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Global rainwater is now contaminated with ‘forever chemicals.’ What can we do about it?

Rainwater contaminated by toxic chemicals called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, is now a global problem, according to new research published in Environmental Science & Technology.

The Stockholm University study found that levels of PFAS contamination are so persistent and widespread that even the most sparsely populated regions of the world, such as Antarctica and the Tibetan plateau, contained levels of the toxic “forever chemicals” that surpassed even the most “stringent” existing guidelines, the authors said.

“There is nowhere on Earth where the rain would be safe to drink, according to the measurements that we have taken,” Ian Cousins, a professor at the university and lead author of the study, said recently.

PFAS forever chemicals, so named because they do not easily degrade, accumulate in the body once ingested, potentially leading to a range of health problems.

Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University.

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August 15, 2022

Northeastern’s Marine Science Center helps inspire future leaders from Boston youth academy

The lobster was not happy to be plucked out of the seawater tank. It was thrashing at the air like Edward Scissorhands.

“How strong are their claws?” asked one of the visiting students.

“I would not want to get my fingers stuck in there,” said Sierra Muñoz, outreach program coordinator at Northeastern’s Marine Science Center. She held the lobster upside down at arm’s length to reveal its eight shorter legs, all spinning wildly.

Several students expressed concern for the tank’s other animals. Muñoz nodded in agreement.

“There was one in that other tank but he started taking the arms off of sea stars,” she said. “So I was like, nuh-uh, you’re going back to the ocean.”

Photo by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University.

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August 12, 2022

Rapid rise in monkeypox spurs calls for better tests, more vaccine doses

With U.S. monkeypox cases going from zero to more than 6,000 in less than three months,  Northeastern University professors concerned about the pace of transmission are calling for better tests and more vaccine doses to stop the viral outbreak in its tracks.

“It’s very striking to see this pox” in the U.S., especially with cases declining in parts of the world where monkeypox has a historical presence, says Mansoor Amiji, who chairs the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Northeastern University.

Amiji calls the rise in cases in the U.S. and Europe “fairly rapid and steep.”

So far the U.S. government has secured 1.1 million doses of vaccine for monkeypox, according to Politico.

“That is still not enough. We have a lot of work to do,” says Neil Maniar, director of Northeastern University’s Master of Public Health Program.

Since May of this year, monkeypox cases have appeared more than 25,000 times in countries where the disease is not endemic, prompting the World Health Organization to declare a public health emergency of concern July 23.

Read more on [email protected]

Photo by Karla Coté/Sipa via AP Images.

August 05, 2022

Summer Bridge Scholars make ‘tremendous start’ in their Northeastern experience

Traveling more than 3,000 miles to attend Northeastern University, Noah Babcock said the Summer Bridge Scholars Program was just what he needed.

Babcock, 18, from San Francisco, California, who will be studying mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering, said it was important for him to participate in the program to get adjusted to the Northeastern environment and become comfortable being far away from home.

“It felt like a good way to make connections before school,” Babcock said. “We had a bunch of really cool events, and a lot of team building experiences, which is really helpful for people who are just getting into college.”

While some Northeastern freshmen are still carelessly enjoying the summer before embarking on their college careers, about 260 new students gathered on the Boston campus to partake in a unique opportunity provided to them by the university—the Summer Bridge Scholars Program.

Read more on [email protected].

Photos by Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University.

August 02, 2022

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