There are a lot of claims on the internet regarding Fukushima. Some are wacky. This seems more balanced but only time will tell.
“Very low levels of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster likely will reach ocean waters along the U.S. West Coast next month, scientists are reporting.” click here
The word ”sustainability” has intentionally been associated with “renewable energy” and purposely so, in order to “sell” renewables to the general public. I have no particular objection to renewable energy in general.
But I do have objections to limiting the definition of “sustainable” to only renewables. For infrastructure and energy sources to be “sustainable”, they must satisfy 3 demands. First, a “sustainable” technology is one that is economically sustainable. It must be self-supporting economically, and so far no renewable energy completely satisfies this requirement. A look at the government subsidies above should give you a clue that these technologies cannot sustain themselves over the long haul.
Second, a “sustainable” technology must be one that is societally sustainable. (If the culture and society do not accept it, it will not be sustainable. Attempting to force acceptance via laws and regulations inevitably fails.)
Third, it must be environmentally sustainable. Assuming for the purposes of discussion that CO2 should be controlled, how much CO2 is produced during the manufacture and installation of a solar panel? Or a wind turbine? How many birds are killed by wind turbines? Or concentrating solar panels? What toxic substances are produced during the production of solar panels and wind turbines? These and many other question remain regarding the environmental sustain ability of renewable energies.
I suspect that by tying the idea of renewable energy to “sustainability” will doom renewable energy on a large scale. Walmart is looking for profit. Perhaps the investment in hydrogen fuel cells will pay off and perhaps it will not. Click here
AM Greenhagen, ME Lenczewski ME, M Carroll. Natural attenuation of pharmaceuticals and an illicit drug in a laboratory column experiment. Chemosphere. 2014 Mar 1. pii: S0045-6535(14)00081-2. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.01.015.
Trace amounts of pharmaceutical compounds have been detected in waters across the United States. Many compounds are released as the result of human ingestion and subsequent excretion of over-the-counter and prescription medications, and illicit drugs. This research utilized columns (30×30cm) of sand and undisturbed fine-grained sediments to simulate injection of wastewater containing pharmaceuticals and an illicit drug, such as would be found in a septic system, leaky sewer, or landfill. The columns were placed in a temperature-controlled laboratory and each was injected with natural groundwater containing known concentrations of caffeine, methamphetamine, and acetaminophen. Natural attenuation of each chemical was observed in all columns. The highest amount removed (approximately 90%) occurred in the undisturbed column injected with methamphetamine, compared with little reduction in the sand column. When the suite of drugs was injected, loss of methamphetamine was less than when methamphetamine was injected alone. The subsurface sediments exhibit the ability to remove a substantial amount of the injected pharmaceuticals and illicit drug; however, complete removal was not achieved. There was little attenuation of injected pharmaceuticals in the sand column which demonstrates a concern for water quality in the environment if pharmaceuticals were to contaminate a sandy aquifer. Understanding the transport of pharmaceuticals in the subsurface environment is an important component of protecting drinking water supplies from contamination.
Click here for full paper (fee).
I wonder if there are any other substances removed or introduced into the water by plant material. This evaluation only focuses on removal of certain pathogens. Further, it appears to be very cumbersome to prepare and use this material.
Boutilier MS, Lee J, Chambers V, Venkatesh V, Karnik R. Water filtration using plant xylem. PLoS One. 2014 Feb 26;9(2):e89934. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0089934.
Effective point-of-use devices for providing safe drinking water are urgently needed to reduce the global burden of waterborne disease. Here we show that plant xylem from the sapwood of coniferous trees – a readily available, inexpensive, biodegradable, and disposable material – can remove bacteria from water by simple pressure-driven filtration. Approximately 3 cm(3) of sapwood can filter water at the rate of several liters per day, sufficient to meet the clean drinking water needs of one person. The results demonstrate the potential of plant xylem to address the need for pathogen-free drinking water in developing countries and resource-limited settings.
Click here for full paper (Open Source).
We hear periodically about how certain businesses have “embraced” sustainability. “Sustainability” is a buzz word…..indeed, a philosophy of this world. And many large corporations and large municipalities have made it the primary focus of their corporate culture and have saved or made lot’s of money doing so. (And they are free to do this.)
In general, no one would be against the idea in principle. In the past, every aspect of sustainability was called something else. Indeed, none of it is new, except for the term is now tied directly to advocacy for alternative energy. “Sustainability” now only means alternative energy, even if only other forms of energy are sustainable and the alternative forms are not. Of course, when it comes to specifics of “what does sustainability really mean for decision-making” progress can sometimes be made with a honest exchange of ideas but more often than not abuse begins to occur.
Here is a classic example of abuse. Agree with Mr. Henrik Madsen on climate and live by his values or go work elsewhere.
Ok, if you disagree with him or do not want to follow ”values-de-jour” go work elsewhere. I am pro-choice on this matter. Employees always vote with their feet…..
Steele JL, Martinez-Mier EA, Sanders BJ, Jones JE, Jackson RD, Soto-Rojas AE, Tomlin AM, Eckert GJ. Fluoride content of infant foods. Gen Dent. 2014 Mar-Apr;62(2):72-4.
Excessive fluoride consumption during the first 2 years of life is associated with an increased risk of dental fluorosis. Estimates of fluoride intake from various sources may aid in determining a child’s risk for developing fluorosis. This study sought to assess the fluoride content of commercially available foods for infants, and to guide dentists who are advising parents of young children about fluoride intake. Three samples each of 20 different foods (including fruits and vegetables, as well as chicken, turkey, beef/ham, and vegetarian dinners) from 3 manufacturers were analyzed (in duplicate) for their fluoride content. Among the 360 samples tested, fluoride concentration ranged from 0.007-4.13 μg fluoride/g food. All foods tested had detectable amounts of fluoride. Chicken products had the highest mean levels of fluoride, followed by turkey products. Consuming >1 serving per day of the high fluoride concentration products in this study would place children over the recommended daily fluoride intake. Fluoride from infant foods should be taken into account when determining total daily fluoride intake.
Li J, Yu N, Zhang B, Jin L, Li M, Hu M, Zhang X, Wei S, Yu H. Occurrence of organophosphate flame retardants in drinking water from China. Water Res. 2014 Jan 23;54C:53-61. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2014.01.031.
Several organophosphate flame retardants (OPFRs) have been identified as known or suspected carcinogens or neurotoxic substances. Given the potential health risks of these compounds, we conducted a comprehensive survey of nine OPFRs in drinking water in China. We found total concentrations of OPFRs in tap water ranging from 85.1 ng/L to 325 ng/L, and tris(2-butoxyethyl) phosphate (TBEP), triphenyl phosphate (TPP), and tris(2-chloroisopropyl) phosphate (TCPP) were the most common components. Similar OPFR concentrations and profiles were observed in water samples processed through six different waterworks in Nanjing, China. However, boiling affected OPFR levels in drinking water by either increasing (e.g., TBEP) or decreasing (e.g., tributyl phosphate, TBP) concentrations depending on the particular compound and the state of the indoor environment. We also found that bottled water contained many of the same major OPFR compounds with concentrations 10-25% lower than those in tap water, although TBEP contamination in bottled water remained a concern. Finally, we concluded that the risk of ingesting OPFRs through drinking water was not a major health concern for either adults or children in China. Nevertheless, drinking water ingestion represents an important exposure pathway for OPFRs.
Click here for full paper (fee).