The environmental impact of the world’s most famous weed killer

Glyphosate is the world’s most heavily used pesticide and arguably one of the most controversial. Questions have been raised on how safe the pesticide is to non-target organisms, like fish, birds, insects and animals, including humans. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently released draft reports that address these issues. This post summarizes their findings.

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Mercury rising. How the climate is driving recent increases in the mercury levels of freshwater fishes

Mercury is a toxic heavy metal that is present in many fishes that we eat. Although environmental regulations have cut down on mercury emissions in developed nations, the level of mercury in many top predator fish including large mouth bass has been increasing in recent decades. A complex mix of many different factors including local weather conditions and global climate patterns affect the levels of mercury in fish.

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Will Climate Policies Give Us Cleaner Air?

Clean air is very important to keep people healthy. While most people in the US are fortunate to have reasonably clean air, many people still get sick and die every year from dirty air. Around the world people are worried about the impacts of climate change. There may be a way to reduce the impacts from both air pollution and climate change at once.

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Can clams help detect microplastic pollution in freshwater?

When plastic trash enters water environments it is often broken down into small pieces of plastic known as microplastics that can harm organisms. While a lot of research has examined the impacts of microplastic pollution in the ocean, little is known about its impact on freshwater environments. The researchers in this study set out to determine if the Asian clam could provide information about microplastic pollution in freshwater environments.

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Growing food with garbage – how fertilizing crops with food waste could solve the problem of finite landfill space

Much of the organic-rich waste (e.g. food scraps, yard waste) that ends up in landfills could be put to better use, like building soil fertility for crops. A recent study suggests that crops grown in soils that have been amended with a variety of landfill-destined organic waste products produce comparable yields to plants grown with conventional synthetic fertilizers.

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Putting the cart before the horse: the danger of oil sands before the pipeline

The story of oil sands – one unconventional source of oil found in Canada – has a newly identified danger right in its backyard: the exhaust from the diesel trucks that carry the material across the site contains a toxin that may affect the health of people in communities downwind.

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Protecting Our Beaches From an Unlikely Foe.

Coastal areas are prone to pollution from fecal bacteria, which are known to be associated with viruses and disease. When it rains, roads and sidewalks wash pet and wildlife waste into storm drains, which end up in our waterways. This can endanger human health, and cause economic losses to shellfishing businesses and tourism. A study conducted before and after installation of stormwater filtration infrastructure showed tremendous success in reducing fecal bacteria loads in Wrightsville Beach, NC, and stands as an example for other coastal areas looking to address their fecal pollution issues.

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