Tag Archives: pesticides

Toxic Nanoparticles Might be Entering Human Food Supply, MU Study Finds

Scientists develop new way to detect threatening nanoparticles in food

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Over the last few years, the use of nanomaterials for water treatment, food packaging, pesticides, cosmetics and other industries has increased. For example, farmers have used silver nanoparticles as a pesticide because of their capability to suppress the growth of harmful organisms. However, a growing concern is that these particles could pose a potential health risk to humans and the environment.  In a new study, researchers at the University of Missouri have developed a reliable method for detecting silver nanoparticles in fresh produce and other food products.

“More than 1,000 products on the market are nanotechnology-based products,” said Mengshi Lin, associate professor of food science in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources. “This is a concern because we do not know the toxicity of the nanoparticles. Our goal is to detect, identify and quantify these nanoparticles in food and food products and study their toxicity as soon as possible.” (more…)

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USGS Finds No Influence of Oil Platforms on Contaminant Levels in California Fishes

Fishes residing near oil platforms in southern California have similar contaminant levels as fishes in nearby natural sites, according to two recent reports by the U.S. Geological Survey, which were conducted to assist the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in understanding potential consequences of offshore energy development.

Since the underwater portion of many offshore oil and gas platforms often provides habitat to a large number of fishes and invertebrates, some stakeholders have called for ocean managers to consider a “rigs-to-reefs” option during the decommissioning phase of a platform. This option would maintain some of the submerged structure to function as an artificial reef after oil and gas production has ended. The findings of this study address questions regarding how the industrial legacy of this kind of artificial reef may affect local fish populations. (more…)

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Tracking Sediments’ Fate in Largest-Ever Dam Removal

Salmon are beginning to swim up the Elwha River for the first time in more than a century. But University of Washington marine geologists are watching what’s beginning to flow downstream — sediments from the largest dam-removal project ever undertaken.

The 108-foot Elwha Dam was built in 1910, and after decades of debate it was finally dismantled last year. Roughly a third of the 210-foot Glines Canyon Dam still stands, holding back a mountain of silt, sand and gravel. (more…)

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Mutant Champions Save Imperiled Species from Almost-Certain Extinction

Species facing widespread and rapid environmental changes can sometimes evolve quickly enough to dodge the extinction bullet. Populations of disease-causing bacteria evolve, for example, as doctors flood their “environment,” the human body, with antibiotics. Insects, animals and plants can make evolutionary adaptations in response to pesticides, heavy metals and overfishing.

Previous studies have shown that the more gradual the change, the better the chances for “evolutionary rescue” – the process of mutations occurring fast enough to allow a population to avoid extinction in changing environments. One obvious reason is that more individuals remain alive when change is gradual or moderate, meaning there are more opportunities for a winning mutation to emerge. (more…)

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Stay Healthy In A Polluted World

Pollution is an unfortunate by-product of our ever-changing society. Air, water and even noise pollution can take a toll on any person’s body, without their knowledge. Fortunately, there ARE ways to fight the effects of pollution in your body, in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. There are also helpful tips to decrease the toxins that are invading your body, which could potentially cause harmful consequences later in life. Here’s what you need to know!

The Consequences of Pollution

Impure surroundings affect the lungs, heart, cardiovascular system, immune system, and organs when dangerous toxins are inhaled, consumed or absorbed by the skin or airways. Respiratory ailments, such as colds, flu, pneumonia, emphysema and bronchitis occur often because of these. The chances of contracting asthma and COPD or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease are also more likely. Tainted environments also contribute to allergies, headaches, migraines, and skin disorders such as eczema, acne, melanoma cancer and premature aging. (more…)

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MU, Westminster Researchers Find Reduced Bone Density, Stunted Growth in Turtles Exposed to Common Chemical

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Manufactured until 1977, and banned by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1979, pentachlorobiphenyls (PCBs) are chemicals still commonly found in the environment because they break down slowly. Now, a husband and wife research team at the University of Missouri and Westminster College in Fulton, Mo., have found that exposure to one of the chemicals has effects on growth and bone density in turtles. This knowledge could lead to insights on PCBs effects on humans and the environment. (more…)

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UF Study Traces Global Red Imported Fire Ant Invasions to Southern U.S.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Red imported fire ant invasions around the globe in recent years can now be traced to the southern U.S., where the nuisance insect gained a foothold in the 1930s, new University of Florida research has found.

Native to South America, the ant had been contained there and in the southeastern U.S. before turning up in faraway places in the last 20 years — including California, China, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand. (more…)

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Tiny Protozoa May Hold Key to World Water Safety

Right now, it looks a little like one of those plastic containers you might fill with gasoline when your car has run dry. But Scott Gallager is not headed to the nearest Mobil station. The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) biologist has other, grander plans for his revolutionary Swimming Behavioral Spectrophotometer (SBS), which employs one-celled protozoa to detect toxins in water sources.

Not only is he working on streamlining the boxy-looking contraption—eventually even evolving it into a computer chip—but he sees it as a tool to potentially  “monitor all the drinking water in the world.

“It has a unique utility.” (more…)

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