Published: Tuesday 15 March 2005

chernobyl and cancer: The 1986 Chernobyl nuclear reactor accident has led to higher incidence of thyroid cancer in the Republic of Belarus, according to a report published by Martin Mahoney of Roswell Cancer Institute, Buffalo, USA in a recent issue of the International Journal of Epidemiology . Between 1970 and 2001, age-adjusted thyroid cancer incidence rates have increased from 0.4 per 100,000 to 3.5 per 100,000 among males and from 0.8 per 100,000 to 16.2 per 100,000 among females. The rise in thyroid cancer was found in both high exposure and low exposure areas.

plankton browser: US scientists have devised a technique that uses the colour of water in oceans and the light it reflects as captured by satellites to monitor the growth rate of single-celled marine plants called phytoplankton.

They are vital for all forms of life. This is because besides being food for nearly all aquatic animals, phytoplankton is a big sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide -- the largest contributor to the greenhouse effect, and consequently, to global warming. They are produced and consumed in huge amounts.

misleading musk: Synthetic musk fragrance commonly used in soaps, cosmetics and detergents may not be a health villain but is certainly an abettor to one, according to a study conducted by Till Luckenbach and David Epel of Stanford University in the US. Considered non-toxic, musks may be risky because they enhance the effects of compounds known to be toxic, say the researchers. They found musks inhibited natural defence against toxicants in California mussels.

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