Daily Archives: September 22, 2014

Old Story Line Used to Alarm the Public on Pharmaceuticals, Personal Care Products

“Although the chemicals — the diabetic drug metformin, the acid reflux drug ranitidine, and the diuretic hydrochlorothiazide — ​are measured in nanograms per litre, and are extremely low, the levels detected have never been found before in North America.” click here for the full article

There are several statements in this article and implications that are simply incorrect. Perhaps the issue is new to these particular writers and researchers, an emerging concern in their own minds. Others are already way ahead of them working on this….

The subject of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in the environment and in drinking water has been the subject of research studies for many decades. Detection is not risk. The fact that something has been detected for the first time means nothing with regard to human health risk. Fish are not people, though some people are rather fishy.  Let’s just assume all PPCPs are there at some micro-level. This was known even before the 1970s and the current US environmental laws.

There have been many dozens of PPCPs detected in the environment. Beyond the three particular compounds mentioned, there is simply nothing new in the work reported in this article. It’s an old story line spun to cause alarm and grab attention and generate research funding. And the public has heard this before, many times. In true form, a Canadian study is used to scare American citizens.

Research is certainly needed. But all research questions need not be answered in order to develop and implement sound management practices. A lot has already happened in several areas. Public awareness of PPCPs emerged long ago….and is actually of no surprise except to people are new to the topic.

Where else would you expect PPCPs people use to go? And whether they have been detected or not many have been used for decades and have already been in the environment for quite some time.

Rural Well Fluoride in Morocco

El Jaoudi R, El Cadi MA, Bouslimane Y, Fekhaoui M, Bouklouze A, Cherrah Y. Fluoride content in well water in rural areas in Morocco. Odontostomatol Trop. 2014 Jun;37(146):42-8.[Article in French]

The aim of our study was to determine fluorides (F-) content in the well water consumed as drinking water by some Moroccan populations in rural areas. All samples were collected between April and October 2011. Measurements were performed by an ion selective electrode. Thirty wells spread to cover most of the country and locally chosen based on the number of inhabitants who consume its water. All wells were in rural areas. The mean (+/- SD) of F- was 1.84 +/- 1.6 mg/L with a range from 0.42 to 8.95 mg/L Concentrations of F- in phosphate regions were higher than those found in other regions. More than half of the samples exceeded the current standard. Our study showed that water of some Moroccan regions is naturally rich in F-exposing people who consume it at high risk of fluorosis.

Field-Portable Drinking Water Toxicity Sensor

Widder MW, Brennan LM, Hanft EA, Schrock ME, James RR, van der Schalie WH. Evaluation and refinement of a field-portable drinking water toxicity sensor utilizing electric cell-substrate impedance sensing and a fluidic biochip. J Appl Toxicol. 2014 Sep 18. doi: 10.1002/jat.3017.

The US Army’s need for a reliable and field-portable drinking water toxicity sensor was the catalyst for the development and evaluation of an electric cell-substrate impedance sensing (ECIS) device. Water testing technologies currently available to soldiers in the field are analyte-specific and have limited capabilities to detect broad-based water toxicity. The ECIS sensor described here uses rainbow trout gill epithelial cells seeded on fluidic biochips to measure changes in impedance for the detection of possible chemical contamination of drinking water supplies. Chemicals selected for testing were chosen as representatives of a broad spectrum of toxic industrial compounds. Results of a US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA)-sponsored evaluation of the field portable device were similar to previously published US Army testing results of a laboratory-based version of the same technology. Twelve of the 18 chemicals tested following USEPA Technology Testing and Evaluation Program procedures were detected by the ECIS sensor within 1 h at USEPA-derived human lethal concentrations. To simplify field-testing methods further, elimination of a procedural step that acclimated cells to serum-free media streamlined the test process with only a slight loss of chemical sensitivity. For field use, the ECIS sensor will be used in conjunction with an enzyme-based sensor that is responsive to carbamate and organophosphorus pesticides.

Click here for full paper (fee).

Warming of the Stratosphere can Affect the Lower Troposphere

Kodera, K., Funatsu, B. M., Claud, C., and Eguchi, N.: The role of convective overshooting clouds in tropical stratosphere–troposphere dynamical coupling, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 14, 23745-23761, doi:10.5194/acpd-14-23745-2014, 2014.

This paper investigates the role of deep convection and overshooting convective clouds in stratosphere–troposphere dynamical coupling in the tropics during two large major stratospheric sudden warming events in January 2009 and January 2010. During both events, convective activity and precipitation increased in the equatorial Southern Hemisphere as a result of a strengthening of the Brewer–Dobson circulation induced by enhanced stratospheric planetary wave activity. Correlation coefficients between variables related to the convective activity and the vertical velocity were calculated to identify the processes connecting stratospheric variability to the troposphere. Convective overshooting clouds showed a direct relationship to lower stratospheric upwelling at around 70–50 hPa. As the tropospheric circulation change lags behind that of the stratosphere, outgoing longwave radiation shows almost no simultaneous correlation with the stratospheric upwelling. This result suggests that the stratospheric circulation change first penetrates into the troposphere through the modulation of deep convective activity.
Click here for full paper (Open Access).