Day: May 13, 2020

Microplastics discovered blowing ashore in sea breezes

Read the full story in The Guardian.

Hundreds of thousands of tonnes of mismanaged waste could be blowing ashore on the ocean breeze every year, according to scientists who have discovered microplastics in sea spray.

The study, by researchers at the University of Strathclyde and the Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées at the University of Toulouse, found tiny plastic fragments in sea spray, suggesting they are being ejected by the sea in bubbles. The findings, published in the journal Plos One, cast doubt on the assumption that once in the ocean, plastic stays put, as well as on the widespread belief in the restorative power of sea breeze.

Sustainable Restaurant Holdings files bankruptcy, seeks sale

Read the full story at Nation’s Restaurant News.

The parent of Bamboo Sushi and QuickFish said the company could not survive the coronavirus-related shutdown.

Founded in 2008 in Portland, Ore., as a company dedicated to sustainably sourced seafood and environmentally designed restaurants, Sustainable Restaurant Holdings, or SRH, said the strain from the coronavirus-related shutdown forced company officials to reassess whether they could survive post-COVID-19.

Webinar: Submicron non-contact IR spectroscopy and simultaneous Raman in life sciences, microplastics, polymers, contaminant ID and more

May 20, 2020, 10 am CDT
Register here.

This webinar will introduce the new breakthrough technique, Optical Photothermal IR (O-PTIR) Spectroscopy, describe how it solves major limitations with IR Spectroscopy and how it can be coupled with Raman spectroscopy. O-PTIR spectroscopy is an optical IR spectroscopy technique which provides:

  • submicron resolution
  • high quality absorption spectra in non-contact reflection mode without scatter/dispersion artifacts
  • water compatible IR measurements

O-PTIR and IR+Raman applications will be discussed in a broad range of fields such as life sciences, particulates/microplastics, polymers and failure/defect analysis.

Since O-PTIR uses a visible probe to detect IR absorption, it offers the breakthrough ability to obtain simultaneous Raman spectroscopy from the same sample spot, at the same time and with the same spatial resolution. This can provide complementary and confirmatory analysis in a variety of applications. Learn how now, for the first-time live cells can be measured in water, with submicron IR spatial resolution, with IR+Raman spectral information, allowing for cellular metabolism and drug uptake studies for example.

Professor Ji-Xin Cheng of Boston University is the co-inventor of O-PTIR. He is one of the world’s leading vibrational spectroscopy researchers, having previously co-invented CARS, while doing his post-doctoral work with Prof Sunny Xie of Harvard. Prof Cheng has recently received several prestigious awards for his research including the Lippincott Award and the Pittcon Spectroscopy Award.

‘Smarter packaging’ to tackle food waste ‘better for climate’ than eliminating plastics: Study

Read the full story in Food Navigator.

A new study suggests that ‘smarter packaging’ and smaller pack sizes could be better for climate change than going plastic-free because they help consumers reduce food waste.

A Strategic Approach to Efficient and Reliable Compressed Air Systems

Read the full story at Compressed Air Best Practices.

There is much emphasis placed on compressed air systems because of their inherent inefficiency. There are many ideas and suggestions available that can be used to improve efficiencies, but usually only on a singular basis. But much can be done with the supply side of a compressed air system with the mindset of strategically moving forward with sustainable improvements.

PFAS Found In Sediment and Surface Water At Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has received results from surface water and sediment sampling performed in November 2019 to determine if per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly called PFAS, are present in areas that are targeted for potential cleanup-related dredging across the US EPA-designated Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern (AOC).

Results indicate the presence of PFAS compounds in sediment and all surface water samples taken in the Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern. PFBA (Perfluorobutanoate) was found in 100% of the surface water samples. PFBA is considered less toxic than the more widely studied compounds PFOA (Perfluorooctanoate) and PFOS (Perfluorooctane sulfonate).

Thirteen locations in the Milwaukee, Menomonee, Kinnickinnic Rivers and inner and outer harbors, as well as one location in Lake Michigan, were sampled for 35 PFAS compounds. This watershed is the most urban watershed in the state of Wisconsin with approximately 90% of the area considered urban.

The highest concentrations of PFAS were found in the samples taken furthest upstream from Lake Michigan. Among the 14 locations sampled, PFAS concentrations in sediment and surface water are highest in the Kinnickinnic River with PFHxS (Perfluorohexanesulfonate) at 44.4 parts per trillion (ppt) in surface water and PFOS at 9.1 parts per billion (ppb) in sediment.

In contrast to the Kinnickinnic River, results from sampling location 14, the location closest to the drinking water source intake for the Linnwood and Howard Avenue Water Treatment Plants, show concentrations of PFOA and PFOS at less than detection limits of 1 part per trillion (ppt) each.

Sample locations and the analytical report for the results can be found on the DNR’s website.

By comparison, the Milwaukee Estuary PFAS surface water results are generally lower than those PFAS concentrations recently found in Starkweather Creek in Madison, and higher than the recently sampled Wisconsin, Mississippi and Menomonee Rivers.

The results will inform the future management of river sediment dredged during the clean-up of the AOC. Much of the river sediment in the AOC is contaminated with “legacy contaminants,” including PCBs and PAHs, that were generated over many decades. These legacy contaminants still pose threats to environmental health – and the removal, remediation, and subsequent management of this contaminated river sediment is the focus of the AOC clean-up effort.

PFAS are a group of human-made chemicals used for decades in numerous products, including non-stick cookware, fast food wrappers, stain-resistant sprays and certain types of firefighting foam. These contaminants have made their way into the environment through spills of PFAS-containing materials and discharges of PFAS-containing wastewater to treatment plants and through use of certain types of firefighting foams. PFAS can persist in the environment and the human body for long periods of time. Recent scientific findings indicate that exposure to certain PFAS may have harmful health effects in people.

Eating fish containing elevated levels of PFAS is a potential human health concern. The Department is currently awaiting PFAS results from fish that were collected from the Milwaukee River and additional fish will be collected from the AOC in 2020. DNR’s current fish consumption guidance restricts consumption in the Milwaukee Estuary based on PCBs. People should continue to follow these advisories as we learn more. Once these fish testing results are available, the Department will work with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services to evaluate whether the advisory needs to be updated.

To keep people safe and healthy during recreational activities, DHS recommends people avoid drinking or swallowing water and to shower after swimming, wading, or playing in the water, to prevent accidental ingestion. DHS also recommends pets to be thoroughly rinsed off after contact with water. For more PFAS health-related information, please visit the DHS website.

Please visit the DNR website for more information on PFAS.

In the Era of COVID-19, Fieldwork Is Scrappy and Socially Distant

Read the full story at Atlas Obscura.

By day, they would wade into the cold water to study threespine stickleback—metallic little fish that measure approximately two inches long and weigh a little more than a penny—and investigate ecology, evolution, and immunology, focusing on, among other things, the comparatively enormous parasites that hunker down inside the fish. (Picture a translucent gummy worm about half the mass of the unfortunate stickleback itself. Or wince at the thought of a 150-pound human wandering around with a 75-pound worm wriggling inside them.)

At night, the whole team would crash in a cozy cabin, with people sleeping wherever they could find room—on the couch, on the porch, in hammocks in the nearby woods. “In a normal year, it’s fun and entertaining, and people get along well, so it works,” Bolnick says. “But cramming 10 people into a 600-square-foot cabin would not be a good idea right now, to say the least.”

In May 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic, nothing is normal—including seasonal fieldwork. Bolnick and his team, like many researchers around the world, are scrambling to figure out how to make it happen in the era of social distancing.

Green bonds are growing bigger and broader

Read the full story in GreenBiz.

As the green-bond market matures, it is developing offshoots. In the last five years, we have seen shifts in the types of projects financed, as well as the emergence of innovative types of bonds and loans linked to environmental, social and governance (ESG) targets. Together, these initiatives may broaden the market, offering more opportunities to investors in search of green investment options and helping fund the transition to a more sustainable economy.

Campbell Soup unveils sustainable packaging goals

Read the full story in Food Business News.

Campbell Soup Co. has unveiled four new goals to reduce packaging waste in order to keep materials “in use and out of landfills,” the company said.

Preprints, Science, and the News Cycle

Read the full story from JSTOR Daily.

Preprints are academic papers that haven’t been peer-reviewed yet. When preprints make news, that’s often overlooked.

%d bloggers like this: