Monthly Archives: December 2013

Cyanobacterial toxins

Sylvain Corbel, Christian Mougin, Noureddine Bouaïcha. Cyanobacterial toxins: Modes of actions, fate in aquatic and soil ecosystems, phytotoxicity and bioaccumulation in agricultural crops. Chemosphere, Volume 96, February 2014, Pages 1–15.

The occurrence of harmful cyanobacterial blooms in surface waters is often accompanied by the production of a variety of cyanotoxins. These toxins are designed to target in humans and animals specific organs on which they act: hepatotoxins (liver), neurotoxins (nervous system), cytotoxic alkaloids, and dermatotoxins (skin), but they often have important side effects too. When introduced into the soil ecosystem by spray irrigation of crops they may affect the same molecular pathways in plants having identical or similar target organs, tissues, cells or biomolecules. There are also several indications that terrestrial plants, including food crop plants, can bioaccumulate cyanotoxins and present, therefore, potential health hazards for human and animals. The number of publications concerned with phytotoxic effects of cyanotoxins on agricultural plants has increased recently. In this review, we first examine different cyanotoxins and their modes of actions in humans and mammals and occurrence of target biomolecules in vegetable organisms. Then we present environmental concentrations of cyanotoxins in freshwaters and their fate in aquatic and soil ecosystems. Finally, we highlight bioaccumulation of cyanotoxins in plants used for feed and food and its consequences on animals and human health. Overall, our review shows that the information on the effects of cyanotoxins on non-target organisms in the terrestrial environment is particularly scarce, and that there are still serious gaps in the knowledge about the fate in the soil ecosystems and phytotoxicity of these toxins.

Click here for full paper (fee).

SDWA strategy to stop fracking side-stepped by USEPA

The USEPA Inspector General (IG) has issued a new report saying the agency acted within its authority to issue and then later withdraw a Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) emergency order over reported contamination of drinking water wells in Texas by natural gas drilling. The agency will continue to monitor data that the drilling company Range Resources is collecting for the water wells at issue in Parker County, TX, which is the result of an agreement between EPA and the company to conduct quarterly water sampling after the agency scrapped the SDWA order.

USEPA considers the case closed. The agency IG believes “All recommendations are resolved with corrective actions underway.”

In response to a request from congressional representatives, the IG reviewed the agency’s process behind its initial 2010 investigation of alleged contamination in Parker County. The agency had issued an SDWA order to protect against “imminent and substantial endangerment” (ISE) to public health by requiring the company to monitor and clean up alleged releases of methane and other pollutants from its drilling. The order was scrapped in 2012.

Former EPA Region VI Administrator Al Armendariz approached oil and gas enforcement in this case to Roman conquests that would “crucify” victims. He resigned after these remarks.

The SDWA does not require USEPA to prove the cause of the contamination to act. If the state did not intend to take action to address the reported pollution then USEPA can act. USEPA did not violate SDWA in finding that water wells contained methane levels that presented explosion hazards and levels of benzene above USEPA’s regulatory limits. “The EPA met the legal burden required for Section 1431 when it issued the emergency order against Range Resources.” “Section 1431 does not expect the EPA to delay acting to address an ISE until it is certain of the source of the endangerment.”

The IG report below notes that laws and guidance do not address withdrawal of section 1431 emergency orders. The agency may exercise discretion in withdrawing the emergency order.

Range Resources agreed to sample when EPA agreed to dismiss the SDWA enforcement action, United States v. Range Production Company et al, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division. Monitoring will be conducted at 20 private drinking water wells in the area of operations for dissolved gases, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, nitrogen, so called BTEX compounds, methane and other contaminants to determine whether they are contaminated.

By taking this action, USEPA sidesteps a pending decision by the appellate court on whether provisions in SDWA allowing the agency to enforce emergency orders prior to court review violates the Constitution’s Due Process clause. The agency clearly wants to avoid an adverse ruling that would weaken their ability to enforce emergency orders.

This side-stepping action follows the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling in Sackett v. EPA finding the agency’s Clean Water Act compliance orders are judicially reviewable under the Administrative Procedure Act.

In a strategy change, USEPA has switched from using its SDWA authority to using its Superfund law authority to investigate contamination at fracking operations. For now, USEPA retains authority to take action in the future should circumstances change and the Railroad Commission fails to act as the lead state agency charged with overseeing oil- and gas-related activities in Texas.

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US Forest Service, BLM steal water rights


Historical Temperature Trends in Antarctica

Pages from antarctica_trends

Global warming strands Russian research ship in Antarctic ice

“The Snow Dragon icebreaker came within 7 miles of the Russian ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy, which has been stuck since Christmas Eve, but had to retreat after the ice became too thick, said expedition spokesman Alvin Stone.” click here

Karl Rove’s American Crossroads ‘thugs’ will waste $$millions more of donors money in Kentucky and elsewhere

Why would any donor support Karl Rove’s organization when it clearly has a corrupt anti-American citizen agenda? Tea Party or not, any thinking person of any degree of intelligence would see through his charade.

American Crossroads is focused like a laser on making Mr. Rove a lot of money while he continues to lose elections and snub American citizens.  (click here)


Drinking water aluminum has a very low bioavailability

Robert A. Yoke, Susan S. Rhineheimer, Russell D. Brauer, Pankaj Sharma, David Elmore, Patrick J. McNamara. Aluminum bioavailability from drinking water is very low and is not appreciably influenced by stomach contents or water hardness. Toxicology, Volume 161, Issues 1–2, 21 March 2001, Pages 93–101.

The objectives were to estimate aluminum (Al) oral bioavailability under conditions that model its consumption in drinking water, and to test the hypotheses that stomach contents and co-administration of the major components of hard water affect Al absorption. Rats received intragastric 26Al in the absence and presence of food in the stomach and with or without concomitant calcium (Ca) and magnesium (Mg) at concentrations found in hard drinking water. The use of 26Al enables the study of Al pharmacokinetics at physiological Al concentrations without interference from 27Al in the environment or the subject. 27Al was intravenously administered throughout the study. Repeated blood withdrawal enabled determination of oral26Al bioavailability from the area under its serum concentration×time curve compared to serum 27Al concentration in relation to its infusion rate. Oral Al bioavailability averaged 0.28%. The presence of food in the stomach and Ca and Mg in the water that contained the orally dosed 26Al appeared to delay but not significantly alter the extent of 26Al absorption. The present and published results suggest oral bioavailability of Al from drinking water is very low, about 0.3%. The present results suggest it is independent of stomach contents and water hardness.

Click here for full paper (fee).