Health Highlights – June 1st, 2007

Health Highlights is a biweekly summary of particularly interesting articles from credible sources of health and medical information that we follow & read. For a complete list of recommeded sources, see our links page.

Health Highlights

Alternative Ethanol Fuel Won’t Improve Future Air Quality

Ethanol is produced biologically by fermenting sugar with Saccharomyces yeasts. Under anaerobic (meaning in the absence of oxygen) conditions, when yeast metabolize sugar, they produce ethanol and carbon dioxide. Bioethanol (meaning ethanol production derived from crops) is the most common renewable fuel today and is derived from corn grain (starch) and sugar cane (sucrose) [1]. Thus, ethanol is an inherently renewable eco-friendly resource, contributing nothing in itself to greenhouse gases. However, a study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T) concludes that if every vehicle in the U.S. ran on ethanol-based fuel, the number of respiratory-related deaths and hospitalizations would likely increase.

You read that right, widespread use of E85 would likely result in an increase in respiratory-related deaths and hospitalizations.

Earth Day: A Call for Action on Climate Change

Today is the 38th annual Earth Day. This year, the Earth Day Network has called on lighting manufactuers and policy makers to encourage the transition to energy efficient lighting by 2016.

Discovery Setting It’s Sites On Green

Discovery Communications has announced that it plans to start a 24-hour channel focused on eco-friendly living. Riding on the tails of its successful “Planet Earth” series, the company will rebrand its Discovery Home Channel with a name that has yet-to-be selected. The channel, expected to debut in 2008, will be dedicated to the highest quality programming for a green lifestyle and will initially be carried in 50 million homes. The channel will be the centerpiece of a new multimedia content initiative called PlanetGreen [1].