Author Archive

Top ten most accessed articles in June

This month sees the following articles in the Journal of Environmental Monitoring that are in the top ten most accessed:

Emerging investigators contributors 2012
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 1745-1753
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM90032G

Investigations of mercury concentrations in walleye and other fish in the Athabasca River ecosystem with increasing oil sands developments
Marlene S. Evans and André Talbot
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 1989-2003
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM30132F

Potential impacts of disinfection processes on elimination and deactivation of antibiotic resistance genes during water and wastewater treatment
Michael C. Dodd
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 1754-1771
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM00006G

Contamination of Canadian and European bottled waters with antimony from PET containers
William Shotyk, Michael Krachler and Bin Chen
J. Environ. Monit., 2006, 8, 288-292
DOI: 10.1039/B517844B

Preparation and measurement methods for studying nanoparticle aggregate surface chemistry
Christopher Szakal, James A. McCarthy, Melissa S. Ugelow, Andrew R. Konicek, Kacie Louis, Benjamin Yezer, Andrew A. Herzing, Robert J. Hamers and R. David Holbrook
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 1914-1925
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM30048F

A novel passive water sampler for in situ sampling of antibiotics
Chang-Er Chen, Hao Zhang and Kevin C. Jones
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 1523-1530
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM30091E

Impact of agglomeration and different dispersions of titanium dioxide nanoparticles on the human related in vitro cytotoxicity and genotoxicity
Zuzana Magdolenova, Dagmar Bilaničová, Giulio Pojana, Lise M Fjellsbø, Alexandra Hudecova, Katarina Hasplova, Antonio Marcomini and Maria Dusinska
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 455-464
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10746E

Chromium fractionation and speciation in natural waters
Catarinie Diniz Pereira, João Gabriel Techy, Edgard Moreira Ganzarolli and Sueli Pércio Quináia
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 1559-1564
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10949B

Sensitive immunoassay detection of multiple environmental chemicals on protein microarrays using DNA/dye conjugate as a fluorescent label
Ziyan Fan, Young Soo Keum, Qing X. Li, Weilin L. Shelver and Liang-Hong Guo
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 1345-1352
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10956E

Indoor air in schools and lung function of Austrian school children
Peter Wallner, Michael Kundi, Hanns Moshammer, Kathrin Piegler, Philipp Hohenblum, Sigrid Scharf, Marina Fröhlich, Bernhard Damberger, Peter Tappler and Hans-Peter Hutter
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 4, 1976-1982
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM30059A

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Top ten most accessed articles in May

This month sees the following articles in the Journal of Environmental Monitoring that are in the top ten most accessed:

Radioactive fallout in the United States due to the Fukushima nuclear plant accident
P. Thakur, S. Ballard and R. Nelson
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 1317-1324
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM11011C

Potential impacts of disinfection processes on elimination and deactivation of antibiotic resistance genes during water and wastewater treatment
Michael C. Dodd
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 1754-1771
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM00006G

The release of engineered nanomaterials to the environment
Fadri Gottschalk and Bernd Nowack
J. Environ. Monit., 2011, 13, 1145-1155
DOI: 10.1039/C0EM00547A

Environmental and biological monitoring of benzene in traffic policemen, police drivers and rural outdoor male workers
Manuela Ciarrocca, Francesco Tomei, Tiziana Caciari, Assunta Capozzella, Lara Scimitto, Nadia Nardone, Giorgia Andreozzi, Barbara Scala, Maria Fiaschetti, Carlotta Cetica, Valeria Di Giorgio, Maria Pia Schifano, Gianfranco Tomei and Angela Sancini
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 1542-1550
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM30120B

Characterization and environmental implications of nano- and larger TiO2 particles in sewage sludge, and soils amended with sewage sludge
Bojeong Kim, Mitsuhiro Murayama, Benjamin P. Colman and Michael F. Hochella
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 1129-1137
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10809G

Distribution and risk assessment of organochlorine contaminants in surface water from River Chenab, Pakistan
Syed Ali-Musstjab-Akber-Shah Eqani, Riffat Naseem Malik, Athanasios Katsoyiannis, Gan Zhang, Paromita Chakraborty, Ashiq Mohammad and Kevin C. Jones
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 1645-1654
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM11012A

The antibacterial effects of engineered nanomaterials: implications for wastewater treatment plants
Ndeke Musee, Melusi Thwala and Nomakhwezi Nota
J. Environ. Monit., 2011, 13, 1164-1183
DOI: 10.1039/C1EM10023H

Planning for sustainability in China’s urban development: Status and challenges for Dongtan eco-city project
Hefa Cheng and Yuanan Hu
J. Environ. Monit., 2010, 12, 119-126
DOI: 10.1039/B911473D

Quantitation of persistent organic pollutants adsorbed on plastic debris from the Northern Pacific Gyre’s “eastern garbage patch”
Lorena M. Rios, Patrick R. Jones, Charles Moore and Urja V. Narayan
J. Environ. Monit., 2010, 12, 2226-2236
DOI: 10.1039/C0EM00239A

Assessment of particulate matter in the urban atmosphere: size distribution, metal composition and source characterization using principal component analysis
Burcu Onat, Ülkü Alver Şahin and Cuma Bayat
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 4, 1400-1409
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10792A

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Top ten most accessed articles in April

This month sees the following articles in the Journal of Environmental Monitoring that are in the top ten most accessed:

Elevated antimony concentrations in commercial juices
Claus Hansen, Alexandra Tsirigotaki, Søren Alex Bak, Spiros A. Pergantis, Stefan Stürup, Bente Gammelgaard and Helle Rüsz Hansen
J. Environ. Monit., 2010, 12, 822-824
DOI: 10.1039/B926551A

Characterization and environmental implications of nano- and larger TiO2 particles in sewage sludge, and soils amended with sewage sludge
Bojeong Kim, Mitsuhiro Murayama, Benjamin P. Colman and Michael F. Hochella
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 1129-1137
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10809G

PET bottle use patterns and antimony migration into bottled water and soft drinks: the case of British and Nigerian bottles
Aminu Tukur, Liz Sharp, Ben Stern, Chedly Tizaoui and Hadj Benkreira
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 1237-1247
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10917D

Quantitation of persistent organic pollutants adsorbed on plastic debris from the Northern Pacific Gyre’s “eastern garbage patch”
Lorena M. Rios, Patrick R. Jones, Charles Moore and Urja V. Narayan
J. Environ. Monit., 2010, 12, 2226-2236
DOI: 10.1039/C0EM00239A

The release of engineered nanomaterials to the environment
Fadri Gottschalk and Bernd Nowack
J. Environ. Monit., 2011, 13, 1145-1155
DOI: 10.1039/C0EM00547A

Oxidation of CrIII to CrVI during chlorination of drinking water
Dana R. Lindsay, Kevin J. Farley and Richard F. Carbonaro
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM00012A

Planning for sustainability in China’s urban development: Status and challenges for Dongtan eco-city project
Hefa Cheng and Yuanan Hu
J. Environ. Monit., 2010, 12, 119-126
DOI: 10.1039/B911473D

Radioactive fallout in the United States due to the Fukushima nuclear plant accident
P. Thakur, S. Ballard and R. Nelson
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 1317-1324
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM11011C

Occurrence, distribution and bioaccumulation of antibiotics in the Haihe River in China
Lihong Gao, Yali Shi, Wenhui Li, Jiemin Liu and Yaqi Cai
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 1248-1255
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10916F

The antibacterial effects of engineered nanomaterials: implications for wastewater treatment plants
Ndeke Musee, Melusi Thwala and Nomakhwezi Nota
J. Environ. Monit., 2011, 13, 1164-1183
DOI: 10.1039/C1EM10023H

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Top ten most accessed articles in March

This month sees the following articles in the Journal of Environmental Monitoring that are in the top ten most accessed:

Quantitation of persistent organic pollutants adsorbed on plastic debris from the Northern Pacific Gyre’s “eastern garbage patch”
Lorena M. Rios, Patrick R. Jones, Charles Moore and Urja V. Narayan
J. Environ. Monit., 2010, 12, 2226-2236
DOI: 10.1039/C0EM00239A

Determination of butyl-, phenyl-, octyl- and tributylmonomethyltin compounds in a marine environment (Bay of Bengal, India) using gas chromatography-inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry
R. Babu Rajendran, H. Tao, A. Miyazaki, R. Ramesh and S. Ramachandran
J. Environ. Monit., 2001, 3, 627-634
DOI: 10.1039/B106009K

PET bottle use patterns and antimony migration into bottled water and soft drinks: the case of British and Nigerian bottles
Aminu Tukur, Liz Sharp, Ben Stern, Chedly Tizaoui and Hadj Benkreira
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 1237-1247
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10917D

Characterization and environmental implications of nano- and larger TiO2 particles in sewage sludge, and soils amended with sewage sludge
Bojeong Kim, Mitsuhiro Murayama, Benjamin P. Colman and Michael F. Hochella
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 1129-1137
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10809G

Impact of agglomeration and different dispersions of titanium dioxide nanoparticles on the human related in vitro cytotoxicity and genotoxicity
Zuzana Magdolenova, Dagmar Bilaničová, Giulio Pojana, Lise M Fjellsbø, Alexandra Hudecova, Katarina Hasplova, Antonio Marcomini and Maria Dusinska
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 455-464
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10746E

The antibacterial effects of engineered nanomaterials: implications for wastewater treatment plants
Ndeke Musee, Melusi Thwala and Nomakhwezi Nota
J. Environ. Monit., 2011, 13, 1164-1183
DOI: 10.1039/C1EM10023H

Seasonal distribution, source investigation and vertical profile of phenolic endocrine disrupting compounds in Dianchi Lake, China
Bin Wang, Bin Huang, Wei Jin, Yu Wang, Shimin Zhao, Farong Li, Ping Hu and Xuejun Pan
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 1275-1282
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10856A

Polyfluoroalkyl compounds in the aquatic environment: a review of their occurrence and fate
Lutz Ahrens
J. Environ. Monit., 2011, 13, 20-31
DOI: 10.1039/C0EM00373E

Monitoring bacterial community structure and variability in time scale in full-scale anaerobic digesters
Sang-Hoon Lee, Hyun-Jin Kang, Young Haeng Lee, Taek Jun Lee, Keumsuk Han, Youngjun Choi and Hee-Deung Park
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10958A

Occurrence, distribution and bioaccumulation of antibiotics in the Haihe River in China
Lihong Gao, Yali Shi, Wenhui Li, Jiemin Liu and Yaqi Cai
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 1248-1255
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10916F

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Painting the mountains blue

Vera Thoss tells Elinor Richards about her bluebell business and research, using her car in her experiments and analysing whale vomit

Vera Thoss lying in bluebell fieldVera Thoss is an environmental chemistry lecturer at Bangor University, UK. Her research is based on ecological chemistry, which addresses processes mediated through specific compounds within ecosystems and environmental chemistry, which is concerned with the impact of human activities on the environment.

What inspired you to become a scientist?

It all started when I was 13 and I had my first chemistry lesson. I instantly took to the subject and from then my mind was made up. I was also curious and wanted to ’understand the world’.

What attracted you to environmental science?

As a chemist, the choice was between synthetic and analytical chemistry. I chose analytical chemistry because it allows you to follow the environmental fate of natural or man-made compounds. Being allowed to spend time in the woods was a big bonus!

What projects are you working on?

Currently, my group is working on oil pollution, composting and plant-derived products. It seems a bit of a stretch but it is all part of carbon cycling: plants build precious molecules, most of the time these remain intact but may transfer into air, water or soil. Crude oil is the remnants of sunken forests. So in the end, all the chemistry comes from plants photosynthesising and creating complex fragrances, tastes and colours. It is fascinating.

What will be the next big breakthrough in your field?

To chemically separate plant material into multiple useable compounds, with environmentally benign techniques, using as little energy as possible and ideally producing no waste at all.

Which achievements are you most proud of?

My beautiful daughter.  Last year I organised the first ’Plants as Providers of Fine Chemicals’ conference, which was very successful.  I also managed to measure picogram amounts of monoterpenes in three-week-old Scots pine seedlings before they were eaten by slugs.

You own a farm from which you run a business selling bluebells called Vera Bluebell. How did this come about?

I was always concerned about the availability of clean drinking water, and moving to a mountain farm near Snowdon in Wales was a strategic choice (it does rain a lot!). Realising that there was abundance of bluebells on the land was a chance discovery after a fire. I was aware of their unusual chemistry though and that was the starting point for Vera Bluebell. Bluebells are protected, which means a license is needed to work with them. There was a demand for wild bluebells as well. We have now been sustainably managing a wild bluebell population for over six years and it has been an interesting journey. I would love to see a bluebell derived extract being used in a commercial product.

What discoveries have you made during your research on bluebells?

Bluebell seeds have a high oil content and the oil has an unusual composition. Even though this is the first chemical assessment of Hyacinthoides non-scripta oil, the chemistry is not earth-shattering. The ecology aspects gave room for more discoveries, for example we found seed stores on the site, meaning that possibly voles or shrew have collected the seeds for storage. This has never been reported before.

Tell us about your bluebell conservation efforts and how your research can help.

We are hoping to show that bluebell seeds can be a source of fine chemicals. We obtain an oil of unusual composition from the seeds. The residue contains iminosugars, which may be of use in future medicines. I am hoping that the compounds isolated from bluebell seeds will be of commercial value, which in turn means that the conservation of bluebells pays for itself. We are hoping to paint the mountains and woodlands blue again.

You’re involved with projects called BEACON and PROBECO. What are these and what is your role in both projects?

BEACON is all about biorefining, obtaining different compounds from the same plant feedstock. There are different feedstocks investigated in BEACON ranging from perennial rye grass to ivy. My role is to analyse whole plant composition and organise the ’ Plants as Providers of Fine Chemicals ’  conference. The PROBECO project was about the influence of monoterpenes on ecosystem processes in Caledonian Scots pine forests. These are very rare ecosystems. Individual pine trees smell different and the forest served as a study site to investigate the role of specific monoterpenes. I was the scientist analysing the smell of thousands of pine trees and we came up with the chemodiversity hypothesis.

In 2007, you worked with Welsh company Used Tyre Distillation Research to produce novel products from used tyres, in particular oil for fuelling cars. What was your role in the research? I read that your car was used to test the fuel. What was the result?

Again my role was to analyse the products. The oil was a complex mixture and we did see some interesting compounds in it. The tyre oil was noticeably energy dense, giving faster acceleration to the car, which has survived the experiment well!

In 2008, you had an odd request to analyse what was thought to be whale vomit (ambergris) on a North Wales beach. Why is whale vomit so important and what did you find?

I’ve had a few requests for the analysis of beach finds. Ambergris is sought after in the perfume industry, but we have yet to get our hands on some. Most samples were waxes or plastic, which possibly fell overboard, just aged in the sea.

What other odd things have you been asked to analyse?

Another nice in-house example for analysis was to trace a smell in the corridor back to its origin: we sampled air in the corridor outside my office and the terrible smell was found to be due to demolition work going on next door. If it stinks don’t automatically blame the chemists!

What do you do in your spare time?

I love gardening, farming and generally just being outdoors. I am an amateur bee keeper and enjoy spending time with my family.

Read the original article at Chemistry World, or Vera’s recent paper in the journal RSC Advances:

Triacylglycerol composition of British bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) seed oil
Vera Thoss, P J Murphy, Ray John Marriott and Thomas Wilson
DOI: 10.1039/C2RA20090B

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Top ten most accessed articles in February

This month sees the following articles in the Journal of Environmental Monitoring that are in the top ten most accessed:

Quantitation of persistent organic pollutants adsorbed on plastic debris from the Northern Pacific Gyre’s “eastern garbage patch”
Lorena M. Rios, Patrick R. Jones, Charles Moore and Urja V. Narayan
J. Environ. Monit., 2010, 12, 2226-2236
DOI: 10.1039/C0EM00239A

Elevated antimony concentrations in commercial juices
Claus Hansen, Alexandra Tsirigotaki, Søren Alex Bak, Spiros A. Pergantis, Stefan Stürup, Bente Gammelgaard and Helle Rüsz Hansen
J. Environ. Monit., 2010, 12, 822-824
DOI: 10.1039/B926551A

Impact of agglomeration and different dispersions of titanium dioxide nanoparticles on the human related in vitro cytotoxicity and genotoxicity
Zuzana Magdolenova, Dagmar Bilaničová, Giulio Pojana, Lise M Fjellsbø, Alexandra Hudecova, Katarina Hasplova, Antonio Marcomini and Maria Dusinska
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 455-464
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10746E

Bioaerosol exposure assessment in the workplace: the past, present and recent advances
Wijnand Eduard, Dick Heederik, Caroline Duchaine and Brett James Green
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 334-339
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10717A

The devil is in the details (or the surface): impact of surface structure and surface energetics on understanding the behavior of nanomaterials in the environment
Imali A. Mudunkotuwa and Vicki H. Grassian
J. Environ. Monit., 2011, 13, 1135-1144
DOI: 10.1039/C1EM00002K

Pharmaceuticals and personal care products in effluent matrices: A survey of transformation and removal during wastewater treatment and implications for wastewater management
Rebekah L. Oulton, Tamar Kohn and David M. Cwiertny
J. Environ. Monit., 2010, 12, 1956-1978
DOI: 10.1039/C0EM00068J

The release of engineered nanomaterials to the environment
Fadri Gottschalk and Bernd Nowack
J. Environ. Monit., 2011, 13, 1145-1155
DOI: 10.1039/C0EM00547A

The antibacterial effects of engineered nanomaterials: implications for wastewater treatment plants
Ndeke Musee, Melusi Thwala and Nomakhwezi Nota
J. Environ. Monit., 2011, 13, 1164-1183
DOI: 10.1039/C1EM10023H

Comparison of DNA extraction methodologies used for assessing fungal diversity via ITS sequencing
William R. Rittenour, Ju-Hyeong Park, Jean M. Cox-Ganser, Donald H. Beezhold and Brett J. Green
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 766-774
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10779A

Biological monitoring versus air monitoring strategies in assessing environmental–occupational exposure
Marek Jakubowski
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 348-352
DOI: 10.1039/C1EM10706B

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Latest hot articles in JEM on urban stormwater sampling and characterising titanium dioxide nanoparticles

C2EM10999A graphical abstractWilliam Selbig, Amanda Cox and Roger Bannerman discuss the development of a new water sample collection system, to improve representation of solids entrained in urban stormwater by integrating water-quality samples from the entire water column, rather than a single, fixed point. They report that development of this new depth-integrated sample arm (DISA) was able to mitigate stratification bias resulting in a more accurate representation of stormwater-borne solids than traditional fixed-point sample collection methods.

Verification of a depth-integrated sample arm as a means to reduce solids stratification bias in urban stormwater sampling
William R. Selbig, Amanda Cox and Roger T. Bannerman
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10999A

C2EM10809G graphical abstractBojeong Kim and colleagues from Virginia Tech and Duke University have investigated the characterization and environmental implications of nano- and larger TiO2 particles in sewage sludge and soils amended with sewage. They examined the most likely route of engineered TiO2 particles entering the soil environment by using analytical electron microscopic techniques, and provided detailed information regarding their occurrence, fate and behaviour in the sewage sludge materials and in mesocosm soils that had been amended with biosolid products.

Characterization and environmental implications of nano- and larger TiO2 particles in sewage sludge, and soils amended with sewage sludge
Bojeong Kim, Mitsuhiro Murayama, Benjamin P. Colman and Michael F. Hochella
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10809G

All our hot articles are free to access for four weeks following a simple registration for individual users.

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Top ten most accessed articles in January

This month sees the following articles in the Journal of Environmental Monitoring that are in the top ten most accessed:

Elevated antimony concentrations in commercial juices
Claus Hansen, Alexandra Tsirigotaki, Søren Alex Bak, Spiros A. Pergantis, Stefan Stürup, Bente Gammelgaard and Helle Rüsz Hansen
J. Environ. Monit., 2010, 12, 822-824
DOI: 10.1039/B926551A

Neglected sources of pharmaceuticals in river water—footprints of a Reggae festival
Atlasi Daneshvar, Jesper Svanfelt, Leif Kronberg and Gesa A. Weyhenmeyer
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 596-603
DOI: 10.1039/C1EM10551E

The release of engineered nanomaterials to the environment
Fadri Gottschalk and Bernd Nowack
J. Environ. Monit., 2011, 13, 1145-1155
DOI: 10.1039/C0EM00547A

The antibacterial effects of engineered nanomaterials: implications for wastewater treatment plants
Ndeke Musee, Melusi Thwala and Nomakhwezi Nota
J. Environ. Monit., 2011, 13, 1164-1183
DOI: 10.1039/C1EM10023H

Comparison of DNA extraction methodologies used for assessing fungal diversity via ITS sequencing
William R. Rittenour, Ju-Hyeong Park, Jean M. Cox-Ganser, Donald H. Beezhold and Brett J. Green
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 766-774
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10779A

Quantitation of persistent organic pollutants adsorbed on plastic debris from the Northern Pacific Gyre’s “eastern garbage patch”
Lorena M. Rios, Patrick R. Jones, Charles Moore and Urja V. Narayan
J. Environ. Monit., 2010, 12, 2226-2236
DOI: 10.1039/C0EM00239A

Bioaerosol exposure assessment in the workplace: the past, present and recent advances
Wijnand Eduard, Dick Heederik, Caroline Duchaine and Brett James Green
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 334-339
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10717A

Metal immobilization and phosphorus leaching after stabilization of pyrite ash contaminated soil by phosphate amendments
Marija Zupančič, Simona Lavrič and Peter Bukovec
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 704-710
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10798H

Contamination of Canadian and European bottled waters with antimony from PET containers
William Shotyk, Michael Krachler and Bin Chen
J. Environ. Monit., 2006, 8, 288-292
DOI: 10.1039/B517844B

Temporal trend of mercury in polar bears (Ursus maritimus) from Svalbard using teeth as a biomonitoring tissue
Aurore Aubail, Rune Dietz, Frank Rigét, Christian Sonne, Øystein Wiig and Florence Caurant
J. Environ. Monit., 2012, 14, 56-63
DOI: 10.1039/C1EM10681C

Why not take a look at the articles today and blog your thoughts and comments below.

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Issue 3 of JEM just published

Issue 3 front coverOn the outside front cover of JEM Issue 3 is a HOT article from William Cullen et al. reporting on the arsenic speciation in freshwater snails from Pender Island and Vancouver Island in Canada. Little is currently known about arsenic speciation and its life cycle variation in freshwater snails, which are an important food source for many creatures including fish and birds, and are occasionally consumed by humans.

Arsenic speciation in freshwater snails and its life cycle variation
Vivian W.-M. Lai, Katerina Kanaki, Spiros A. Pergantis, William R. Cullen and Kenneth J. Reimer
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10764C

Issue 3 inside front coverOn the inside front cover is a HOT article from Alexandra Steffen and colleagues from Environment Canada and the National Atmospheric Deposition Program (NADP) at the University of Illinois, reporting on a comparison of their data quality control protocols for the measurement of atmospheric mercury species. The protocols RDMQ™ and AMQC were developed independently by Environment Canada and the NADP respectively, and have been assessed by the criteria on which the data is quality controlled and comparability of the final data products.

A comparison of data quality control protocols for atmospheric mercury speciation measurements
Alexandra Steffen, Tina Scherz, Mark Olson, David Gay and Pierrette Blanchard
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10735J

This issue also features the following HOT articles:

Exposure assessment of tetrafluoroethylene and ammonium perfluorooctanoate 1951–2002
Anne Sleeuwenhoek and John W. Cherrie
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10930A

Comparison of DNA extraction methodologies used for assessing fungal diversity via ITS sequencing
William R. Rittenour , Ju-Hyeong Park , Jean M. Cox-Ganser , Donald H. Beezhold and Brett J. Green
DOI: 10.1039/C2EM10779A

Read the rest of Issue 3 here

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EPA sets safe dioxin level

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released its non-cancer science assessment for dioxins after nearly three decades of delays – to a mixture of responses from stakeholders. This report establishes for the first time a reference dose for dioxin exposure in the US, which could be used for regulation.

The EPA has set its threshold for safe dioxin exposure at a toxicity equivalence (TEQ) of 0.7 picograms per kilogram of body weight per day. That limit could result in tougher cleanup standards for hazardous waste sites, and more stringent limits on the amount of dioxins permitted in drinking water as well as the air.

Piglets

In several international incidents, dioxins have accumulated in pork products via animal feed

The non-cancer risk of exposure to dioxins – toxic chemicals that occur naturally in the environment but can also be released through forest fires, burning your trash in the backyard and certain industrial activities-was last reviewed in the US in the 1980s.

‘Today’s findings show that generally, over a person’s lifetime, current exposure to dioxins does not pose a significant health risk,’ the EPA said. Its actions to reduce emissions from all of the major industrial sources of dioxins, combined with the efforts of state governments and industry, have decreased known and measurable air emissions of dioxins in the US by 90% from 1987 levels, it added.

Although the agency concluded that most Americans have low-level exposure to dioxins, it noted that non-cancer effects of exposure to large amounts of dioxin include developmental and reproductive effects, immune system damage, hormone interference, skin disorders and possibly mild liver damage.

While many in the research and environmental communities praised EPA for finally releasing this crucial part of its dioxin reassessment, the chemical industry was less welcoming. The American Chemistry Council (ACC) called the agency’s final assessment ’scientifically flawed,’ and insisted that it ‘provides no defined public health benefit.’ The organisation further stated that it remains unclear why EPA would set a dioxin exposure level that is three times more stringent than other countries and the World Health Organisation (WHO) when the agency contends that current levels of dioxin do not pose a health concern.

‘We are concerned that their flawed reassessment has led to an overly restrictive standard, and it is going to cause problems down the road because it will be referenced for regulatory action,’ ACC spokesperson Scott Jensen tells Chemistry World.

Judging WHO?

But others such as Stephen Lester, science director for the non-profit Center for Health Environment & Justice in Washington, DC, point out that the WHO has set a dioxin exposure level of 1-4 picograms per kilogram of body weight per day, which is not remarkably different from the EPA level. In addition, Lester notes that the WHO developed its standard in 1998, and a great deal of science has moved forward since that time. He says the EPA dioxin reference dose is based on more recent data.

‘This is another example of how industry will never be happy with what the EPA has done, and this is why it has been delayed by 30 years,’ Lester states.

Arnold Schecter, a professor of environmental and occupational health sciences at the University of Texas in Dallas, agrees that there was very strong opposition from the chemical industry to the EPA dioxin reassessment for decades. ‘That slowed things down repeatedly,’ he says.

But even supporters of the dioxin reassessment, like Lester and Schecter, express concern that the agency has failed to address the increased vulnerability to dioxin exposure of the unborn, as well as breast-feeding infants and adults with immune system problems.

They emphasise that sensitivity varies across the population, and fetuses and nursing children are at greater risk because their organs are still forming. Breastfed infants in particular receive a very large dose of dioxins in the fatty part of the mother’s milk, they argue.

Regarding the concerns of industry and others, the EPA says it is confident. ‘EPA’s dioxin assessment was extensively peer reviewed by outside experts,’ the agency tells Chemistry World. ‘This rigorously peer-reviewed non-cancer assessment updates the science and provides important new information to the public.’

The agency is expected to release the rest of its science assessment for dioxins later this year.

Read the original Chemistry World article here

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