By: Tara Burke
Our weekly linkpost, bringing you interesting and informative links on science policy issues buzzing about the internet.
F.D.A. Announces Stricter Rules on Tanning Beds – Stricter regulations of tanning beds were announced by the Food and Drug Administration on Thursday, which require manufacturers to put a black-box warning on tanning beds. The warning must state that the beds should not be used by anyone under the age of 18. Research studies have shown that indoor tanning before the age of 35 increases the risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest type of skin cancer, by 59 percent to 75 percent. Additionally, manufacturers will have to comply with the F.D.A. that the tanning beds do not deliver too much ultraviolet radiation and that the timers and alarms intended for controlling tanning times work properly. Manufacturers will have to stop selling models that do not meet the new standards by 2015. These new regulations stopped short of banning their use by minors but the F.D.A. did not rule out one in the future. (Catherine Saint Louis)
Asian Institutions Release Genomes of 3000 Rice Lines – Since rice production is expected to increase in demand by 25% by 2030, steps have been made to increase rice production. Researchers from three institutions have released the genetic sequences of 3000 rice lines, acquired from 89 different countries, which they hope will aid in discovery of new adaptive varieties. The sequencing confirmed that there are five broad varietal groups and identified approximately 18.9 million single nucleotide polymorphisms which may be indicative of important traits. The supporters of this research hope that the genetic information will identify genes for drought, disease, and pest resistance as well as tolerance for poor soils. (Dennis Normile)
NSF bill with dire implications for social sciences moves forward – The House Science, Space, and Technology Committee approved legislation that recommends drastic cuts to the US National Science Foundation’s (NSF) social science funding and controversial changes to the agency’s grant-making process. The bill is slated to reduce social, behavioral, and economic sciences by 22% in fiscal year 2014 with even further reductions recommended for 2015. These provisions and others have spurred outrage and protests from the broader scientific community and ignited concern from the National Science Board. The fate for this bill remains uncertain as it is unknown whether this bill will come up for a vote before Congress adjourns for the year. Also, the bill in it’s current form is unlikely to pass in the Senate. (Jessica Morrison)
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