Water

Sunscreens as a Source of Hydrogen Peroxide Production in Coastal Waters

David Sánchez-Quiles and Antonio Tovar-Sánchez (2014). “Sunscreens as a Source of Hydrogen Peroxide Production in Coastal Waters.” Environmental Science & Technology 48(16), 9037-9042. DOI: 10.1021/es5020696

Abstract: Sunscreens have been shown to give the most effective protection for human skin from ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Chemicals from sunscreens (i.e., UV filters) accumulate in the sea and have toxic effects on marine organisms. In this report, we demonstrate that photoexcitation of inorganic UV filters (i.e., TiO2 and ZnO nanoparticles) under solar radiation produces significant amounts of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), a strong oxidizing agent that generates high levels of stress on marine phytoplankton. Our results indicate that the inorganic oxide nanoparticle content in 1 g of commercial sunscreen produces rates of H2O2 in seawater of up to 463 nM/h, directly affecting the growth of phytoplankton. Conservative estimates for a Mediterranean beach reveal that tourism activities during a summer day may release on the order of 4 kg of TiO2 nanoparticles to the water and produce an increment in the concentration of H2O2 of 270 nM/day. Our results, together with the data provided by tourism records in the Mediterranean, point to TiO2 nanoparticles as the major oxidizing agent entering coastal waters, with direct ecological consequences on the ecosystem.

Finding the Money for Water Infrastructure

Read the full story in Governing.

Enhancing the nation’s water infrastructure remains a challenge for public officials as they balance the need for improvements against constrained budgets. The recently enacted federal Water Resources Reform and Development Act has the potential to advance the nation’s water infrastructure by streamlining approvals for environmental reviews of projects, creating a pilot program to explore the use of public-private partnerships by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and making it easier to leverage private-sector investments to augment public funding.

As officials contemplate how they will finance water infrastructure improvements, one provision in the law, the newly created Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loan program, is of particular interest.

10 Marine Debris Prevention Partnerships Launched

Read the full post at the Marine Debris Blog.

For the past year, our education and outreach partners across the country have inspired thousands of people of all ages to be better ocean stewards. They have carried the message that prevention is key to solving the marine debris problem, through projects such as museum exhibits, curriculum development, outreach to teens, teacher workshops, dockside education, hands-on cleanups and science for children.

This year, 10 additional groups across the country received funding through the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s Prevention through Education and Outreach opportunity to partner with us on new initiatives. The MDP has provided $500,000 to launch partnership projects ranging from education for fishers to social marketing and awareness campaigns.

Water Utilities Are Starting to Take Their Own Conservation Advice

Read the full story in Governing.

Wastewater treatment plants are often the biggest consumers of electricity in their areas. Gresham, Ore., and Washington, D.C., are making moves to change that.

Ohio farmers point to algae law loophole

Read the full story in Great Lakes Echo.

Ohio farmers caught in the headlights of the recent Toledo water crisis are defending their voluntary efforts to reduce phosphorus run-off to Lake Erie. That runoff is the primary source of toxic algae blooms. But Ohio farm groups and environmentalists say a new state law that will certify fertilizer use doesn’t go far – or fast – enough.