Balance/Sustainability — Laundry in the dryer linked to microfiber pollution
Drying laundry using modern drum machines has been linked to the release of potentially harmful microfibers, according to a new study.
According to a study published in PLOS One, tumble-drying a load of laundry releases nearly the same amount of potentially harmful microfibers into the air as is released into the drains from a washing machine load.
Previous reports have explored how microfibers released by wash cycles – thousands of tons each year – could pose a threat to aquatic ecosystems. But this latest study warned that the emission of these tiny fragments into the air from vented dryers could also endanger human health.
While the health impacts of microfiber pollution on humans are still emerging, microfibers can often contain toxic chemicals that are intentionally added to textiles during manufacturing, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
But using fabric softeners and dryer sheets — especially together — can significantly reduce the release of these fibers, the study found. Lint filters that have smaller pores are also able to trap larger masses, reducing the number of microfibers released into the air.
“While many microfibers can be captured in lint filters during drying, if the pore size is too large, a significant amount will be released into the air, comparable to the amount released into the drains during washing,” said textile expert Kelly Sheridan. fibers at Northumbria University, said in a statement.
welcome to balance, a newsletter that follows the growing global battle over the future of sustainability. We are Saul Elbein and Sharon Udasin. Send us tips and feedback. A friend sent you this newsletter? Subscribe here.
Today, we’re going to look to Europe to see which EU countries are most dependent on Russian gas. Next, we’ll look at a study that sheds light on how an increase in the popularity of electric scooters can lead to more driver injuries in Los Angeles.
The countries most dependent on Russian gas
The European Union is struggling to wean itself off Russian natural gas supplies because of the deep dependence of so many member states on this irreplaceable resource from Moscow.
Some countries are trying to accelerate their plans to transition to clean energy or seek alternative suppliers, but experts agree that for the entire bloc, a complete abandonment of Russian gas is not a likely reality. . One country, Hungary, is even seeking to strengthen the relationship with its gas supplier.
Among EU countries, there are large gaps between the countries that import the most Russian gas in quantity and those that are most dependent on the Russian gas they import – and for a variety of reasons. Equilibrium decided to examine both groups.
They are the biggest importers of Russian gas from the EU in 2021, according to the US Energy Information Agency (EIA).
- Germany: 1.7 trillion cubic feet
- Italy: 0.92 trillion cubic feet
- France: 0.62 trillion cubic feet
- Poland: 0.37 trillion cubic feet
They are the largest importers of Russian gas from the EU in 2020, measured as an overall percentage of Russian gas exports, according to the EIA.
- Germany: 16%
- Italy: 12%
- France: 8%
- Netherlands: 5%
- Austria: 5%
- Poland: 4%
- Hungary: 3%
As engines of the continent’s overall economy, Germany, Italy and France are the biggest European buyers of Russian gas, which they use not only to produce electricity and heat, but also to feed their manufacturing industries.
For this reason, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner claimed on Monday that a full-scale energy embargo would cause Germany more pain than Russia. And on Tuesday, the EU included a ban on Russian coal in a new round of sanctions, but has so far avoided natural gas and oil.
ADDICTION IS DIFFERENT FROM QUANTITY
The countries most dependent on Russian gas, however, differed significantly from those importing the largest amounts or highest percentages of the resource in recent years.
These are the 10 most dependent countries, according to the report of the European Commission Eurostat website:
Of particular interest is Hungary, the country most individually dependent on Russian gas. The country’s newly reelected leader, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, vacillates between his EU colleagues and his longstanding relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Although it has supported EU sanctions against Russia, Hungary opposed the bloc on Wednesday, when Orbán said the country would pay for gas deliveries in rubles if asked by Russia, in response to a question from Reuters.
Hungary agrees to pay for the gas in rubles: This statement responded to recent requests from Moscow asking foreign buyers to pay for Russian gas in rubles.
The EU objected to the orders, leading a European Commission spokesperson to tell Reuters on Friday that companies with contracts in euros or dollars “should not accede to Russian demands”.
“Not our war”: Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó echoed Orbán’s sentiments on Wednesday, stressing that the country would prioritize the safety of the Hungarian people, in a Facebook post translated by the government’s international communications office.
“This is not our war so we want to stay out and we will stay out,” Szijjártó wrote. “So we will not deliver weapons and we will not vote for energy sanctions.”
To read the full story, please click here.
Study Highlights Injury Risks of Electric Scooters
According to a new study, the injury rate among electric scooter riders in Los Angeles has exceeded the national injury rate among motorcyclists, bicyclists and car passengers.
According to the study published in PLOS One, about 115 injuries per million e-scooter riders occurred in a section of Los Angeles over six years, in contrast to the national motorcyclist injury rate of 104 injuries per million trips. .
A “surprising” leap in injuries: “There are millions of cyclists now using these scooters, so it’s more important than ever to understand their public health impact,” said Joann Elmore, lead author and professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine. University of California at Los Angeles. declaration.
“The finding that electric scooter injury rates are similar to motorcycle injury rates is surprising,” she added.
More runners, more injuries: Elmore and his colleagues found the data particularly alarming because the growing popularity of electric scooters means the associated risk will only grow.
Shareable e-scooters – rented on demand via a smartphone – could soon represent one in 10 trips under 5 miles, the authors explained, citing a 2019 McKinsey report.
The authors looked at 1,354 injured patients who were treated at 180 UCLA outpatient clinics and UCLA Health emergency departments and urgent care centers from January 2014 to May 2020.
Program sharing made the difference: The launch of shareable electric scooters, which took place in 2018, showed a dramatic change in the number of scooter-related injuries.
Prior to 2018, there were at most 13 e-scooter injuries each year. Zoom into 2019, and that number jumped to 672.
USING E-SCOOTER DATA
The study published on Wednesday found that e-scooter riders suffered injuries, but so did pedestrians, whether they were hit by e-scooters or tripped over parked devices.
The authors identified 533 patients who suffered injuries to more than one part of their body, 72 who were admitted to hospital, 21 who were sent to intensive care and two who died from their injuries.
Additionally, approximately one-third of victims required follow-up visits and significant clinical resources, meaning “the impact of new electric scooter technology may have been underestimated,” the authors wrote.
Limits mean injuries could be higher: The authors acknowledged that they were only able to capture data from UCLA health facilities and did not include people on treatment at other clinics.
But this restriction, they explained, indicated that the number of injuries could really be higher.
“Injuries from electric scooters may be less severe and less fatal than injuries from motorcycles, but we still believe our electric scooter injury rate is underestimated,” said first author Kimon Ioannides of the National UCLA Clinician Scholars Program in a statement.
To read the full story, please click here.
Greenhouse gas emissions are driving sea level rise, ships are raising suspicion in foreign seas, and developers are defying drought in Arizona.
Researchers identify new link between greenhouse gases and sea level rise
- Greenhouse gas emissions are contributing to the melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, driving warm water currents under the ice and causing sea levels to rise, according to a new study. But the study gave the authors some hope, as “it shows that sea level rise is not beyond our control,” Kaitlin Naughten of the British Antarctic Survey said in a statement.
Chinese vessels exploit developing countries through illegal fishing, rights violations: report
- Chinese state subsidies have allowed its ‘deep seas fleet’ – vessels within another country’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone – to exploit the waters of developing countries through illegal fishing, abuse human rights against migrant crews and damage to key marine ecosystems, a new report from the Environmental Justice Foundation has found.
Developers flood Arizona with homes despite western drought
- Some two dozen developments are underway around Phoenix as the West continues to experience one of its worst droughts in history, CNBC reported. Douglas Ranch is expected to have more than 100,000 homes — which the developer says will have low-flow facilities, drip irrigation, water reuse and desert landscaping, according to CNBC.
Please visit The Hill’s Sustainability section online for the web version of this newsletter and more stories. We’ll see you on Thursday.
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