Category Archives: Environmental toxicology

Subjects of interest to Investigative Chemistry or Inorganics.
Includes any environmental context (except AIR, see AIR POLLUTION AND ANALYSIS) example: soil, water, clinical matrices, heavy metals, mining wastes, oil spills, contamination, pesticides.

Orica fined more than $750,000

Sydney Morning Herald 28 July 2014

Chemical giant Orica has been hit with more than $750,000 in penalties for a series of pollution incidents, including the 2011 leakage of toxic hexavalent chromium near Newcastle.

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) said the total sum handed down by the Land and Environment Court on Monday was the “highest penalty” that has been handed down for a matter that it prosecuted.

“The EPA is pleased with this outcome today; it does represent a significant penalty for Orica for a series of events that really did concern the local communities, particularly in Newcastle but also for Botany,” EPA chief environmental regulator Mark Gifford told reporters after the decision was handed down.

The EPA launched legal action against Orica following seven pollution incidents between October 2010 and December 2011.

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Greg Hunt gives nod to $16.5bn mega mine

The Australian Andrew Fraser 29 July 2014 page 6

THE federal government has given environmental approval for what will be the largest coalmine in the country, with coal due to be exported to India in three years’ time.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt yesterday announced 36 conditions on Indian company Adani’s proposed $16.5 billion Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin in central Queensland, including a requirement that the company must return some of the water used in mine production to the ground.

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Defence Force investigates chemicals in bore water near Darling Downs air base

ABC News Fidelis Rego 27 July 2014

The Australian Defence Force has told landholders near its Darling Downs air base in Queensland not to drink bore water as it tests what impact firefighting chemicals have had on local aquifers.  The ADF has confirmed that firefighting foams used at the Oakey air base between 1970 and 2005 contained chemicals known as PFOS and PFOA, which were also found in common industrial and household cleaning products.

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Great Barrier Reef contaminated by toxic coal dust, inquiry told

The Guardian AAP 23 July 2014

Coal dust has spread throughout the Great Barrier Reef and exceeds toxic levels near the shore, a Senate inquiry has heard.
Senators are touring Queensland this week to examine how the Australian and Queensland governments manage the reef, as Unesco threatens to list it as a World Heritage site in danger.
Professor Terry Hughes, of James Cook University, says a “damning” new report from the university shows coastal sediments offshore of the Hay Point coal port are contaminated with coal residues that exceed Australian guidelines.

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Royal Society of Chemistry’s flagship journal goes Gold open access

(Royal Society of Chemistry 15 July 2014) The Royal Society of Chemistry’s flagship journal, Chemical Science, is going Gold open access from 2015 — making it the world’s first high-quality open access chemistry journal.

The Royal Society of Chemistry’s flagship journal, Chemical Science, is going Gold open access from 2015 – making it the world’s first high-quality open access chemistry journal.  From January 2015 onwards, all new content in Chemical Science will be free for anyone to access.

To ease the transition to open access, the Royal Society of Chemistry is waiving all Article Processing Charges (APCs) for two years.

Read EurekAlert Summary

View RSC Chemical Science webpage

Dispersant from Deepwater Horizon spill found to persist in the environment

(Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution 16 July 2014) A new study has found that the dispersant compound DOSS, which decreases the size of oil droplets and hampers the formation of large oil slicks, remains associated with oil and can persist in the environment for up to four years.

Read EurekAlert Summary

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Dredging does impact coral reefs, world-first scientific study finds Brian Williams July 17, 2014

IN A world-first study, Queensland scientists have shown that dredging impacts are damaging to places like the Great Barrier Reef.
It shows that corals near dredging sites have twice as much disease as other sites.

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AFP news report

Link to PLOS ONE journal article

More children at risk from lead dust

The Australian Sarah Martin July 17, 2014

MORE than half of all children living in the industrial centres of Mount Isa, Port Pirie and Broken Hill will be considered at risk under new national guidelines for lead in blood levels.
After a three-year review, the National Health and Medical Research Council yesterday released a draft report recommending the intervention level for blood-lead levels be halved from 10 micrograms per decilitre of blood to 5mcg/dL.

NHMRC Media Release

Link to NHMRC Draft Report

Health industry strives for national approach to growing e-cigarette phenomenon

ABC News Hamish Fitzsimmons 17 July 2014

Health industry workers and academics are working on a national approach to the growing phenomenon of e-cigarettes, with some concerned they are not as harmless as widely believed.
E-cigarettes are vaporisers through which liquid nicotine can be ingested and are sometimes promoted as less harmful than smoking.

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Toxic cigarette butts may get the flick

Brisbane Times July 16, 2004  Kim Stephens

Australia could be set to follow in New York’s footsteps by introducing eco-friendly, biodegradable cigarette filters.

The current plastic, chemical filters are Australia’s biggest litter scourge, with an estimated seven billion dumped each year, according to litter prevention body Keep Queensland Beautiful.  Continue reading…