Academies Call for Global Action to Reduce Air Pollution

June 19, 2019

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences and U.S. National Academy of Medicine joined the science academies of South Africa, Brazil, and Germany today in issuing a statement calling for urgent worldwide action to reduce air pollution. The statement was handed over to senior United Nations representatives and diplomats from the four nations at a ceremony today in New York. Air pollution is a cross-cutting aspect of many UN Sustainable Development Goals. Air pollution is estimated to contribute to the premature deaths of at least 5 million people worldwide per year, as well as to chronic health conditions such as heart disease, asthma, diabetes, and allergies, among others. The global economic burden of disease caused by air pollution across 176 countries in 2015 was estimated to be $3.8 trillion. In the statement, the five academies propose the adoption of a global compact on air pollution to ensure sustained engagement at the highest level and make air pollution reduction a priority for all. Many technology and policy solutions are available to reduce air pollution, such implementing emission controls for industry and power plants or changing to clean fuels, providing access to clean fuels for households, enforcing rules to eliminate garbage burning, and using agricultural techniques to reduce crop burning.

National Academies Presidents Affirm the Scientific Evidence of Climate Change

June 18, 2019

Recently, questions have been raised about climate science. The National Academies have addressed many of these questions in our independent, evidence-based reports. We are speaking out to support the cumulative scientific evidence for climate change and the scientists who continue to advance our understanding. Read the full statement

New Report Calls for a National System to Measure Equity in Education, Identify Disparities in Outcomes and Opportunity

June 13, 2019

A centralized, consistently reported system of indicators of educational equity is needed to bring attention to disparities in the U.S. education system, says a new report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Indicators — measures used to track performance and monitor change over time — can help convey why disparities arise, identify groups most affected by them, and inform policy and practice measures to improve equity in pre-K through 12th grade education. Read More

Protecting Coral Reefs in a Deteriorating Environment

June 12, 2019

Coral reefs around the world face growing danger from a changing climate, on top of the historic threats from local pollution and habitat destruction. In response, scientists are researching new interventions that have the potential to slow coral reef damage from warming and acidifying oceans. The interventions span a wide range of physical and biological approaches for increasing the stability of coral reefs, but they have only been tested at small scales. A new report from the National Academies examines these resilience tools and provides decision-makers with a process they can follow in considering whether to use one or more of the novel approaches.Read More

International Commission Launched on Heritable Human Genome Editing

May 22, 2019

An international commission has been convened by the U.S. National Academy of Medicine, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the Royal Society of the U.K., with the participation of science and medical academies around the world, to develop a framework for scientists, clinicians, and regulatory authorities to consider when assessing potential clinical applications of human germline genome editing. The framework will identify a number of scientific, medical, and ethical requirements that should be considered, and could inform the development of a potential pathway from research to clinical use -- if society concludes that heritable human genome editing applications are acceptable. Read More

NAS and NAM Presidents Give Commencement Addresses

May 20, 2019

NAS President Marcia McNutt delivered the commencement address to Boston University graduates on May 19, where she discussed trust in science and evidence, and the importance of making informed decisions. On May 17, NAM President Victor Dzau spoke to graduates of the Western University Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, urging them to keep their commitment to patients at the forefront as they embark on a career in medicine.

New Report Calls for Policies and Practices to Promote Positive Adolescent Development and Close the Opportunity Gap

May 16, 2019

The changes in brain structure and connectivity that occur between the ages of 10 and 25 present adolescents with unique opportunities for positive, life-shaping development, and for recovering from past adversity, says a new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The Promise of Adolescence: Realizing Opportunity for All Youth provides recommendations for capitalizing on these opportunities, and for addressing inequities — in education, health care, child welfare, and the juvenile justice system — that undermine the well-being of many adolescents and leave them less able to take advantage of the promise offered by this stage of life. Read More

EngineerGirl Announces 2019 Writing Contest Winners

May 15, 2019

The National Academy of Engineering today announced the winners of its 2019 EngineerGirl writing competition. This year's contest celebrates engineering design and problem solving, asking students in grades three to 12 to write a creative story in which women and girls save the day with their wits, skill, and whatever resources they can find. 

Organohalogen Flame Retardants Cannot Be Assessed for Hazards as a Single Class, But Can Be Assessed in

May 15, 2019

A new National Academies report offers guidance to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) on how to conduct a hazard assessment of nonpolymeric, additive organohalogen flame retardants (OFRs), which are used in some consumer products. OFRs cannot be treated as a single class for hazard assessment, the report says, but they can be divided into subclasses based on chemical structure, physical and chemical properties, and predicted biologic activity. The report identifies 14 subclasses that CPSC can use to conduct a class-based hazard assessment of OFRs. Such an approach is likely to be more efficient and less costly than the traditional approach of evaluating each chemical individually. Read More

NAE Elects President, Foreign Secretary, and Four Councillors

May 14, 2019

The National Academy of Engineering has elected John L. Anderson, president emeritus and distinguished professor of chemical engineering at Illinois Institute of Technology, to serve a six-year term as the NAE's president. Anderson succeeds C. D. Mote, Jr., who has served one term as president. Elected to serve a four-year term as the NAE's foreign secretary is James M. Tien, distinguished professor and dean emeritus at University of Miami. The Academy also elected four members to its governing Council. All terms begin July 1, 2019. Read More

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