SETAC MultiBrief
Aug. 8, 2013

NOAA scientists embark on voyage to assess ocean acidification
Scientific American
Armed with more knowledge and new hypotheses, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is embarking on a follow-up to its 2007 cruise to understand how the ocean was becoming more acidic. Scientists will sail from Seattle to San Diego, analyzing ocean chemistry, looking at the effects of acidification on small snails called pteropods, and looking for hot spots of toxic algae, whose populations and toxicity may swell as the ocean continues to acidify.More

Commission for Environmental Cooperation boosts grassroots projects
Nonprofit Resource Center
The Commission for Environmental Cooperation facilitates collaboration and public participation to foster conservation, protection and enhancement of the North American environment. The North American Partnership for Environmental Community Action, an initiative of CEC, provides grants to nonprofit organizations and non-governmental organizations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico in order to empower and build the capacity of local peoples and organizations to improve their health and environmental quality. More

Citing Texas blast, Obama signs executive order on chemical plant safety
Houston Chronicle
Responding to the deadly April explosion that devastated the town of West, Texas, President Barack Obama signed an executive order calling on federal agencies to improve the safety and security of hazardous chemical manufacturing sites. More three months after the devastating Central Texas blast, Obama ordered federal agencies that oversee chemical facilities to improve safety standards at U.S. plants. The president created a White House working group comprised of officials representing the nine agencies listed in the order.More

Study: Polluted environments affect rich and poor alike
U.S. News & World Report
A new study suggests all Americans, rich and poor, have their share of toxins; where they are on the income ladder simply determines which poisons are in their bodies. Using data from the Centers for Disease Control, researchers from the U.K.'s University of Exeter studied the associations between U.S. adults' incomes and levels of 179 toxins.More

New EPA chief targets climate change
Harvard Gazette
Newly confirmed Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy on Tuesday pledged action on climate change during the Obama administration's remaining years, saying the concern is as much economic as it is environmental. "Climate change will not be resolved overnight, but it will be engaged over the next three years; that I can promise you," McCarthy said during a speech at Harvard Law School.More

OIG: Unfinished investigations hinder chemical board's mission
The Center for Public Integrity
The federal agency charged with investigating chemical accidents is weighed down by a backlog of unfinished investigations, hindering its ability to provide information and advice that could prevent future disasters, a report released by the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Inspector General concluded. The inspector general's report found that the disparity between the number of investigations the agency, known as the CSB, planned to complete and the number it actually finished has widened steadily in recent years.More

Battle brews over Obama's renewable energy plan
National Geographic
To help ramp up that amount of clean energy, the White House has urged approval of an additional 10,000 megawatts of renewable energy production on public lands. The new drive for large-scale solar energy will require land. The U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management so far has issued permits or is conducting environmental reviews for solar, wind and geothermal projects covering about 310,000 acres (125,450 hectares) — an area about the size of Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park. More

Study: UK water companies are top polluters of rivers and beaches
The Observer
The most persistent and frequent polluters of England's rivers and beaches are the nation's 10 biggest water companies, an Observer investigation has revealed. The companies, which are responsible for treating waste water and delivering clean supplies, have been punished for more than 1,000 incidents in the past nine years, but fined a total of only $5.3 million. More

Hurricane Isaac oil, chemical releases examined by environmental groups
The Times-Picayune
In the wake of Hurricane Isaac last August, at least 341,000 gallons of oil, chemicals and untreated waste-water were released by area oil, coal, gas and petrochemical facilities, according to a report released recently. The report by the Gulf Monitoring Consortium, which examined National Response Center and Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality data, stated that facilities also released about 192 tons of gasses and other materials — or about 355,000 pounds. The report also notes that oil from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon continued to wash ashore as a result of the hurricane.More

Cleaning product industry cuts GHGs 12 percent in a year
Environmental Leader
Dow Chemical, Ecolab, SC Johnson, Seventh Generation and other American Cleaning Institute member companies reduced their greenhouse gas emissions 12 percent from 2010 to 2011, according to the ACI's 2013 Sustainability Report. The cleaning product industry’s second sustainability report shows overall decreases by member companies in four environmental metric data points: energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, water use and solid waste generation.More

Paint colors sourced from polluted streams
Toxic runoff from coal mines and commercial red and yellow paints have a common ingredient — ferric oxyhydroxides. Once the acidic ground water hits the air, the metals in it oxidize and the once-clear water turns yellow, orange, red or brown. To make paints of these colors, international companies basically mimic this reaction, adding chemicals to water tanks containing scrap metals.More