In booming Philadelphia neighborhoods, lead-poisoned soil is resurfacing

Read the full story in the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Breakneck construction has unearthed a toxic legacy, coating playgrounds and backyards with dangerous levels of lead dust.

Study: Measures of food waste are ‘overstated’ and potentially consequential

Read the full story at Food Dive.

  • new study published on behalf of the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association claims measures of food waste are “inconsistent” and may be overstated.
  • The authors of the study cite four different definitions of food waste — attributed to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations(FAO), U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), E.U. Fusions, and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — stating they are all “lacking in some way.” The authors simplify their definition of food waste as “the difference between the amount of food produced and the sum of all food employed in any kind of productive use, whether it is food or nonfood.”
  • The definition of food waste by the authors illustrates that food waste, under the parameters of other definitions, is overestimated — in part because measurements value food waste at retail price, rather than upstream prices.

 

Finland to create a database of black carbon and methane emissions in the Arctic

Read the full story at The Arctic.

One of Finland’s priorities during its two-year chairmanship of the Arctic Council is to create a database of the sources of black carbon and methane emissions in the Arctic, Finland’s consul general in St. Petersburg, Anne Lammila, told the TASS news agency.

State of the Great Lakes 2017

The Governments of Canada and the United States are pleased to release the State of the Great Lakes 2017 Highlights Report. Overall, the Great Lakes are assessed as Fair and Unchanging. While progress to restore and protect the Great Lakes has been made, including the reduction of toxic chemicals, challenges remain with issues such as invasive species and nutrients.

Pursuant to the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement, Canada and the United States, together with their many partners, established a suite of 9 indicators of ecosystem health, supported by 44 sub-indicators, to assess the state of the Great Lakes. State of the Great Lakes assessments support the identification of current and emerging challenges to Great Lakes water quality and ecosystem health, help Governments evaluate the effectiveness of programs and policies in place to address challenges, and help inform and engage others.

Over 180 government and non-government Great Lakes scientists and other experts worked to assemble available data to populate the suite of indicators and sub-indicators and prepare assessment reports.

The State of the Great Lakes 2017 Technical Report will be available soon.

Why chemists — not just economists — are key to a circular future

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

Although some advocates of the circular economy still interpret it as simply increasing recycling rates, it is clear to anyone with a chemical engineering background that the key to resource efficiency is to get best value from materials and products in use — the stock — and reduce their flow through the economy. The most important change is therefore to increase the service life of goods in use — what we chemical engineers term the “residence time.”

Sunlight surprise raises cadmium pollution risk

Read the full story in Chemical & Engineering News.

Even though cadmium is considered a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, it is still used to give some plastics and ceramics red, orange, or yellow hues. That’s because organic pigments are unstable at the high temperatures used to make these products, and pigments like cadmium red are thought to be relatively inert in the environment on account of their reportedly low solubility in water.

That belief has been turned on its head by a new study showing that in sunlight, a commercially available cadmium red pigment rapidly dissolves in water, releasing the toxic metal (Environ. Sci. Technol. 2017, DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.7b00654).