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.

Chemicals banned decades ago linked to increased autism risk today

(Drexel University 23 August 2016) A group of man-made chemicals used in some pesticides and insulating materials banned in the 1970s continues to linger in the United States, and new research by a Drexel University professor and colleagues found that high levels of exposure to some of them during pregnancy may increase the likelihood of a child being diagnosed with autism by roughly 80 percent.

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Officials investigate toxic foam

Townsville Bulletin Rachel Riley 23 August 2016

THE Department of Environment and Heritage Protection has confirmed it is aware of ­reports that a pond near Townsville Airport may have been contaminated with toxic chemicals.

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Black lung: Queensland parliamentary review into disease resurgence approved

ABC News Gail Burke 19 August 2016

The Queensland Government will set up a parliamentary review into the re-emergence of black lung disease in the state.
The potentially life-threatening disease — also known as coal workers’ pneumoconiosis — was thought to have been eliminated in Australia until a case was confirmed in May 2015.

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Defence Department refusing to release results of possible contamination at RAAF Base Townsville

Townsville Bulletin RACHEL RILEY August 17, 2016

THE Defence Department is refusing to release the results of a draft report into whether toxic firefighting foam has contaminated groundwater at RAAF Base Townsville.
This is despite a preliminary water sampling investigation ending last month.
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Fears for kids using airport pond Townsville Bulletin RACHEL RILEY August 18, 2016 

A GARBUTT resident fears children have been exposed to chemicals after playing in a pond near the Townsville Airport that could have be contaminated by toxic firefighting foam run off.
The resident, who did not wish to be named, said the pond was near the boundary of the civilian airport near John Melton Black Drive and runs into Mundy Creek after heavy rain.
The man said he had contacted Townsville City Council and the Department of Environment in relation to his concerns and to request tests be conducted after seeing children swimming and people fishing in the pond.

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Microbeads are leaching toxic chemicals into fish, sparking public health fears

The Sydney Morning Herald Esther Han August 16 2016

Fish are eating plastic microbeads, which are capable of attracting and releasing toxic chemicals, scientists say.
Australian and Chinese researchers have shown for the first time that chemical pollutants accumulated on the surface of microbeads can pass into the fish that eat them.
With fish being a staple meat in the Australian diet, the researchers say products with the tiny plastics should be immediately removed from sale.

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Link to abstract in Environ. Sci. Technol:

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Erin Brockovich warns about potential cases of chemical contamination in Australian water supply Rebecca Sullivan August 17, 2016

ENVIRONMENTAL activist Erin Brockovich isn’t shocked easily.
The woman made famous by Julia Roberts’ Oscar-winning performance in the 2000 film about water contamination in Hinkley, California, deals with catastrophe everyday.
Since she famously won that $US333 million lawsuit in 1993 against energy corporation Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Brockovich, 56, has devoted her time and public profile to similar class action cases around the world.
(She’s the president of her own law firm, consults for another firm in New York and has worked with Australia’s Shine Lawyers since 2008).
There are hundreds of “Hinkleys” — towns where the groundwater is contaminated with dangerous levels of toxic chemicals — all over the globe, including more than 30 in Australia, Brockovich says.
She’s currently in Australia to lend her celebrity power to our own environmental disaster in Oakey, Queensland.
Oakey residents, like those in Williamtown, NSW, have been informed that toxic chemicals used in firefighting foam at a nearby defence force base have infected their local water supply.
The two chemicals used — PFOS and PFOA — are deadly.

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Neonic pesticide link to long-term wild bee decline [UK]

BBC News | Matt McGrath 17 August 2016

The large-scale, long-term decline in wild bees across England has been linked to the use of neonicotinoid insecticides by a new study.

Over 18 years, researchers analysed bees who forage heavily on oilseed rape, a crop widely treated with “neonics”.

The scientists attribute half of the total decline in wild bees to the use of these chemicals.

Industry sources say the study shows an association, not a cause and effect.

In recent years, several studies, conducted in the lab and in the field, have identified a negative effect on honey bees and bumble bees from the use of neonics.

But few researchers have looked at the long term impacts of these substances.

This new paper examined the impacts on populations of 62 species of wild bees across England over the period from 1994-2011.

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Read open access source article at Nature Communications: