SETAC MultiBrief
Jun. 26, 2014

Triclosan under the microscope
Chemical and Engineering News
If you've ever used a product labeled as antibacterial, chances are you’ve encountered triclosan. Patented in the 1960s as an antimicrobial agent and first used in health care settings, triclosan became ubiquitous in the U.S. as consumers became increasingly germophobic. Companies added triclosan to soaps, bodywashes, deodorants, toothpaste, shaving gel and cosmetics, as well as products such as dishwashing liquids, laundry detergents, cutting boards, toys, fabrics, shoes and caulking compounds.More

'Microplastics' imperil marine life in Tampa Bay, worldwide
Tampa Bay Times
Years of hard work and millions of dollars went into cleaning up the nutrient pollution that was ruining Tampa Bay with fish kills and algae blooms. Now healthy sea grass beds are spreading across the bay bottom once more, and fish and manatees are swimming through water that has become clearer.More

Scientists: Oil from BP spill slowing one of ocean's fastest fish
A study by University of Miami scientists says mahi-mahi, a popular fish among restaurants and anglers and exposed as infants to oil from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon spill, swim nearly half as fast as their unaffected counterparts. Researchers treated mahi-mahi embryos and young fish with oil collected from near the damaged wellhead and from the gulf's surface. Individual fish were then transferred to clean water for at least 25 days before their swim speeds were tested in a kind of aquatic treadmill.More

Europe's pesticide problem
The first large-scale risk assessment of organic chemicals in European rivers and lakes has revealed an extensive problem with pesticides. Nearly half of these water bodies had levels that could harm fish, invertebrates and algae. "We were surprised that it was so widespread," says environmental engineer Egina Malaj of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig, Germany. The concern is greatest for insects and algae, but the researchers say that in areas where the levels are highest, people should not drink untreated river water.More

Insecticides put world food supplies at risk, say scientists
The Guardian
The world's most widely used insecticides have contaminated the environment across the planet so pervasively that global food production is at risk, according to a comprehensive scientific assessment of the chemicals' impacts. The researchers compare their impact with that reported in Silent Spring, the landmark 1962 book by Rachel Carson that revealed the decimation of birds and insects by the blanket use of DDT and other pesticides and led to the modern environmental movement.More

Bald eagles are dying of lead poisoning
It’s illegal to shoot bald eagles but America's national symbol is still dying as a result of hunting. Researchers working at the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge recently conducted autopsies on 168 dead bald eagles found in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin. According to their tests, nearly half the birds had detectable levels of lead in their livers. Worse, 21 percent of the eagles most likely died from exposure to the toxic metal.More

Study: Deforestation leaves fish undersized and underfed
Deforestation is reducing the amount of leaf litter falling into rivers and lakes, resulting in less food being available to fish, a study suggests. Researchers found the amount of food available affected the size of young fish and influenced the number that went on to reach adulthood. The team said the results illustrated a link between watershed protection and healthy freshwater fish populations.More

The rarest whale on earth is bouncing back from the brink
Amid all the depressing news about the declining state of the world's oceans, here's a genuine feel-good story: The critically endangered North Atlantic right whale population, once decimated by ship collisions, has rebounded to more than 500 individuals. That's the highest level since researchers began studying the whale three decades ago. More

Obama moves to protect vast Pacific Ocean areas
Reuters via Scientific American
The White House unveiled efforts to expand protection of vast areas of the Pacific Ocean controlled by the United States from over fishing and environmental damage. President Barack Obama's proposal, to go into effect later this year, would create a vast marine sanctuary and is part of an effort to safeguard more ocean territory, which is under threat from several factors, including overfishing and climate change, the White House said.More