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Amid Record-Breaking Heat Wave, Researchers Step Up Warnings About Risks Extreme Temperatures Pose to Children

As a mother of two and a physician who specializes in working with newborns, Mattie Wolf understands that it can be tempting for parents to look upon their children and regard them as a “mini-me.”

But when it comes to high summer temperatures, Wolf cautions, that may be one of the worst things that a parent can do.

“Children are not little adults,” said Wolf, a neonatologist at Emory University’s School of Medicine and Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. “Children and infants, especially the way

For Pregnant People, Heat Waves Bring An Increased Risk of Preterm and Early Term Babies, Study Finds

PHILADELPHIA—Jaquanna Lomax finished her training classes as a doula just last month, but as summer approaches and she awaits her first professional delivery, she’s already started thinking about one potential challenge for new moms that wasn’t covered much during her schooling—the heat.

Lomax, a 36-year-old mother of two herself who’s based in Philadelphia, has spent years coping with searing summers in the Northeast, which, because of climate change, has long been the nation’s fastest warming

Q&A: Should We Be Having Babies In a Warming World?

Jade S. Sasser has been studying reproductive choices in the context of climate change for a quarter century. Her 2018 book, “Infertile Ground,” explored how population growth in the Global South has been misguidedly framed as a crisis—a perspective that Sasser argues had its roots in long-standing racial stereotypes about sexuality and promiscuity.

But during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sasser, an environmental scientist who teaches at the University of California, Riverside, started asking differe

As California Considers Warning Labels for Gas Stoves, Researchers Learn More About Their Negative Health Impacts

Ruth Ann Norton used to look forward to seeing the blue flame that danced on the burners of her gas stove. At one time, she says, she would have sworn that preparing meals with the appliance actually made her a better cook.

But then she started learning about the toxic gasses, including carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and other harmful pollutants that are emitted by stoves into the air, even when they’re turned off.

“I’m a person who grew up cooking, and love that blue flame,” said Norton, who l

In Louisiana’s ‘Cancer Alley,’ Excitement Over New Emissions Rules Is Tempered By a Legal Challenge to Federal Environmental Justice Efforts

RESERVE, La.—For Robert Taylor, it should have been a moment of celebration. For 60 years, he has watched with apprehension as the curved and winding pipes of the nation’s only chloroprene rubber plant discharged plumes of exhaust over this stretch of the Louisiana bayou long known as “Cancer Alley.”

The nickname is regrettably apt: Environmental officials say Taylor and his neighbors collectively face the greatest cancer risk from air pollution in the country—roughly 50 times the national aver

More Than a Third of All Americans Live in Communities with ‘Hazardous’ Air, Lung Association Finds

Within five miles of Kim Gaddy’s home in the South Ward of Newark, N.J., lies the nation’s third-busiest shipping port, thirteenth-busiest airport and roughly a half dozen major roadways. All told, transportation experts say, the area where Gaddy and her neighbors live sees an average of roughly 20,000 truck trips each day.

Researchers cite the exhaust produced by all of that road travel as a major reason why asthma rates among Newark residents is about twice the national average.

“You hear of

Flaring and Venting at Industrial Plants Causes Roughly Two Premature Deaths Each Day, a New Study Finds

PHILADELPHIA—Meeka Outlaw spent most of her childhood growing up in a South Philadelphia rowhouse that was essentially sandwiched between an oil refinery and an electrical power plant.

Less than a mile north of her home on Latona Street, there’s the Vicinity Electrical Cogeneration Plant, whose towering stacks are a familiar part of the neighborhood’s skyline. About two miles to the south was the now-shuttered PES Refinery, which began processing oil during the Civil War and didn’t stop until i

Florida Legislators Ban Local Heat Protections for Millions of Outdoor Workers

ORLANDO, Fla.—Even if the often unbearable Florida temperatures started creeping up toward triple digits, Maria Leticia Pineda could usually be found clad in at least three layers of clothing to protect her skin from sunburns while she worked in an outdoor plant nursery.

Pineda spent 20 years working 11-hour days as she helped grow fruits like strawberries, blueberries and pineapples, as well as vegetables, ferns and other plants. But by 2018, between headaches that she believes were exacerbate

In the ‘Armpit of the Universe,’ a Window Into the Persistent Inequities of Environmental Policy

Germaine Gooden-Patterson has lived in Clairton, Pennsylvania, for more than 15 years, but it wasn’t until she began a job as a community health worker in 2019 that she understood how much air pollution was affecting her neighbors’ lives—and her own.

Gooden-Patterson’s work for the Pittsburgh-based nonprofit Women for a Healthy Environment required her to visit homes in Clairton and the nearby towns of Duquesne and McKeesport, conducting surveys and interviews about air quality. As she spoke wi

To Live and Die in Philadelphia: Sonya Sanders Grew Up Next Door to a Giant Refinery. She’s Still Suffering From Environmental Trauma

PHILADELPHIA—Sonya Sanders knows better than most the physical toll of living next door to an ecological hazard.

For a century and a half, the towering stacks at the former PES Refinery in her old South Philadelphia neighborhood spat flames, belched smoke and poisoned the air over her working-class community that now has outsized rates of cancer, asthma and other rare diseases.

Among those lost: Sander’s husband, Ray Williams, whose rare bone cancer, she believes, was caused by the polluted re

After Another Year of Record-Breaking Heat, a Heightened Focus on Public Health

He noticed the light-headedness first.

Then there was stifling heat, which made everything seem to be moving in slow motion.

And by the time Oscar Rodriguez, a bricklayer from Cypress, Texas, was able to find shelter under an air conditioner during a triple-digit degree day last summer, he realized that he may have just escaped a brush with a serious heat-related illness.

In 2022, nearly 1,700 people died of heat-related causes—a sharp increase from the roughly 950 deaths in 2018, according t

Does the Insect Repellent DEET Affect Reproductive Systems?

For years, researchers studying DEET—the chemical that’s widely used in insect repellants—have noted how in some cases it can harm brain cells, cause seizures and adversely affect the central nervous system. Now a group of scientists at Harvard University have found that the substance may jeopardize reproductive functions, too.

Mónica P. Colaiácovo, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School who was the lead author of a study published last week in the open-access journal iScience, said

For One Environmentalist, Warning Black Women About Dangerous Beauty Products Allows Them to Own Their Health

Dereliction of Beauty: Third in a series on how lax regulation of beauty care products victimizes women of color.

When Heather McTeer Toney thinks about the disproportionate harms that she and many other Black women have suffered from toxic substances, some of her most enduring memories take her back decades to the process of straightening her naturally curly hair—and the burn.

“Think about that for a second,” she said in a recent interview. “Chemical burns on a young Black girl’s scalp was a

A New Law Regulating the Cosmetics Industry Expands the FDA’s Power But Fails to Ban Toxic Chemicals in Beauty Products

Dereliction of Beauty: Second in a series on how lax regulation of beauty care products victimizes women of color.

In the arcane and often seemingly impenetrable bureaucracy of the U.S. government, few agencies have as broad of a mandate to keep the American people safe as the Food and Drug Administration.

In addition to protecting members of the public from harm when it comes to what they eat and the pharmaceuticals they consume, the agency is also empowered to regulate an eclectic list of pr

Black Women Face Disproportionate Risks From Largely Unregulated Toxic Substances in Beauty and Personal Care Products

Dereliction of Beauty: First in a series on how lax regulation of beauty care products victimizes women of color.

For Jeanette Toomer, the hours she used to spend to ensure that her hair was perfectly done-up years ago was not just a matter of style—it was a cultural statement.

As a Black woman who came of age in the 1970s, Toomer favored natural hair styles over those that required the use of chemicals—a nod to the self-empowerment and return-to-our-roots ethos that rippled across the African