Urban traffic noise causes song learning deficits in birds

Read the full story from Max-Planck-Gesellschaft.

Traffic noise leads to inaccuracies and delays in the development of song learning in young birds. They also suffer from a suppressed immune system, which is an indicator of chronic stress. A new study shows that young zebra finches, just like children, are particularly vulnerable to the effects of noise because of its potential to interfere with learning at a critical developmental stage.

Shoptalk (Washington State Department of Ecology)

Shoptalk is the Washington State Department of Ecology’s dangerous waste and pollution prevention newsletter. It’s published three times a year and includes information about training, best practices, rulemaking, and reporting deadlines.

The Spring 2021 issue features stories about:

  • paint recycling
  • switching to safer degreasers
  • case studies on switching a military base to safer receipt paper and assisting a metal finisher with making a change that saved them more that $300,000/year in electricity and maintenance costs.

IEA: Energy investment surge to nearly $5 trillion needed to reach net zero by 2050

Read the full story at ESG Today.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) announced the release today of a new report, Net Zero by 2050: a Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector. Developed at the request of the COP26 Presidency, the report outlines the pathway to achieve net zero emissions globally by 2050, in line with the international effort to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 °C.

Amid climate pressures, a call for a plan to move endangered species

Read the full story from e360.

The conservation community has fiercely debated whether to help species move as climate change and habitat loss threaten more extinctions. Now, scientists are calling on an upcoming international conference to set guidelines for this complex – and potentially risky – challenge.

Unilever to shift entire toothpaste line to recyclable tubes by 2025

Read the full story at ESG Today.

Global consumer brands company Unilever announced today plans to convert its entire toothpaste portfolio to recyclable tubes by 2025. The company’s oral care brands include Signal, Pepsodent and Closeup. According to Unilever, the new initiative will contribute to its commitment to make 100% of its plastic packaging designed to be reusable, recyclable or compostable, and to help collect and process more plastic packaging than it sells.

The Role of Natural Climate Solutions in Corporate Climate Commitments: A Brief for Investors

Download the document.

The Role of Natural Climate Solutions in Corporate Climate Commitments: A Brief for Investors is a first-of-its-kind engagement tool for investors to spur meaningful dialogue with companies on the role and use of natural climate solutions in delivering on those commitments. It provides clear guidance on how to facilitate engagements with portfolio companies and lays out expectations for climate disclosures—calling for transparency in critical steps along the way to net zero.

Antarctic ice sheet retreat could trigger chain reaction

Read the full story from the University of Exeter.

The Antarctic ice sheet was even more unstable in the past than previously thought, and at times possibly came close to collapse, new research suggests. The findings raise concerns that, in a warmer climate, exposing the land underneath the ice sheet as it retreats will increase rainfall on Antarctica, and this could trigger processes that accelerate further ice loss.

JPMorgan achieves carbon neutrality in operations, sets carbon reduction financing targets for high emitting sectors

Read the full story at ESG Today.

JPMorgan Chase announced that it has achieved carbon neutrality across its operations in 2020 and unveiled a new set of targets towards its goal to align its financing activities with the climate goals of the Paris Agreement.

Assessment of Methods to Collect and Analyze Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) in Air, Dust and Soil

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Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) comprise a class of over 4,000
human-made chemicals that are commonly used in consumer products and industrial
applications due to their water- and lipid-repellent characteristics. PFASs have been used for
decades in a wide array of products, including food packaging materials, nonstick cookware,
fire-fighting foams, waxes, furniture, stain-repellant fabrics, carpets and pesticides.

In the early 2000s, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS),
considered “long-chain” PFASs because of their eight carbon structure, were voluntarily phased
out by US manufactures due to environmental and human health concerns, leading to a decline
in their use. The continued use of substitute PFASs, however, and the highly persistent nature
and mobility of these compounds has resulted in ongoing environmental PFAS contamination
and human exposure throughout California. These compounds may be airborne, settle into dust
or soil, or be present in drinking water. Consequently, human exposure may occur through
inhalation, ingestion of contaminated drinking water, or non-dietary ingestion when present in
residential environments, the latter of which is typically seen among young children due to hand to-mouth behaviors. As in the general US population, there is widespread PFAS exposure in
California. We identified over a dozen studies reporting detectable levels of PFASs in serum
from California residents, including several large studies conducted by Biomonitoring California,
a collaborative program between the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), California
Environmental Protection Agency’s (Cal/EPA’s) Office of Environmental Health Hazard
Assessment (OEHHA) and Department of Toxic Substances Control.

Following a review of the available scientific literature, we found that there is ample
evidence to demonstrate that exposure to PFASs can lead to adverse health effects in humans.
In this White Paper, we summarized the epidemiological evidence for the health outcomes
identified by the US EPA, C8 Science Panel, ASTDR, and recent systematic reviews of the
literature. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the United States (US)
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have classified certain PFASs as possibly carcinogenic
to humans, and OEHHA has listed PFOS and PFOA as a Proposition 65 developmental

Despite the wide variety of chemicals that are classified as PFASs, only PFOA and PFOS
have been studied extensively for their toxicity and fate and transport in the environment. While
there has been extensive monitoring of drinking water for PFASs in California, the relative lack
of data on PFAS levels in air, soil, and dust makes linking PFAS sources to levels in
environmental media and human exposure pathways challenging.

Several California agencies have recently taken steps to better understand and prevent
PFAS exposures from environmental media, including new monitoring and notification water
standards set by the California Water Resources Control Board. The California Air Resources
Board (CARB) and other agencies that are concerned about emissions of these chemicals have
been hampered in their response due to the lack of a standardized methodology for measuring
PFASs in outdoor air.

PFAS leachate treatment breaking down the bond barrier

This two-part series at Waste360 takes a deep dive into why it is so difficult to remove PFAS chemicals from leachate. The two articles are: