Hormones from livestock operations may skew fish gender toward males

Read the full story at Great Lakes Echo.

Baby fish exposed to hormone-laden manure from Indiana farms were much more likely to be male than those raised in uncontaminated water, according to new research.

The findings add to evidence that farm runoff may alter fish hormones and affect their reproduction and development.

Full research article: Jessica K. Leet, Linda S. Lee, Heather E. Gall, Reuben R. Goforth, Stephen Sassman, Denise A. Gordon, James M. Lazorchak, Mark E. Smith, Chad T. Javfert, and Maria S. Sepúlveda (2012). “Assessing Impacts of Land-Applied Manure from Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations on Fish Populations and Communities.” Environmental Science & Technology 46(24), 13440-13447. DOI: 10.1021/es302599t.

Abstract: Concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) manure is a cost-effective fertilizer. In the Midwest, networks of subsurface tile-drains expedite transport of animal hormones and nutrients from land-applied CAFO manure to adjacent waterways. The objective of this study was to evaluate impacts of land-applied CAFO manure on fish populations and communities. Water chemistry including hormone, pesticide, and nutrient concentrations was characterized from study sites along with fish assemblage structure, growth, and endocrine disruption assessed in selected fish species. Although most CAFO water samples had hormone concentrations <1 ng/L, equivalent concentrations for 17β-E2 and 17α-TB peaked at >30 ng/L each during the period of spawning, hatching, and development for resident fishes. CAFO sites had lower fish species richness, and fishes exhibited faster somatic growth and lower reproductive condition compared to individuals from the reference site. Fathead minnows (Pimephales promelas) exposed to CAFO ditchwater during early developmental stages exhibited significantly skewed sex ratios toward males. Maximum observed hormone concentrations were well above the lowest observable effect concentrations for these hormones; however, complexities at the field scale make it difficult to directly relate hormone concentration and impacts on fish. Complicating factors include the consistent presence of pesticides and nutrients, and the difference in temperature and stream architecture of the CAFO-impacted ditches compared to the reference site (e.g., channelization, bottom substrate, shallow pools, and riparian cover).

Home Builders Lobby Weakens Drywall Legislation

Read the full story at ProPublica.

A bill heralded by lawmakers as a victory for thousands of homeowners harmed by contaminated drywall was weakened after input from the homebuilding industry.

ProPublica and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune began examining in May 2010 what was—or wasn’t—being done to help people whose homes had been built with contaminated drywall. The problematic drywall, much of it imported from China, emitted foul odors and frequently caused mysterious failures of new appliances and electronics. Worse yet, some residents complained of serious respirat

EPEAT standard for printers, copiers to launch in January

EPEAT environmental ratings will be available to purchasers starting in January. Participants in the STARS rating system will recognize the EPEAT name from STARS OP Credit 10 for more sustainable computer purchasing – the new standard covers printers, copiers, fax machines, multifunction devices, digital duplicators, and mailing machines.

P2 Pathways Article: “Why pollution prevention is free”

As a kick-off article for January 2013, Robert B. Pojasek, Ph.D., sustainability practice leader at Capaccio Environmental Engineering and an internationally recognized expert on the topic of business sustainability and process improvement, shares why a company has to be careful of what it measures.

Read article the article at http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2013/01/08/why-pollution-prevention-free.

The P2 Pathways landing page is located at http://www.greenbiz.com/business/engage/enterprise-blogs/p2-pathways.

How to tackle climate change with proven persuasion techniques

Read the full post at GreenBiz.

Materializing this potential requires convincing the majority of these employees and citizens to change multiple aspects of their daily lives. The standard approach to achieve this is usually to 1) appeal to our sense of altruism by showing that conserving resources and reducing carbon emissions contributes to the greater good; and 2) provide passive information on how to implement the required changes.

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with this approach: Long-lasting behavioral changes should be based on sound values and informed decisions. It can however take years or even generations to implement these changes. In this article, we explore three complementary time-proven persuasion mechanisms that can lead to faster results: routine, reward and social proof.

How to create a net-zero office

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

For homebuilders, the latest iteration of the green building movement are net-zero homes. These structures generate as much energy as they consume and have very small carbon footprints. Improvements in technology have now made net-zero homes a viable option for many homeowners.

But the success of net zero homes begs the question: Can you create a net-zero office?

The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Of course, many offices do present more challenges than a typical home, but there are clearly ways to improve their sustainability even if net-zero status cannot be fully achieved.