Jim Robbins

Jim Robbins

Jim Robbins is a veteran journalist in Helena, Montana where he writes on science and environmental issues for the New York Times and other publications.

As water reuse expands, proponents battle the ‘yuck’ factor

By: - August 21, 2023

When Janet Cruz lost an April election for a Tampa City Council seat, she became a political casualty of an increasingly high-stakes debate over recycled water. During her time in the Florida Legislature, Cruz had supported a new law allowing the use of treated wastewater in local water systems. But many Tampa residents were staunchly […]

Depressed? Anxious? Air pollution may be a factor

By: - April 23, 2023

In the 1990s, residents of Mexico City noticed their dogs acting strangely — some didn’t recognize their owners, and the animals’ sleep patterns had changed. At the time, the sprawling, mountain-ringed city of more than 15 million people was known as the most polluted in the world, with a thick, constant haze of fossil fuel […]

A secret weapon in preventing the next pandemic, fruit bats

By: - February 13, 2023

More than four dozen Jamaican fruit bats destined for a lab in Bozeman, Montana, are set to become part of an experiment with an ambitious goal: predicting the next global pandemic. Bats worldwide are primary vectors for virus transmission from animals to humans. Those viruses often are harmless to bats but can be deadly to […]

Colorado’s efforts are not enough to solve its ozone problem

By: - July 18, 2022

A year after health officials issued a record number of alerts for high ozone levels on Colorado’s Front Range, federal and state officials are trying to rein in the gas that can make outdoor activities a health risk. But new Colorado laws aimed at improving air quality along that urban corridor east of the Rocky […]

Montana research indicates the ‘Moscow Mule’ may be a health hazard

By: - February 13, 2022

The popular cocktail known as the “Moscow mule” supposedly gets some of its flavor from the frosty copper mug it’s served in — the shiny metal oxidizes slightly and enhances the drink’s aroma and effervescence. Flavor, however, is not the only thing the copper cup imparts. A study published in the January/February issue of the […]

Montana mice may hold the secret to virus spillover

By: - February 12, 2022

For the past 20 years, Amy Kuenzi has spent three days of every month traveling to a ranch near Gregson, Montana, and setting out traps that contain peanut butter and oats. Her quarry is deer mice. She takes blood samples, looks for scars and fleas, and attaches ear tags. “Mice are fairly trap happy and […]

Western boom cities see a spike in ozone

By: - November 13, 2021

The reduction of harmful ground-level ozone across most of the U.S. during the past several decades has been an air pollution success story. But in some parts of the country, especially in the heavily populated mountain valleys of the West, the odorless, colorless gas has remained stubbornly difficult to reduce to safe levels. Meanwhile, a […]