Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Berkeley team fights urban air pollution with smarter, denser sensor networks

A new one for UC Berkeley's CITRIS program's newsletter/online mag:

Air pollution is one of the greatest threats to human health worldwide, responsible for millions of premature deaths each year. Emissions from vehicles, power plants, wildfires, and other sources can contribute to a range of serious health problems, both in places like Beijing and Delhi and across the comparatively safe United States. Now a Berkeley startup with a global vision wants to help.

Developed through the CITRIS Foundry startup accelerator program and led by 2016 Atmospheric Science alumnus David Lu, Clarity seeks to help cities test and improve their air-pollution policies – and ultimately reduce citizens’ exposure to harmful pollutants – through robust networks of small, low-cost sensors.

Read the rest of the brief Q&A here.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Q&A with Lisa Micheli of Pepperwood Preserve

Wrote this little piece on Lisa Micheli for Bay Nature's 2018 Local Hero awards. Micheli, the CEO of Santa Rosa's Pepperwood Preserve, was named Bay Nature's newest Environmental Education hero. Read why, and more about her work, right here.

Brains for buildings, packaged in a smart briefcase

Whoops, forgot to post this in October. For posterity's sake:

Energy efficiency isn’t just about bulbs and appliances. It’s also about rooms and floors, whole homes and office buildings, managed down to the minute and the degree to minimize energy consumption without sacrificing comfort. A new device from a group of Berkeley engineers, working with electrical engineering and computer sciences (EECS) professor and CITRIS director Costas Spanos, advances that effort by making it easier than ever to monitor building conditions and use.

Read the rest...

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

More in EHP: Traditional Ecological Knowledge offers a different perspective on environmental health

Many persistent health disparities exist between Native Americans and other racial groups in the United States. As part of a broader effort to address these shortfalls and their root causes, the authors of a new commentary in Environmental Health Perspectives highlight the value of Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) to Tribal epidemiology and medicine. Although perspectives on health and disease often differ widely between Western scientists and Native American and Alaska Native cultures, the authors write, they also have many parallels and can complement one another.
Read the rest at Environmental Health Perspectives.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

New in EHP: Ubiquitous plastic additive DEHP alters sexual behavior in mice

Though you may have never heard of DEHP, it's the most common phthalate on the planet, used to make plastics in consumer products, packaging, and medical devices more flexible or durable. DEHP represents more than a third of the global plasticizer market and has been detected in more than 75% of analyzed individuals in industrial countries. It's also a known endocrine disruptor. The combination points to a potentially significant impact on public health that researchers are just beginning to understand. One area that has received particular interest is reproductive health. A new study in EHP offers intriguing evidence of a link with altered courtship behavior in otherwise healthy adult male mice via a reduction in the number of androgen receptors in the brain. I wrote a news story on the new research for EHP, which you can find here.