How can we help salt marshes recover after an oil spill?

Salt marshes impacted by oil spills (like Deepwater Horizon) often experience vegetation diebacks and a loss of ecosystem function. Researchers recently found that re-establishing the dominant salt marsh vegetation, Spartina alterniflora, is critical to ensure and enhance the presence of other marsh animals. Unexpectedly, the addition of fertilizer had little to no effect on the recolonization of salt marsh critters.

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Assessing the impact of pollutants on kidney health

Do PFASs affect human health? What even are PFASs? Researchers at Duke University conducted a comprehensive review of the published literature to summarize what we know about how a class of pollutants called PFASs may impact human kidney health.

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Can soil help remove antibiotics from wastewater effluent?

Antibiotics are finding their way into surface waters via wastewater effluent where they pose a threat to the environment and organisms including humans. Many wastewater treatment plants are not designed to remove antibiotics. This study explores the use of soil to reduce the amount of antibiotics that enter the environment.

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Microplastics may be hitching a ride from water to land in mosquitos

Microplastics are now found all over, even in freshwater environments such as ponds, rivers and lakes. Young mosquitos live in these freshwater environments and move to land as they mature. Scientists in this study wanted to find out if young mosquitos ingest microplastics found in freshwater environments and carry the microplastics with them to air and land as adults.

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Biking – When and where you ride could affect your health

Trading your car for a bike to get around can help reduce traffic congestion and vehicle emissions, which is why many major cities have started to install bike lanes along roads. This study looks at the potential exposure to airborne black carbon, an indicator of fossil fuel combustion, that a bicyclist could experience during their commute in a major Brazilian city.

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Ornamental Plants Don’t Dye

Wastewater from textile factories contains chemicals, such as synthetic dyes, that can threaten both the environment and human health. Discharging wastewater to constructed wetlands is a common method for wastewater treatment. Recently, researchers investigated the viability of cultivating constructed wetlands with ornamental plants for the treatment of textile effluent in the hopes of discovering an aesthetically pleasing option for treatment.

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How air pollutants hurt wheat

Air pollutants like ozone can cause damage to plants. Wheat currently provides 20% of dietary protein and caloric intake for the world’s growing population. A recent analysis led by Gina Mills and scientists from across the globe reports that increased levels of ozone will decrease global production of wheat by 85 million tons. Furthermore, the negative effects of ozone may counteract the positive effects of irrigation in wheat fields.

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