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environmental health

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Cities across the nation are building schools on contaminated ground, igniting grassroots opposition and straining already slashed school budgets with the costs of needed remediation. The practice is much more common that most people realize, and not just in the inner city. According to one study, one out of every seven rural school sites in California had to be cleaned up either before or after construction. School districts defend their use of industrial sites as safe and as a necessary step in redeveloping down-and-out neighborhoods. Yet parents and environmentalists worry that current regulations do little to protect the school children and may contribute to health, learning and behavior problem.

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Jonathan Watts has had a dream assignment, in many ways. He has been able to watch China transform itself into a true economic superpower and has detailed the resulting environmental and societal problems in his stories for the Guardian in London.

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Lawsuits and health surprises abound in today's Daily Briefing.

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Are mini-med health plans really such a bad option for low-wage workers? Answers and more from our Daily Briefing.

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Jonathan Watts arrived in China in 2003 after a distinguished career covering Japan for the Guardian in London. He was filling very big shoes, taking over for John Gittings, who had written about China since the Cultural Revolution. Watts quickly established himself as a clear-eyed observer of the massive changes under way economically, politically and culturally. In 2008, he took a break to write a book about the environmental and health effects of China’s rapid growth.

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Which state is having the worst flu season so far? Answers and more in our Daily Briefing.

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Here’s what we’re checking out today:

Alcohol Tax: Doubling the current tax on alcohol could lower alcohol-related deaths by about 35 percent and deliver other public health benefits, according to new research released at the American Public Health Association meeting in Denver.

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Environmental health reporting sheds light on some of the most important decisions a person can make – about their health, their ability to have children, the health of their children, the health of their world. But first you have to get the story right.

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Surgeon General Regina Benjamin got an earful today from participants in a conference call unveiling a high-level prevention council and strategy called for in the new health reform law.

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Here’s what we’re reading today:

Health Reform: California’s Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signs a number of bills to move along health reform in the state, including the nation’s first state legislation to create health insurance exchanges. Check out the list of signed bills at Health Access’ blog.

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The nation’s overdose epidemic has entered a devastating new phase. Drugs laced with fentanyl and even more poisonous synthetics have flooded the streets, as the crisis spreads well beyond the rural, largely white communities that initially drew attention. The death rate is escalating twice as fast among Black people than among white people. This webinar will give journalists deep insights, fresh story ideas and practical tips for covering an epidemic that killed more than 107,000 people in the U.S. last year. Sign-up here!

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