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Miami can have one last Super Bowl, as a treat

The San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs will face each other in the Super Bowl on Sunday in Miami. The game will only last a few hours, but Florida is just beginning a decades-long war with a foe that can’t be beat: sea-level rise. If emissions continue to rise unchecked, Miami’s football stadium could be flooded with standing water and America’s holiest championship game will have to be played somewhere else.

For a sneak peek at what Miami Garden’s Hard Rock Stadium, the venue for Super Bowl LIV, could look like in a few decades, look no further than Florida’s coastline. Nearly 600,000 people in South Florida face “extreme” or “high” risk from sea-level rise, according to the Trump administration’s 4th National Climate Assessment. Already, the sea level around Florida is 8 inches higher than it was 70 years ago. Over the past decade, the rate of acceleration has sped up. Florida seas are now rising an inch every three years. Floods are inundating low-lying cities like Miami even on sunny days.

A new report from Climate Central — an organization that analyzes how climate change affects the public — shows that Hard Rock Stadium, between 4 and 6 feet above sea level, is likely to experience some of this flooding in the coming century. It’s not just the football field that’s at risk of getting swamped by climate change. Local roads, the stadium’s $135 million training facility, the tennis center, and parking lots will face higher odds of being submerged.

Developers recently completed a three-year-long, $500 million renovation of the stadium. But the stadium’s state-of-the-art canopy and high-definition screens won’t save it when the floods come. The Hard Rock Stadium property has at the very least, a 1 percent chance of being submerged by rising seas every year by 2070 if the world continues emitting greenhouse gases business-as-usual. By 2090, the risk of the stadium experiencing serious flooding each year rises to 10 percent.

Remember, this is likely an underestimate. A 2019 U.N. report found that the kind of floods this report is talking about will occur in Miami every year as soon as 2050. Plus, the Climate Central analysis didn’t account for rain-induced flooding, seepage, backed-up storm drains, or other reasons why water might make its way into low-lying areas.

Nickolay Lamm / Climate Central

Flooding isn’t the only climate-related issue facing American football teams and their legions of dedicated fans. Extreme heat and bad air quality also threaten players’ abilities to pass, tackle, and run. Another Climate Central analysis that looked at temperatures during football season shows that all 30 National Football League cities have warmed, on average, 2.3 degrees F over the past 50 years. Miami is in the middle of the pack when it comes to rising temperatures, but the home cities of the Nevada Raiders, Minnesota Vikings, and Arizona Cardinals have all warmed more than 4 degrees since 1970.

Hard Rock Stadium is taking some measures to reduce its impact on the planet. In November, the home of the Miami Dolphins announced it aims to eliminate 99.4 percent of single-use plastics by the end of 2020. The move would divert 2.8 million pieces of plastic from landfills every year. And at the upcoming 54th Super Bowl, fans will sip drinks out of aluminum cups instead of plastic ones, pee in waterless urinals, forgo straws, and make their way out to the parking lots under LED lights. It’s a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t address the outsized carbon footprints of events like the Super Bowl. Fans attending a mega sporting event have carbon footprints about seven times larger than people going about their daily lives.

After Sunday’s game, Miami will have hosted 11 Super Bowls, more than any other city. It doesn’t matter how many single-use plastics the Miami Dolphins ban from their stadium — if the world keeps emitting carbon business-as-usual, Miami won’t be able to hold onto that record for long.

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Miami can have one last Super Bowl, as a treat

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Blueprint – Nicholas A. Christakis



The Evolutionary Origins of a Good Society

Nicholas A. Christakis

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $14.99

Expected Publish Date: March 26, 2019

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Seller: Hachette Digital, Inc.

Drawing on advances in social science, evolutionary biology, genetics, neuroscience, and network science, Blueprint shows how and why evolution has placed us on a humane path — and how we are united by our common humanity. For too long, scientists have focused on the dark side of our biological heritage: our capacity for aggression, cruelty, prejudice, and self-interest. But natural selection has given us a suite of beneficial social features, including our capacity for love, friendship, cooperation, and learning. Beneath all our inventions — our tools, farms, machines, cities, nations — we carry with us innate proclivities to make a good society. In Blueprint , Nicholas A. Christakis introduces the compelling idea that our genes affect not only our bodies and behaviors, but also the ways in which we make societies, ones that are surprisingly similar worldwide. With many vivid examples — including diverse historical and contemporary cultures, communities formed in the wake of shipwrecks, commune dwellers seeking utopia, online groups thrown together by design or involving artificially intelligent bots, and even the tender and complex social arrangements of elephants and dolphins that so resemble our own — Christakis shows that, despite a human history replete with violence, we cannot escape our social blueprint for goodness. In a world of increasing political and economic polarization, it's tempting to ignore the positive role of our evolutionary past. But by exploring the ancient roots of goodness in civilization, Blueprint shows that our genes have shaped societies for our welfare and that, in a feedback loop stretching back many thousands of years, societies have shaped, and are still shaping, our genes today.

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Blueprint – Nicholas A. Christakis

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The good, the bad, and the ridiculous: How media covered the National Climate Assessment

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Right-wingers’ efforts to derail media coverage of the National Climate Assessment backfired not once, but twice.

First, the Trump administration tried to bury the National Climate Assessment by releasing it on Black Friday, but that tactic bombed. It turns out that “Trump tries to bury a new climate report” is a much sexier headline than “Scientists release a new climate report.”

Then climate deniers fanned out on TV networks to spread lies and deceptive talking points about the report, but they got far more criticism than they expected, and that criticism kept climate change in the news.

Overall, the report got loads of media coverage in the days after it was released. The quality was decidedly mixed — some good, some awful — but the good coverage appears to have outweighed the bad.

The good

At least 140 newspapers around the country featured the National Climate Assessment on their front pages the morning after it was released, according to the Columbia Journalism Review. That included The New York Times and The Washington Post, which have teams of climate reporters, and also smaller papers all over the U.S., including 20 in California. Some highlighted the ways that climate change is affecting their regions, like the Portland Press Herald in Maine:

MSNBC aired some strong segments. In one, host Ali Velshi mocked President Donald Trump’s claim that his “gut” told him the report is wrong. Then Velshi interviewed climate scientist Brenda Ekwurzel of the Union of Concerned Scientists, a co-author of the assessment, who explained the report’s findings and how scientists arrived at them.

CNN served up some highly questionable coverage (more on that below), but it also did some good interviews with climate scientists and with three senators who are serious about addressing the climate crisis. CNN took a novel approach to real-time fact-checking when the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, lied about the report during a press briefing. The network showed live video of Sanders, paired alongside a text bar labeled “Facts First” that corrected some of her false claims:

All of the Sunday morning political talk shows discussed the report on the weekend after it was released. It was the first time this year that every one of them addressed climate change on the same day. That’s how rarely they cover the crisis.

The bad

Unfortunately, we would have been better off without some of that Sunday show coverage — particularly the segments that gave airtime to rabid climate deniers. One of the worst ran on NBC’s Meet the Press and featured Danielle Pletka of the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank supported by the Koch brothers. She employed a favorite denier line — “I’m not a scientist” — and then proceeded to spout pure nonsense about the globe is getting cooler.

Egregious drivel about climate change also cropped up on CNN’s State of the Union, which asked not one but two climate deniers to weigh in on the report. Senator Joni Ernst, a Republican from Iowa, offered a bland, lukewarm serving of climate denial: “Our climate always changes and we see those ebb and flows through time.”

Former Republican Senator Rick Santorum one-upped Ernst by praising the Trump team’s attempt to bury the report and claiming that the scientists who wrote it were “driven by the money.”

Santorum was roundly mocked on Twitter for making such a completely bananas claim. Many of the climate scientists who worked on the report were not paid at all for their efforts, and professors working in the field don’t earn more than their colleagues in other disciplines. You might have thought the widespread mockery would discourage other deniers from following suit, or at least discourage CNN from giving them a platform. You would have been wrong.

The following Monday, CNN hosted two more right-wingers who made the same ridiculous claim that climate scientists were in it for the money: Tom DeLay, who resigned as Republican House majority leader in 2005 after being convicted of money laundering and conspiracy, and Stephen Moore, a Trump-loving “economist” who’s worked for Koch-funded groups.

Then on Tuesday morning, CNN seemed like it was trying to redeem itself. It ran one segment in which CNN political analyst John Avlon fact-checked and thoroughly debunked the claim that scientists are getting rich by studying climate change, and another in which climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe explained that she and the other co-authors of the National Climate Assessment were paid “zero dollars” for their efforts.

But a few hours later, the bonkers claims were back. Both Santorum and Moore returned to CNN to repeat the lie that scientists are driven by a multi-billion-dollar climate change industry that has manufactured a false crisis. CNN’s Anderson Cooper found time to air Santorum’s warmed-over lie on his show, but failed to air an interview that he had conducted with Hayhoe. Cooper’s Hayhoe interview was only posted online.

Oh, and CNN also failed to note that Santorum, Moore, and DeLay have all received copious amounts of cash from the fossil fuel industry.

The backlash to the bad

Other media outlets bashed CNN and NBC for featuring climate deniers, leading to even more more coverage of climate change and the National Climate Assessment, mostly for the good.

The New York Times published a fact-checking piece titled, “The Baseless Claim That Climate Scientists Are ‘Driven’ by Money,” which cited and debunked statements made by Santorum and DeLay. PunditFact, a project of the fact-checking site PolitiFact, looked into Pletka’s claims and labeled them “false.”

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The New York Times’ media columnist Jim Rutenberg published a story titled “News Networks Fall Short on Climate Story as Dolphins Die on the Beach,” which highlighted the false claims made by Pletka and Santorum and put them in the context of how climate change has hit Florida. The Washington Post‘s media columnist Margaret Sullivan then tweeted Rutenberg’s story.

Climate scientist Hayhoe published an op-ed in The Washington Post that debunked the myths propagated on CNN by Santorum and DeLay, among others.

WNYC’s On the Media hosted yours truly in a conversation about coverage of the National Climate Assessment, including the problem of featuring climate deniers on air.

Politico‘s Morning Media daily newsletter, written by media reporter Michael Calderone, highlighted problems with press coverage of the National Climate Assessment on four different occasions after the report came out.

The ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd was just one of many influential media figures who tweeted their disapproval of segments that featured climate deniers:

The fact that some members of the media screwed up their coverage so royally meant that others kept reporting on the story longer than they might have otherwise.

Fox opts for footwear coverage

Meanwhile, the folks over at Trump’s favorite network were living in their own universe, as usual. Fox News gave the National Climate Assessment very little airtime. A few straight-news segments covered it, but the most popular Fox shows didn’t. CNN media correspondent Brian Stelter pointed out that on the day of the report’s release, Fox spent more time discussing the shoes of Representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Democrat from New York, than it did discussing climate change.

Considering what Fox’s top personalities would have been likely to say about the report had they bothered to cover the National Climate Assessment, it’s probably just as well that they kept quiet.

Lisa Hymas is director of the climate and energy program at Media Matters for America. She was previously a senior editor at Grist.

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The good, the bad, and the ridiculous: How media covered the National Climate Assessment

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The Beauty of the Beastly – Natalie Angier


The Beauty of the Beastly

New Views on the Nature of Life

Natalie Angier

Genre: Science & Nature

Price: $11.99

Publish Date: April 4, 1996

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Seller: OpenRoad Integrated Media, LLC

“An awe-inspiring tour of nature” from a Pulitzer Prize–winning science writer ( San Francisco Examiner ).   Natalie Angier has taken great pains to learn her science from the molecule up. She knows all that scientists know—and sometimes more—about the power of symmetry in sexual relations, about the brutal courting habits of dolphins, about the grand deceit of orchids, and about the impact of female and male preferences on evolution. The Beauty of the Beastly takes the pulse of everything from the supple structure of DNA to the erotic ways of barn swallows, queen bees, and the endangered, otherworldly primate called the aye-aye.   Few writers have ever covered so many facets of biology so evocatively in one book. Timothy Ferris, author of the acclaimed Coming of Age in the Milky Way , says Angier is “one of the strongest and wittiest science writers in the world today.”   “Like Alan Lightman or Lewis Thomas,” writes Nobel laureate David Baltimore, “she draws from science a meaning that few scientists see, and her writing takes on an unusual dimension of artistry.” And Sherwin Nuland, author of How We Die , believes that “Natalie Angier is in the tradition of the great nature writers.”   “A gold mine.” — The New York Times   “From cockroaches to cheetahs, DNA to elephant dung, Angier gives us intimate and dramatic portraits of nature that readers will find rewarding.” — Publishers Weekly

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The Beauty of the Beastly – Natalie Angier

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Toxic algae has oozed out of lakes and into Florida’s Senate race

Slimeballs could determine who wins a race for the U.S. Senate. And in this case, slimeballs isn’t another word for disgraced politicians or dirty-money lobbyists.

Slime is flowing off Florida’s Lake Okeechobee in balls, clots, and sheets into coastal waters. It’s made of algae that blooms in massive numbers when fertilizer-laden agricultural runoff sits in warm water. Rain raised the level of this fetid brew until officials had no choice but to send it downstream to the sea.

The environmental disaster is choking dolphins and strangling the tourism economy. It’s stinky, ugly, sad, and impossible for Floridians to ignore, and so it’s become a central element in the race for Senate between the incumbent, Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, and the challenger, Governor Rick Scott. Both blame the other for the crisis.

What’s surprising here is that environmental issues are taking a starring role in a an election campaign. We complain all the time at Grist about the lack of attention to climate change in presidential debates and the like. This lack of focus has allowed politicians — mostly of the Republican persuasion — to ignore and deny the many environmental disasters unfolding in slow motion. But as those problems begin to erode voters’ quality of life, they’re bound to become more of a political issue, which means politicians of all stripes will have to address them to get elected.

In this case, it was Scott — the Republican! — who started the skirmish, releasing this ad saying that Nelson has not managed to clean-up Okeechobee in his 30 years of political service.

Nelson fired back back with his own TV spot, quoting newspapers that blame Scott for the crisis.

Who’s right? Well, Sen. Nelson hasn’t fixed the environmental mess that is Lake Okeechobee, the slimy source of the scum, but it’s an enormous challenge that has bogged down many attempts, said Michael Grunwald, senior writer for Politico Magazine, who laid out that history in his book, The Swamp. The proposed solution was a deal to turn 100,000 acres of sugar-cane farms into reservoirs for storage. “If you build a shit ton of storage you don’t have to dump water on the estuaries and Everglades,” Grunwald said.

But Scott passed a law to block the reservoirs. He also oversaw budget reductions for state environmental agencies, according to the Washington Post, cutting “scientists and engineers whose jobs were to monitor pollution levels and algal blooms.” Thanks to those budget cuts, scientists don’t have the data to show the root causes of the crisis.

Scott and Nelson are now neck and neck in the polls. If there’s a bright spot here it’s that this race is proving that some Republicans are willing to campaign on environmental issues, provided voters care enough to raise a stink. “The old saying here is that election years are good for the Everglades,” Grunwald said.

Taking action once in office, as opposed to using the environment to score campaign points, is another story.

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Toxic algae has oozed out of lakes and into Florida’s Senate race

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The state of the nation is poor. The State of the Nation’s River report, however, is nice.

An investigation by the Associated Press and the Houston Chronicle uncovered more than 100 releases of industrial toxins in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

The storm compromised chemical plants, refineries, and pipelines along Houston’s petrochemical corridor, bringing contaminated water, dirt, and air to surrounding neighborhoods. Carcinogens like benzene, vinyl chloride, and butadiene were released. In all but two cases, regulators did not inform the public of the spills or the risks they faced from exposure.

The report also found that the EPA failed to investigate Harvey’s environmental damage as thoroughly as other disasters. The EPA and state officials took 1,800 soil samples after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. After Hurricane Ike slammed into Texas in 2008, state regulators studied 85 soil samples and issued more than a dozen violations and orders to clean up.

But post-Harvey, soil and water sampling has been limited to 17 Superfund sites and some undisclosed industrial sites. Experts say this is a problem because floodwaters could have picked up toxins in one place and deposited them miles away.

“That soil ended up somewhere,” Hanadi Rifai, director of the University of Houston’s environmental engineering program, told the AP. “The net result on Galveston Bay is going to be nothing short of catastrophic.”

Seven months after Harvey, the EPA says it’s investigating 89 incidents. But it has yet to issue any enforcement actions.

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The state of the nation is poor. The State of the Nation’s River report, however, is nice.

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Teens are marching for justice around the world. Next up: Climate change.

Producing artificial snow used to be a desperate move taken by ski areas within striking distance of surfing beaches. Now, the practice is commonplace, even high in the Rocky Mountains and the Alps.

As a headline in Powder Magazine read last year, “Like It or Not, Snowmaking Is the Future.”

Utah’s Alta ski area has doubled its snowmaking capacity in the last decade. To make sure all those big machines and water pipes don’t detract too much from the scenery, they’re painted to blend in with the background, according to a dispatch from Wired. At Snowbird, also in Utah, each snow gun has its own weather station, allowing the machines to start, stop, and adjust water flow all on their own.

California’s Squaw Valley spent $10 million on machines that automatically change their water pressure and amount several times a second. Heavenly Ski Resort, at Lake Tahoe, can cover 3,500 acres with fake snow.

All these machines run on electricity, which comes from the still-mostly-fossil-fueled grid. That means making fake snow increases the rate of The Great Melt, which in turn creates demand for … more snow machines. There’s a self-perpetuating cycle of job security for these snow-bots: Is this the way Skynet becomes self-aware?

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Teens are marching for justice around the world. Next up: Climate change.

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Make a Pledge to Nature This Year

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Make a Pledge to Nature This Year

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What It’s Like to Be a Dog – Gregory Berns


What It’s Like to Be a Dog

And Other Adventures in Animal Neuroscience

Gregory Berns

Genre: Life Sciences

Price: $16.99

Publish Date: September 5, 2017

Publisher: Basic Books

Seller: Hachette Digital, Inc.

A pathbreaking neuroscientist discovers the link between human and animal minds What is it like to be a dog? A bat? Or a dolphin? To find out, neuroscientist Gregory Berns and his team began with a radical step: they taught dogs to go into an MRI scanner–completely awake. They discovered what makes dogs individuals with varying capacities for self-control, different value systems, and a complex understanding of human speech. And dogs were just the beginning. In What It's Like to Be a Dog , Berns explores the fascinating inner lives of wild animals from dolphins and sea lions to the extinct Tasmanian tiger. Much as Silent Spring transformed how we thought about the environment, so What It's Like to Be a Dog will fundamentally reshape how we think about–and treat–animals. Groundbreaking and deeply humane, it is essential reading for animal lovers of all stripes.


What It’s Like to Be a Dog – Gregory Berns

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8 Ways to Detox Your Home

We are exposed to more synthetic chemicals in our food, air and water, than ever before. While many people avoid chemicals in their food, the sad fact remains that most people arent aware of the nasty toxins they may inadvertently invite into their homes. While there really are countless ways to give your home a detox, here are 8 of the best ways to eliminate excess toxins from your home:

1. Skip the So-called Air Fresheners: Dont be duped by commercials claiming that you may be suffering from “nose blindness,” declaring that you need to spray air fresheners to eliminate odors in your home. Does nose-blindness actually sound right to the advertisers, or anyone for that matter? Whether they come in ozone-depleting aerosol cans, plug-in, candle or spray bottle forms, the vast majority have been found to contain dangerous phthalates. These nasty chemicals are linked to abnormally-developed male genitalia, poor semen quality, low testosterone levels and other reproductive issues. And, if that isnt bad enough, they typically contain lighter fluid, acetone (the same ingredient that makes up nail polish remover), liquefied petroleum gas and a dizzying array of other toxic ingredients that increase the risk of breathing disorders.

2. Reduce the Amount of Plastic You Use: Just because you may have switched to BPA-Free (Bisphenol-A) plastic doesnt mean you are safe from the damage plastics can cause. Many manufacturers removed BPA from their plastics, replacing the toxic ingredient with equally damaging compounds known as EAs, which is short for estrogen activity. These synthetic chemicals pose a threat to human health, and to children in particular, increasing aggression, damaging the immune system, and wreaking havoc on hormones. Switch to stainless steel or glass water bottles, food storage containers, or other household items.

3. Stop Heating Food in Plastic Containers in a Microwave Oven: The heat increases the leaching of the toxic ingredients into the food stored in them. In research published in the journal Environmental Health, both BPA-free plastic and BPA-containing plastic were found to have estrogen activity, which means that they can throw off the delicate hormonal balance when they leech into our food or water.

4. Make the Laundry Switch: Most commercially-available laundry detergents and fabric softeners are loaded with harmful, and even cancer-causing, ingredients. While it may be tempting to assume that the amounts used were approved by the government as safe, the vast majority of ingredients used in laundry products were never tested for safety prior to their being allowed for use in consumer products. Heres a sampling of the chemicals in most laundry products: alpha-terpineol (linked to disorders of the brain and nervous system, loss of muscle control, depression and headaches), Benzyl acetate (linked to pancreatic cancer) and pentane (linked to headaches, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, drowsiness and depression).

Related: How to Make Your Own Fabric Softener and Laundry Soap

5. Stop Cooking with Teflon-coated Cookware: Teflon, also known as perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA, has been linked to cancer, birth defects and heart disease. DuPont, the makers of this nasty carcinogen, declared in an interview with the Washington Post over a decade ago, that: processes will be developed to ensure that perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) would not be released into the environment from finished products or manufacturing plants. However, more and more research shows that were paying a high price for this non-stick cookwareits showing up in tissue samples from most humans along with the drinking water of over 6.5 million Americans. Some samples ranged between 5 and 175 times the level considered safe by new research. Simply choose Teflon-free cookware options, including many that seem to be much safer non-stick choices.

6. Start Filtering Your Drinking Water: Our tap water now contains a myriad of toxic ingredients, including: lead, chlorine, fluoride and even sometimes prescription medications and hormones. As you learned above, 6.5 million Americans now drink water with Teflon. Choose the best quality water filter you can afford. If thats a simple pitcher model, it is likely better than nothing at all (assuming you choose one that isnt loaded with all sorts of chemical ingredients).

7. Add a Water Filter to Your Showerhead: While youre picking up a water filter, be sure to add one to your shower head. There are many affordable options that simply attach to a standard showerhead. Most of our water now contains chlorine, which we breathe in and absorb through our skin in the shower; however, most showerhead filters remove chlorine.

8. Choose Sustainable and Healthier Flooring Options: Carpets contain a whole host of toxic ingredients including the carcinogen formaldehyde. Vinyl plank flooring and linoleum can off-gas chemicals for years after they are installed. Choose wood, tile, bamboo, cork or another type of healthy flooring option when you are renovating or building your home.

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-news Worlds Healthiest News, president of PureFood BC, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: Boost Your Brain Power in 60 Seconds: The 4-Week Plan for a Sharper Mind, Better Memory, and Healthier Brain.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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8 Ways to Detox Your Home

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