ES&T's 2009 Best Papers - Environmental Science & Technology

Publication Date (Web): March 11, 2010 ... This year, Environmental Science & Technology is honoring 10 papers published in 2009 as the year's best. ...
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ES&T’s 2009 Best Papers



use sewage and other wastewater desalinating water using fuel cells This year, Environmental Science as a low-cost fuel. powered by microbes (Environ. & Technology is honoring 10 paThe technology’s potential to Sci. Technol. DOI 10.1021/ pers published in 2009 as the help provide access to clean es901950j). The “microbial desaliyear’s best. They were selected freshwater makes it stand out, nation cell” devised by Xia Huang from the over 1400 peer-reviewed says EAB member Paul Kwan-Sing and colleagues at China’s Tsingarticles published last year by Lam of the City University of hua University, in collaboration ES&T’s Editor, Jerald Schnoor, in Hong Kong. Developing new techwith microbial fuel cell pioneer, collaboration with the Associate nologies to improve the enEditors and the Editorial Adergy-efficiency of water visory Board (EAB). In keepdesalination is one of this ing with the journal’s century’s grand engineering international scope, the top challenges, according to the papers originated from U.S. National Academy of around the globesfive from Engineering. the European Union, four The top policy paper for from U.S. scientists, and one 2009 presents the first global from a group based mainly comparison of national carin China. bon footprints (Environ. Sci. ES&T’s top science paper Technol. DOI 10.1021/ is the investigation led by es803496a). Edgar Hertwich Marc Edwards of Virginia and Glen Peters of the NorTech into human health imWhen Marc Edwards’ top science paper of 2009 apwegian University of Science pacts from Washington, peared, Michael Shannon of Harvard Medical School and Technology DC’s 2000 switch from using told ES&T: “This is the first paper about [Washington, (previouslysPeters has since chlorine to chloramines as a DC’s] lead crisis to get it right... The authors really moved to CICERO) used a water disinfectant (Environ. show quite convincingly that the lead in the drinking trade-linked model of the Sci. Technol. DOI 10.1021/ water resulted in lead poisoning in some children.” global economy and ines802789w). Edwards and cluded the emissions of his colleagues used data colgoods imported into the lected by the city’s Chilcountries. Their analysis dren’s National Medical brings to light consumption Center to reveal that the and lifestyle issues that go switch triggered a major undetected by domestic jump between 2001 and emission inventories, Klaus 2003 in the incidence of Hubacek of the University of high levels of lead in the Maryland told ES&T when blood of children under 16 the paper was published. months of age. ES&T’s first runner-up top Edwards has been a pioscience paper of 2009 is by a neer in elucidating the team led by David Graham chemistry of lead leaching of Newcastle University in in drinking water distribuEngland (Environ. Sci. Techtion systems as the result of Xiaoxin Cao, Xia Huang, and Peng Liang (right to left), nol. DOI 10.1021/es901221x). moving from chlorine to together with some of Huang’s graduate students, colUsing historic soil archives, chloramines, says EAB laborated to produce the microbial desalination cell they described in ES&T’s 2009 top technology paper they amassed some of the member Susan Richardson (shown here with a microbial fuel cell used for wastewafirst evidence that antibioticof the U.S. EPA’s National resistance genes have inExposure Research Labora- ter treatment). They believe it could prove useful for increasing the supply of drinking water in some parts of creased significantly in the tory. Because of tightened China; additionally, experts told ES&T that it has promise environment since 1940. regulations on disinfection for treating irrigation water and for some process industries. One of the two tied second byproduct, many drinking runners-up shows how biomoniand ES&T EAB member Bruce Lowater systems now use chloramtoring data from the U.S. Centers gan of Pennsylvania State Univerines, she says. for Disease Control and Prevensity, requires no external source This year’s top technology pation’s National Health and Nutriof energy. It has the potential to per discusses a new approach to 9 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY / April 1, 2010


 2010 American Chemical Society


Published on Web 03/11/2010



tion Examination Survey can be used to evaluate cumulative exposure to multiple chemicals (Environ. Sci. Technol. DOI 10.1021/ es900713s). It shows that 40% of U.S. children may have had insufficient margins of exposure for neurological impacts from organophosphorus Edgar Hertwich’s top policy paper of 2009 showed that pesticides. The other countries which import many of their consumer science second runner- goods, such as Switzerland, can have carbon footprints nearly twice the size of their domestic greenhouse up describes two new electrochemical meth- gas emissions. According to Hertwich, the Swiss government used his paper in crafting its new CO2 legislaods jointly capable of tion. This is his second ES&T best paper award. more accurately assessing humic substances’ of the University of Bern and his reduction and oxidation properSwiss colleagues (Environ. Sci. ties (Environ. Sci. Technol. DOI Technol. DOI 10.1021/es803526g). 10.1021/es902627p). These methTheir work provides one of the ods could aid predictions of how first long-term assessments of a humic substances in soils and field-scale permeable reactive sediments behave in the environbarrier for reducing chromate, ment, such as in the presence of including an analysis of the organic pollutants. geochemical processes involved. The second runner up presents The first runner-up for top results from a global-scale model technology paper is by Urs Ma¨der

simulating the long-term fate and transport of perfluorocarboxylic acids and perfluorocarboxylates (Environ. Sci. Technol. DOI 10.1021/es900753y). It suggests that either direct emissions estimates are inaccurate for some of these compounds, or indirect sources predominate. The first runner up for 2009 top policy paper is by Jay Apt and Adam Newcomer of Carnegie Mellon University (Environ. Sci. Technol. DOI 10.1021/es801729r). Using a model, they show that a national ban on new coal-fired power plans would not lead to the CO2 reductions required under proposed federal legislation such as the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security bill and could lead to large increases in natural gas prices. The second-runner up describes an index capable of summarizing racial-ethnic socioeconomic inequalities from the cumulative impact of environmental hazards (Environ. Sci. Technol. DOI 10.1021/es901041p). —KELLYN BETTS