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Crews clean up debris in a neighborhood flooded by Hurricane Harvey in Beaumont, Texas, Sept. 26, 2017. AP Photo/David Goldman

Scientist at work: Measuring public health impacts after disasters

Epidemiologists study disease outbreaks in populations to determine who gets sick and why. In the wake of this year's hurricanes, they are assessing impacts from mold, toxic leaks and other threats.
Plastic trash on San Francisco’s Ocean Beach. Kevin Krejci

Bait and switch: Anchovies eat plastic because it smells like prey

A new study shows that anchovies – key food for larger fish – are attracted to plastic trash because it smells like food. This suggests that toxic substances in plastic could move up through food chains.
Abandoned industrial buildings at San Francisco’s Pier 70, with a smokestack in the background. Lindsey Dillon

Cleaning up toxic sites shouldn’t clear out the neighbors

Cleaning up and reusing contaminated sites, known as brownfields, can create jobs and promote economic growth. But it also can drive gentrification that prices out low-income residents.
Cleanup at the GE Housatonic Superfund site in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 2007. Years of PCB and industrial chemical use at GE’s Pittsfield facility and improper disposal led to extensive contamination around the town and down the entire length of the Housatonic River. USACE/Flickr

Cutting Superfund’s budget will slow toxic waste cleanups, threatening public health and property values

President Trump's budget would cut funding for Superfund, which cleans up the nation's most toxic sites, by nearly one-third. An economist explains how Superfund cleanups benefit local communities.

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