5 Things You Need To Know Today (September 18, 2018)

Photo by Grillot Edouard

1. Paris and Brussels banned cars for one day last weekend. And more cities want to do the same.

The two capitals held their fourth annual "car-free day" last Sunday—a proactive response to climate issues and the health impact of pollution. "It's a day to make Paris live in a different way," says Celia Blauel, Paris' deputy mayor, "make people aware of the issues, and show them that it's possible actually to move within Paris without a car." The air-quality-monitoring group Airparif measured a 28 to 35 percent decrease in pollution levels around the city, and there's more good news: About a dozen other cities from Tokyo to Rotterdam signed the C40 Green and Healthy Streets Declaration to shift toward walking, cycling, and public transport. (Fast Company)

2. That daily aspirin might hurt more than it helps.

Some older folks take a daily low dosage of aspirin because it's said to reduce the risk of heart attack, dementia, and cancer. But a new study of more than 19,000 adults over age 65 found no discernible health benefits for popping the tablet every day—to the contrary, it actually increased the chances of life-threatening bleeding. (NPR)

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3. 44,000 Americans could die from wildfire smoke every year.

Another thing to add to the "reasons we should care about climate change" list: New research found that 15,000 Americans die annually from chronic inhalation of wildfire smoke, AND that number could jump to 44,000 by the end of the century. Previous research has shown that climate change is the primary driver of the increase in wildfires. (Grist)

4. Heads up—there are new guidelines for treating concussions.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention just released new guidelines for managing head injuries in children. Instead of spending time in quiet, dark rooms, the CDC recommends a quicker return to non-risky activities after no more than two or three days of rest, as research does not show that prolonged isolation is helpful for healing these brain injuries more quickly. (NYT)

5. BPA-free isn't enough.

New research on mice finds that many of the alternative bisphenols used instead of BPA in bottles, cans, etc., actually come with some of the same health risks as the BPA it is replacing. Moral of the story, according to researchers? "Plastic products that show physical signs of damage or aging cannot be considered safe." (Science Daily)

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