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).

Why the World’s Rivers Are Losing Sediment and Why It Matters

Read the full story at E360.

Vast amounts of river-borne sediment are trapped behind the world’s large dams, depriving areas downstream of material that is badly needed to build up the marshes and wetlands that act as a buffer against rising seas.

Scientists predict a Gulf of Mexico ‘dead zone’ the size of New Jersey this summer

Read the full story in the Washington Post.

An oxygen-poor “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico, which can prompt harmful algae blooms and threaten marine life, could approach the size of New Jersey this summer, federal scientists say — making it the third-largest the Gulf has seen. A new forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts that the annual dead zone will reach an area of nearly 8,200 square miles in July, more than 50 percent larger than its average size…

study published this year found that dead zones in the Gulf of Mexico can cause large shrimp to become scarce and smaller ones to become more abundant. As a result, the price of large shrimp climbs while the price of small ones drops, causing a disturbance in the market.

Precise Soil, Climate, and Weather Data Help Dairy Optimize Water Use

Read the full story in the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit.

For irrigated crops, knowing when and how much water to apply has long been a matter of experience and guesswork. In a changing climate, new technology can reduce this uncertainty, enabling farmers to make every drop of water count.

How Vermont tackled farm pollution and cleaned up its waters

Read the full story from FERN and Eating Well.

From Vermont’s Lake Champlain to rivers and oceans across the nation, waterways are being overloaded with pollution from farms. But Vermont took an approach that could be a model for states – especially now that the federal government is in regulatory retreat.

How to kill a Louisville stream? Build a city around it

Read the full story in the Louisville Courier-Journal (WARNING: Page has a video that autoplays).

Floyds Fork is at a defining moment as development pressure mounts. But it looks like the stream can’t take any more sewage plant effluent – in fact, substantial cuts appear needed to make it healthy.