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Toxins and Pollution

This little piggy went to market … and everything changed

Arkansas Highway 155 branches of Arkansas 7 just south of Dardanelle. The flat, two-lane features a couple of curves and long, straight stretches with cattle pasture and cropland on both sides. Just a couple of miles east of the intersection sits Balloun Farms. If the wind is right and your …

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Toxic oversight

For years, government regulators and academic researchers have been at an impasse over the safety of bisphenol A, or BPA, a chemical used to make some plastics. Academic researchers have repeatedly found that BPA and other hormone-disrupting chemicals, which can contaminate foods and drinks, may contribute to problems such as …

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Drinking problems

The friendly waitress at the Pretty Prairie Steak House delivers tumblers of tap water as soon as diners take their seats. Across Main Street, the Wagon Wheel Café offers the same courtesy. Customers may also order coffee or iced tea, but it all starts at the same tap, and everyone …

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Drinking problems: A Kansas farm town confronts a tap-water crisis

Elizabeth Royte, a contributing editor at FERN, writes about the long history of nitrate contamination in the water of Pretty Prairie, Kansas, a farming community just west of Wichita, in the latest issue of Harper’s Magazine. One of the things she explores is why residents didn’t demand that the town fix …

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Building a backup bee

Every February an extraordinary research project resumes in the southwestern corner of California’s Central Valley. It takes place inside a series of huge cages that span 20 acres by a vast pistachio grove. Each cage is shaped like a rectangular warehouse but is made entirely of extremely fine netting, pulled …

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Did Monsanto ignore evidence linking its weedkiller to cancer?

In 1970, John E. Franz, a 40-year-old chemist from Springfield, Illinois, hit upon a discovery that would profoundly change agriculture: a chemical that works its way into the leaves of weeds and down to their roots, eventually killing them. Franz sold the patent for the breakthrough to his employer, Monsanto, for …

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How Vermont tackled farm pollution and cleaned up its waters

If you were to go looking for a magnificent American body of water worthy of an epic end-to-end swim, Lake Champlain might be it. Carved out of high country by glaciers, fed by Green Mountain brooks and icy Adirondack springs, it stretches 120 miles, forming much of the border between …

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