SETAC MultiBrief
Sep. 4, 2014

Concerns over chemical treatment of reclaimed fracking fluid
Chemistry World
Some of the chemical additives and the vast quantities of water used for fracking have raised environmental concerns. The high dissolved salt and organic content of reclaimed fracking fluid, which includes hydrocarbons, greases and biological matter, means it is unsuitable for immediate reuse. And there's a risk it would be toxic to aquatic organisms so it cannot be released into rivers or groundwater. So if we can't reuse the fluid, and we can't dispose of the fluid, we have to treat the fluid.More

Google 'street view' goes undersea to map Florida Keys, reefs
The Associated Press via Florida Today
It's easy to go online and get a 360-degree, ground-level view of almost any street in the United States and throughout the world. Soon, scientists hope people will be able to do the same with coral reefs and other underwater wonders. U.S. government scientists are learning to use specialized fisheye lenses underwater in the Florida Keys in hopes of applying "street view" mapping to research and management plans in marine sanctuaries nationwide. More

Atop food chain, Ospreys ingest many poisons, revealing environmental dangers
National Geographic
Ospreys tell a story and scientists who track the raptors are trying to decipher their message. For more than two decades in North America, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, ospreys have revealed disturbing tales about DDT, polychlorinated biphenyls, pulp mill dioxins, flame retardants, stain-resistant compounds, urban runoff, mining wastes, prescription drugs, mercury and more.More

Coral and fish can 'smell' bad reefs
Baby corals and fish can smell the difference between good and bad reefs, according to a study based in Fiji. When offered a choice of two water samples in the lab, the animals turned away from the stench of seaweed that invades depleted reefs, but were drawn to the smell of healthy coral. It is the first time that corals have been shown to react over long distances to chemical "smells" in the water. The findings suggest that controlling seaweed is key to repopulating reefs.More

Respected medical journal turns to dark side
Ottawa Citizen
A respected Canadian medical journal that was sold to offshore owners last year is now printing scientific junk for hire, but still trading on its original good name. Experimental & Clinical Cardiology was published in Oakville, Ontario, for 17 years and had a solid reputation for printing original medical research. It was sold in 2013, and its new owners say they are in Switzerland, but do their banking in Turks and Caicos. More

Corporate blowback builds from Minamata treaty
The Japan Times
The Japanese government lobbied hard for a global pact that limits mercury use and to name the resulting treaty after Minamata, the site of a homegrown industrial disaster from the 1950s when the toxic metal poured into a river, poisoning thousands. But a year after the Minamata Convention on Mercury was agreed to in Kumamoto Prefecture, Japanese industries from smelters to cement makers are digging in to fight the storage costs and emission curbs the still-pending treaty would impose.More

Small vs. large: Which size farm is better for the planet?
The Washington Post
There's a kind of farm that has caught the imagination of the food-conscious among us. It's relatively small, and you know the farmer who runs it. It's diverse, growing different kinds of crops and often incorporating livestock. It may or may not be organic, but it incorporates practices — crop rotation, minimal pesticide use, composting — that are planet-friendly. Customers are local restaurants, local markets and us: shoppers who buy into a farm share or visit the farmers market. There's a lot to like about that kind of farm, and advocates believe it's the pattern for what our agriculture ought to look like. The vision of small, diversified farms feeding the world, one community at a time, is a popular one. But is it a viable one?More

Susquehanna Flats show hope for Bay
The Baltimore Sun
The Susquehanna Flats — a vast, grass-covered shoal at the mouth of the Susquehanna River — are a magnet for fish and the anglers who pursue them. But they're also a symbol to scientists of the Chesapeake Bay's resilience, and of its ability to rebound, if given a chance, from decades of pollution and periodic battering by storms.More

Trillions of tiny plastic pieces reside in Arctic ice
Scientific American
An untold amount of plastic pollution finds its way into the ocean every year. No one knows for sure what becomes of all that garbage. Much of it most likely erodes into microplastic, tiny flecks smaller than five millimeters in diameter, which can take up pollutants and are often ingested by marine animals, including fish and crustaceans. Unexpectedly, trillions of those particles end up in Arctic sea ice, according to a paper published in May in the scientific journal Earth's Future. More

Study probes link between climate change, contaminants in Arctic wildlife
Nunatsiaq Online
If you live in the North and love eating seal and beluga, but wonder whether they contain harmful contaminants, a new research project may offer more knowledge. That's because this new, well-funded study plans to look at whether climate change is increasing levels of contaminants in ringed seals and beluga whales. Melissa McKinney, a researcher at the University of Windsor, received a big boost in funding recently from the federal government, in the form of a Banting Fellowship.More