Toxic Air’s Health Risks

Air pollution over Denver. Photo credit: NCAR
Air pollution over Denver. Photo credit: NCAR

Air Pollution, Possible Solutions
(start time: 2:36) It is ubiquitous and essential to our life. It it is also the cause of some 7 million premature deaths around the world every year, ranking just behind diet, cancer and tobacco as a health risk. That’s the air we breath. Beijing, New Delhi, and London are among the smoggiest, but the Denver metro area isn’t faring so well either. Yet many countries and cities have taken positive steps that have dramatically reduced emissions, from vehicles, smokestacks, crop and animal production, and other sources. Our two guests today have been researching air pollution—its sources, impacts and solutions–and they share their insights and data with How On Earth’s Susan Moran and guest host, journalist Jason PlautzBeth Gardiner, an environmental journalist based in London, authored the recently published book Choked: Life and Breath in the Age of Air Pollution. And Dr. Frank Flocke is an atmospheric scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and an author of a major study of air pollution sources on the Colorado Front Range.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Jason Plautz
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

Listen to the show here:


The Ocean Is Us #2 : Endocrine Disruptors in Drinking Water

Dr. Alan Vajda (CU Denver) and Dr. David Norris (CU Boulder) dissecting fish from Boulder Creek to evaluate effects of wastewater effluent exposure.
Photo courtesy Alan Vajda

Endocrine Disruptors and Drinking Water (starts at 3:12) Today we continue our series called The Ocean is Us, which explores our  vital connection to the oceans. Alan Vajda, an environmental endocrinologist at the University of Colorado Denver, talks with How On Earth’s Susan Moran about a rare  success story: why fish in Boulder Creek are acting and looking more sexually normal. We also explore broader water-quality issues in Colorado and beyond, and the implications for human health. For more information on studies conducted by CU and USGS scientists on endocrine disruptors related to Boulder Creek, South Platte River and elsewhere, visit BASIN. Check our website for the previous interview in the “The Ocean is Us” series, on Teens4Oceans. And check out KGNU’s year-long series on Colorado water issues. It’s called Connecting the Drops. It’s at and To learn more or become active in preserving our watershed and the oceans, go to Colorado Ocean Coalition.

All features in The Ocean Is Us  series can be found here.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Kendra Krueger
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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GMOs & Health: The Loss of Small Farms and the Rise of Immune Disorders

We look at the strange rise in autoimmune diseases, allergies and asthma, with experts from the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Center and with National Jewish Health Immunlogist Andy Liu  in Denver.  And, we explore whether genetically modified crops might be increasing our chance of getting ill, with Agricultural Scientist, Charles Benbrook of The Organic Center.

In this report, Shelley Schlender takes a look at genetically modified crops and other modern farming techniques, and how they might, or might not be, connected to the dramatic rise in immune disorders.  As part of this report, she’ll look into the strange case of a bacteria in GM corn that was NOT supposed to get into human bloodstream.  Recent research indicates that it does.  And she’ll discuss the hygiene hypothesis with  health experts who suggest that our society has become so “clean” that, in some ways, it makes us sick.

Go here for extended interviews with Charles Benbrook, Andy Liu, Carol Shilson, Stefano Guandalini.

Co-hosts: Susan Moran and Joel Parker
Engineer: Tom McKinnon
Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Show Producer: Shelley Schlender