WHO: Microplastics in water aren’t a significant human health risk

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Preliminary research by the World Health Organisation has found that microplastics in drinking water don’t pose a health risk to humans at current levels. (BBC).

By comparison, billions of people only have access to water affected by potentially lethal faecal and chemical contamination. Wastewater treatment processes that remove these contaminants will also eliminate 90 per cent of microplastics, which have a more severe impact on other animals. The WHO notes that further research into environmental microplastics pollution is urgently needed.

Google and Mozilla have blocked the Kazakhstan root Certificate Authority certificate from their browsers after the country’s government was caught using root CAs to intercept communications sent by its citizens to sites including Facebook, Google and Twitter (The Register). The Kazakh government recently implemented new internet surveillance measures as part of a purported scheme to improve national cybersecurity, before rapidly discontinuing them following legal complaints.

In 2016, the UK managed to eliminate measles for the first time in its history. Transmission of the disease had been disrupted and the vaccination rate in five-year-olds had reached the recommended 95 per cent coverage level required to ensure herd immunity (WIRED). Three years later, the UK’s measles-free status has been revoked. But the decline in vaccination rates isn’t entirely down to people deliberately avoiding vaccinating their children.

Dozens of celebrities, influencers and public figures on Instagram have fallen for an ancient and particularly blatant chain letter hoax, posting an image that purports to be a legally necessary rights statement to prevent the social image sharing platform from freely using one’s content (Mashable). So far, it’s been shared by public figures including Usher, Julia Roberts, Rob Lowe, Judd Apatow and US energy secretary Rick Perry.

The image is crudely cut-and-pasted together, with the word ‘Instagram’ slapped over what appears to be an old Facebook chain letter in panicky, extravagant language that improbably invokes US laws about defective goods and the International Criminal Court’s Rome Statute against war crimes.

Spotify has been streaming Eminem tracks that it doesn’t have rights to according to the rapper’s music publisher, Eight Mile Style (TechCrunch). The publisher is now suing Spotify, citing a particularly ludicrous example in which, rather than pay Eight Mile correctly for billions of streams of classic track “Lose Yourself”, Spotify put the song in its Copyright Control category for tracks with an unknown copyright owner and “remitted random payments of some sort, which only purport to account for a fraction of those streams.”

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