SETAC MultiBrief
Oct. 17, 2013

Phosphorus reduction in lakes may limit ability to remove nitrogen
Nature World News
A study of a Minnesota lake reveals that while cleanup efforts aimed at reducing phosphorus have been highly successful, they could ultimately prove problematic. The report builds off of previous research regarding nitrogen levels in Lake Superior and could have implications for pollution control efforts throughout the world, according to the study's authors.More

Chemicals banned decades ago found in dead Illinois river otters
North American river otters in central Illinois are being exposed to chemical substances that had been banned for use in the U.S. at least three decades ago, according to research published in the latest edition of the journal Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety. Between 2009 and 2011, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources collected 23 river otter carcasses after the creatures had been accidentally killed. More

The environmental impact of the government shutdown
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has had to furlough more than 16,000 of its employees — about 93 percent of its staff — due to the government shutdown. It's down to the bare-bone minimum like so many other government agencies. But the longer the shutdown drags on, the longer the health of the environment and the public is at risk.More

Supreme Court to hear challenge to EPA emissions rules
The New York Times
The Supreme Court agreed to hear a major case challenging Environmental Protection Agency regulations concerning greenhouse gases. The case is a sequel to Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency, a 2007 decision that required the agency to regulate emissions of greenhouse gases from new motor vehicles if it found they endangered public health or welfare.More

Work Environment Council: New Jersey at risk of chemical disaster
Work Environment Council via NJ Environment News
New Jersey jobs and millions of residents are still at risk from toxic chemical disaster — five years after the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection under former Gov. Jon Corzine adopted rules to implement the New Jersey Toxic Catastrophe Prevention Act that were supposed to drastically reduce that risk.More

BPA exposure may increase miscarriage risk in pregnant women
CBS News
Exposure to the BPA chemical, which is commonly found in food packaging, may increase miscarriage risk in pregnant women. A new study found women with the highest levels of BPA, or bisphenol A, in their blood were significantly more likely to miscarry than women with the lowest levels of the ubiquitous chemical.More

Shutdown EPA workers clean up a river anyway
Yes Magazine via The Christian Science Monitor
Scientists with the Water Protection Division of the Environmental Protection Agency in Atlanta may be out of a paycheck for now, but they're not giving up on service. Recently, 15 staffers from the agency's Atlanta office headed down to a trash-filled urban stream that a local business owner had complained about, and cleaned it up.More

Drift catchers use citizen science to fight pesticide pollution
Drift catchers are a toughened breed of farmers who are taking matters concerning the threats of agricultural chemicals into their own hands. Last winter, 20 Iowa farmers trained with the California-based Pesticide Action Network to use the air monitoring technology PAN specifically designed for laymen. Back home, the farmers took air samples during spraying times throughout this past season.More

Michigan considers loosening toxic air contaminant regulations
Michigan is considering loosening air quality regulations, a move that manufacturers say improves the state's economic competitiveness but has some advocates worried about environment and health impacts. A work group is finalizing recommendations to reduce the number of toxic air contaminants that would be subject to modeling to determine smokestack emissions and their potential impacts.More

California gaining a fracking mess
National Journal
The debate over fracking has arrived in California, the state known around the world for its leadership on renewable energy and climate change. And while Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill to regulate fracking last month, some say the Golden State has hardly been out front. More

Plummeting morale at Fukushima Daiichi as nuclear cleanup takes its toll
The Guardian
As the scale of the challenge to clean up at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has become clearer with every new accident and radiation leak, the men working inside the plant are suffering from plummeting morale, health problems and anxiety about the future, according to insiders. Even now, at the start of a decommissioning operation that is expected to last 40 years, the plant faces a shortage of workers qualified to manage the dangerous work that lies ahead.More