SETAC MultiBrief
Jun. 12, 2014

NOAA scientists find mosquito control pesticide use in coastal areas poses low risk to juvenile oysters, hard clams
Four of the most common mosquito pesticides used along the east and Gulf coasts show little risk to juvenile hard clams and oysters, according to a NOAA study. However, the study, published in the online journal Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, also determined that lower oxygen levels in the water, known as hypoxia, and increased acidification actually increased how toxic some of the pesticides were. Such climate variables should be considered when using these pesticides in the coastal zone, the study concluded.More

Close scrutiny of cosmetic preservatives continues
Protecting water-based cosmetics from microbes that can cause rashes or infections has traditionally been the job of synthetic preservatives. But owing to a combination of toxicity concerns and consumer pressure, some cosmetics makers are eschewing specific preservative molecules such as parabens or formaldehyde — or avoiding synthetics entirely.More

Endocrine-disrupting compounds in Okanagan Valley water in British Columbia
Capital News
The latest research into residual endocrine-disrupting chemicals in water in the Okanagan, largely from wastewater, suggests they are degraded by light and diluted in water. Tricia Brett recently completed her master's thesis on the fate of EDCs in surface water in the Okanagan and found that, when given time to break down and dissipate, these estrogenic compounds are less likely to have an impact on aquatic organisms.More

Plastic: Fossils of the future
Nature World News
Plastic pollution is a worldwide problem — about 32 million tons of U.S. plastic waste was generated in 2012, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Now, researchers have discovered an unexpected way that some plastic waste is persisting: as a stone. A team from the University of Western Ontario published a study in the journal GSA Today describing rocks made of plastic, called "plastiglomerates," found on the Big Island of Hawaii.More

Soot and dirt is melting snow and ice around the world
National Geographic
It's easy to imagine new snow so bright that we must avert our eyes even while wearing sunglasses. What scientists are discovering, though, is this brilliant whiteness of snow and ice is increasingly being dimmed by air pollution. From Greenland's ice sheets to Himalayan glaciers and the snowpacks of western North America, layers of dust and soot are darkening the color of glaciers and snowpacks, causing them to absorb more solar heat and melt more quickly, and earlier in spring.More

Putting a price tag on nature's defenses
The New York Times
After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, the United States Army Corps of Engineers got to work on a massive network of levees and flood walls to protect against future catastrophes. Finally completed in 2012, the project ended up costing $14.5 billion — and that figure didn't include the upkeep these defenses will require in years to come, not to mention the cost of someday replacing them altogether. But levees aren't the only things that protect coasts from storm damage. Nature offers protection, too. More

Study: Truvia sweetener is toxic to fruit flies
Erythritol, the main component of the sweetener Truvia, has a new, unexpected application — it may be used as an insecticide. And a sixth grader can take part of the credit for this unusual discovery. Researchers found that fruit flies fed with food that included erythritol or the erythritol-containing sweetener Truvia died much sooner than flies fed with food containing other types of sweeteners. More

Citing environment, Illinois bans microbeads
The Associated Press via KSDK-TV
Gov. Pat Quinn has signed a law he says makes Illinois the first state nationwide to ban products containing so-called microbeads. Synthetic plastic microbeads are found in soaps and cosmetics and billed as a way to exfoliate. But experts have raised concerns of plastic pollution in waterways.More

The strange, controversial way plants trap CO2
Smithsonian Science
Plants are among the world's best carbon sinks, but there's a side to the plant-CO2 love affair that's rarely discussed. When carbon dioxide rises, plants cling to it more, releasing less back into the air — and until recently, scientists couldn't figure out why. With a new paper published June 11 in Global Change Biology, ecologist Bert Drake believes he finally has the answer. More

Catfish stocking latest sign of Chicago River's comeback
Chicago Tribune
About 30,000 channel catfish were released into the Chicago and Little Calumet rivers as part of a program that officials say shows how far those urban waterways have come environmentally. "This is exciting because the Chicago River is evolving into a place where these fish can thrive," said Margaret Frisbie, executive director of Friends of the Chicago River. "This project is symbolic of how far the Chicago River has evolved. We can release catfish and know that they will thrive."More