WHAT WE’RE READING THIS WEEK: Pigeons to the rescue

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Pigeons used to monitor air pollution in London

CNN: Pigeon Air Patrol To The Rescue, Published Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Air quality monitoring is for the birds — literally.

It’s not a bird-brained idea, says a company behind a flock of pigeons that fly above the streets of London with backpack-like devices strapped to their backs to monitor the city’s air pollution.

Plume Labs, the company behind the Pigeon Air Patrol, says each of the pigeons’ packs monitors nitrogen dioxide and other forms of air pollution in a city that has some of the highest levels of air pollution in the world.

The company says roughly 9,400 London residents die every year as a result of air pollution and it hopes that its Pigeon Air Patrol will make people become advocates for better air quality in London.

As a way to track the air pollution, 10 trained birds will fly to the sky with their backpacks. Once the birds are in the air, their backpacks automatically tweet the results.

Children smoking rates down, but e-cig use is up: study

CBC: Teen cannabis use at lowest level since 1980s: study, Published March 16, 201

no-smoking-1520003-640x640Smoking among school-aged Canadian children is significantly down, but more children are using electronic cigarettes.

That is according to researchers behind a study, Health Behaviour Among School Aged Children.

Elizabeth Saewyc, a co-author of the study and a professor of nursing at the University of British Columbia tells the CBC that she is concerned about the increase in the usage of e-cigerettes.

“E-cigarettes are one of those things that we’re beginning to be a little concerned about, because clearly the tobacco use is down, and has been consistently low, but if they’re trying e-cigarettes at that level, does that mean we could be seeing a turnaround and smoking will become cool again,” said Saewyc to the CBC.

Poor air bad for your lungs and can cause diabetes: study

forbidden-pollution-1245100-639x426Reuters: Air Pollution not just bad for your lungs, Published March 16, 2016

Being exposed to air pollution for up to a month or two can increase an obese person’s chances of getting diabetes, suggests a recent U.S. study.

Reuters reports that researchers followed more than 1,000 Mexican-Americans in southern California. What researchers found was that their short-term exposure to poor air quality was linked to an increase risk of high cholesterol. They also found that the bad air impaired the processing of blood sugar — a risk for diabetes.

However, scientists still don’t know how air pollution might lead to diabetes.

For more, check out the story on Reuters.

—JC—

 

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