Category Archives: Heavy metals / trace elements

Environment and biological, Trace metals and heavy metals, trace elements in environmental samples, trace metals in biological materials.
Queensland focus.

Upside-down jellyfish new tool in mopping up industrial pollution

ABC News David Chen 27 April 2016

Jellyfish could play a major role in cleaning up industrial pollution, thanks to the work of researchers in north Queensland.
Scientists from James Cook University tested the ability of the Cassiopea maremetens, also known as the the upside-down jellyfish, to absorb metals including copper and zinc.
Lead author Hannah Epstein said they found the jellyfish could be used to suck in the metals for a short period of time.

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What we know and suspect about the causes of Parkinson’s disease

The Conversation April 14, 2016

Parkinson’s disease is the second-most-prevalent neurodegenerative condition in Australia, with an estimated 70,000 Australians living with the disease. Because of its complex and debilitating nature, Parkinson’s is a great burden on its sufferers and a great cost to society.
Key motor symptoms include tremors, rigidity and stiffness, slowness or loss of spontaneous movement, and poor balance and co-ordination. Non-motor symptoms can be equally debilitating and include dementia, constipation, pain, sleep disturbance, dizziness when you stand up, and sexual dysfunction. Not all people with Parkinson’s will experience all of these symptoms; there is considerable variability in the severity of symptoms among patients, breadth of symptoms, speed of decline, and responsiveness to therapy.
Currently, there is no cure or drug to slow the underlying disease progression. However, there are now multiple surgical therapies and medicines that can be very effective in managing the motor symptoms of the disease.
There are some known causes of Parkinson’s disease, but these are the exception. The underlying causes of sporadic Parkinson’s are unknown and likely influenced by a number of risk factors – molecular, genetic, behavioural and environmental.

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Low-level arsenic may impact fetal growth, Dartmouth-led study finds

(Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth 8 March 2016) Fetal growth may be impacted by low levels of arsenic that pregnant women consume in drinking water and food, a Dartmouth College study finds.  The study, which appears in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, is one of the first to report that arsenic exposure during pregnancy at levels common in the United States is related to birth outcomes.

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Human toll of pollution: WHO says 12.6m die from unhealthy environments each year

Brisbane Times Ariana Eunjung Cha March 17 2016

The World Health Organisation has put a number on the people estimated to have died as a result of living or working in an unhealthy environment and it’s big -12.6 million.
That number represents one in four of all deaths globally and underscores the devastating impact of the chemicals and waste we’ve been putting into the air, water and earth since the end of World War II.

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The human toll of Flint’s water crisis

ABC News Stephanie March 14 March 2015

For 18 months, residents in the city of Flint, Michigan, had filthy water flowing through their taps. They knew something was wrong but officials denied there was a problem.

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Queensland Nickel: Government orders new refinery owners to ensure continued environmental protection

ABC News 12 March 2016

Environment Minister Steven Miles said action was taken after the Palmer-owned company, Queensland Nickel Sales (QNS), failed to demonstrate to the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP), that it had adequate resources – including staff – to operate the facility in a way that complied with its environmental authority.

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Lead exposure changes gut microbiota, increases chance for obesity

EurekAlert 10-Mar-2016

Exposure to lead during early development can alter the the gut microbiota, increasing the chances for obesity in adulthood, researchers from the University of Michigan School of Public Health have found.
Adult male mice exposed to lead during gestation and lactation were 11 percent larger than those not exposed, due to differences in their gut microbiota, which is the ecological community of microorganisms within the body.
“Early life exposure to lead causes a long lasting impact on gut microbiome, and the change of gut microbiome may partially contribute to the increased body weight in adult life,” said lead author Chuanwu Xi, associate professor of environmental health science.

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