Short items

Crystal clear 

Scientists investigating a US pet food scare, involving at least 16 pet deaths and the illness of possibly thousands more, say melamine was probably responsible. Although melamine alone isn’t highly toxic, the pet food was also contaminated with cyanuric acid. Melamine-cyanuric acid kidney stones were found in the animals, which died of kidney failure. Chinese animal feed laced with melamine has been blamed for the deaths.
Washington Post, 7 May 2007 

Aerial spraying illegal 

The Israel Lands Administration must stop spraying land to destroy crops farmed by the Bedouin, the Israeli High Court of Justice has ruled. The practice, used in attempts to stop Bedouin from taking over state land, has been banned because the spray is damaging to human health.
Haaretz, 16 April 2007 

Popcorn leaves bad taste 

California is moving to regulate diacetyl, an artificial butter flavouring used in microwave popcorn. Long-term inhalation of diacetyl is believed to cause ’popcorn worker’s lung’, or diacetyl-induced bronchiolitis obliterans, destroying the lungs.
Washington Post, 7 May 2007 

Monumental mud pack 

The Taj Mahal will be  cleaned using mud. Built of gleaming white marble, the monument has turned a dirty yellow due to pollution. An Indian parliament committee has reported that the Taj should be cleaned by applying wet clay; once dried, the clay can be washed off, taking the discolouring deposits with it.
The Hindustan Times, 14 May 2007 

Cash crops 

Nez Perce Indians have started reforesting their land - and selling carbon credits for the newly planted trees. The sale allows the land-rich, cash-poor tribe to quickly earn money from the trees, rather than wait years to sell the timber.
The New York Times, 8 May 2007