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).

Polymer network captures drinking water contaminant

Read the full story in Chemical & Engineering News.

Long-chain perfluorinated chemicals contaminate millions of Americans’ drinking water. These compounds are a legacy of industrial pollution and the use of firefighting foam at military bases and airports; they persist in the environment because of their strong carbon-fluorine bonds. Now scientists have designed a cross-linked polymer that might more effectively remove one of the more prevalent and harmful of these compounds, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2017, DOI: 10.1021/jacs.7b02381).

The Florence Statement on Triclosan and Triclocarban

Read the full statement and supporting documentation in Environmental Health Perspectives.

The Florence Statement on Triclosan and Triclocarban documents a consensus of more than 200 scientists and medical professionals on the hazards of and lack of demonstrated benefit from common uses of triclosan and triclocarban. These chemicals may be used in thousands of personal care and consumer products as well as in building materials. Based on extensive peer-reviewed research, this statement concludes that triclosan and triclocarban are environmentally persistent endocrine disruptors that bioaccumulate in and are toxic to aquatic and other organisms. Evidence of other hazards to humans and ecosystems from triclosan and triclocarban is presented along with recommendations intended to prevent future harm from triclosan, triclocarban, and antimicrobial substances with similar properties and effects. Because antimicrobials can have unintended adverse health and environmental impacts, they should only be used when they provide an evidence-based health benefit. Greater transparency is needed in product formulations, and before an antimicrobial is incorporated into a product, the long-term health and ecological impacts should be evaluated.

Dangers of firefighting foam discussed in 2001, document shows

Read the full story in the Bucks County Courier Times. On-going coverage by the paper is available here.

More than a decade before drinking water supplies in Bucks and Montgomery counties were found to be contaminated by firefighting foams used at three military bases, the foam makers and the military were privately discussing and debating the dangers the foams presented.

That’s according to a series of documents reviewed by this news organization, including the authenticated March 2001 minutes of a meeting of foam manufacturers.

High levels of PFOA found in mid-Ohio River Valley residents from 1991 to 2013

Read the full post at Phys.org.

New research from the University of Cincinnati (UC) reveals that residents of the Mid-Ohio River Valley (from Evansville, Indiana, north to Huntington, West Virginia) had higher than normal levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) based on blood samples collected over a 22-year span. The exposure source was likely from drinking water contaminated by industrial discharges upriver.

The study, appearing in the latest publication of Environmental Pollution, looked at levels of PFOA and 10 other per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in 931 Mid-Ohio River Valley residents, testing blood serum samples collected between 1991 and 2013, to determine whether the Ohio River and Ohio River Aquifer were sources of exposure. This is the first study of PFOA serum concentrations in U.S. residents in the 1990s.

Exposure to BPA potentially induces permanent reprogramming of painted turtles’ brains

Read the full story in Science Daily.

BPA is a chemical that is used in a variety of consumer products, such as food storage containers and water bottles. In previous studies, researchers determined that BPA can disrupt sexual function and behavior in painted turtles. Now, the team has identified the genetic pathways that are altered as a result of BPA exposure during early development.