SETAC MultiBrief
Jan. 15, 2015

Diabetes drug found in Lake Michigan could hurt fish: experts warn
Uncover Michigan
The level of a diabetes drug in Lake Michigan has reached to the extent where it could hurt the endocrine systems of fish, researchers have warned. A team of researchers with the School of Freshwater Sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee tested Lake Michigan waters outside one plant, and found that the diabetes drug metformin was the most common personal-care medicine present there.More

White House to curb methane emissions from oil, gas production
President Barack Obama's administration unveiled rules to slash methane emissions from oil and gas production by up to 45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025, its latest move to solidify the Democratic president's credentials on climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Interior proposed steps to contain leaking potent methane, the second biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, from new drilling equipment and from old and new production facilities on public lands.More

Levels of persistent flame retardants decline in San Francisco Bay
Scientific American
In the San Francisco Bay, levels of one class of flame retardants have fallen over the past decade, according to a new study. The data on the highly controversial polybrominated diphenyl ethers suggest that policies restricting use of a chemical, even a persistent one, can work quickly to reduce its burden on the environment, the researchers say. More

Award created for environmental toxicology students
The University of Mississippi
To honor a former faculty member and environmental toxicology research leader, the School of Pharmacy has created the William H. Benson Distinguished Graduate Student Award. The award will recognize the most outstanding graduate student in environmental toxicology each year. Recipients will receive a plaque and monetary gift. More

PE International advances global hotspot analysis approach
Environmental Leader
While hotspots analysis is proving to be a helpful and effective tool that assists in the identification of areas to be prioritized for action, there is currently no common approach to hotspots analysis. An initiative between PE International and the U.K.'s Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) aims to address this issue. More

Study: Rainfall can release aerosols
MIT via EurekAlert
Ever notice an earthy smell in the air after a light rain? Now scientists at MIT believe they may have identified the mechanism that releases this aroma, as well as other aerosols, into the environment. Using high-speed cameras, the researchers observed that when a raindrop hits a porous surface, it traps tiny air bubbles at the point of contact. As in a glass of champagne, the bubbles then shoot upward, ultimately bursting from the drop in a fizz of aerosols.More

Marine debris deadly to whales, dolphins
Nature World News
You might think twice before tossing a piece of plastic into the garbage rather than a recycling bin when you hear how deadly marine debris, such as floating plastic, is to whales, dolphins and other sea creatures. According to a 2014 report published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin, ingestion of trash has been documented in 56 percent of cetacean species, with rates of ingestion as high as 31 percent in some populations. Bottlenose dolphins and various species of whales are also common victims of marine debris, with several tragic cases last year alone. More

More things are dying more often
Bloomberg Businessweek
Biologists came up with the idea of a "portfolio effect" more than 15 years ago, as a useful model — borrowed from finance — to explain the relationship between diversity and stability in living systems. The more species there are in an ecosystem, the more stable it should be. A finance analogy is also helpful because animal populations sometimes crash like stock prices do. Now, a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences may make it easier to investigate why these ecosystem crashes happen, by amassing into one place 75 years of data about fish, marine mammals, birds, reptiles and others.More