Here are the top environmental links folks are Digging today:
— Although federal and local officials continue insisting the drying coal-ash flood in East Tennessee isn't an immediate health risk, the EPA has found dangerous levels of arsenic. The ash also contains heavy metals such as mercury, but only the arsenic was found at levels that would normally trigger an EPA response. The agency says it's holding off, though, because the TVA plans to take action.
— An epidemic of lead poisoning in Senegal — the result of tainted soil from years of extracting the metal from car batteries — demonstrates how the globalization of such commodities can devastate Third World countries, the Associated Press reports.
— Diggers have Dugg up this video from September, when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger explained to the Commonwealth Club of California how the state is a trendsetter in measuring carbon emissions and setting goals to control them.
— The Vatican's official newspaper issued a controversial report this weekend, arguing that use of birth-control pills pollutes the environment with hormones that are increasing male infertility. The finding, dismissed by several scientists, conveniently aligns with the pope's recent condemnation of contraceptives.
— Even a conflict using just one-thousandth the weaponry of a full-scale nuclear war would release nearly 700 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, more than the annual total emitted by the U.K. It would also release 313 million tons of soot, however, which would initially block out the sun and lead to regional cooling, ultimately followed by increased warming.