Science News Of the year
Publication:Science News
Geographic Code:00WOR
Date:Dec 20, 2003
Words:421
Previous Article:Earth science.
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