Daily Archives: August 5, 2013

Contiguous United States Mean Surface Temperatures – Where is the hockey stick?

I use computers and computer models routinely. But no matter how sophisticated, an atmospheric computer model cannot tell us new “information” about the physics and dynamic behavior of the climate system. Why? Because one physical system (electrons in a computer) will simply not behave in the same way as an actual physical system of oxygen, nitrogen, and CO2 molecules, radiation, particulate matter, and water vapor and a host of other trace elements. (Oh yes, I do understand how physical systems are represented by computer codes and the math involved.) Models may be very useful in understanding a phenomenon and factors that may be important, but they are only representations (descriptions) of what occurs and certainly are not definitive for future predictions.

Let’s begin with a simple thought exercise. Plotting the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Data for the Contiguous United States yields the graph below. This represents the best surface temperature data available today (so it is claimed). Keep in mind that during this period, the atmospheric CO2 level has increased. What is the connection between the two? I do not see a hockey stick, nor any hint of a connection between CO2 and surface temperature measurements. (Yes, I know the rebuttal of the modellers, but for the sake of discussion, I’d like to hear from them.)

Contiguous US Mean Surface Temperature

The increase in atmospheric CO2 is thus:

We know there are several factors that affect climate, atmospheric CO2 concentration being a small influence. But do CO2 levels significantly affect surface temperatures as experienced? Looking at the above, what do you think?

Should publicly-funded scientists be allowed to keep their work secret?

A good question. They should not. This needs to change.

Click here for article.

Phthalate esters in Portugal drinking water

Santana J, Giraudi C, Marengo E, Robotti E, Pires S, Nunes I, Gaspar EM. Preliminary toxicological assessment of phthalate esters from drinking water consumed in Portugal. Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2013 Jul 31.

This paper reports, for the first time, the concentrations of selected phthalates in drinking water consumed in Portugal. The use of bottled water in Portugal has increased in recent years. The main material for bottles is polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Its plasticizer components can contaminate water by leaching, and several scientific studies have evidenced potential health risks of phthalates to humans of all ages. With water being one of the most essential elements to human health and because it is consumed by ingestion, the evaluation of drinking water quality, with respect to phthalate contents, is important. This study tested seven commercial brands of bottled water consumed in Portugal, six PET and one glass (the most consumed) bottled water. Furthermore, tap water from Lisbon and three small neighbor cities was analyzed. Phthalates (di-n-butyl phthalate ester (DnBP), bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate ester (DEHP), and di-i-butyl phthalate ester (DIBP)) in water samples were quantified (PET and glass) by means of direct immersion solid-phase microextraction and ionic liquid gas chromatography associated with flame ionization detection or mass spectrometry due to their high boiling points and water solubility. The method utilized in this study showed a linear range for target phthalates between 0.02 and 6.5 μg L-1, good precision and low limits of detection that were between 0.01 and 0.06 μg L-1, and quantitation between 0.04 and 0.19 μg L-1. Only three phthalates were detected in Portuguese drinking waters: dibutyl (DnBP), diisobutyl (DIBP), and di(ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP). Concentrations ranged between 0.06 and 6.5 μg L-1 for DnBP, between 0.02 and 0.16 μg L-1 for DEHP, and between 0.1 and 1.89 μg L-1 for DIBP. The concentration of DEHP was found to be up to five times higher in PET than in glass bottled water. Surprisingly, all the three phthalates were detected in glass bottled water with the amount of DnBP being higher (6.5 μg L-1) than in PET bottled water. These concentrations do not represent direct risk to human health. Regarding potable tap water, only DIBP and DEHP were detected. Two of the cities showed concentration of all three phthalates in their water below the limits of detection of the method. All the samples showed phthalate concentrations below 6 μg L-1, the maximum admissible concentration in water established by the US Environmental Protection Agency. The concentrations measured in Portuguese bottled waters do not represent any risk for adult’s health.

Click here for full paper (Open Source).

Androgenic activity in China source and drinking water

Hu X, Shi W, Wei S, Zhang X, Feng J, Hu G, Chen S, Giesy JP, Yu H. Occurrence and Potential Causes of Androgenic Activities in Source and Drinking Water in China. Environ Sci Technol. 2013 Jul 29.

The increased incidences of disorders of male reproductive tract as well as testicular and prostate cancers have been attributed to androgenic pollutants in the environment. Drinking water is one pathway of exposure through which humans can be exposed. In this study, both potencies of androgen receptor (AR) agonists and antagonists were determined in organic extracts of raw source water as well as finished water from waterworks, tap water, boiled water and poured boiled water in eastern China. Ten of thirteen samples of source water exhibited detectable AR antagonistic potencies with AR antagonist equivalents (Ant-AR-EQs) ranging from <15.3 (detection limit) to 140 μg flutamide/L. However, no AR agonistic activity was detected in any source water. All finished water from waterworks, tap water, boiled water and poured boiled water exhibited neither AR agonistic nor antagonistic activity. Although potential risks are posed by source water, water treatment processes effectively removed AR antagonists. Boiling and pouring of water further removed these pollutants. Phthalate esters (PAEs) including diisobutyl phthalate (DIBP) and dibutyl phthalate (DBP) were identified as major contributors to AR antagonistic potencies in source waters. Metabolites of PAEs exhibited no AR antagonistic activity and did not increase potencies of PAEs when they coexist.

Click here for full paper (fee).