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Soaps and paint pollute air as much as car emissions, study shows

For many years, motor vehicle emissions were the primary source of air pollution in urban areas. But with increased regulations and better engines, that has changed. While industry professionals and government leaders worked to address pollution from cars, little notice was given to the effects of other commonly used consumer products. Now, research shows that chemicals in soaps, perfumes, household cleaners, pesticides and paints have been recognized to pollute our air about as much as car emissions.

>> Read more trending news 

The research, recently published in the journal Science, found that many of the products we use daily in our homes contain compounds refined from petroleum.

"People use a lot more fuel than they do petroleum-based compounds in chemical products--about 15 times more by weight, according to the new assessment. Even so, lotions, paints and other products contribute about as much to air pollution as the transportation sector does," Dr. Brian McDonald, a researcher in the Chemical Sciences Division at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), who led the study, said in a press release.

>> Related: Climate change will internally displace 143 million people by 2050, scientists warn

"As transportation gets cleaner, those other sources become more and more important," McDonald added. "The stuff we use in our everyday lives can impact air pollution."

The new assessment focused on what are referred to as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). These compounds can seep into the atmosphere, reacting to create particle or ozone matter, which are regulated in the U.S. and many other countries. They can cause a variety of health problems, including damage to the lungs.

>> Related: Study: Short-term exposure to air pollution can lead to 20,000 extra deaths a year

Most people living in urban areas assume that car pollution is still the biggest problem, as it was for the past few decades. But according to the new NOAA report, that is no longer the notable threat. In fact, researchers concluded that the level of VOCs emitted by consumer and industrial products is "two or three times greater than estimated by current air pollution inventories, which also overestimate vehicular sources."

While the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that about 75 percent of fossil VOC emissions came from fuel-related sources, and just 25 percent from consumer and industrial products. The NOAA analysis puts the ratio around 50-50.

>> Related: Great Pacific Garbage Patch 16 times larger than estimates: 87,000 tons of plastic and growing

"Concentrations are often 10 times higher indoors than outdoors, and that's consistent with a scenario in which petroleum-based products used indoors provide a significant source to outdoor air in urban environments," McDonald said.

It may seem strange to some that common products, such as perfume and household cleaners, could have such a major impact on pollution. But the effects of common household items starts to make sense when we consider how they are used and stored.

"Gasoline is stored in closed, hopefully airtight, containers and the VOCs in gasoline are burned for energy," NOAA atmospheric scientist Dr Jessica Gilman, a co-author of the new paper, told The Independent.

>> Related: Is chocolate really going extinct because of climate change?

"But volatile chemical products used in common solvents and personal care products are literally designed to evaporate. You wear perfume or use scented products so that you or your neighbor can enjoy the aroma. You don't do this with gasoline."

Experts are lauding the new study for pointing out sources of pollution that often get little attention.

"This research is a useful reminder that discussions of air pollution need to consider all sources of pollutants and that measures targeting cars only address part of the problem," Professor Anthony Frew, a respiratory medicine specialist at Brighton and Sussex Medical School, said.

But Frew also cautioned that the study doesn't mean regulating traffic emissions is unimportant.

>> Related: Worst global warming predictions likely the most accurate, study finds

"Traffic remains an important source of pollution and we still need to reduce the number of vehicle-miles driven per year by personal and commercial vehicles," he said.

Missing Iowa family of 4 found dead in Mexico

A Creston, Iowa, family of four that was previously reported missing in Mexico has been found dead.

KCCI reported that 41-year-old Kevin Sharp, his wife, 38-year-old Amy Sharp, and their children, 12-year-old Sterling and 7-year-old Adrianna were found dead on a tourist condo complex in Tulum, Mexico, a tourist area. The Associated Press reported that the developer of the complex declined to comment.

>> Read more trending news 

“The Sharps have been located. They were found last night in their condo deceased,” a relative named Ashli Peterson wrote on Facebook, according to The Des Moines Register. “There was no foul play! At this time that is all the information we have. 

“Please respect the family at this time as they go through the grieving process. Thank you for all the posts, shares, and kind words,” the post said

Tulum is in the Quintana Roo state of Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula. A March 16 travel advisory from the U.S. Department of State said there was a level 2 advisory in the state due to crime. There were no restrictions on U.S. government employees for travel in that state, which has other tourist areas, such as Cancun and Cozumel.

On Thursday, relatives filed a missing persons report through the U.S. Embassy in Mexico, KCCI reportedAccording to Peterson’s original post, the family had not been in contact with relatives after letting them know they made it to their condo safely.

Related: U.S. issues level 4 ‘do not travel’ advisory for 5 states in Mexico

Creston Police Chief Paul Ver Meer said the family had not boarded their flight from Cancun, Mexico, back to the U.S.

“It’s a very sad day for the Sharp family and the city of Creston as a whole,” Ver Meer said. “We’ll work through this together.”

Ver Meer said there was no sign of traumatic injury and autopsies are being conducted in Mexico. Results are pending.  

Martin Luther King Jr.: How the world heard the news of his assassination

April 4 will mark the 50th anniversary of the day Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. King, the leader of the non-violent movement for civil rights in the 1960s, had come to Memphis the day before to help sanitation workers rally for better wages and safer working conditions.

That evening, as King stood on a balcony at the Loraine Motel, he was mortally wounded by a bullet from a rifle believed to have been fired from a rooming house across the street from the Loraine. King was hit in the jaw and knocked unconscious. He was pronounced dead at the St. Joseph’s Hospital about an hour later, having never regained consciousness.

Here is how the world learned and reacted to the news of King’s assassination:

What King said night before he was murdered:

King came to Memphis in early April 1968 to help striking sanitation workers in their protests for better wages and safer working conditions. On April 3, King addressed a gathering at the Mason Temple in Memphis. He said he did not feel well and did not want to go, but went anyway on the urging of his aides. King stood before the crowd and spoke extemporaneously for more than 40 minutes. The speech turned out to be prophetic as King told those gathered he had “been to the mountaintop,” but that he may not “get there with you.” Here is that speech:

Click here for a look at King’s life, death and legacy.

The obituariesFrom the New York Times:

Martin Luther King Jr.: Leader of Millions in Nonviolent Drive for Racial Justice

“To many million of American Negroes, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the prophet of their crusade for racial equality. He was their voice of anguish, their eloquence in humiliation, their battle cry for human dignity. He forged for them the weapons of nonviolence that withstood and blunted the ferocity of segregation.

“And to many millions of American whites, he was one of a group of Negroes who preserved the bridge of communication between races when racial warfare threatened the United States in the nineteen-sixties, as Negroes sought the full emancipation pledged to them a century before by Abraham Lincoln.

“To the world, Dr. King had the stature that accrued to a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, a man with access to the White House and the Vatican; a veritable hero in the African states that were just emerging from colonialism.” (Click here to continue reading)

From the Chicago Tribune

Riots follow killing of Martin Luther King Jr.

“Before darkness fell on this day, a Friday, the plumes of smoke from the West Side already were visible to Loop office workers. In Chicago and across the nation, rioting was breaking out in response to the news that Martin Luther King Jr. had been gunned down in Memphis the day before.” (Click here to continue reading)

Robert Kennedy breaking the news

On April 4, 1968, Robert F. Kennedy was in Indianapolis, campaigning for the Democratic nomination for president when he was told of the assassination of King. His staff tried to dissuade Kennedy from going to speak to the crowd in a predominately black neighborhood in the city, as news of riots were beginning to spread.

Kennedy insisted on going to the corner of 17th Avenue and Broadway and talking with the people gathered there. Kennedy began by breaking the news that King had been shot and killed, then called for calm and reminded those gathered that he, too, had had a family member killed and that his family member (his brother, John F. Kennedy) was killed by a white man.

Here is Kennedy’s speech that night.

President Lyndon Johnson’s response

Johnson was notified of King’s assassination as he readied for a trip to Hawaii. He postponed the trip, called King’s wife to offer condolences and declared April 7 a national day of mourning.

The front pages

To see how the world reacted to King’s assassination, click here.

From television:

Walter Cronkite on CBS  

ABC News

NBC News

WBS radio tribute

Coretta Scot King two days after her husband’s assassination

Glen Campbell’s widow opens up about the family feud over his estate

The widow of country music legend Glen Campbell is telling her side of the story in the legal battle over her late husband’s estate. Kim Campbell also addresses allegations that she barred his children from seeing him.

>> Read more trending news 

Campbell is breaking her silence on the legal battle currently playing out in court over her late husband’s reported $50 million fortune. Several of the country crooner’s older children have claimed their step-mother barred them from seeing their father when he was in an Alzheimer’s care facility in Nashville. She’s denying the allegations.

“I never ever denied them a visit — ever,” Campbell told “Inside Edition.” “They never, ever called me to see how he was doing or if they could help.”

>> Related: Controversy continues in the fight over Glen Campbell’s will

Three of the musician’s older children, including his eldest son, Travis, have filed a lawsuit seeking what they claim is their piece of the family fortune. They were left out of their father’s will, and Kim Campbell says she had nothing to do with that decision.

“That was all done in 2002, and that was a choice that was made by Glen — not me — and there were reasons for it,” she said.

Campbell also claimed Travis Campbell did not visit his father in the 20 years before the superstar’s death in 2017. She said the allegations against her by the children have been difficult.

“It has been very painful and hurtful. It’s a nightmare to have people on the internet threatening to kill you because they think you are this horrible person who wouldn’t let people visit, which is totally false,” she said.

>> Related: Country legend Glen Campbell to release final album, 'Adios'

Campbell is also speaking out about her husband’s former girlfriend, country star Tanya Tucker, who released a song about him titled “Forever Loving You,” following Campbell’s death last year.

“This Tanya Tucker, who dated my husband for a hot minute 35 years ago, going on TV the day after my husband dies, [promoting] ‘Forever Loving You,’ [and] exploiting my husband,” the angry widow said.

The proceeds from that song benefit Alzheimer’s disease research, and Tucker maintained her motives were pure in writing and releasing the song.

>> Related: Country singer Glen Campbell dead at 81

A statement from Tucker’s press rep reads, “Tanya has nothing but love in her heart for the entire Campbell family. Tanya released ‘Forever Loving You’ last year in tribute to Glen and to raise awareness for all those suffering with this heartbreaking disease.”

>> Related: Who was Harry Houdini? 10 facts about the amazing mastermind and magician

Meanwhile, Kim Campbell is moving forward with her advocacy work for Alzheimer’s patients and their families. She has teamed up with the Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation and ride service Lyft to help provide transportation for people with the disease who are participating in clinical trials.

It’s devastating to lose someone to this disease. It’s heartbreaking, but I want to bring something positive out of it,” she said.

Great Pacific Garbage Patch 16 times larger than estimates: 87,000 tons of plastic and growing

The giant mass of floating plastic trash in the Pacific Ocean, known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, now measures almost 620,000 square miles and is as much as 16 times larger than previous estimates, according to a new study.

>> Read more trending news 

The huge mass of soupy trash between California and Hawaii in what’s known as the Pacific gyre contains 87,000 tons of plastic, researchers reported in the study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, and scientists said with the massive global plastic pollution continuing, it’s still growing.

Data between 1970 and 2015 shows the plastic levels in the garbage patch are increasing at a faster rate than in surrounding waters.

The biggest chunk of garbage in the patch, 46 percent of it, is fishing nets, according to the research. Other types of commercial fishing gear, including eel traps, ropes and oyster spacers account for a majority of the rest of the trash. 

Oceanographer and lead researcher with the Ocean Cleanup Foundation Laurent Lebreton told National Geographic scientists wanted to study the bigger pieces of trash in the patch.

“I knew there would be a lot of fishing gear, but 46 percent was unexpectedly high,” Lebreton said. “Initially, we thought fishing gear would be more in the 20 percent range. That is the accepted number [for marine debris] globally - 20 percent from fishing sources and 80 percent from land.”

The fishing nets that litter the world’s oceans entangle whales, turtles and seals, and the plastic in the seas kills or injures 100,000 marine animals every year, National Geographic reported.

Researchers said there are still many unknowns about the garbage patch, including the level of plastic pollution in deeper waters and on the sea floor, and that more study is needed,

The findings are part of a three-year mapping effort involving Ocean Cleanup, an international team of scientists, six universities and an aerial sensor company. 


Who was Harry Houdini? 10 facts about the amazing mastermind and magician

He’s the godfather of escapism and illusion, a magical mastermind whose tricks dazzle to this day. But how much do you know about the man in the handcuffs?

>> Read more trending news 

Here are 10 fun facts about the genius known as Harry Houdini.

Houdini was born Erik Weisz on Mar. 24, 1874, in Budapest, Austria-Hungary. His family immigrated to the United States in July 1878, settled in Wisconsin, and changed the spelling of their last name to Weiss. Young Houdini’s first named changed as well, from Erik to Ehrich.

The Weiss family eventually moved to New York City, where 9-year-old Ehrich took a job as a trapeze artist. He launched his professional magic career in 1891 and changed his name once again. “Harry” is a derivative of his childhood nickname, Ehrie, while “Houdini” is an homage to one of his idols, French magician Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin.

In 1893, he married Wilhelmina “Bess” Rahner, who would become his stage assistant.

Houdini got his big break in 1899, when he impressed manager Martin Beck with his ability to break out of handcuffs. Beck booked the Houdinis on the vaudeville circuit. They eventually took their escape show to Europe, where Houdini challenged local police in several countries to keep him restrained with shackles and locked in jail.

>> Related: 5 facts about the charming Charlie Chaplin

Beginning in 1907, Houdini’s American productions got bigger and more dangerous. They included escaping from a locked milk can filled with water; releasing himself from a straitjacket while dangling by his feet from a rope above a city street; and the famous Chinese Water Torture Cell, which forced Houdini to hold his breath for more than three minutes while getting out of a glass and steel cabinet overflowing with water, all while suspended upside down.

One 1915 trick nearly killed Houdini. He was buried alive in a dirt pit, then started to panic as he desperately clawed his way out. No one could hear his cries for help. His hand eventually broke free, and he was pulled to safety — and passed out once he was back on the ground.

It was not magic that ultimately brought down Houdini, but a ruptured appendix. He died of peritonitis in a Detroit hospital on Oct. 31, 1926, at age 52.

>> Related: 5 fun facts about iconic musician Little Richard

Magic wasn’t Houdini’s only talent. He founded his own film company, The Film Development Corporation, and starred in several productions. He was also an accomplished aviator who made one of the first aerial flights in Australia. He even taught American soldiers how to escape sinking ships and get out of ropes or handcuffs in case they were captured by the enemy during World War I.

MUST SEE: Good Samaritans pull driver from burning car

A police dashboard camera captured the heroics of strangers in Westtown Township, Pennsylvania. 

A driver hit several cars in the parking lot of Saints Simon and Jude School with their vehicle before flipping over, WPVI reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Good Samaritans jumped into action to help police right the SUV and pull the driver from the burning car.

KYW reported that the driver had been trapped under the vehicle.

School staff members used fire extinguishers to keep the fire under control as the others rescued the driver.

The video was released by the Westtown-East Goshen Police Department, KYW reported.

Grilling meat could raise your risk of high blood pressure, study says

Grill lovers beware. Before you fire up the grill, a new report says that barbecue may increase your risk of high blood pressure.

Researchers from the American Heart Association presented a report Wednesday that explored whether foods cooked at high temperatures affect blood pressure. 

To do so, they examined more than 100,000 people from various long-term health studies. Researchers gathered information about the individuals’ cooking methods and the development of high blood pressure among those who regularly ate beef, poultry or fish. 

>> Read more trending news 

After analyzing the results, researchers found that none of the participants had high blood pressure, diabetes or cancer at the start of the program. About 37,000 of them had developed high blood pressure during the followup 12 to 16 years later.

When the scientists took a closer look, they discovered that those who reported eating two servings of red meat, chicken or fish a week were at higher risk for hypertension. 

The risk was 17 percent higher for people who grilled, broiled or roasted beef, chicken or fish more than 15 times a month, compared to those who did it less than four times a month. 

Related: How barbershops can help trim high blood pressure in black men

Furthermore, the risk was 15 percent higher for those who liked their meats well-done as opposed to rarer. High blood pressure risk was also higher for those estimated to have consumed the highest levels of heterocyclic aromatic amines, a chemical found on meats that are charred or exposed to high temperatures.

“The chemicals produced by cooking meats at high temperatures induce oxidative stress, inflammation and insulin resistance in animal studies, and these pathways may also lead to an elevated risk of developing high blood pressure,” Gang Liu said in a Wednesday news release

“Our findings suggest that it may help reduce the risk of high blood pressure if you don’t eat these foods cooked well done and avoid the use of open-flame and/or high-temperature cooking methods, including grilling/barbequing and broiling.”

Find out more about the report at the American Heart Association website.

Clerk's fight with armed shoplifter caught on camera

A clerk who said he was fed up with a repeat shoplifter at an Everett convenience store ended up being stabbed in the head during an altercation that was caught on camera.

>> Read more trending news

It happened at an AM PM store on 128th Street Southwest Thursday morning. 

The clerk told KIRO 7 that the man had shoplifted at the store on numerous other occasions. He said he got fed up when he saw the man stealing Thursday, and wanted to stop him and call police.

Surveillance video obtained by KIRO 7 shows a man with a backpack and wearing a blue baseball cap enter the store, and grab doughnuts and a fountain drink before walking out without paying.

The clerk ran out of the store and yelled at the man to come back and pay, but the man kept going. The clerk caught up with the man, grabbed his backpack, which the clerk believed to contain stolen items, and then walked back into the store to call police.

As the clerk was making the call, the man walked back into the store and began to attack the clerk behind the counter in an attempt to get his backpack back.

Video shows the man wielding some kind of knife as the two struggled to get control of the backpack. 

The man eventually gave up when the clerk grabbed a stick from behind the counter and chased him out of the store.

The clerk has a minor cut on his head and will be OK. The whole altercation happened in front of customers. 

The clerk was able to hold onto the man’s backpack and gave it to sheriff’s deputies, who are still looking for the man.

Study: Emory scientists may be able to trigger weight loss by freezing ‘hunger nerve’

From eating healthy foods to exercising regularly, dropping extra pounds can be tough. However, health experts may have discovered a way to target the nerve responsible for our hunger pangs, according to a new report

>> Read more trending news 

On Wednesday, it was announced that Emory University recently conducted a pilot study to determine if focusing on the posterior vagal trunk, the nerve that triggers hunger signals to the brain, can influence weight loss. 

“Medical literature shows the vast majority of weight-loss programs fail, especially when people attempt to reduce their food intake,” co-author David Prologo said in a statement in a news release. “When our stomachs are empty, the body senses this and switches to food-seeking survival mode. We're not trying to eliminate this biological response, only reduce the strength of this signal to the brain to provide a new, sustainable solution to the difficult problem of treating mild obesity.”

To do so, they developed a procedure that freezes the nerve, reducing the “attrition that is common with weight-loss efforts,” Prologo wrote. 

Related: Here’s why weight gain could cause loss of taste buds, study says

During the treatment, which is intended for mildly to moderately obese people, an interventional radiologist inserts a needle through a patient’s back. With live images from a CT scan, they are able to guide the instrument to the nerve, located at the base of the esophagus, to emit argon gas to numb it. 

They tested their methods on 10 subjects with a body mass index between 30 and 37, and examined them for 90 days. During the follow-up period, they found that all the subjects had a decreased appetite. Furthermore, they had an overall average body weight loss of 3.6 percent and an average body mass index decline of 14 percent.

Now they are recruiting more individuals to undergo the process for a larger clinical trial. 

“We are trying to help people succeed with their own attempts to lose weight,” Prologo said.

Read more about the findings, published in the Society of Interventional Radiology, at

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