Monthly Archives: September 2013

Do the math on ocean heat content…negligible impact.

Claims are made routinely that the “missing heat” is not missing at all, but is held in the deep ocean. Of course, there is no explanation provided how this occurs, nor what it means for surface temperatures and climate. And what about the deep ocean heat generated from undersea volcanoes and fissures? That has never been addressed.

Click here for a good explanation on this issue by Lumo.

But I have THE REAL explanation for the missing heat. Remember, you read it hear first.

The missing heat is magically converted, by an unknown force, using unknown means, following an unknown mechanism, into what physicists call “Dark Matter”. (Or let’s just say it is converted by “evolution” into Dark Matter.) Dark Matter is invisible and cannot be measured or observed, until now. In fact, we have some at our house, in the corner where my teenage son plays his video games. 

Ta daaaa. Missing heat problem solved!    happy bouncing smilie

Evaluation of the carcinogenicity of inorganic arsenic

We’ve known for several decades now that epidemiology cannot determine with any degree of certainty the cancer risk to inorganic arsenic exposures below about 100 ug/L in drinking water. Yet, EPA and others continue to contend that the sky is falling if inorganic arsenic is above 10 ug/L, and even a lower MCL is needed. EPA’s contention is silly.

Cohen SM, Arnold LL, Beck BD, Lewis AS, Eldan M. Evaluation of the carcinogenicity of inorganic arsenic. Crit Rev Toxicol. 2013 Oct;43(9):711-52. doi: 10.3109/10408444.2013.827152.

Inorganic arsenic (iAs) at high exposures is a human carcinogen, affecting mainly the urinary bladder, lung and skin. We present an assessment of the mode of action (MOA) of iAs’s carcinogenicity based on the United States Environmental Protection Agency/International Programme on Chemical Safety (USEPA/IPCS) framework, focusing primarily on bladder cancer. Evidence is presented for a MOA involving formation of reactive trivalent metabolites interacting with critical cellular sulfhydryl groups, leading to cytotoxicity and regenerative cell proliferation. Metabolism, kinetics, cell transport, and reaction with specific proteins play a critical role in producing the effects at the cellular level, regardless of cell type, whether urothelium, lung epithelium or epidermis. The cytotoxicity induced by iAs results in non-cancer toxicities, and the regenerative cell proliferation enhances development of epithelial cancers. In other tissues, such as vascular endothelium, different toxicities develop, not cancer. Evidence supporting this MOA comes from in vitro investigations on animal and human cells, from animal models, and from epidemiological studies. This MOA implies a non-linear, threshold dose-response relationship for both non-cancer and cancer end points. The no effect levels in animal models (approximately 1 ppm of water or diet) and in vitro (>0.1 µM trivalent arsenicals) are strikingly consistent. Cancer effects of iAs in humans generally are not observed below exposures of 100-150 ppb in drinking water: below these exposures, human urine concentrations of trivalent metabolites are generally below 0.1 µM, a concentration not associated with bladder cell cytotoxicity in in vitro or animal models. Environmental exposures to iAs in most of the United States do not approach this threshold.

Click here to obtain the full study when it becomes available.

Natural oscillations correlate with solar wind speed

Limin Zhoua, Brian Tinsley, Jing Huanga. Effects on winter circulation of short and long term solar wind changes. Advances in Space Research, 2013.

Indices of the North Atlantic Oscillation and the Arctic Oscillation show correlations on the day-to-day timescale with the solar wind speed (SWS). Minima in the indices were found on days of SWS minima during years of high stratospheric aerosol loading. The spatial distribution of surface pressure changes during 1963-2011 with day-to-day changes in SWS shows a pattern resembling the NAO. Such a pattern was noted for year-to-year variations by Boberg and Lundstedt (2002), who compared NAO variations with the geo-effective solar wind electric field (the monthly average SWS multiplied by the average southward component, i.e., negative Bz component, of the interplanetary magnetic field). The spatial distribution of the correlations of geopotential height changes in the troposphere and stratosphere with the SWS; the geoeffective electric field (SWS∗Bz); and the solar 10.7 cm flux suggests that solar wind inputs connected to the troposphere via the global electric circuit, together with solar ultraviolet irradiance acting on the stratosphere, affect regional atmospheric dynamics.

Click here for full paper (fee).

Toxic effects of Microcystins in potable surface water

Roegner AF, Brena B, González-Sapienza G, Puschner B. Microcystins in potable surface waters: toxic effects and removal strategies. J Appl Toxicol. 2013 Sep 5. doi: 10.1002/jat.2920.

In freshwater, harmful cyanobacterial blooms threaten to increase with global climate change and eutrophication of surface waters. In addition to the burden and necessity of removal of algal material during water treatment processes, bloom-forming cyanobacteria can produce a class of remarkably stable toxins, microcystins, difficult to remove from drinking water sources. A number of animal intoxications over the past 20 years have served as sentinels for widespread risk presented by microcystins. Cyanobacterial blooms have the potential to threaten severely both public health and the regional economy of affected communities, particularly those with limited infrastructure or resources. Our main objectives were to assess whether existing water treatment infrastructure provides sufficient protection against microcystin exposure, identify available options feasible to implement in resource-limited communities in bloom scenarios and to identify strategies for improved solutions. Finally, interventions at the watershed level aimed at bloom prevention and risk reduction for entry into potable water sources were outlined. We evaluated primary studies, reviews and reports for treatment options for microcystins in surface waters, potable water sources and treatment plants. Because of the difficulty of removal of microcystins, prevention is ideal; once in the public water supply, the coarse removal of cyanobacterial cells combined with secondary carbon filtration of dissolved toxins currently provides the greatest potential for protection of public health. Options for point of use filtration must be optimized to provide affordable and adequate protection for affected communities.

Click here for full article (fee).

Toxicological Profile for Radon

Toxicological Profile for Radon. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (US);Atlanta (GA), 2012 May.

This public health statement tells you about radon and the effects of exposure to it. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) identifies the most serious hazardous waste sites in the nation. These sites are then placed on the National Priorities List (NPL) and are targeted for long-term federal clean-up activities. The presence of radon at any site could be a consequence of its natural occurrence in the environment; its production from substances in anthropogenic hazardous waste; or both. These sites may be sources of exposure and exposure to this substance may be harmful. When a substance is released from a large area, such as an industrial plant, or from a container, such as a drum or bottle, it enters the environment. This release does not always lead to exposure. You are exposed to a substance when you come in contact with it. You may be exposed by breathing, eating, or drinking the substance, or by skin contact. External exposure to radiation may occur from natural or man-made sources. Radon is a naturally-occurring radioactive gas that changes into other radioactive substances, called progeny. Since radon and its progeny are present together in rock, soil, water, air, and construction materials, you will be exposed to the low-level radiation they give off just by being near them. Naturally occurring sources of radiation include radon and other radioactive elements in air, water, soil, or building materials, as well as cosmic radiation from space. Man-made radioactive materials are found in consumer products, industrial equipment, nuclear medicine patients, and to a smaller extent from atomic bomb fallout, hospital waste, and nuclear reactors. The results of the 1992 EPA National Residential Radon Survey estimated that 1 in 15 homes had an elevated radon level (i.e., a level at or above the EPA action level of 4 picocuries per liter of air). At the time, an estimated 5.8 million homes had an elevated radon level. The source of radon in homes is from naturally occurring (geologic) sources. When you are exposed to radon many factors will determine whether you will be harmed. These factors include the dose (how much), the duration (how long), and how you come in contact with it. You must also consider any other chemicals you are exposed to and your age, sex, diet, family traits, lifestyle, and state of health.

Click here for the full document (Open Source).

Bacterial contamination of drinking water in Nepal

Rai SK, Ono K, Yanagida JI, Ishiyama-Imura S, Kurokawa M, Rai CK. A large-scale study of bacterial contamination of drinking water and its public health impact in Nepal. Nepal Med Coll J. 2012 Sep;14(3):234-40.

Bacterial contamination of drinking water is a major public health in Nepal. A large scale study on contamination of drinking water was done covering all three ecological belts (mountain, hill and Terai) in all five (eastern, central, western, mid-western and far-western) development regions of Nepal during 2009-2011. Of the total 506 water samples studied, one-forth (25.1%; 127/506) were visually turbid. Bacteriologically, 88.5% (448/506) samples were positive for total coliform (TC) whereas 56.5% (286/506) were positive for fecal coliform (FC) (Esch. coli). The TC positive rate ranged from 53.8% in Damak (Jhapa) to 100.0% in different districts. The FC positive rate varied more widely ranging from 10.0% in Bharatpur City (Chitawan) to 100.0% in Baglung Township (Baglung) with over 50.0% in most of the districts (over 75.0% in eight districts). Both TC and FC positive rate were highest in Far-western Development Region (DR). High TC positive rate (96.7%) in Far-western DR was followed by Western DR (93.9%), Eastern DR (89.2%), Central DR (87.0%) and Mid-western DR (74.6%). Highest FC positive rate (65.5%) in Far-western DR was followed by Med-western DR (63.5%), Western DR (55.9%), Central DR (53.2%) and Eastern DR (52.0%). TC positive was highest (90.7%) in hills followed by mountain (89.7%) and Terai (plain) (84.1%) belt. In contrast, FC positive rate was highest (66.2%) in mountain, followed by hills (58.0%) and Terai (49.7%). Of the total 506, 335 were piped tap water, 129 were boring water, 16 natural tap (spout), 16 were well (sallow/deep well) and 10 were mineral/uroguard treated water. TC positive rate was very high (81.2% to 100.0%) in different type water samples (piped tap: 90.1%; boring water: 85.2%; natural spout/tap: 81.2%; well water 100.0% and mineral water/uroguard treated water: 80.0%). FC positive rate ranged from 0.0% in mineral water/uroguard treated water to 93.7% in well water samples. These findings are of serious public health concern with regard to both endemicity and outbreak of waterborne diseases in the country.

Click here to find the study when available.