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A juvenile North Atlantic right whale (Eubalaena glacialis) breaches as a bulk carrier ship passes near the entrance to St. John's River in Florida in 2006. The species is one of the world's most endangered whales, with fewer than 400 individuals now alive. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, NOAA Research Permit #775-1600-10 via Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Claudia Geib

In the 1980s, video of dolphins dying in fishing nets sparked a public boycott of tuna and the development of "dolphin-safe" labeling programs for canned tuna that have become ubiquitous in many countries. Now, one organization wants to use that model to protect whales from collisions with ships.

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Scarface, the Masai Mara king.

Monica Garliceanu / iStock / Getty Images Plus

A lion with an idiosyncratic face and remarkable mane, called "Scarface," passed away at 14 at his home on one of Africa's most important conservation sites.

Dubbed "Scarface" because of a scar over his right eye, he's sought after by many tourists and conservationists, according to The Guardian.

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Basak Gurbuz Derman / Moment / Getty Images

Your body's immune system is the natural, front line defense to protect you against harmful pathogens and infections. You can boost the effectiveness of your immune system through diet and exercise, but did you know that certain multivitamins can aid your immune system and promote general wellness? Here are our recommendations of the top supplements to help boost your immune system.

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The sun sets behind power lines in Los Angeles, California on Sept. 3, 2020, ahead of a heat wave. FREDERIC J. BROWN / AFP via Getty Images

Mutually worsening heat and drought, both fueled by climate change, are stifling the American West, stoking wildfire fears and straining electrical grids — and the worst is far from over.

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Buy-in investments and pre-orders from industry leaders like Virgin Atlantic and American Airlines could help Vertical Aerospace produce the first commercially available electric flying taxis. Vertical Aerospace

Flying taxis to help you skip a morning traffic jam? Sounds like a thing of the future, but the future might be closer than you think.

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The Goldman Environmental Prize recognizes grassroots activists from six continents who have moved the needle on environmental issues their communities face. 2021 Goldman Environmental Prize Virtual Award Ceremony / YouTube

Nicknamed the "Green Nobel Prize," the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize recognizes grassroots activists from six continents who have moved the needle on environmental issues their communities face. This year's recipients led the charge on environmental justice, wildlife and rainforest conservation, plastic pollution, dams and coal projects.

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Crayfish are an important part of freshwater ecosystems, and change their behavior when exposed to antidepressants. Nick9002

Antidepressants are designed to make humans feel better, but they can have a surprising impact on non-human animals when they enter the environment.

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A new study found toxic forever chemicals in hundreds of widely used cosmetic products. Flashpop / DigitalVision / Getty Images

A new study found toxic PFAS, also known as "forever chemicals," in hundreds of widely used cosmetic products produced by major brands throughout the U.S. and Canada.

The study, published in Environmental Science and Technology, found "high levels of organic fluorine," which is a prevalent indicator of PFAS, in over half of 231 makeup and personal care products. The specific products include lipstick, eyeliner, foundation, concealer, lip balm, blush, and nail polish, according to The Guardian.

"This is the first study to look at total fluorine or PFAS in cosmetics so we just didn't know what we were going to find," Tom Burton, one author of the study, and a senior scientist with Green Science Policy Institute said to The Guardian. "This is a product that people are spreading on their skin day after day, so there's really a potential for significant exposure."

Those who wear makeup may be absorbing these chemicals through their skin, tear ducts, or potentially by ingesting them.

"Lipstick wearers may inadvertently eat several pounds of lipstick in their lifetimes," Graham Peaslee, senior author of the study said to Eureka Alert. "But unlike food, chemicals in lipstick and other makeup and personal care products are almost entirely unregulated in the U.S. and Canada; as a result, millions of people are unknowingly wearing PFAS and other harmful chemicals on their faces and bodies daily."

PFAS are not only in cosmetic products but also contaminate drinking water and are tied to several negative health effects including cancer, obesity, birth defects, liver disease, thyroid disease, decreased immunity, hormone disruption, and potentially more severe COVID-19 effects, according to Eureka Alert and The Guardian.

Each product tested in the study contained anywhere from four to 13 individual PFAS compounds. Brands tested include L'Oréal, Mac, Ulta, Cover Girl, Clinique, Nars, Smashbox, Estée Lauder, and many other commonly found makeup brands.

Interestingly, the study didn't reveal which brands had PFAS in their products because it didn't want to "pick on" the companies, according to The Guardian.

"It can be hard for consumers to avoid PFAS chemicals because many brands don't list them on the labels," Burton said to The Guardian. However, fluorine was often included in labels on products that claimed to be "wear-resistant," "long-lasting" and "waterproof."

It's unclear if cosmetic industry companies are aware that they were adding toxic chemicals to their products because the supply chain is "complicated," according to Burton.

"It's not clear whether the brands are actually saying 'Give us PFAS to use in our products' or asking for a thickener, for example, or something functional without paying too much attention to what's in it," Burton said to The Guardian.

He also pointed out that around half of the products tested did not contain PFAS or fluorine, proving cosmetic products can be made without them.

The release of the study coincides with a bipartisan Senate bill that could ban certain chemicals used in makeup called the "No PFAS in Cosmetics Act," according to The Guardian. The bill was introduced Tuesday by Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.).

"Americans should be able to trust that the products they are applying to their hair or skin are safe," Collins said in a statement. "To help protect people from further exposure to PFAS, our bill would require the FDA to ban the addition of PFAS to cosmetics products."

Audrey Nakagawa is the content creator intern at EcoWatch. She is a senior at James Madison University studying Media, Art, and Design, with a concentration in journalism. She's a reporter for The Breeze in the culture section and writes features on Harrisonburg artists, album reviews, and topics related to mental health and the environment. She was also a contributor for Virginia Reports where she reported on the impact that COVID-19 had on college students.


This aerial image shows boats stored in a parking lot after the Folsom Lake Marina closed due to dry lake bed conditions during the California drought emergency on May 27, 2021, in El Dorado Hills, California.

PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP / Getty Images

California's drought may be the key to uncovering the mystery of a 1965 plane crash.

Two employees from an underwater surveying company, Seafloor Systems, were doing testing at Folsom Lake in the shallowest areas to date. The sonar equipment they were using for testing picked up an abnormal piece of debris that appeared to be a small aircraft.

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EU policymakers have voted to end caged animal farming. Red Cedicol / EyeEm / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

The European Commission is under pressure to end caged animal farming in the next six years after policymakers in the European Union overwhelmingly voted to stop the practice to protect animal welfare as well as human and planetary health, responding to widespread public demand for the ban.

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Synchronous Fireflies in Elkmont, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Radim Schreiber/ National Park Service

In the Great Smoky Mountains, people are traveling and waiting until dusk to get a glimpse of what some have claimed is a life-changing experience: watching a rare, synchronous firefly light show.

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Scientists have developed a method for recycling plastic bottles into vanilla flavoring. Andrew Fox / Getty Images

Researchers have devised a sweet solution to the plastic pollution crisis — turn it into vanilla flavoring.

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Dangerously high temperatures are gripping the West with more to life- and grid-threatening heat expected in the coming days.

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