Bits and Pieces: Helping Rehabilitation Patients, Concerns With the Environmental Protection Agency and More

Read up on the latest news with the EPA, family farms, technology helping rehabilitation patients and more.

| May/June 1982

Learn more about current topics relating to the environment and health of the country.

Officials Protest Alternative Living

The Washtenaw County (Michigan) Building Inspection Department has ordered the owners of a tipi to install a framed door and a five-foot-square window, in order to satisfy the local building code. Officials said the flap-door structure lacks proper lighting and ventilation, a regulation entrance, and a fire exit. (One of the disgruntled owners remonstrated, "All I need for a fire exit is a knife.")

Even Chemical Week Has Problems With the EPA

Although the Environmental Protection Agency has recently suffered some direct hits from environmentally conscious critics, it came as some surprise to us when Chemical Week — a leading industry trade magazine— added its licks: "An ineffective EPA is not what the chemical industry needs. What it needs and expects from the Reagan administration is an agency that will discharge intelligently its responsibility to the American people. ... A management attitude that turns off hundreds of competent and dedicated professionals — and the EPA has them — is not good."

Return of the Family Farm

For the first time since the Great Depression, the number of farms in the U.S. has increased up to 2.4 million, representing a gain of 8,000 during 1981. However, agriculture officials report one alarming small-farm statistic: 60 percent of such holdings grossed less than $20,000 apiece in annual income and contributed only 6.5 percent of the nation's total agricultural output.

Cloning Chestnuts

Forest scientists at West Virginia University have successfully cloned the American chestnut, a species that was almost eradicated by a fungus blight during the early 1900s. Researchers say their work may help bring back the tree, since it will now be possible to duplicate any blight-resistant chestnut specimen that may be discovered.

Neutralizing Coal Runoffs — With Shampoo?

Research sponsored by the Tennessee Valley Authority indicates that a mild solution of sodium lauryl sulfate — the active ingredient in many hair shampoos — can be applied to neutralize acid runoff from coal piles. The substance blocks both bacterial activity that promotes acid formation and chemical leaching in the drainage.

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