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Weekly Environmental Updates
Congress told EPA Director Scott Pruitt at a recent hearing that it will give the EPA more money than Trump wants. Pruitt has defended Trump's proposed 30 percent cut in funding for the agency. Both Republicans and Democrats are reportedly concerned with the impact such massive cuts would have on programs, including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which Trump wanted to gut entirely.
Big Oil has funded the distribution of 9,000 free copies of a children's book titled "Petro Pete's Big Bad Dream" to schools and libraries in an apparent attempt to persuade children that oil production is important. The book's main character wakes up one morning to find his toothbrush and bike tires have disappeared and his school bus fails to show up. When he finally gets to school his teacher remarks "It sounds like you are missing all of your petroleum by-products today!". Teachers also received the book "Why Scientists Disagree About Global Warming".
A German writer has delighted readers and angered some scientists with his best selling book, "The Hidden Life of Trees". A former state forester, the author claims that trees are social, can communicate with each other, can remember things, and have sex. Despite criticism from some scientists in his native country, the writer maintains that everything he wrote is based on facts.
A Southeast Asian plant used for arthritis and rheumatism contains an anti-HIV compound more powerful than AZT, says a new paper. The chemical known as pateniflorin A, which comes from the willow-leaved Justica, has been synthesized in a lab. Reserachers report that it is even effective against drug-resistant strains of HIV.
About 20 percent of baby food samples taken over 10 years had detectable levels of lead, according to the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund. 89 percent of grape juice samples, 96 percent of sweet potato samples and 47 percent of teething biscuits contained levels of lead. While none of the samples exceeded current levels set by the FDA, there is reportedly no safe lead level and the FDA is in the process of reviewing its standards.
Chocolate milk comes from brown cows, according to seven percent of Americans surveyed by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. The online survey polled 1,000 people over a five day period this past May. A survey spokesman labeled the finding "a bit surprising".
Roman Hills