Mar 30, 2013
TransPacific Partnership Will Undermine Democracy, Environment, Healthcare and Destroy Food Agriculture
The term scientists use to describe the way the climate reacts to changes in carbon-dioxide levels is "climate sensitivity". This is usually defined as how much hotter the Earth will get for each doubling of CO₂ concentrations. So-called equilibrium sensitivity, the commonest measure, refers to the temperature rise after allowing all feedback mechanisms to work (but without accounting for changes in vegetation and ice sheets).
An unpublished report by the Research Council of Norway, a government-funded body, which was compiled by a team led by Terje Berntsen of the University of Oslo, uses a different method from the IPCC's. It concludes there is a 90% probability that doubling CO₂ emissions will increase temperatures by only 1.2-2.9°C, with the most likely figure being 1.9°C. The top of the study's range is well below the IPCC's upper estimates of likely sensitivity.
Read more by Next Big Future
Mar 29, 2013
This article is brought to you by the ECHA.
A new scientific committee in ECHA has been established to contribute to the availability of safe biocidal products in the European markets. The Biocidal Products Committee will have an important role in the approval of active substances and the authorisation of biocidal products under the Biocidal Products Regulation, which enters into operation on 1 September 2013.
The first meeting of the Biocidal Products Committee from 26 to 27 March 2013 was one of the big milestones in preparation for the new regulation. The committee has started work on the working methods, procedures and priorities for future work.
The Biocidal Products Committee gives an opinion on all active substances that will be used in biocidal products. The Committee is expecting to have the first discussions on active substances early next year, when ECHA takes over the review programme of existing active substances from the European Commission. ECHA will forward these opinions to the Commission for its decisions making. After that, companies can choose, for their biocidal products, whether they prefer to apply for an authorisation for all European markets through ECHA or to do it on a national level and subsequent mutual recognition to other countries. Discussions on product authorisations will therefore start later, as the active substances need to be approved before the product authorisation can start.
For more information and the full press release please refer to the link above.
Mar 28, 2013
EPA Proposed Rule for Compliance Certification Requirements for State & Federal Operating Permits Programs
Forbes Finds 12 Worldwide Wind Power deaths while 1,384 died in coal mines & 400,000 premature deaths in China annually from energy related pollution
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EPA has proposed agreement to settle lawsuit filed by Environmental Action Network & Sierra Club #Cleanair
In accordance with section 113(g) of the Clean Air Act, as amended (``CAA'' or the ``Act''), 42 U.S.C. 7413(g), notice is hereby given of a proposed settlement agreement to settle a lawsuit filed by Louisiana Environmental Action Network and Sierra Club in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia: Louisiana Environmental Action Network and Sierra Club v. Jackson, Case No. 12- 1096 (D.D.C.) (``LEAN v. Jackson''). Plaintiffs filed this suit to compel the Administrator to respond to two administrative petitions (the ``June 2010 petition'' and the ``May 2011 petition'') requesting, among other things, that EPA object to CAA Title V operating permits issued by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality to Consolidated Environmental Management, Inc.-- Nucor Steel Louisiana for a pig iron manufacturing process and for a direct reduced iron manufacturing process in St. James Parish, Louisiana. Under the terms of the proposed settlement agreement, EPA would agree to sign an order granting or denying one objection (``Specific Objection I'') in the May 2011 petition under 42 U.S.C. 7661d(b)(2) by April 29, 2013, and to sign an order or orders granting or denying the June 2010 petition and May 2011 petition (except for Specific Objection I) under 42 U.S.C. 7661d(b)(2) by October 17, 2013.
Original Text (PDF)
Chemistry World: Most of this household paint contained lead at levels that could cause birth defects, high blood pressure and brain damage. Young children and pregnant women are at most risk. Other African countries, such as Nigeria and Kenya, also have lead paint on sale, says study author Perry Gottesfeld, director of the US charity Occupational Knowledge International.
Two-thirds of the paint sampled – made by more than 10 companies – had hazardous levels of lead above 90ppm. Paint with lead concentrations at up to 50% by weight were sold by Cameroon's largest paint company, Seigneurie, a subsidiary of the US paint company PPG, the second largest paint manufacturer in the world.
None of the lead paint had any warnings, and just 8% of the paints had labels identifying ingredients. Sampling by the researchers found that much of the paint applied to schools, daycare facilities and houses in Cameroon contained significant amounts of lead.
Lead exposure is linked to attention deficit disorder, impulsive behaviour like aggression, learning problems and poor reading and writing scores. 'The company should take responsibility for their inappropriate behaviour and buy up all that paint and replace it for free,' Taylor says.
Please continue reading at: Chemistry World
Gastric bypass (GBP) surgery has become a popular procedure for the treatment of morbid obesity. While many assume it is the reduction of the functional volume of the stomach that helps people feel fuller while eating less that is the solely responsible for the patient's weight loss, it has been known for several years that there are other contributing factors at work. New research provides further evidence of this and could allow patients to see some of the weight loss benefits of GBP surgery without undergoing the surgery itself... Continue Reading Gut microbes could offer weight loss benefits of GBP surgery – without the surgery
Mar 27, 2013
Honeywell offers free on-line training seminars on first aid & treatments for HF acid exposures - @HoneywellNow
The next training session is:
Thursday, April 18, 2013
10:00 am to 11:30 am Eastern Daylight Time
To register for the seminar, go to the website www.HFacid.com From the menu running across the top of the page, choose "Technical Services and Training", and then "On-Line HF Training Seminars".
Then select "HF First Aid and Medical Treatment Seminar". Select "register online". You will receive an e-mail confirmation of your registration with a computer link to view the presentation, and a call in number to hear the audio portion. (You can accomplish the same registration by selecting "On-Line HF Training Seminars" from the www.HFAcid.com Homepage.)
This is an interactive seminar you will have the opportunity to ask questions online during the seminar as well as via phone line at the end of the seminar.
If your facility may provide treatment for individuals exposed to HF acid, I also encourage you to download Honeywell's monograph on First Aid and Medical Treatment. It is available from the same website. From the homepage of www.HFacid.com on the right hand side of the page under "Download Technical Docs" select "HF Medical Book". The monograph is in the PDF format.
Also see other 2013 Training Dates
"At some point we're going to have to decide whether these incidents are just accidental … [or] somebody's really making horrendous decisions that approach a criminal level," William Field, a professor of agricultural and biological engineering at Purdue University who has studied entrapments since 1978, told The Center for Public Integrity. "It's intentional risk-taking on the part of the managers or someone in a supervisory capacity that ends up in some horrific incidents. The bottom line is if you ask them why they did it, it was because it was more profitable to do it that way." -David Wallechinsky, Noel Brinkerhoff
Jennifer Sass, Ph.D.(NRDC): The public may think pesticides are only allowed onto store shelves and for use in agriculture if they have been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in a transparent and scientifically rigorous process. Our investigations, however, reveal a deeply flawed system that has allowed the majority of pesticides onto the market without a public and transparent process, and in some cases without a full set of toxicity tests, using a loophole called a conditional registration. As many as 65% of more than 16,000 pesticides were first market-approved using this loophole, including nanosilver and the neonicotinoid pesticides that are linked to bee deaths.
FULL BLOG AND LINKS HERE: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/jsass/nrdc_reveals_failed_safeguards.html
FRONTLINE | PBS: Most soldiers who take their own lives today have no history of deployment. They've never seen combat, never been to war.
Nobody really knows why.
And although the military's suicide problem flared during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, so far it doesn't seem to be ending with them.
About 53 percent of those who died by suicide in the military in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, had no history of deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan,according (pdf) to the Defense Department. And nearly 85 percent of military members who took their lives had no direct combat history, meaning they may have been deployed but not seen action.
"So we're dealing with broader societal issues," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a June speech. "Substance abuse, financial distress and relationship problems — the risk factors for suicide — also reflect problems … that will endure beyond war."
While suicide has increased across all branches of the military over the last decade, the Army has seen the most significant spikes.
According to figures released last week, there were 303 suicides in the Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve so far this year. Of these, 93 deaths are still under investigation. Last year, the Army had 283 suicides.
Causes of suicide are complex and unique to each individual, so there's no simple reason why service members are taking their lives in greater numbers now.
That was the key finding of the agency's first comprehensive examination of the health of U.S. waters.
Fifty-five percent of these waters were considered to be in "poor" condition for aquatic life, while just 21 percent of the waters were considered "good." The results were based on samples collected randomly from nearly 2,000 rivers during the summers of 2008 and 2009, the agency said.
Among the findings:
- More than a quarter of rivers and streams registered high nitrogen levels and 40 percent had too much phosphorous. Such nutrient pollution, which typically runs off of farmland, sparks algae growth, eroding food supplies and depriving aquatic species of oxygen.
- More than a quarter of rivers and streams are particularly prone to flooding, pollution and erosion because of a dearth of vegetation cover.
- Nine percent of waters tested positive for high bacteria levels, making them not fit for swimming.
- Fish in more than 13,000 of miles of water carried high levels of mercury, a toxic element particularly harmful to children and fetuses.
Mar. 26 US: Safe Cosmetics & Personal Care Products Act of 2013 Kicks-off to Ensure Safety of Cosmetics
Article by SpecialChem.
While natural body-care products represent the fastest growing segment of the cosmetics market, your local pharmacy shelves are still full of products laden with toxic chemicals linked to cancer and reproductive harm. To address this problem, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., introduced the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2013, which would give the Food and Drug Administration authority to ensure that all personal care products are free of harmful ingredients. Existing law, which has not been significantly updated since 1938, has loopholes that allow chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, learning disabilities and other illnesses in products we use on our bodies every day.
"The cosmetics industry has an ugly problem: make-up, shampoos, and lotions are contaminated with toxic chemicals that harm health," said Janet Nudelman of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. "Products used every day by men, women, and children contain unsafe chemicals, whether it's baby shampoos contaminated with cancer-causing formaldehyde, lead in lipsticks or mercury in skin creams. The Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2013 will give the beauty industry a much-needed make-over," said Nudelman.
The legislation will:
- Phase out ingredients linked to cancer, birth defects and developmental harm
- Create a health-based safety standard that includes protections for children, the elderly, workers and other vulnerable populations
- Close labeling loopholes by requiring full ingredient disclosure, including salon products and the constituent ingredients of fragrance, on product labels and company websites
- Give workers access to information about unsafe chemicals in personal care products
- Require data sharing to avoid duplicative testing and encourage the development of alternatives to animal testing
- Provide adequate funding for the FDA Office of Cosmetics and Colors so it has the resources it needs for effective oversight of the cosmetics industry
- Level the playing field so small businesses can compete fairly
Advocates for consumers and workers support the new legislation. Jamie McConnell, Director of Programs and Policy at Women's Voices for the Earth said, "This bill provides commonsense protections for not only consumers but those working in the salon industry who are exposed to toxic chemicals on a daily basis. For example formaldehyde is a chemical that has been banned for use in professional hair straighteners in other countries, but because of our lax laws, is still permitted in the U.S. Passage of this bill is long overdue."
For more information and the full article please refer to the link above.
Mar 26, 2013
There is still room for about 50 more attendees.
The agenda is available at http://www2.illinois.gov/gov/green/Documents/Draft%20Agenda.pdf
Please click here to register for the event as seats are limited. There is no cost to register.
Agency (EPA) under laws that govern hazardous or toxic substances. Such risk assessments characterize the probability of adverse effects from exposure to environmental stressors and differ from the proposed UER standard in that they are quantitative characterizations derived from scientific processes that use statistical and biological models to calculate numerical estimates of ecological and health risks. See Office of Emergency and Remedial Response, U.S. EPA, Risk Assessment Guidance for Super... Read full at:
Administration (OSHA) require U.S. employers to supply NIOSH-approved respirators to their employees whenever the employer requires the use of respirators. NIOSH currently charges fees for conducting the examination, inspection and testing of such respirators which is necessary to grant the required approval. This proposed rule is designed to assure that all approval activities are covered by appropriate fees, to update the fees charged, and to create a mechanism for routinely updating fees in th...
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III.A., EPA has concluded that emamectin benzoate does not pose a cancer risk to humans. Therefore, a dietary exposure assessment for the purpose of assessing cancer risk is unnecessary. iv. Anticipated residue and PCT information. Section 408(b)(2)(E) of FFDCA authorizes EPA to use available data and information on the anticipated residue levels of pesticide residues in food and the actual levels of pesticide residues that have been measured in food. If EPA relies on such information...
Final Rule is available at
Mar 26, 2013 — Pre-release — Abamectin Final Rule — Environmental Protection Agency
EPA-HQ-OPP-2012-0418, is available at or at the Office of Pesticide Programs Regulatory Public Docket (OPP Docket) in the Environmental Protection Agency Docket Center (EPA/DC), EPA West Bldg., Rm. 3334, 1301 Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20460-0001. The Public Reading Room is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding legal 13P-0170 2 holidays. The telephone number for the Public Reading Room is (202) 566-1744, and the telephon...
Final Rule is available at
14 million now get $124 billion disability check from the government. Alabama, 1 in 4 working-age adults is on disability.
It is an article on how SSDI and disability insurance is being utilized.
Excerpt: In Hale County, Alabama, 1 in 4 working-age adults is on disability. On the day government checks come in every month, banks stay open late, Main Street fills up with cars, and anybody looking to unload an old TV or armchair has a yard sale.
Sonny Ryan, a retired judge in town, didn't hear disability cases in his courtroom. But the subject came up often. He described one exchange he had with a man who was on disability but looked healthy.
"Just out of curiosity, what is your disability?" the judge asked from the bench.
"I have high blood pressure," the man said.
"So do I," the judge said. "What else?"
"I have diabetes."
"So do I."
The second is a companion piece from the Atlantic which pretty much an extension of the above:
Disability Insurance: America's $124 Billion Secret Welfare Program
Excerpt: That rapid, under-the-political-radar expansion has turned the program into a massive budget item. As of 2010, its monthly cash payments accounted for nearly one out of every five Social Security dollars spent, or about $124 billion. In 1988, by comparison, it accounted for just one out of eight Social Security dollars. Because disabled workers qualify for Medicare, they also added $59 billion to the government's healthcare tab.
Some take home points:
1) Disability numbers are not reflected in unemployment numbers
2) The notion of the Disability-Industrial complex is starting to take place
3) Education among physicians on disability needs to broaden
4) Disability reform needs to happen not only at a government level, but at a personal level as well.
Code "BLUE" Windows 8 & Server update will keep constant connection to mothership EVEN when in sleep mode #Tech #News
Blue is optimized for power efficiency. ...when sleeping an ultrabook would remain connected to Internet-based apps such as email and social networks, so it remains constantly up to date.
Please read full at:
H.R. 678, Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower Development & Rural Jobs Act #Jobs #Renewable #Energy
March 26 is Diabetes Alert Day, which is dedicated to raising awareness about type 2 diabetes, its risk factors, and its prevention. Type 2 diabetes, which can be prevented or delayed through lifestyle changes such as losing weight and increasing physical activity, accounts for 90%–95% of all diabetes cases in the United States (1).
Information about type 2 diabetes and ways to prevent it is available from numerous sources.The Prediabetes Risk Test (http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/prediabetes.htm) is a helpful resource that uses answers to a few simple questions about weight, age, family history, and other risk factors to indicate a person's risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
The CDC-led National Diabetes Prevention Program (http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/index.htm) is working with partners in communities across the United States to establish effective lifestyle change programs for persons at high risk for type 2 diabetes. Lifestyle change programs are listed by state at http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/prevention/recognition/registry.htm#program. The Just One Step tool (http://ndep.nih.gov/resources/diabetes-healthsense/just-one-step.aspxExternal Web Site Icon), created by the National Diabetes Education Program, a joint program of the CDC and the National Institutes of Health, provides helpful tips for making lifestyle changes.
CDC's Diabetes Interactive Atlases (http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/atlas) provide data on trends in diagnosed diabetes (both prevalence and incidence), obesity, and leisure-time physical inactivity in the United States. Additional information about diabetes control and prevention is available at http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes.
1. CDC. 2011 national diabetes fact sheet: national estimates and general information on diabetes and prediabetes in the United States. Atlanta, GA: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2011. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/pubs/pdf/ndfs_2011.pdf Adobe PDF file.
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Awareness of Prediabetes — United States, 2005–2010
March 22, 2013 / 62(11);209-212
In 2010, approximately one in three U.S. adults aged =20 years (an estimated 79 million persons) had prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose or hemoglobin A1c (A1c) levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be classified as diabetes (1). Persons with prediabetes are at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 90%–95% of all cases of diabetes. Each year, 11% of persons with prediabetes who do not lose weight and do not engage in moderate physical activity will progress to type 2 diabetes during the average 3 years of follow-up (2). Evidence-based lifestyle programs that encourage dietary changes, moderate-intensity physical activity, and modest weight loss can delay or prevent type 2 diabetes in persons with prediabetes (2). Identifying persons with prediabetes and informing them about their increased risk for type 2 diabetes are first steps in encouraging persons with prediabetes to make healthy lifestyle changes. However, during 2005–2006, only approximately 7% of persons with prediabetes were aware that they had prediabetes (3). To examine recent changes in awareness of prediabetes and factors associated with awareness among adults aged =20 years, CDC analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). This report describes the results of that analysis, which indicated that, during 2009–2010, approximately 11% of those with prediabetes were aware of their condition. Furthermore, during 2005–2010, estimated awareness of prediabetes was <14% across all population subgroups, different levels of health-care access or use, and other factors. In the United States, persons with prediabetes, including those with regular access to health care, might benefit from efforts aimed at making them aware that they are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes and that they can reduce that risk by making modest lifestyle changes. Efforts are needed to increase awareness.
Japan has found rare earth reserves in the Pacific Seabed that are 1000 times all land based deposit
"We have found deposits that are just two to four metres from the seabed surface at higher concentrations than anybody ever thought existed, and it won't cost much at all to extract," said professor Yasuhiro Kato from Tokyo University, the leader of the team.
While America, Australia, and other countries have begun to crank up production of the seventeen rare earth elements, they have yet to find viable amounts of the heavier metals such as dysprosium, terbium, europium, and ytterbium that are most important.
Beijing shocked the world when it suddenly began to restrict exports in 2009, prompting furious protests and legal complaints by both the US and the EU at the World Trade Organisation. China claimed that it was clamping down on smuggling and environmental abuse.
Read more from Next Big Future
With specialized equipment, the team drilled into and then lowered the pressure in the undersea methane hydrate reserve, causing the methane and ice to separate. It then piped the natural gas to the surface. The surrounding area in the Nankai submarine trough holds at least 1.1 trillion cubic meters, or 39 trillion cubic feet, of methane hydrate, enough to meet 11 years' worth of gas imports to Japan.
A separate rough estimate by the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology has put the total amount of methane hydrate in the waters surrounding Japan at more than 7 trillion cubic meters, or what researchers have long said is closer to 100 years' worth of Japan's natural gas needs.
The EIA estimates the naturally occurring gas hydrate resource vary from 10,000 trillion cubic feet to more than 100,000 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. The 100,000 trillion cf would be an energy resource of 105,000 EJ. Tapping such resources would require significant additional research and technological improvements
There is about 4.4 billion tons of uranium in seawater. Deep burn nuclear fission (where reactors that can burn all of the uranium for energy) would enable 217 million EJ of energy to be produced.
There has been progress towards making extracting uranium from seawater affordable.
Read more by Next Big Future
Companies have made data centers--those big warehouses full of servers--into creative, even beautiful, spaces before. But, short on available land, Hong Kong is looking into where to put new data centers, and they're thinking caves might be the ticket.
It might not be as tough as you'd assume. In fact, as The Register points out, data centers in Norway and Kansas City have already made it happen. The land--er, the area underneath the land--could be purchased from whoever owns the above-ground area. The natural coolness of a cave could even help keep the data centers from overheating. The government has already selected five areas, with 20 hectares of land each, that might work for the data centers.
Please continue reading at: The Register
Mar 25, 2013
The state Department of Natural Resource's Endangered Resources Bureau, which monitors threatened species and gets 25 percent of its funding from those donations, is looking for answers to the trend. The wolf license plate is the bureau's biggest benefactor, even though the bureau no longer manages wolves now that they're not endangered....DNR officials said they haven't been able to pinpoint the reason for the decline, but they are preparing a public education plan to better explain the importance of their work, said Erin Crain, the bureau's director.
"I don't know that we always do such a great job in telling our story," she said. "We have a compelling message that doesn't always get translated that well."
Wisconsin State's renewables mandate will cost the Badger State $788 million in higher electricity costs.
Rewritten since then, the standard now requires that utilities generate 10% of electricity from sources such as wind and solar by the end of 2015.
Now that the state is within shooting distance of attaining that goal, there is movement in the Legislature to increase the requirement to 25% by 2025. The Badger state's future, proponents of such mandates believe, lies in seizing green opportunities that will create scads of jobs for its residents and add billions of dollars to its economy.
Unfortunately, what looks good on the surface - both in terms of economics and the environment - is often not the case when drilling down to the details.
A deeper analysis reveals that the standard is far from the job creator and economic engine proponents claim. In simple terms (and in the laws of basic economics), when you mandate the purchase of a more expensive product (such as wind or solar power) to replace a less costly one (such as coal- or natural gas-generated power), the additional expense is passed to the buyer. The higher costs filter throughout the economy and leave less buying power for consumers and businesses.
In the case of Wisconsin, a specific analysis, "The Economic Impact of Wisconsin's Renewable Portfolio Standard," has been done. According to the study by the Beacon Hill Institute, an economics think tank at Suffolk University in Boston, the standard will raise electricity costs by 2.4% in 2016 alone. Over the four-year period between 2013 and 2016, the standard will cost the Badger State $788 million in higher electricity costs.
Wisconsin citizens can expect to see those impacts filter into the goods and services they purchase once the standard is in full effect. Based on Beacon Hill's analysis, commercial businesses will pay $1,195 more in electricity costs over the same four-year period, and the typical industrial user will pay $91,620 more. Those additional costs to business and industry then will be recovered at the checkout line and when you pay your bills.
Please read on at:
Final Rule filed: California State Implementation Plan: SCAQMD for VOC emissions from architectural coatings. #Regulatory
SOURCE: ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
40 CFR Part 52 [EPA-R09-OAR-2012-0827; FRL-9785-6]
Revisions to the California State Implementation Plan, South Coast Air Quality Management District
AGENCY: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
ACTION: Final rule.
SUMMARY: EPA is finalizing approval of revisions to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) portion of the California State Implementation Plan (SIP). This action was proposed in the Federal Register on November 7, 2012 and concerns volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions from architectural coatings. We are approving a local rule that regulates these emission sources under the Clean Air Act (CAA or the Act).
DATES: This rule is effective on [Insert date 30 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register].
ADDRESSES: EPA has established docket number EPA-R09-OAR-2012-0827
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Mar 24, 2013
Where are our priorities? More people have access to cellphones than toilets #Humanity #Compassion #Peace
A new United Nations study has found that more people around the world have access to a cellphone than to a working toilet.
The study's numbers claim that of the world's estimated 7 billion people, 6 billion have access to mobile phones. However, only 4.5 billion have access to a toilet.Please continue reading at:
The district will shutter 53 elementary schools and one high school, primarily in Hispanic and African-American neighborhoods. The district, which has a $1 billion annual deficit, has said it needs to close underutilized schools to save money.
Enrollment in Chicago Public Schools has fallen 20 percent in the last decade, mainly because of population declines in poor neighborhoods. The district said it can accommodate 511,000 students, but only about 403,000 are enrolled. It said that nearly 140 of its schools are more than half empty.