Tag Archives | Pollution

Mercury ‘Turns’ Wetland Birds Homosexual

American White Ibis. Photo: Terry Foote (CC)

American White Ibis. Photo: Terry Foote (CC)

Victoria Gill reports for the  BBC:

Mercury affects the behaviour of white ibises by “turning them homosexual”, with higher doses resulting in males being more likely to pair with males.

Scientists in Florida and Sri Lanka studied the effect of mercury in the birds’ diet. Their aim was to find out why it reduced the ibises’ breeding.

Mercury pollution can come from burning coal and waste, and run-off from mines.

The report, in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, shows that wetland birds are particularly badly affected by it.

Although the researchers already knew that eating mercury-contaminated food could affect an animal’s development, they were surprised by the “strange” results of this experiment.

“We knew mercury could depress their testosterone (male sex hormone) levels,” explained Dr Peter Frederick from the University of Florida, who led the study. “But we didn’t expect this.”

Read more here.… Read the rest

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Scientists Suggest That Cancer Is A Man-Made Disease

Source: Joshua Sherurcij (CC)

Source: Joshua Sherurcij (CC)

Basing their findings on research conducted at the University of Manchester’s KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology, professors Rosalie David and visiting Villanova professor Michael Zimmerman assert:

“In an ancient society lacking surgical intervention, evidence of cancer should remain in all cases. The virtual absence of malignancies in mummies must be interpreted as indicating their rarity in antiquity, indicating that cancer causing factors are limited to societies affected by modern industrialization”.

You can read more here

Moving from prehistory to modern times utilizing literary and mummified remains, there is little occurrence or reference to cancer, until the 17th century, where the team found the first reports in scientific literature of operations for breast and other types of cancer.

It has been suggested that the short life span of individuals in antiquity precluded the development of cancer. Although this statistical construct is true, individuals in ancient Egypt and Greece did live long enough to develop such diseases as atherosclerosis, Paget’s disease of bone, and osteoporosis, and, in modern populations, bone tumors primarily affect the young.… Read the rest

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James Cameron To Fund Legal Action Over Canadian Oil Sands

The Vancouver Sun reports that Hollywood luminary-cum-Earth savior James Cameron has committed financial support to aboriginals for legal action against the Canadian federal and regional governments for oil sands pollution in Alberta:

Canadian-born director James Cameron agreed Tuesday to help aboriginal communities with legal action against the Alberta and federal governments to stop water-borne pollution from the oilsands.

The director, famous for movies such as Avatar and Titanic, met with community leaders and residents in Fort Chipewyan. The small town of 1,200 has been complaining for years about unusual rates of cancer and other illnesses among residents. The majority believe the disease is caused by air and water pollution from oilsands development, which they say also contaminates the wild foods they eat…

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BP May Drill In Same Undersea Oil Pocket Again

Really?! What about learning from our mistakes? What about waiting to see if the plug actually holds? How about cleaning up the mess before making a new one? RawStory reports:

BP PLC said Friday it might someday drill again into the same lucrative undersea pocket of oil that spilled millions of gallons of crude, wrecked livelihoods and fouled beaches along the Gulf of Mexico.

“There’s lots of oil and gas here,” Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said at a news briefing. “We’re going to have to think about what to do with that at some point.”

The vast oil reservoir beneath the blown well is still believed to hold nearly $4 billion worth of crude. With the company and its partners facing tens of billions of dollars in liabilities, the incentive to exploit the wells and the reservoir could grow.

Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the government’s point man on the spill, said he had no information on BP’s future plans.

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250,000 Oil Spills in U.S. Waters, 1971-2000

Oil BirdFrom Care2:

A document produced by the U.S. Coast guard is titled, “Pollution Incidents In and Around US Water, A Spill Release Compendium, 1969-2000“.

Their document states between 1971 and 2000, the U.S. Coast Guard identified more than 250,000 oil spills in U.S. waters. The total amount of oil spilled by these incidents was 6.18 million barrels, or 259,560,000 gallons (a barrel is 42 gallons according to the same document).

One of the fascinating statements from the report: “The number of spills increased in the last decade due to better reporting of spills less than 100 gallons.” The truth though, is the number of spills did not increase so much as the number of spills reported increased. In other words, because of the improvements in reporting, more spills were documented. However, this fact also implies there were probably even more spills occurring in the previous period, but they simply were not documented, because the better reporting process was not in place to catch them.

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Whistleblower: BP Risks More Massive Catastrophes in Gulf

This whistle-blower’s report for Truthout ads new dimensions to the recent oil spills in the Gulf:

From Wikimedia Commons

From Wikimedia Commons

British Petroleum (BP) has knowingly broken federal laws and violated its own internal procedures by failing to maintain crucial safety and engineering documents related to one of the firms other deepwater production projects in the Gulf of Mexico, a former contractor who worked for the oil behemoth claimed in internal emails llast year and other documents obtained by Truthout.

The whistleblower, whose name has been withheld at the person’s request because the whistleblower still works in the oil industry and fears retaliation, first raised concerns about safety issues related to BP Atlantis, the world’s largest and deepest semi-submersible oil and natural gas platform, located about 200 miles south of New Orleans, in November 2008. Atlantis, which began production in October 2007, has the capacity to produce about 8.4 million gallons of oil and 180 million cubic feet of natural gas per day.

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Washington, D.C.’s Potomac River Is So Polluted That Fish Change Sex (What About Our Politicians?)

90 percent of the drinking water in Washington, D.C. comes from this river, seems like an issue the politicians there themselves would want to address. Suzanne Goldenberg writes in the Guardian:
Three Eyed Fish

More than 80% of the male bass fish in Washington’s major river are now exhibiting female traits such as egg production because of a “toxic stew” of pollutants, scientists and campaigners reported yesterday.

Intersex fish probably result from drugs, such as the contraceptive pill, and other chemicals being flushed into the water and have been found right across the US.

The Potomac Conservancy, which focuses on Washington DC’s river, called for new research to determine what was causing male smallmouth bass to carry immature eggs in their testes. “We have not been able to identify one particular chemical or one particular source,” said Vicki Blazer, a fish biologist with the US geological survey. “We are still trying to get a handle on what chemicals are important.”

But she said early evidence pointed to a mix of chemicals — commonly used at home as well as those used in large-scale farming operations — causing the deformities.

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Asian Monsoon Spreads Pollution

From CBC News:

Air pollution from Asia, India and Indonesia is transported into the global stratosphere by the summer monsoon season, a study using a Canadian satellite has found.
This map shows concentration of hydrogen cyanide (red is highest, blue is lowest) at an altitude of 16.5 kilometres, measured by the SCISAT-1 satellite during the summer from 2004 to 2009. Arrows show horizontal winds at this level and the circulation associated with the Asian monsoon.

The map shows concentration of hydrogen cyanide (red is highest, blue is lowest) at an altitude of 16.5 kilometres, measured by the SCISAT-1 satellite during the summer from 2004 to 2009. Arrows show horizontal winds at this level and the circulation associated with the Asian monsoon. (Science/AAAS)

Researchers tracked the movement of hydrogen cyanide in the atmosphere using satellites and found the monsoon is an effective way for pollution from Asia to circulate around the world.

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World’s Top Firms Cause $2.2 Trillion of Environmental Damage

From the Guardian:

Report for the UN into the activities of the world’s 3,000 biggest companies estimates one-third of profits would be lost if firms were forced to pay for use, loss and damage of environment.

Jakarta

The cost of pollution and other damage to the natural environment caused by the world’s biggest companies would wipe out more than one-third of their profits if they were held financially accountable, a major unpublished study for the United Nations has found.

The report comes amid growing concern that no one is made to pay for most of the use, loss and damage of the environment, which is reaching crisis proportions in the form of pollution and the rapid loss of freshwater, fisheries and fertile soils.

Later this year, another huge UN study – dubbed the “Stern for nature” after the influential report on the economics of climate change by Sir Nicholas Stern – will attempt to put a price on such global environmental damage, and suggest ways to prevent it.

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Flush It All Away

The Flush

The Flush

‘The problem of pollution has to a certain extent crept up on us while we sleep-walked, being that most historical waste was readily degraded by nature, unfortunately modern pollutions are not always so easily disposed of. In the last hundred years or so, with advancements in science and technology, we have seen the appearance of plastics and other petrochemical derivatives, complex novel chemistries previously unknown to the biosphere. Some of these chemistries have been released into the ecosystem of Earth with very little cognisance of their consequence, caution was not erred. The environment however is not a laboratory and unexpected or unintended consequences are still consequences. Some familiar examples include PCB’s and DDT and the endocrine disruptors of more recent renown.’

Original Article at Decontaminated ContinuumRead the rest

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