20 Stories

Wife Can Dump Hubby Who Won't Install Toilet: Judge

Forcing Indian woman to defecate outside after dark is a form of torture, court finds

(Newser) - An Indian woman can divorce her husband because he refused to install a toilet in their home, the BBC reports, with a judge in the northwestern state of Rajasthan finding on Friday that forced outdoor defecation is a form of torture and that the woman, who is in her 20s,... More »

Meet the $100K-a-Year Garbage Collectors

It turns out the industry pays pretty well and wages are rising

(Newser) - No one wants to be a doctor in New Zealand for $267,000 a year , but getting paid $100,000 to sift through giant rats, dead animals, and even human body parts is right up Noel Molina and Tony Sankar's alley. Both men made six figures as NYC garbage... More »

Hundreds Sick From Cilantro Grown in Feces-Strewn Fields

Cyclospora cayetanensis is a single-celled parasite that causes the infection

(Newser) - The US is banning some Mexican cilantro thanks to the appalling conditions health officials recently found at multiple cilantro fields two hours southeast of Mexico City. Human feces and toilet paper have been found in the growing fields in Puebla, and the general lack of sanitation for workers has been... More »

Machine Turns Poop Into Drinking Water

Bill Gates says machine could get clean water to developing countries

(Newser) - Poop isn't just poop, not if you're creative and dedicated to solving the world's sanitation problems. Now, thanks to a machine called the OmniProcessor, fecal matter can become clean water and electricity. "The water tasted as good as any I’ve had out of a bottle.... More »

To Prevent Rape, India Unveils Toilets

Charity offers them in village where teen girls were murdered

(Newser) - In the hope of preventing future rapes and murders, a charity unveiled 108 brand-new toilets Sunday in India. What's the connection? In May, two girls were raped and hanged at Katra Sadatganj in Uttar Pradesh, and relatives say the cousins were last seen going out in the dark to... More »

Brides in India Ditch New Husbands for Lack of Toilets

At least 6 return home because new residences had none

(Newser) - At least six newlywed brides in India have left their husbands because their new homes lacked a toilet, reports the Times of India . The six returned to their parents' homes in protest and vow not to go back until their in-laws get proper plumbing. The newspaper describes the women's... More »

1B Around World Defecate in Public, Warns UN

It's a huge health risk, says new study

(Newser) - A new UN report warns of an under-the-radar health risk: It estimates that 1 billion impoverished people around the world still have no access to toilets, reports Reuters . While that number is down from 1.3 billion in 1990, it still leaves far too many who "defecate in gutters,... More »

Worker Saves Hundreds of US Flags From Trash

Sanitation worker keeps them for dignified disposal

(Newser) - No matter how old and tattered they are, American flags aren't trash, says a New York City sanitation worker who has saved more than 700 from an undignified fate over the last year. After Ed Shevlin started rescuing flags he found in the trash, organizations began presenting him with... More »

You're Flushing Tons of Things That You Shouldn't

'Flushable' wipes, paper towels are major causes of sewer clogs

(Newser) - Wastewater officials across the country are trying to spread the message that you can't just flush anything down the toilet, and they're taking particular aim at wipes. Vancouver, Wash., has a campaign called "Smart Bunnies" that shows a bespectacled rabbit sitting on a toilet and the tag... More »

Those Gloves Aren't Keeping Your Food Safe

Unless the chef is changing or disinfecting them, bare hands are better

(Newser) - You probably cringe when you see the guy behind the deli counter putting your sandwich together without wearing gloves. But a new study says that when it comes to food safety, gloves can actually do more harm than good, partially because they provide a (possibly) false sense of security. The... More »

FDA Finds Maggots, Manure, Rodents in Hen Houses

Iowa egg farms suspected in salmonella outbreak

(Newser) - You might want to skip the omelet for breakfast this morning: Federal inspectors recently found live mice, pigeons, and eight-foot piles of manure inside the hen houses of two massive Iowa egg farms suspected of causing a nationwide outbreak of salmonella . At one of the farms they also found "... More »

20 Jobs That Could Kill You

Fishing, mining not for the faint of heart

(Newser) - Tunneling deep into the earth is dangerous business, as West Virginian miners were reminded this week. With that in mind, the Daily Beast takes a look at the most dangerous professions, broken down by deaths per 100,000, injuries per 100,000, and average annual salary:
  1. Fisherman: 129 deaths, 61
... More »

Image Rehab: Appendix Is Good for Something After All

Long-neglected organ is far from useless, researchers say

(Newser) - The human appendix has been assumed to be useless since Charles Darwin first suggested it was a vestigial organ—an evolutionary remnant from the time when our predecessors ate leaves and other now-indigestible foods. But new research suggests the organ had a much more vital function, LiveScience reports. It stored... More »

Mugabe Liable for Cholera Deaths: Report

(Newser) - Pressure from nonprofits and watchdogs is mounting on the UN to intercede in Zimbabwe’s humanitarian crisis, GlobalPost reports. Physicians for Human Rights asserts that Robert Mugabe intentionally dismantled the country’s health and sanitation infrastructure, and is directly responsible for the cholera outbreak that has claimed 1,800 lives.... More »

5 Drought-Stopping Inventions

Creating more water is the answer with 1.8B facing extreme shortage by 2025

(Newser) - One UN study estimates 1.8 billion people will face extreme water shortage by 2025; the US government projects 36 states could face a similar fate by 2013. Doug Cantor, in Esquire, examines potential shortage solutions:
  • PlayPump: A pump attached to a children’s merry-go-round extracts water from the ground
... More »

Toilet Summit Tackles Issue of 'Potty Parity' for Women

Organizations discuss worldwide sanitation in Macau

(Newser) - The World Toilet Summit began in Macau today, as UN agencies, civil-society groups and the World Toilet Organization discuss how to provide sanitation for the 2.5 billion who still lack access to a clean lavatory, LiveScience reports. The summit will also address the issue of “potty parity”—... More »

Boy George to Sing for NYC Street Sweepers

Singer plans gig to thank community service co-workers

(Newser) - Boy George is planning a private gig as a thank-you to the people who helped him keep New York's streets clean during his week of court-ordered community service, the New York Daily News reports. The singer, who says city workers treated him very kindly during his 2006 punishment for wasting... More »

It's Time to Talk More About Toilets

In disasters like Burma, excrement 'a weapon of mass destruction'

(Newser) - Modern squeamishness about discussing human feces can cost lives, Rose George writes in the New York Times. The recent disastrous cyclone in Burma highlights how important waste-containment (read: latrines) is to staving off disease, but if wealthy nations won't deign to discuss No. 2, it's hard for them to organize... More »

Third of Iraqis Need Critical Aid

Government of violence-riddled nation can't provide basics

(Newser) - A third of Iraq's population—some 8 million people—are in critical need of emergency aid because they have no food, water or shelter, according to an OXFAM report detailed in the BBC. Trapped in a maelstrom of sectarian violence, the Iraqi government is unable to provide basic needs. Some... More »

Hospitals Make Progress Against Infections

Cheap measures help caregivers prevent thousands of deaths

(Newser) - Infections picked up in hospitals kill nearly 100,000 people in the US every year and are on the rise, but some institutions seem to have found a remedy: simple hygiene. The Times visits the VA hospital in Pittsburgh, which has slashed the rate of virulent bacterial infections by using... More »

20 Stories