Research Watch: Health effects - Environmental Science

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BIODIVERSITY Biodiversity links. A multiscale assessment of biodiversity is examined to determine whether remote sensing information can be linked with local field sampling of biodiversity. (Nagendra, H.; Gadgil, M. "Biodiversity Assessment at Multiple Scales: Linking Remotely Sensed Data With Field Information," Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 1999, 96 (16), 9154-9158)

Chlorinated organic micropollutants Primary formation of chlorinated organic micropollutants (OMPs), such as mono- to octachlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (CDDs/Fs), during municipal solid waste combustion is not well understood. E. Wikstrbm and coworkers investigated how variation in combustion conditions affects primary formation of OMPs in a series of experiments that were performed in a laboratory-scale fluidized bed reactor fed with an artificial municipal solid waste. Flue gas samples were taken at a relatively high flue gas temperature (650 °C), to enable mechanistic studies on the high-temperature formation (primary formation). They concluded that primary formation of CDDs and CDFs is through different mechanisms: CDDs are mainly formed by condensation of chlorinated phenols, and CDFs are formed through a non- or a low-chlorinated precursor followed by further chlorination reactions. (Environ. Sci. Techno!., this issue, pp. 4263-4269)

CLIMATE CHANGE Paleoclimate change. A study of varved (annually laminated) sediments from Deep Lake, Minn., indicated high-resolution continental Holocene paleoclimate data trends, including a climate reversal, which is distinct from the widespread cold snap that occurred in Greenland and other regions 8200 years ago. (Hu, F. S.; et al. "Abrupt Changes in North American Climate During Early Holocene Times,"Nature 1999, 400 (6743), 437-439)

DISRUPTERS Adequacy of tests. Although existing toxicological tests can pick up many end-organ and functional effects that are relevant to endocrine disturbances, they are generally poor at exploring apparently subtle effects such as disturbances of brain endocrine homeostatic mechanisms, which may be critical for normal development. (Barlow, S. "Dilemmas Facing Regulatory and Advisory Bodies Dealing With Conflicting Results," Chemosphere 1999, 39 (8), 1287-1292) Ecological effects. An overview is presented of the main evidence for endocrine disruption in wildlife, focusing

on reproductive effects; and priority research projects for the United Kingdom, ultimately aimed at determining the population-level significance of endocrine disruption, are described. (Taylor, M. R.; Harrison, R T. C. "Ecological Effects of Endocrine Disruption: Current Evidence and Research Priorities," Chemosphere 1999,39 (8), 1237-1248) Health effects. Trends toward an increase in adverse health effects on reproductive organs and relevant existing Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development guidelines are reviewed, and problems connected to monitoring activities are outlined, particularly for ambient and biological monitoring. (Menditto, A.; Turrio-Baldassarri, L. "Environmental and Biological Monitoring of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals," Chemosphere 1999,39 (8), 1301-1307) Testing and screening. The current status of EPA's new multigeneration testing guidelines and the development of an endocrine disrupter screening program in response to the passage of the Food Quality Protection Act of 1996 are described. (Kavlock, R. J. "Overview of Endocrine Disruptor Research Activity in the United States," Chemosphere 1999, 39 (8), 1227-1336)


EMISSIONS CO2 emissions. The main source of C0 2 emissions in Barcelona for 19871994 was private vehicle transportation, accounting on average for 35% of total emissions. (Baldasano, J. M.; Soriano, C; Boada, L. "Emission Inventory for Greenhouse Gases in the City of Barcelona, 1987-1996," Atmos. Environ. 1999, 33 (23), 3765-3775)

MODELING Biodegradability predicted. Biodegradability data were collected and evaluated for 894 substances with widely varying chemical structures and were used to develop a model for predicting chemical biodegradability. (Loonen, H.; et al. "Prediction of Biodegradability From Chemical Structure: Modeling of Ready Biodegradation Test Data," Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 1999,18 (8), 1763-1768) Decision making. The influence of model prediction uncertainties on the outcome of environmental management practices is examined, and a method is described for assessing uncertainty for situations in which validation research is difficult or impossible. (Ragas, A; et al. "Assessing Model