Science Media Centre

Science Media Centre
Expert Reactions:

A round-up of comment from experts on breaking stories and ongoing issues in science and technology.

Syrian chemical attack – Expert reaction

A suspected gas attack in Syria early yesterday morning killed at least 70 people and injured close to 500. It is unclear which chemical was used in the attack or whether it is the same chemical, Sarin, that was used in the last major gas attack in Syria in 2013. The Australian Science Media Centre […]

April 6th, 2017 Read full Story

Myrtle rust discovered on Raoul Island – Expert Reaction

DOC staff on the Kermadecs’ Raoul Island have confirmed the discovery of the fungal plant disease myrtle rust on pōhutukawa trees. If it entered mainland New Zealand, the fungus could affect iconic species such as pōhutukawa, kānuka, mānuka and rātā. In a statement, MPI’s Director Readiness and Response, Geoff Gwyn, said myrtle rust spores can carry long […]

April 4th, 2017 Read full Story

Low-freq electromagnetic fields and ALS – Expert reaction

A team from the Netherlands claim to have discovered a link between workplace exposure to extremely low-frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-MFs) and a doubling of the risk of developing the most common form of motor neurone disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease. These extremely low-frequency fields can commonly be found in radio navigation, […]

March 30th, 2017 Read full Story

Nicotine e-cigarettes legalised – Expert Reaction

Associate Health Minister Nicky Wagner has announced the sale of nicotine e-cigarettes and e-liquid will be legalised. Controls will include restricting sales to over 18-year-olds and prohibiting vaping in indoor workplaces and other areas where smoking is banned under the Smoke-free Environments Act. The Science Media Centre gathered expert reaction on the announcement. Feel free […]

March 29th, 2017 Read full Story

Rethink of hazards after Kaikoura earthquake – Expert reaction

Last November’s Kaikoura earthquake will likely change the way scientists think about earthquake hazards in plate boundary zones, according to the first study to come out of the data collected during and immediately after the earthquake. The study, led by GNS Science researchers, will be published on Friday in Science. A range of data – […]

March 24th, 2017 Read full Story

OECD rates NZ’s environmental performance – Expert Reaction

The OECD’s latest report on New Zealand’s environmental performance warns that the country’s growth is starting to show environmental limits, including increased greenhouse gas emissions, freshwater contamination and threats to biodiversity. The third OECD Environmental Performance Review of New Zealand made 50 recommendations and noted the country has the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions […]

March 21st, 2017 Read full Story

European Chemicals Agency doesn’t classify glyphosate as a carcinogen – Expert Reaction

The European Chemicals Agency Committee for Risk Assessment (RAC) has concluded that the available scientific evidence did not meet the criteria to classify glyphosate as a carcinogen, as a mutagen or as toxic for reproduction. The committee has maintained its current classification of glyphosate as a substance causing serious eye damage and being toxic to […]

March 16th, 2017 Read full Story

WHO lists priority pathogens – Expert Reaction

This week the World Health Organization (WHO) released a priority list for pathogens for which new drugs are urgently needed to combat. The list includes 12 families of bacteria divided into three categories: critical, high and medium priority. Among the critical group includes Pseudomonas aeruginosa,  which causes skin infections in humans – some strains have been […]

March 2nd, 2017 Read full Story

Faster medicinal cannabis access in Australia – Expert Reaction

The Australian Federal Government has made changes to speed up access to medicinal marijuana, which patients will be required to request through their GP. Health Minister Greg Hunt announced the change today, which he said would facilitate faster access to medicinal cannabis for patients with the necessary approvals. Imports by approved providers will be authorised for […]

February 22nd, 2017 Read full Story

Highly flammable vegetation helps fuel Port Hills fire – Expert Reaction

Firefighters have been battling fires on Christchurch’s Port Hills since Monday evening. Hundreds of hectares of scrub and vegetation have been burnt and nearby residents have been evacuated. The Science Media Centre asked experts about the conditions fuelling the fire. Feel free to use the comments below in your reports. Professor George Perry, Professor of […]

February 15th, 2017 Read full Story


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