E-Recycling Is a New Industry with Old Inequities

Electronics keep getting cheaper and becoming obsolete faster. And of the world’s estimated 53.6 million tons of electronic waste in 2020, only 17.4 percent is appropriately recycled. But even proper e-recycling has its dangers, exposing workers to toxic metals such as lead and cadmium, as well as toxic chemicals—all of it usually ground into a fine powder that’s easy to melt down for new gadgets, but also easy to inhale…

Why We Need to Fill the Green Space Gap

Closing the disparities in access to nature is imperative for health and social justice. “Go outside and play!” Countless parents have said this to their kids in the hopes of finding a few quiet moments. But it turns out to be scientifically sound advice, too. A raft of research shows that being outdoors rewards us. A dose of nature can boost creativity, elicit experiences of awe that increase altruism, and improve mental health outcomes. According…

Overlapping vulnerabilities in workers of the electronics recycling industry formal sector: A commentary

Vulnerabilities in workers performing electronics recycling (e‐recycling) in the informal sector worldwide have been well documented. However, the growing e‐recycling industry in the formal sector still brings many challenges to protect the health of workers and their environment. This commentary aims to draw attention to the overlooked vulnerabilities faced by the workers of the e‐recycling industry formal sector in high‐income countries and discuss the potential impact on health inequalities experienced…

New Article: Metals and Particulates Exposure from a Mobile E-Waste Shredding Truck: A Pilot Study

The US electronics recycling industry has introduced a novel mobile electronic waste (e-waste) shredding truck service to address increasing needs for secure data destruction of e-waste. These trucks can shred small electronics with data security concerns at remote locations for a wide variety of clients. Shredding jobs usually involve hand-feeding electronic waste (e-waste) for 4–10 h day−1, 1–5 days. Shredding of e-waste has been documented as a source of high…

This prof is shedding light on energy injustice — and how to fix it

JPB Fellow Tony Reames grew up in rural South Carolina in a “quintessential environmental-justice community,” as he puts it. After the textile industry collapsed in the 1990s, the region was saddled with both the state’s largest landfill and its largest maximum-security prison. It wasn’t until college that Reames, now an assistant professor at the University of Michigan, realized what had been going on in his own hometown — specifically, the…

How Trees Can Help Us Fight a Pandemic

As the world grapples with the devastation of the coronavirus, one thing is clear: The United States simply wasn’t prepared. Despite repeated warnings from infectious disease experts over the years, we lacked essential beds, equipment, and medication; public health advice was confusing, and our leadership offered no clear direction while sidelining credible health professionals and institutions. Infectious disease experts agree that it’s only a matter of time before the next pandemic hits,…

Study Links Gas Flares to Preterm Births, With Hispanic Women at High Risk

Expectant mothers who lived near flaring sites had higher odds of giving birth prematurely than those who did not, researchers found. The adverse outcomes fell entirely on Hispanic women. Across the United States, gas flares light the night skies over oil and gas fields — visible symbols of the country’s energy boom. They also emit greenhouse gases, making them symbols of climate change that many environmental groups would like to…

Risk Of Preterm Births Significantly Greater Near Natural Gas Flaring Sites, Study Finds

Texas Standard interviewed JPB Fellow Lara Cushing, associate professor of environmental health sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, who co-led a study published in Environmental Health Perspectives that found the risk of premature births is 50% higher for mothers near natural gas flaring in Texas’ Eagle Ford Shale oil and gas region. In the mid 2010s, the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas was among the most productive…

Transforming Public Safety and Urban Infrastructure to Mitigate Climate and Public Health Disasters

As the United States and countries around the world move through a summer of social distancing and civil unrest in the wake of a global pandemic and the death of George Floyd and other Black women and men that have fallen at the hands of police violence, activists have been calling for the “defunding of the police.” According to a New York Times opinion editorial written by organizer Mariame Kaba,…

New Publication: Flaring from Unconventional Oil and Gas Development and Birth Outcomes in the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas

Background: Prior studies suggest exposure to oil and gas development (OGD) adversely affects birth outcomes, but no studies have examined flaring—the open combustion of natural gas—from OGD. Objectives: We investigated whether residential proximity to flaring from OGD was associated with shorter gestation and reduced fetal growth in the Eagle Ford Shale of south Texas. Results: Exposure to a high number of nightly flare events was associated with a 50% higher…