SETAC MultiBrief
Dec. 12, 2013

Microplastics 'pose toxic threat to marine biodiversity'
BBC News
Tiny particles of waste plastic that are ingested by shoreline "eco-engineer" worms may be negatively affecting biodiversity, a study says. So-called microplastics may be able to transfer toxic pollutants and chemicals into the guts of lugworms, reducing the animals' functions. An estimated 150 million tons vanishes from the global waste-stream each year.More

Dandruff shampoo could mess up waterways
Scientific American
A study has detected fungicides from anti-dandruff shampoos in the water. And even at concentrations as low as 0.5 micrograms per liter of H2O such fungicides can hurt many organisms, from tiny algae to big plants and fish, according to the study in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.More

Super greenhouse gas discovered 7,100 times stronger than CO2
Environment News Service
Scientists from the University of Toronto have identified a chemical in the atmosphere that appears to be a long-lived greenhouse gas that breaks all other chemical records for its potential to affect the climate. The chemical — perfluorotributylamine, or PFTBA — is the most radiatively efficient chemical found to date.More

Cardno appoints new leadership within the Americas region
PR Newswire via The Sacramento Bee
Engineering and environmental consulting firm Cardno has made two key appointments that will drive growth within its Americas Region, which includes North and South America. Todd Williams will take up the newly created position of executive vice president of strategy and development, which will allow him to lead the strategy and client-facing activities to drive organic growth objectives. Chip Blankenhorn will fulfill Williams' former role as executive vice president of the natural resources and health sciences division. More

Will Shuanghui keep world's largest pork producer environmentally clean?
The Guardian
After racking up millions of dollars in environmental fines for water contamination in the 1990s, the world's biggest hog and pork producer, Smithfield Foods, has been working hard to convince critics that it has changed. Over the past decade, its sustainability efforts have garnered awards and international certifications. But its sale to Chinese meat processor Shuanghui International Holdings has raised new questions about the future of its sustainability commitments.More

Vitamins' old, old edge
The New York Times
Today, a huge amount of research goes into understanding vitamins, but most of it is focused on how much of them people need to stay healthy. This work does not address a basic question, though: How did we end up so dependent on these peculiar little molecules?More

Marine scientist: Mining dwarfs farming as threat to Great Barrier Reef
The Sydney Morning Herald
Mining poses a greater threat to the health of the Great Barrier Reef than agriculture, according to one marine scientist who has cast doubt on the Australian government's prediction that water quality will improve along the reef coast. Recently, federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt gave the green light to dredging and dumping associated with four coal terminals, and the building of a liquid natural gas refinery and pipeline on the Great Barrier Reef coast.More

3 ways US-China conflict is helping on climate change
National Geographic
Beijing's air quality monitoring station was the first stop for Gina McCarthy, the top U.S. environmental official, in a weeklong trip to China for talks on how the world's top two greenhouse gas polluters can work together to tackle climate change. With no global treaty to reduce carbon emissions in sight, the trip is an effort by President Barack Obama's administration to demonstrate that efforts at bilateral cooperation hold promise. More

US Northeast states ask EPA to crack down on Midwest pollution
Eight Northeastern and mid-Atlantic governors petitioned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to require "upwind" states in the Midwest and South to curb ozone-forming pollution from their power plants, which they say travels downwind and poses health risks to their citizens. They want the EPA to force nine states to regulate the emissions that cross into their borders through prevailing winds and contribute to higher ozone levels to the north and east of the upwind states.More

New tool assesses the impact of toxic agents in cells
EPFL via R&D Magazine
Nanopowders, nanocrystals, nanofibers, nanocomposites ... today we can find nanomaterials everywhere: in the products we consume and in our daily environments. In order to accurately determine their toxicity, researchers at the Federal Polytechnic Institute in Lausanne, Switzerland, have developed an analytical tool for measuring the oxidative stress that some of them provoke on cells. More

Mass extinction the result of acid rain and ozone loss
Chemistry World
Widespread rain as acidic as lemon juice and the destruction of as much as 65 percent of the ozone layer may have played a major role in the largest mass extinction in the fossil record. This conclusion was reached by a U.S. team that used geological samples to develop a climate model that predicted extreme atmospheric effects that could have been behind the mass extinction at the end of the Permian.More

The facts about dredging
The Guardian
The idely used practice of dredging is essential for maintaining harbors and shipping routes, but what are the risks? The practice is not without its critics. More