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.

Air pollution ‘link to stroke risk’

BBC News 25 March 2015

Air pollution is linked to an increased risk of stroke, a large global study in the British Medical Journal suggests.
Scientists say even short-term spikes in pollution were mirrored by a rise in strokes – particularly in low and middle-income countries.
The work builds on earlier studies linking pollution to cardiovascular risk.
UK experts say although pollution is lower in the developed world, it may still pose a significant risk.

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Link to BMJ article

Dumping dredge spoil on land may still threaten Great Barrier Reef, independent report says

ABC News Allyson Horn and Isobel Roe 25 March 2015

An independent report into the effects of dredging has warned on-land disposal of spoil could still threaten the Great Barrier Reef.
The report, commissioned by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, compiled all current knowledge about dredging and was written by a panel of 19 scientists and experts.
It said previous assumptions about the effect of “dredge plumes” on the Great Barrier Reef might have been underestimated.
The report found acids and salts could leech back into waters if not monitored correctly and that sediment could change the biological values of the World Heritage Area.

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Link to Synthesis…report


Toxic canister lands on Queensland beach

Brisbane Times Grant Young March 25, 2015

Another toxic canister has washed up on a Queensland beach, the latest in a string of finds that date back over two years.
The discovery of the canister was flagged by a concerned member of the public who discovered the metal container in mangroves on Taylor’s Beach in the Hinchinbrook Shire earlier this month.
The finder advised that the canister contained traces of white powder believed to be Aluminium Phosphide – a chemical that produces deadly Phosphine Gas when exposed to air and moisture.

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9/11 firefighters hit by autoimmune diseases

New Scientist No 3014 25 March 2015

Nearly 16,000 firefighters and other emergency crew worked on the site over a period of 10 months after the attack. As well as higher rates of cancer and respiratory problems, it now seems these people are more likely to suffer from autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

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Many plastics labeled ‘biodegradable’ don’t break down as expected

(American Chemical Society 18 March 2015) Plastic products advertised as biodegradable have recently emerged, but they sound almost too good to be true. Scientists have now found out that, at least for now, consumers have good reason to doubt these claims. In a new study appearing in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology, plastics designed to degrade didn’t break down any faster than their more conventional counterparts.

Read EurekAlert Summary

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Finding out what’s in ‘fracking’ wastewater

(American Chemical Society 18 March 2015) In early January, almost 3 million gallons of wastewater from a hydraulic fracturing operation in North Dakota spilled into nearby creeks. The accident highlighted ongoing concerns about what’s in fracking fluids and wastewater, and whether they pose a threat to human health or the environment. An article in Chemical & Engineering News, the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society, details what scientists are doing to answer these questions.

Read EurekAlert Summary

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Women still find it tough to reach the top in science

The Conversation Sharon Bell 24 March 2015

Women are playing an increasing role in science today but there are still barriers that can prevent them from achieving success comparable to their male colleagues. This feeds the argument that there is a gender pay gap in earnings in science, although that doesn’t tell the full story of the challenges facing women scientists.

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