Safe Drinking Water: Still at the Core of Sustainable Development

In June, 2012, representatives of world governments and civil society gathered in Rio de Janeiro for the third United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.  The conference, known as “Rio+20,” was held two decades after the inaugural 1992 “Earth Summit” in the same city, and ten years after the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in

Five Tips for Avoiding Norovirus

Wash Your Hands Frequently: Because person-to-person contact is one of the main routes by which norovirus spreads, frequent hand-washing is a must, especially after using the bathroom or changing diapers, and before cooking or eating. Washing virus particles from your hands and down the drain helps prevent you from inadvertently delivering them to your mouth and eyes, entry points for infection. It also helps halt the chain of transmission of the virus to those around you. Do you wash and dry your hands properly?

Sounds Like a New Way to Make Spinach Safer

“Eat your greens,” mom always said. And she was right. Fresh spinach, a powerhouse of nutrition, is a good example.  According to the How Stuff Works website, spinach provides twice as much fiber as other greens.  Raw spinach contains: beta-carotene, an anti-oxidant that can help reduce the risk of developing cataracts; lutein, a phytochemical that

A Microbe Census of the Human Body

About ten thousand species of microbes inhabit the human body, many of which are critical to our health and survival. Our bodies are actually their own microbial ecosystems comprising bacteria, virus and fungi populations in the trillions. There are ten times as many microbe cells found on surfaces in and on the human body as

A Hint of Human Virus in Your Drinking Water?

Ground water is vulnerable to contamination from activities occurring on and below the earth’s surface. Image courtesy of US EPA website. A new study of small drinking water systems in Wisconsin shows residents of some communities in the state are exposed to viruses, including norovirus, through tap water. Researchers found human viruses in about 24

Color Me Safe at the Pool

It’s time to dig out the swim suits, sunscreen and beach towels and head to the pool. Swimming lessons, swim team, frolicking in the pool with friends, lap swimming and leisurely poolside chats are hallmarks of summer for families all over the country. As this fun season begins, we have some safety tips to offer.

Clean Drinking Water: UN Goal Met Five Years Early

A significant global public health milestone has been reached: In the two decades between 1990 and 2010, over two billion people worldwide gained access to clean drinking water sources,i according to the United Nations (press release). This raises to 6.1 billion the number of people on Earth with access to clean drinking water, a full 89 percent of the world’s population.

Norovirus: The “Stomach Flu” That Is Not a Flu

The dreaded “stomach flu” that hits particularly hard in winter is not a flu at all. It is norovirus, a highly contagious virus that causes symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramping. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the illness often begins suddenly and lasts for one to two days with

Biofilms: The Good and the Bad

It’s easy to appreciate the need to disinfect germs on surfaces, but have you ever wondered how germs exist on surfaces in the first place? Enter the biofilm. In recent years, scientists have increased their understanding of these dense colonies of bacteria that produce an extracellular material that binds a community of different microorganisms together

Chloroform: A Profile in Risk Management

In Scotland’s St. Giles Cathedral, there hangs a peculiar plaque praising the discovery of the anesthetic properties of the chemical compound chloroform. Scottish obstetrician Dr. James Simpson is widely credited with this 1847 medical milestone. Chloroform, a simple compound consisting of carbon, chlorine and hydrogen, has more recently been in the news as a byproduct