Alberto A. Ortiz Bio 112 May 13, 2010 Pollution is all around us, everywhere we go, every day we experience some sort of pollution. Babies in the womb are more vulnerable than their mothers to DNA harm from air pollution, in spite of the additional protection that the placenta is thought to supply in removing toxins. In a study of babies and their mothers in New York City, scientists found that babies had accumulated a relatively high amount of mutations, and they connected the mutations to vehicle emissions.
The babies also had more toxins from secondhand smoke than their mothers, who didn’t even smoke. This information is listed in Environmental Health Perspectives. For many years, scientists have believed that a fetus may be more susceptible to toxins than an adult. Yet, new research among a handful of large studies has analyzed the genetic effects of pollution. It is not known what the health effects of this DNA damage, if any, are for newborns. Exposure to these types of pollutants and tobacco smoke has been linked to increased risk for cancer in adults. This finding raises concern about fetal susceptibility and underscores the importance of reducing air pollution,” says Frederica Perera, who led the study at the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health in New York City. The study included 265 pairs of nonsmoking African-American and Latina mothers and newborns in New York City. The researchers collected cord blood samples from the babies at the time of delivery and blood samples from the mothers a day after giving birth.
Don’t waste your time!
Order your assignment!
Mothers and newborns had the same level of DNA damage from air pollutants, but the researchers estimate that the fetus is exposed to a ten-fold lower dose of pollutants than the mother because the placenta serves as a filter. Thus, fetuses appear to be particularly susceptible to environmental toxins and may not be able to clear them from their bodies or repair damaged DNA. The finding that newborns had higher levels of cotinine, a byproduct of nicotine, in their blood than did their mothers reinforces he concern that babies are more affected by secondhand smoke. The scientists were able to measure the level of DNA damage from air pollutants in mothers and newborns by analyzing stretches of mutated DNA, called biomarkers, that have been associated with exposure to diesel emissions and other air pollutants. In a previous study of Caucasian women and their newborns in Krakow, Poland, Perera and her colleagues found similar prenatal susceptibility to air pollution.
Because New York City has much lower levels of pollution than Krakow, they wanted to see if the same damage occurred. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has put forward legislation, which will provide the first comprehensive overhaul of the New York City Noise Code in over 30 years. Noise is the number one complaint to the City’s 311 citizen service hotline, currently averaging nearly 1,000 calls a day. The proposal provides a flexible environment to keep New York’s businesses thriving while addressing the number one quality of life complaint in New York.
Mayor Bloomberg said that his new proposal, which was announced in June 2004, was the first overhaul of the Noise Code in over 30 years and would maintain the City’s vibrancy by balancing the need for construction, development and an exciting nightlife with New Yorker’s well deserved right to peace and quiet. “Building on the success of our enforcement initiative, Operation Silent Night, we are proposing a comprehensive revision to the noise code that will make New York quieter and more livable without stifling growth,” the Mayor added.
The new Noise Code will remove outdated code sections and replace them with ones that use the latest acoustic technology and will provide for flexible and reasonable enforcement. The new code provides updated and sensible means of limiting noise from construction sites located near residential neighborhoods. By establishing uniform best management practices for all work sites, using greater discretion in granting permits for night and weekend work and mandating ‘noise management plans’ that include portable sound barriers, noise jackets for jackhammers at all construction sites the code will decrease noise pollution.
Neighbors apply special lotions after showering because their skin burns. Tests show that their tap water contains arsenic, barium, lead, manganese and other chemicals at concentrations federal regulators say could contribute to cancer and damage the kidneys and nervous system. “How can we get digital cable and Internet in our homes, but not clean water? ” said Mrs. Hall-Massey, a senior accountant at one of the state’s largest banks. She and her husband, Charles, do not live in some remote corner of Appalachia.
Charleston, the state capital, is less than 17 miles from her home. “How is this still happening today? ” she asked. When Mrs. Hall-Massey and 264 neighbors sued nine nearby coal companies, accusing them of putting dangerous waste into local water supplies, their lawyer did not have to look far for evidence. As required by state law, some of the companies had disclosed in reports to regulators that they were pumping into the ground illegal concentrations of chemicals ??? the same pollutants that flowed from residents’ taps.
But state regulators never fined or punished those companies for breaking those pollution laws. The vast majority of those polluters have escaped punishment. State officials have repeatedly ignored obvious illegal dumping, and the Environmental Protection Agency, which can prosecute polluters when states fail to act, has often declined to intervene. Because it is difficult to determine what causes diseases like cancer, it is impossible to know how many illnesses are the results of water pollution, or contaminants’ role in the health problems of specific individuals.
But concerns over these toxins are great enough that Congress and the E. P. A. regulate more than 100 pollutants through the Clean Water Act and strictly limit 91 chemicals or contaminants in tap water through the Safe Drinking Water Act. Research shows that an estimated one in 10 Americans have been exposed to drinking water that contains dangerous chemicals or fails to meet a federal health benchmark in other ways. Those exposures include carcinogens in the tap water of major American cities and unsafe chemicals in drinking-water wells.
Wells, which are not typically regulated by the Safe Drinking Water Act, are more likely to contain contaminants than municipal water systems. Because most of today’s water pollution has no scent or taste, many people who consume dangerous chemicals do not realize it, even after they become sick, researchers say. The broadest definition of thermal pollution is the degradation of water quality by any process that changes ambient water temperature.
Thermal pollution is usually associated with increases of water temperatures in a stream, lake, or ocean due to the discharge of heated water from industrial processes, such as the generation of electricity. Increases in ambient water temperature also occur in streams where shading vegetation along the banks is removed or where sediments have made the water more turbid. Both of these effects allow more energy from the sun to be absorbed by the water and thereby increase its temperature.
There are also situations in which the effects of colder-than-normal water temperatures may be observed. For example, the discharge of cold bottom water from deep-water reservoirs behind large dams has changed the downstream biological communities in systems such as the Colorado River. http://www. controllingpollution. com/pollution/thermal-pollution/ http://www. nydailynews. com/topics/Noise+Pollution http://www. dec. ny. gov/chemical/281. html http://www. nytimes. com/2009/12/17/us/17water. html