SETAC MultiBrief
Jul. 25, 2013

Air pollution linked to higher risk of lung cancer and heart failure
The Guardian
Air pollution, chiefly from traffic exhaust fumes in cities, is having a serious and sometimes fatal effect on health, according to two studies that link it to lung cancer and heart failure. Air pollution increases the risk of lung cancer even at levels lower than those recommended by the European Union, which are also standard in the U.K., says a paper in the Lancet Oncology journal. Although smoking is a far bigger cause of lung cancer, a significant number of people will get the disease because of where they live.More

Widely used pesticides toxic to honeybees
Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry via ScienceDaily
Forthcoming research in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry analyzes the physiological effects of three separate pesticides on honeybees (Apis mellifera). An international research team — Drs. Stephan Caravalho, Luc Belzunces and colleagues from Universidade Federal de Lavras in Brazil and Institut Nationale de la Recherche Agronomique in France — concludes that the absence of mortality does not always indicate functional integrity.More

Study: Polar bear brains have high levels of environment toxins
Nature World News coverage of research published in ET&C
Polar bear brains have significant levels of PerFluoroAlkyl Substances, a kind of environmental toxins that are known to cause cancers and affect reproduction, a new study reported. The study was conducted by researchers at the Carleton University in Canada and Aarhus University in Denmark who found that at least eight brain regions of polar bears had significant amount of several PFASs including perfluorooctane sulfonate as well as several compounds of the perfluorinated carboxylate.More

Dying, fast and slow: The pesticide poisonings in India
The Boston Globe
The tragic deaths of 23 North Indian children after they ate tainted school lunches in the agricultural state of Bihar was prominently featured in American media. A less-publicized lead poisoning epidemic in Nigeria has evolved over months to years, and the consequences of lead poisoning — brain damage, paralysis, deformity — have taken a long time to reveal themselves. More

12 states sue EPA over agency's alleged 'sue and settle' tactics
Fox News
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt and the attorneys general of 11 other states sued the Environmental Protection Agency, demanding that the agency turn over documents the states allege will show the agency cooperates with environmental groups as part of a "sue and settle" legal strategy to develop regulations. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Oklahoma City, alleges that binding consent decrees between the EPA and environmental groups that have sued the agency over the years have led to new rules and regulations for states without allowing their attorneys general to defend their interests and those of its businesses and consumers.More

Jury could decide if Monsanto is responsible for cancer cases
A Missouri appeals court has ruled that a jury should decide whether Monsanto's chemical production division is responsible for cancers allegedly caused by the widespread use of certain toxic chemicals in everyday products. The decision came in one of 11 cases filed in Missouri and California by cancer patients and their relatives. More

Electronics retailers receive Fs on recycling report card
Environmental Leader
Staples, Best Buy and Office Depot are the only three major electronics retailers making a serious effort to help consumers recycle their old electronic products, says a report card released recently by the Electronics TakeBack Coalition. While the three companies earned high marks on the report card, more than half of the 16 retailers flunked, including retail giants such as Wal-Mart, Amazon, Costco, Sam's Club and Sears. The coalition say that these retailers are doing very little to help recycle the billions of dollars in electronics that they sell.More

Shell Oil to spend over $115 million to reduce air pollution
EHS Today
The Department of Justice, EPA and Shell Oil and affiliated partnerships have agreed to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act at a large Shell refinery and chemical plant in Deer Park, Texas. Shell agreed to spend at least $115 million to control harmful air pollution from industrial flares and other processes and will pay a $2.6 million civil penalty.More

Fracking wastewater disposal linked to remotely triggered quakes
National Geographic
Fracking for oil and natural gas, and the underground disposal of wastewater that occurs in the process, has been linked to earthquakes in recent years. Now seismologists have discovered a new twist in that relationship, finding that wastewater injection can also contribute to temblors induced remotely by faraway seismic events. The finding, detailed in this week's issue of the journal Science, is the latest research to show how humans can influence earthquakes. More

Strange byproduct of fracking boom: Radioactive socks
Oilfield filter socks, used to filter wastewater at drilling sites, have turned up in some odd corners of North Dakota, including a roadside, an Indian Reservation, a city garbage can, and tucked under other waste trucked to landfills. The socks often contain naturally occurring radioactive materials — radium is the usual suspect — and may be dumped to avoid more costly disposal at radioactive waste depositories out of state.More

Critics: EPA used out-of-date research to defend chemical testing of low-dose hormone effects
Boulder Weekly
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that current testing of hormone-altering chemicals is adequate for detecting low-dose effects that may jeopardize health. It comes in response to a report written last year by 12 scientists who criticized the government's decades-old strategy for testing the safety of many chemicals found in the environment and in consumer products.More