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Evolution, climate change still being rejected by a lot of Americans

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Evolution rejected by many Americans

Do you believe in evolution? Do you think climate change comes as a direct result of human activity? What about GMOs, are they safe to eat? A recent study reveals that American citizens still have very different views when it comes to these issues, but more importantly, their views are in opposition to those of scientists a lot of the time. The study was realized by the Pew Research Center in collaboration with the American Association for the Advancement of Science and was based on two surveys, one aimed at the general public while the other was targeted at members of the AAAS. So, curious about what percentage of Americans believe in evolution? Well, let’s see.

The survey has found that about 65% of US citizens now believe that humans have gradually evolved over time while 98% of AAAS scientists are also of this opinion. However, only about 35% of Americans seem to believe that evolution occurred naturally, just like Charles Darwin suggested back in the 19th century. Interestingly enough, quite a few members of the public (about 24%) believe that human evolution was actually guided by a divine being. Even more interesting is that only about 31% of the public seems to think that we did not evolve at all, but that we were created in this exact form. The public was also asked if they think that scientists generally agree that humans are the result of evolution and 66% of them said that they do.

Meanwhile, people are even more divided when it comes to the issue of climate change, with only about 50% of the public agreeing that this problem comes as a direct result of human activity. On the other hand, almost all the AAAS scientists (87%) who took part in the survey agree that our actions have a negative impact on the environment and are slowly causing the climate to change. That said, the biggest gap between the US public and the scientists seems to be on the issue of GMOs, specifically whether or not they are safe to eat. Unsurprisingly, most scientists (around 88%) are saying that genetically-modified foods are ok to eat while relatively few members of the general public (37%) seem to agree with them.

A number of other important issues were also discussed, including mandatory vaccines for children, animal research, offshore drilling, the space station, and many more. You can read more about the results of this poll on the Pew Research Center website.

Although George has many hobbies, he likes nothing more than to play around with cameras and other photography equipment.

Environment

Stark Warning: Louisiana’s “Cancer Alley” has been found to have dangerous levels of toxic gas

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High levels of toxic gas used in petrochemical manufacturing have been detected in Louisiana, surpassing safe limits by a significant margin.

This particular chemical is ethylene oxide, a highly flammable and colorless gas that has a faintly sweet odor. It is utilized in various industries for the manufacturing of antifreeze, detergents, fibers, and bottles. In addition, it is utilized for sterilizing medical and food production equipment.

Scientists at Johns Hopkins University recently conducted a study in southeastern Louisiana to measure the levels of ethylene oxide in the air. They used two vans equipped with advanced technologies to accurately monitor the gas in real-time.

This region of the state encompasses “Cancer Alley,” a corridor along the Mississippi River connecting New Orleans and Baton Rouge, which unfortunately experiences alarmingly elevated rates of cancer and various health concerns among its population. Coincidentally, the area is home to numerous petrochemical plants that release a wide range of industrial chemicals, such as ethylene oxide.

Exposure to ethylene oxide at concentrations exceeding 11 parts per trillion can have detrimental effects on human health. This is because it has the potential to directly harm DNA and elevate the risk of developing cancer.

Surprisingly, this study discovered levels reaching as high as 40 parts per billion in areas in close proximity to industrial facilities. The concentrations turned out to be significantly higher than the Environmental Protection Agency’s estimates.

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It was anticipated that ethylene oxide would be present in this region. However, the levels we observed were far beyond our expectations and significantly exceeded the estimated levels provided by the EPA,” stated Peter DeCarlo, an associate professor of Environmental Health and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

“As we drove through the industrial areas, we observed concentrations reaching 40 parts per billion, a level that exceeds the accepted risk for lifetime exposure by over a thousand times,” DeCarlo explained.

Researchers have issued a warning about the potential increased cancer risk for individuals residing in close proximity to ethylene oxide manufacturing and usage facilities.

Our discoveries carry significant implications for the well-being of community residents, particularly infants and children. According to Keeve Nachman, an associate professor of Environmental Health and Engineering and the co-director of the Risk Sciences and Public Policy Institute, it has been demonstrated that ethylene oxide can cause direct harm to DNA. This implies that exposures to this substance during early life are particularly hazardous.

The latest research was recently published in the esteemed journal Environmental Science & Technology.

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Medicine and Health

Which is better for us: fresh or frozen vegetables?

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People are changing how they shop at the grocery store to save money because the cost of living is going up. This is especially true when it comes to vegetables. As a general rule, frozen vegetables are less expensive than fresh ones. However, some people think that fresh vegetables are naturally “better” for you. Which is it?

In a clean corner
Fresh vegetables that are crunchy and taste great are great, but they might not have as many nutrients as you think.

They start to lose their nutrients as soon as they are picked. That’s because they are taken away from their source of nutrients when they are picked. So that they can stay alive, the cells in vegetables breathe faster, which can cause nutrients to be lost. It’s also possible for this to happen when vegetables are stored or processed and are exposed to oxygen.

But this is the big nutritional catch with fresh vegetables: how healthy they are depends on how soon you eat them after picking them. Since the prices of vegetables at stores are going through the roof, some people are growing their own or getting them from community gardens. It usually takes a little longer for fresh vegetables from the store to get to our tables.

To get the most out of fresh vegetables, they should be eaten within a few days, if possible. CNN Health spoke with Gene Lester, a plant physiologist and national program leader for the US Department of Agriculture. “After it’s four, five, or seven days old, it’s a whole different story.”

In the cold corner
It became popular to freeze fresh vegetables because they go bad faster when left out in the open air. This way, you can use them up faster and avoid having a fridge full of spoiled green beans. Besides that, because they are frozen so soon after being picked, frozen vegetables are usually thought to have more nutrients.

Still, there is some evidence that frozen vegetables may have less vitamin C than fresh vegetables. Vitamin C is important for many bodily functions and, you know, keeps you from getting scurvy. For that reason, frozen vegetables are blanched, which means they are quickly scalded in steam or boiling water and then quickly cooled.

Blanching food is thought to help keep the flavor and stop that weird gray color that can happen with frozen food. This is done by turning off enzymes in the vegetables, which freezing alone couldn’t do. But heat can also break down vitamin C, so some of it might be lost in vegetables that are going to be frozen.

Vitamin C loss doesn’t seem to be that clear-cut, though. If it’s frozen, there may not be any more loss.

A study from 2015 that looked at how well eight different fruits and vegetables kept their vitamins found that spinach, carrots, peas, and broccoli that were stored fresh or frozen did not differ significantly in terms of vitamin C. It was discovered that frozen corn and green beans had higher levels of vitamin C than fresh ones. The authors said this was because fresh vegetables break down faster.

The whole picture
The study mentioned above also discovered that, on average, frozen vegetables had the same amount of vitamins as fresh ones, and sometimes even more. Any food is “better” than none at all, and any vegetable is better than none at all in the big picture.

Vegetables are full of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and they are good for you in many ways, like helping your immune system and giving you more energy.

If you can’t decide between fresh and frozen, choose the option that works best for you, whether it’s financially, practically, or just in terms of taste.

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Medicine and Health

As a possible world first, Finland will give bird flu vaccines to groups that are most likely to get sick

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Inland is poised to become the first nation globally to administer prophylactic avian influenza vaccines to select individuals. According to reports, the European Union (EU) has obtained the initial deliveries of the vaccine, which will be sent to the EU. This is to ensure that individuals who are most vulnerable to the virus can receive some level of protection.

According to Reuters, the European Union (EU) is set to enter into a contract with CSL Seqirus, a vaccine maker, to obtain 665,000 doses of a preventive avian influenza vaccine. This contract will be on behalf of 15 nations within the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA). Similar initiatives are already in progress in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. However, considering that the European Union’s agreement is scheduled to be finalized on June 11, 2024, it appears highly probable that Finland will be the first country to commence its immunization campaign.

The Zoonotic Influenza Vaccine Seqirus, approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in October 2023, was specifically designed to combat a strain of avian influenza classified as H5N8.

This is distinct from the avian influenza that has recently received attention as a result of outbreaks on dairy farms in a number of US states, specifically due to the H5N1 virus. The vaccine does focus on the hemagglutinin surface protein of the virus, specifically the “H” part that is shared by both H5N8 and H5N1, so it is expected to offer some protection against H5N1.

Currently, there have been three instances where agricultural workers in the US have become infected with the virus due to contact with cows that were carrying the infection. However, there is no evidence to suggest that the virus can be transmitted between individuals. Although the overall risk is typically deemed to be minimal, those who have vocations that include close interaction with animals will serve as early indicators if this virus begins to transmit more frequently to people.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advise those who are in close proximity to dairy cows or raw milk to maintain proper hand hygiene and utilize personal protection equipment such as gloves, respirators, and safety goggles. It is anticipated that a vaccination, even targeting a slightly variant strain of avian flu, will provide an additional level of defense.

As of now, no nations in the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) have reported any instances of H5N1 infection in humans. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control stated in its weekly report for June 1–7 that the likelihood of zoonotic influenza spreading to the general public in EU/EEA nations is deemed to be minimal.

In 2023, Finland saw many occurrences of extremely contagious H5N1 infections. These outbreaks affected both wild birds and mammals on numerous fur farms around the country, leading to the need for extensive culling.

Farmed animals, such as mink, are prone to the avian flu. However, the occurrence of outbreaks on fur farms and the current situation with dairy cows in the US are particularly worrying to epidemiologists. This is because it raises the possibility of continuous transmission between mammals, which in turn increases the likelihood of a virus crossing over to humans.

According to Hanna Nohynek, the head of the Infectious Diseases Control and Vaccines Unit at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, “the situation appeared highly concerning last year,” according to Euractiv. “Although this year has been relatively peaceful, we are aware that the virus is still present based on the situation in the United States. Therefore, our aim is to safeguard individuals who are involved in handling animals that could potentially be impacted.”

According to STAT News, Finnish officials intend to promptly distribute vaccination doses to chicken farmers, fur farm workers, veterinarians, and virus researchers once the vaccines arrive in the country.

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