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    POSTnote

    Diffuse Pollution of Water by Agriculture

    Water pollution regulation is devolved in the UK. Surface, coastal and ground waters in England suffer from significant pollution problems: 78% of surface and groundwater bodies fail to meet the ‘good’ ecological status prescribed by the EU Water Frameworks Directive. Pollution increases water treatment costs and adversely affects wildlife. Compared to treatment, preventing water pollution at source can have a cost-benefit ratio as high as 1:65. This POSTnote describes the contribution of agriculture to water pollution, and measures that can be taken to reduce it.

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    Biofortification of foods, November 2010

    This POSTnote describes developments in biofortification, examines its potential impact, and the implications for policy makers in the UK and abroad.

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    Ambient Air Quality

    National and European regulations have improved UK ambient air quality. However, current air pollution levels continue to harm human health and the environment. This POSTnote summarises the evidence for effects of air pollutants and policies to address them

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    Livestock emissions

    This POSTnote examines current policy and prospects for further reductions in emissions.

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    Antibiotic Resistance in the Environment

    Disease causing bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotic drug treatment. Diseases once controlled by antibiotics are re-emerging as serious risks to human health. This POSTnote outlines the hazards posed by resistant bacteria, the sources of resistance in the environment and measures that may reduce these risks globally.

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    Nutritional standards in UK schools, July 2009

    In 2006, 617 million school meals were served in England alone. The situation regarding school meals differs in the constituent countries of the UK. In England, new legislation on minimum nutritional standards in schools began in 2008 in primary schools and will come into force in secondary schools by September 2009. It consists of food- and nutrient-based standards for school food. The devolved administrations have already implemented similar legislation and face similar issues in improving school food. This note outlines children's nutritional requirements, the take-up of school meals in the UK, the capacity to enforce the standards and the impact of children's diet on behaviour and learning.

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    Diet and cancer, April 2009

    This POSTnote looks at the latest scientific research, advice and recommendations for a diet to lower cancer risk and the consequences for health policy.

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    Livestock Vaccines

    This POSTnote examines the use of vaccines and outlines the pros and cons of using vaccination in livestock.

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    Plant-made Pharmaceuticals

    The use of genetically modified (GM) plants to produce pharmaceutical drugs and vaccines is an emerging technology that offers a low-cost, large-scale alternative to current methods. This POSTnote looks at recent advances in, and the benefits of, the technology, and analyses the associated biosafety and regulatory issues.

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    Water Resource Resilience

    The availability of water resources is fundamental for society and economic activities. This POSTnote describes the reasons for uncertainties in water resource availability for future supply and demand and possible responses to managing these risks in the medium term.

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    Eating disorders, July 2007

    This POSTnote reviews the prevalence, possible causes and treatment of eating disorders, and highlights issues relevant to government policy in this area. Eating disorders, July 2007. POSTnote 07/287.

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    Better brains, June 2007

    This POSTnote reviews existing methods of cognitive enhancement along with likely future developments, and considers the regulatory and ethical questions that they pose. Better brains, June 2007. POSTnote 07/285.

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    Natural Flood Management

    Natural flood management, defined here as the alteration, restoration or use of landscape features, is being promoted as a novel way of reducing flood risk. This POSTnote reviews the policy drivers of this approach, as well as the scientific basis, and implementation, of inland natural flood management strategies.

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    Livestock disease

    This POSTnote examines disease threats to UK livestock, outlines prevention and control measures, and looks at factors likely to contribute to future disease.

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    Water in production and products

    This POSTnote examines how virtual water use is calculated and its application within the global economy.

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    Anaerobic digestion

    This POSTnote examines the potential for anaerobic digestion in the UK and the main challenges connected with its development.

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    Biochar, July 2010

    This POSTnote examines the current state of research into the production of biochar, the feasibility of using it to combat climate change, and any unintended consequences that may result.

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    Genetically Modified Insects, June 2010

    This POST note discusses how insects are essential to global ecology and show remarkably varied adaptations to their environment. Their genetic modification has been proposed as a new way of controlling insect pests.