SETAC MultiBrief
May. 15, 2014

Parts of West Antarctic ice sheet starting to collapse, scientists find
The Vancouver Sun
The huge West Antarctic ice sheet is starting a glacially slow collapse in an unstoppable way, two new studies show. Alarmed scientists say that means even more sea level rise than they figured. The worrisome outcomes won't be seen soon. Scientists are talking hundreds of years, but over that time the melt that has started could eventually add 1.2 to 3.6 meters to current sea levels.More

Coastal blue carbon
Imagine you're on vacation. You're out early paddling through a quiet marsh. As you float over a bed of sea grass, you see a school of small fish dart away. It doesn't seem like there's much going on here. But in fact there's something really important happening here that you can't see, hear or feel. You're floating over a vast warehouse of sorts — for hundreds or even thousands of years, the sea grass you're floating over has been quietly sucking carbon dioxide from the air and transporting it to the soil beneath the water. You're floating over a vast reservoir of carbon, locked away just below your canoe.More

Toxicologists outline key health and environmental concerns associated with hydraulic fracturing
Since the rise in the use of hydraulic fracturing of shale to produce natural gas and oil, scientists, politicians, industrialists and others have debated the merits and detractions of the practice. In a newly published paper in Toxicological Sciences, members of the Society of Toxicology, alongside other experts, outline how toxicological sciences can be used to determine what risks may or may not be associated with hydraulic fracturing. More

Study: Frogs' immune systems weakened by chemicals
Environmental Health News
Young frogs exposed to flame retardants have weakened immune systems, which could leave them more susceptible to diseases that are ravaging amphibians worldwide. A new laboratory experiment is the first to link flame retardants to immune system problems in frogs, and adds to evidence that pollutants may contribute to global declines of their populations.More

Pesticides found in mothers' breast milk — so what?
The Conversation
A recent study by the organisation Moms Across America claims to have found a pesticide at harmful levels in human breast milk and urine. Moms Across America is an organisation concerned with the use of pesticides and genetically modified foods. Through tests carried out by its members across the U.S., the organization assessed the level of the common pesticide glyphosate (sold in products such as Roundup) in urine and breast milk of nursing mothers.More

Stanford research: Coral reefs provide protection from storms and rising sea levels
Coral reefs are widely regarded as one of the most beautiful, diverse and delicate ecosystems on the planet. A new study by an international team of scientists reveals that reefs also play the tough guy role in protecting hundreds of millions of people from rising sea levels and damaging wave action.More

Space shuttles spewed metals into refuge. But what does it mean for the gators?
Environmental Health News
Billows of fire and smoke filled the air above Florida's Kennedy Space Center as the countdown clock reached zero. Flanked by two rocket boosters and strapped to the back of a giant red fuel tank, the space shuttle blasted off. Within seconds, the spacecraft disappeared from sight. In just over 8 minutes, it reached outer space. But NASA’s launches left more than a legacy of space exploration. Before leaving Earth's atmosphere, each shuttle spewed thousands of pounds of metals and other chemicals into the air. More

Scientists may have finally pinpointed what's killing all the honeybees
Business Insider via Yahoo News
Where have all the honeybees gone? A new study seems to strengthen the evidence linking pesticides used on crops to colony collapse disorder in honeybees. Colony collapse disorder, or CCD, is a phenomenon in which honeybees inexplicably disappear from their hives. The bodies of the dead bees are typically never found. Researchers led by Chensheng Lu of Harvard University have pinpointed the collapse of honeybee colonies on a class of pesticides known as neoniotinoids — insecticides that also act as nerve poisons and mimic the effects of nicotine.More

Deadly harvest: Toxic algae killing sea life at record levels
Digital Journal
First, the pelicans started falling out of the sky, flopping on their backs as soon as they landed and flailing drunkenly. Scores of brown pelicans, disoriented, sick — and dying — were winding up far away from their ocean home. Then marine mammals — mostly California sea lions — began showing up disoriented and sick like the pelicans on the beaches of the Central California coast. Some of them also wound up dying.More