Will setback for soda warnings in California affect GMO labeling?

The U.S. appeals court in San Francisco ruled that the city’s ordinance requiring health warnings on display advertisements for sugar-sweetened drinks is a violation of the Constitution’s freedom of speech protections. A lawyer for the Washington Legal Foundation told the San Francisco Chronicle that the ruling, by recognizing “the right not to speak,” puts a cloud over government efforts to require labeling of foods made with GMO ingredients.

U.S. halts study of health risks and mountaintop coal mining

Facing a proposed budget cut, an Interior Department agency told the National Academy of Sciences to stop work on a study into the health risks faced by Appalachian residents who live near mountaintop removal coal-mining sites, said the Charleston (West Virginia) Gazette-Mail.

Democrats push bill to ban pesticide blamed for brain damage

A group of Democratic Senators, led by Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, introduced a bill to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos over health concerns, after the EPA refused to take it off shelves earlier this spring. “Udall's bill calls for the EPA to conduct a broad review of the use of the pesticide to determine which groups are most vulnerable to its harmful effects,” says Reuters.

Former FDA official is named as leader of CSPI

A veteran consumer advocate and public health official, Dr. Peter Lurie, a physician by training, is the new executive director and president of the consumer group Center for Science in the Public Interest. Lurie will succeed Michael Jacobson, a co-founder of CSPI in 1971, said the watchdog group, which is suing the FDA over its delay of menu labeling.

Six states join in pesticide lawsuit against EPA

Six state prosecutors from New York, Maryland, Vermont, Washington, Massachusetts and the District of Columbia are joining environmental and social advocacy groups in a lawsuit to push the EPA to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos. "It is EPA's responsibility to protect Americans from unsafe chlorpyrifos residues on food because of the potential neuro-developmental and other adverse health effects caused by exposure," the prosecutors said in their filing, according to Reuters.

France to stick to 2018 neonicotinoid ban

The first internal dispute of the Macron administration showcased the contrasting views of France’s agriculture and environment ministers over a law that bans the use of neonicotinoid insecticides starting in 2018.

Climate change ushering in era of deadly heatwaves

Almost a third of the world population is now exposed to deadly heatwaves that are a result of climate change, says a study published in Nature Climate Change.

Soda taxes could cover 40 percent of Americans

Seven U.S. cities, from Philadelphia to San Francisco, have adopted so-called soda taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages since November 2014. Now researchers say they’ve identified three factors for success in such efforts.

In second year of tax, soda sales continue to fall in Mexico

Consumption of sugary beverages is down for the second year in a row in Mexico, suggesting "that the results of such a tax may be far more long-lasting," says the New York Times. It says a study published on the Internet by Health Affairs found a 5.5 percent decline in sales of sugary drinks in 2014, the first year of the tax, and sales in 2015 were 9.7 percent lower than in 2013, the year before the tax took effect.

Higher mortality in rural America than cities, CDC finds

A CDC study found "a striking gap in health between rural and urban Americans," says the agency's director Tom Frieden. Rural Americans are more likely than city-dwellers to die from the five leading causes of death – heart disease, cancer, accidental injury, chronic lower respiratory disease and stroke – which account for more than 60 percent of deaths, according to the study published in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly report