It All Starts with Science

This Week in EPA Science

By Kacey FitzpatrickResearch Recap graphic identifier

Need a break from the heat? Here’s a cool story for you.

Ice Pigging
EPA researchers at the Water Security Test Bed did an experiment to see if a method called “ice pigging” could effectively remove anthrax from drinking water systems. Ice pigging is a physical method that scours the insides of the water pipe with an icy mixture called a “slurry,” similar in texture to a frozen margarita. Learn more about the experiment in the blog Water Security Test Bed Experiments: Combating Contamination with Frozen Drinks?

And here is some more science from EPA this week.

Wildfire Smoke Guide for Public Health Officials
When wildfires threaten, where can public officials, communities, and individuals turn for the most up-to-date public health guidance? The 2016 Wildfire Smoke: Guide for Public Health Officials. The guide’s recommendations are founded on scientific evidence, and EPA researchers have contributed much to the understanding of the adverse health effects of wildfire smoke. Read more about this updated guide in the blog We’re at Our Best When We Work Together: The 2016 Wildfire Smoke Guide for Public Health Officials.

Researchers at Work
EPA research chemist, Angela Batt, Ph.D., works in EPA’s National Exposure Research Laboratory where she identifies contaminants of emerging concern in source and drinking water. When she is not researching how to keep our waters clean, Angela loves cooking—especially gluten-free foods! Meet EPA Research Chemist Angela Batt.

Ocean Acidification
Oceans have a critical role in protecting the Earth but are threatened by greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide. Some of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere eventually mixes with seawater and forms acid, causing ocean acidification. EPA is collecting data to better understand this problem. Learn more about ocean acidification from some of our researchers in this Ocean Acidification video.

Need more science? Check out these events next week.

Lead and Copper: Sampling and Water Quality Challenges
Tuesday, July 26th at 2:00 p.m. ET
This month’s small systems webinar will focus on lead and copper sampling requirements and the water quality challenges in Flint Michigan. EPA’s Edward Viveiros will review the Lead and Copper Rule tap water sampling requirements for small systems. EPA researcher Darren Lytle will give a presentation regarding the key events in Flint, MI, as related to the elevated levels of lead in the drinking water, and will discuss various studies and corrosion control optimization efforts. Register here.

EPA Tribal ecoAmbassadors Program
Tuesday, July 26th at 3:00 p.m. ET
EPA’s Tribal Science Webinar Series provides a forum for discussion of the complex environmental issues facing many tribal and indigenous communities, and features a wide variety of expert guest speakers from government, academic institutions, and other organizations. This month’s webinar focuses on the 2016-2017 EPA Tribal ecoAmbassadors Program, which partners EPA scientists with Tribal Colleges and Universities professors to address environmental problems. The Tribal ecoAmbassadors Program has given more than 150 students the opportunity to work directly with professors and scientists. Register here. Exit

 

About the Author: Kacey Fitzpatrick is a writer working with the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development. She is a regular contributor to It All Starts with Science and the founding writer of “The Research Recap.”

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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Water Security Test Bed Experiments: Combating Contamination with Frozen Drinks?

By Christina Burchette

What do frozen drinks have to do with EPA research? Water pipe decontamination testing in Idaho!

I’m guessing that you’re probably skeptical or confused by this point. Of course, scientists at the Water Security Test Bed (a full-scale replica of a water distribution system) didn’t actually use sugary ice to decontaminate water pipes—though if sugar could do to pipes what it does to my teeth it would probably be very effective. The reality was a little more complicated than that, but just as fascinating!

A silver truck holds the ice pigging slurry

To create this slurry, ice was made in two large ice tanks connected to a truck where the mixture was stored. Researchers ran a hose from the truck to one end of the test bed pipe.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, EPA researchers at the test bed did an experiment to see if a method called “ice pigging” could effectively remove anthrax from drinking water systems. Ice pigging is a physical method that scours the insides of the water pipe with an icy mixture called a “slurry,” similar in texture to a frozen margarita.

The difficulty with decontaminating a drinking water system after an anthrax contamination would be that anthrax spores can stick to the inside of pipes and may continuously contaminate water running through the system. Ice pigging could potentially slough off the anthrax spores that remain in the pipes, but the method needs further testing to see if it could be an effective alternative to harsher chemicals typically used to inactivate the spores.

The researchers didn’t actually use anthrax, but instead Bacillus globigii (BG), which is a non-pathogenic anthrax surrogate – it acts like anthrax in the study but doesn’t present the same level of danger.

A hose pumps water into a large water bed

The ice slurry exiting the pipe into the wastewater holding lagoon

Here’s how the study worked: samples were taken before ice pigging for comparison purposes. Then, researchers stopped the water flow and injected the slurry inside of the pipe to try and physically remove the BG spores.  Once the slurry mixture was inside of the pipe, the water was turned back on so the pressure could push the slurry through the pipe to scour it. After all of the slurry had been pushed from the pipe, researchers took more samples. Then, to prepare the pipes for another test, researchers filled the pipes with bleach and let it sit overnight for extra decontamination purposes (and then they sampled again).

The results from this exciting experiment will be out sometime next spring, and the researchers already have several other decontamination experiments planned for the coming months. Personally, I hope they use ice cream next time.

Before I leave, I’d like to give a little plug for the Water Security Test Bed (WSTB): Previous full-scale testing at the WSTB has proved that it’s important for researchers to perform experiments in conditions as close to real life as possible because it can provide better data and insights on decontaminating real water systems than pilot or bench scale experiments—which means that our infrastructure and public health are better protected from emergencies.

EPA invites water sector researchers and other federal agencies to collaborate in ongoing research or initiate new areas of investigation at the WSTB. If you’re interested in partnering with us, please contact Jim Goodrich at goodrich.james@epa.gov.

Watch the video below to learn more about the Water Security Test Bed:

About the Author: Christina Burchette is an Oak Ridge Associated Universities contractor and writer for the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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We’re at Our Best When We Work Together: The 2016 Wildfire Smoke Guide for Public Health Officials

By Wayne Cascio and Susan Stone

The summer wildfire season is upon us and almost every day we hear of communities endangered by wildfire or wildfire smoke.  Even now, as we write this blog, there are more than 20 large wildfires across the U.S. that could be affecting your health.  So, when wildfires threaten, where can public officials, communities, and individuals turn for the most up-to-date public health guidance?  They can look to the 2016 Wildfire Smoke: Guide for Public Health Officials.  The Guide has been a trusted source of information for those responsible for protecting the public’s health and welfare since 2001.

cover of the wildfire guideThe updated 2016 guide is an easy-to-use source of information that outlines whose health is most affected by wildfire smoke, how to reduce exposure to smoke, what public health actions are recommended, and how to communicate air quality to the public.  This just-published guide is the product of a collaborative undertaking by federal, state, and non-governmental wildfire experts. These include EPA, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Forest Service, California Air Resources Board, California Department of Public Health, Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The recommendations are founded on scientific evidence, and EPA researchers have contributed much to our understanding of the adverse health effects of wildfire smoke.  Today, EPA researchers are actively working to increase what we know about the health effects of the smoke produced by different kinds of natural fuels such as grasses, pine and hardwood forests and peat.  We are learning about the chemistry of the emissions of wildfires, how the smoke is transported, and how it changes over time.  We are also looking at ways to identify communities at particularly high risk from the health effects of wildfire, and how policies related to air quality could consider wildfire smoke.

The increasing size and severity of wildfire in the U.S. over the last three decades represents one of the many complex environmental health challenges we face today that are best solved through the cooperation of local, state and federal government, public health organizations, communities and individuals.  The fact that wildfires are contributing to a greater proportion of our air pollution, and impacting populated areas more frequently underscores the importance of this challenge.  The 2016 Wildfire Smoke: Guide for the Public Health Officials represents a great example of cooperation to meet an environmental challenge and protect the health of the public.

You can learn more about the health effects of wildfires, obtain current fire advisories, and learn what to do before, during, and after a fire on the AirNow website, a place to get information on daily air quality forecasts based on EPA’s Air Quality Index.

USDA Forest Service Active Fire Mapping Program

Learn about EPA’s wildland fire research

About the authors:

Dr. Wayne Cascio spent more than 25 years as a cardiologist before joining EPA’s Office of Research and Development where he now leads research on the links between exposures to air pollution and public health, and how people can use that information to maintain healthy hearts.

Susan Stone, senior environmental scientist in EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards, is the Air Quality Index team leader, the project lead for revisions to the wildfire guide, and contributor to EPA wildfire health research.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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This Week in EPA Science

By Kacey FitzpatrickResearch, Go!

It will take five minutes for that PokéStop to refresh—need something to pass the time? Check out the latest in EPA Science!

Drought Resilience and Water Conservation
In many areas of the United States, the frequency, intensity, and duration of drought events are increasing. EPA is conducting research and working with stakeholders to better understand the impact of drought on water quality and availability, and to provide solutions to help communities conserve water. Learn more about Drought Resilience and Water Conservation

Summer in the Research Lab
Missouri University of Science and Technology student Katherine Bartels is spending the summer studying the Tillamook Bay salt marsh in Oregon through EPA’s Greater Research Opportunities Fellowship program. Learn more about her research project in the article Bartels travels west on ‘Grand Challenge’ topic with EPA.

Researchers at Work
EPA’s Justin Conley is a postdoctoral researcher investigating the toxicity of endocrine disrupting chemicals and new approaches for water quality monitoring. When he is not in the lab, he is busy brewing beer and exploring the outdoors. Meet EPA Researcher Justin Conley!

Transform Tox Challenge Workshop

The “Innovating for Metabolism” Semi-Finalists Workshop, part of the Transform Tox Testing Challenge, took place at EPA’s Research Triangle Park facility on last week.  The goal of the challenge is to develop a solution that allows all ToxCast and Tox21 in vitro assays to be retrofitted with metabolism.  The workshop brought together Stage 1 semi-finalist, agency experts, and other leaders in the field to discuss the Tox21 and ToxCast programs, the semi-finalist proposals, and feasible expectations for the remainder of the challenge.

group shot of everyone at the tox test challenge workshop

Innovating for Metabolism Semi-Finalists Workshop Participants including semi-finalists, workshop presenters, workshop panel members and others with interest in the challenge.

 

Need more science?

Mark your calendars—here are some of our upcoming events.

About the Author: Kacey Fitzpatrick is a writer working with the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development. She is a regular contributor to It All Starts with Science and the founding writer of “The Research Recap.”

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Upcoming Events at EPA

By Michaela Burns

The month may be half over, but there are many more things to do! Here are the events we’re sending your way in late July.

Environmental Justice Technical Guidance: Presentation and Discussion
Thursday, July 14th at 3:00 p.m. ETEJ guidance cover

EPA invites you to participate in a webinar on the Technical Guidance for Assessing Environmental Justice in Regulatory Analysis, also known as the EJ Technical Guidance. This webinar will present an overview of the content of the guidance, including information on the best practices, recommendations, and questions that are included to guide the EJ analyses that are conducted for national regulations.  Register for the webinar now!

 

Centers of Excellence on Environmental Health Disparities Research
Wednesday, July 20th at 1:00 p.m. ET

playground with air pollution in the backgroundHow does poverty contribute to indoor and outdoor air pollution in residential settings? How do sustainable approaches reduce disproportionate health burdens and build community resilience? EPA, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences are supporting the establishment of the Centers of Excellence on Environmental Health Disparities (EHD) research program to help answer these questions. The EHD centers will investigate conditions that are known to be a significant burden to disadvantaged population groups, neighborhoods, and individuals.

EPA and partners are hosting a kickoff meeting that will feature presentations from each of the five funded centers highlighting their proposed research. Register now to attend!

RETIGO Training Webinar
Tuesday, July 26th at 3:00 p.m. ET

screenshot of retigo toolLearn how to use EPA’s Real-Time Geospatial Data Viewer, commonly known as RETIGO, at this upcoming webinar. RETIGO is an interactive web-based tool that allows users to upload field data they have collected while in motion (walking, biking, or on a vehicle) and explore it visually by plotting the data on a map and/or graph to observe air quality trends. Their local data can be integrated with air quality data available on AirNow, an online resource provided by EPA and others that offers air quality data and the Air Quality Index. Register now!

 

EPA Tribal ecoAmbassadors Program
Tuesday, July 26th at 3:00 p.m. ET

boy and fishEPA’s Tribal Science Webinar Series provides a forum for discussion of the complex environmental issues facing many tribal and indigenous communities, and features a wide variety of expert guest speakers from government, academic institutions, and other organizations. This month’s webinar focuses on the 2016-2017 EPA Tribal ecoAmbassadors Program, which partners EPA scientists with Tribal Colleges and Universities professors to address environmental problems. The Tribal ecoAmbassadors Program has given more than 150 students the opportunity to work directly with professors and scientists. Register to learn more.

Non-Targeted Chemical Exposure Screening
Thursday, July 27th at 11:00 a.m. ET

Red darts fly straight into the center of the targetThis month’s Computational Toxicology Communities of Practice Meeting webinar will focus on non-targeted chemical exposure screening. Most exposure sampling techniques are designed to test for a specific chemical that is suspected to be present. EPA researchers are developing “Non-Targeted Screening” methods to test indoor environmental samples for all chemicals present in the home. Contact Cameron Clark (clark.cameron@epa.gov) to register and learn more.

* This webinar was originally scheduled for June 23rd

 

Near Roadway Pollution and Mitigation Strategies
Wednesday, July 27th at 3:00 p.m. ET

cars driving on a highwayMore than 45 million people in the United States are estimated to live, work, or attend school within 300 feet of a major road, airport, or railroad. Studies show an increase in the incidence and severity of health problems related to air pollution near roadway traffic, including higher rates of asthma onset and aggravation, cardiovascular disease, impaired lung development in children, and other health effects.

EPA researchers Richard Baldauf and Jan Dye will present the latest science on the health impacts from near roadway exposures and discuss solutions and programs that states as well as community and transportation planners can consider to protect public health. Register for this month’s EPA Tools and Resources webinar now.

For more events head on over to the EPA research event page.

About the Author: Michaela Burns is an Oak Ridge Associated Universities contractor and writer for the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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This Week in EPA Science

By Kacey FitzpatrickResearch Recap graphic identifier

Here’s a quick recap of the latest in EPA science.

Water Research Grants
Last week EPA announced two grants to the Water Environment and Reuse Foundation (WE&RF) for water research projects. The grants will help the Foundation develop tools to assist communities with stormwater management and improve water reuse and water conservation. Researchers also be examining the impact of emerging contaminants on public and ecological health. Read more about the research projects in the WE&RF press release.

Why EPA is the Gold Standard for Environmental Protection around the World
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy recently wrote about why EPA is the gold standard for environmental protection around the world. One of her reasons: our cutting-edge research! Check out the whole list here.

Transforming How We Measure Chemical Toxicity
Our Transform Tox Testing Challenge was recently featured on the Health and Human Services Idea Lab blog. Read more about the challenge in the blog How EPA + NIH + Open Innovation Are Transforming How We Measure Chemical Toxicity.

Researchers at Work
Wonder what an environmental mathematical statistician does? There is a one hundred percent chance you can find out from EPA’s Tony Olsen. And meet more of our scientists at our Researchers at Work page.

Need more science? Check out some of our upcoming events.

About the Author: Kacey Fitzpatrick is a writer working with the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development. She is a regular contributor to It All Starts with Science and the founding writer of “The Research Recap.”

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

Upcoming Events at EPA

By Michaela Burns

Don’t limit the festivities to just the fourth! Here are some EPA events you can enjoy in the first few weeks of July.

Transform Tox Testing Challenge Semi-Finalist Workshop
Friday, July 8th at 8:00 a.m. ET

scientist does tox testingEPA, NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, and the National Toxicology Program launched the Transform Tox Testing Challenge: Innovating for Metabolism in January. The goal of the challenge is to develop a practical design that will help the cells in toxicity lab test behave more like the human body when evaluating chemical’s toxicity. Currently, the cells used in lab test do not break down or metabolize chemicals like they would in a human body. The successful design will offer information that can be used to review and evaluate lab results, and will also ensure better quality data, transparency, and overall confidence in assay results.

On July 8th, Transform Tox Testing Challenge organizers are hosting a workshop at Research Triangle Park, North Carolina to bring together Stage 1 winners, agency experts, and other leaders in the field. The workshop will provide an opportunity to discuss the Tox21 and ToxCast programs, the semi-finalist proposals, and feasible expectations for the remainder of the challenge.

Register for the event now!

 

EJSCREEN July 2016 Public Release Webinar
Monday, July 11th at 3:00 p.m. ET

screenshot of ej toolWhat is the pollution like on your block compared to other neighborhoods? How close is your house to a hazardous waste site or a noisy highway? Learn about a tool that can help answer these questions at this upcoming webinar.

EPA is releasing the latest version of EJSCREEN, an environmental justice tool that highlights locations that may have higher environmental burdens and vulnerable populations. The new EJSCREEN has an abundance of new features— all of which were requested by the public – including (to list a few):

  • The inclusion of the National Air Toxic Assessment environmental indicators for cancer risk, respiratory, and diesel PM
  • Scalable maps, that summarize data at the Census block group, tract, or county-level
  • The ability to save sessions and print maps from the home screen
  • A feature that allows you to look at two maps, side-by-side
  • The addition of Puerto Rico

Participate in the webinar online or email olp.kevin@epa.gov to request a conference line!

 

For more events check out our EPA Research Events page.

 

About the Author: Michaela Burns is an Oak Ridge Associated Universities contractor and writer for the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

This Week in EPA Science

By Kacey Fitzpatrickresearch_recap_GI_shark

Need a break from Shark Week? Check out the latest in EPA science.

Goats Help EPA Protect Pollinators
EPA’s research facility in Narragansett, Rhode Island recently enlisted the help of a highly skilled landscaping team to create more pollinator-friendly habitat on the premises: a herd of goats! Learn more about ‘goatscaping’ in the blog It’s a Lawn Mower! It’s a Weed Whacker! No…it’s a Herd of Goats!

EPA Researchers at Work
Meet EPA Researcher Richard Judson! Dr. Judson develops computer models and databases to help predict toxicological effects of environmental chemicals at EPA’s National Center for Computational Toxicology. Read more about his research in this Researchers at Work profile. And meet more of our scientists on our Researchers at Work page.

EPA’s Net Zero Program
Researchers with EPA’s Net Zero Program are working with the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kansas Unified School District 475, and others to test and demonstrate green infrastructure technology, such as permeable pavement, at Fort Riley in Kansas. Read more about the program in the Science Matters article Leaving the Gray Behind.

Toxic Substances Control Act
Last Wednesday, President Obama signed a bill to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the first update to any environmental statute in 20 years. Read EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s blog, and the President’s remarks at the signing, during which he mentioned research being done on zebrafish.

White House Impact Report on Science, Technology, and Innovation
Last week the White House issued a list of 100 examples of leadership in building U.S. capacity in science, technology, and innovation. Some of EPA’s work was highlighted—our use of challenges and incentives,  citizen science and crowdsourcing efforts, the Wildfire Science and Technology Task Force Final Report, and the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Comprehensive Research Plan.

Shout Out to EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research Program
Before Ecovative became a leading biomaterials company, they were just two recent college graduates with a big idea—to use mushrooms to grow an environmentally-friendly and sustainable replacement for Styrofoam. Early in their business, they were awarded with one of EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research Program contracts. Gavin McIntyre, co-founder and Chief Scientist at Ecovative Design, recently wrote the letter thanking all their supporters along the way. Read the letter: Investing in the Growth of our Collective Future.

Green Infrastructure Research
EPA has been helping the city of Philadelphia advance innovative urban stormwater control. Researchers with EPA’s Science to Achieve Results program are working with the Philadelphia Water Department to place sensors in the city’s rain gardens, tree trenches, and other green infrastructure sites to monitor and measure soil and water changes. The Philadelphia Inquirer recently highlighted the research in the article Philadelphia Keeps Stormwater out of Sewers to Protect Rivers.

About the Author: Kacey Fitzpatrick is a writer working with the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development. She is a regular contributor to It All Starts with Science and the founding writer of “The Research Recap.”

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

It’s a Lawn Mower! It’s a Weed Whacker! No…it’s a Herd of Goats!

By Sara Ernst

EPA’s research facility in Narragansett, Rhode Island recently enlisted the help of a highly skilled landscaping team to create more pollinator-friendly habitat on the premises.  The team doesn’t use chemicals or pollute the air with carbon emissions, can work on just about any terrain or slope, and loves to eat poison ivy.  So, who is this slightly peculiar dream team? A herd of goats from Laurel Hill MicroFarm in Hope, Rhode Island!

Before the goats and their herders arrived, the facility had a maze of invasive plants plaguing the perimeter of the property, however, over the course of 10 days, these impressive eaters were able to safely consume all the poison ivy and invasive vegetation in the area.

My family always says I have a hole in my foot because of how much I can eat, but let me tell you, I’ve got nothing on these goats!  One goat can eat about 100 square feet of vegetation a day, varying with density – and we were working with a team of 16!  The goats were constantly frolicking back and forth between various plants, small trees, and shrubs, eating to their hearts content and only stopping when they needed short digestion breaks.  When a designated area was cleared, they’d look at their herder as if to say, “Okay what’s next? We’re hungry!”

a herd of goats take on a big plant

goats hard at work eating plantsa white goat reaches up to take a bite out of a leaf

 

Habitat loss is one of the main reasons pollinators such as bees, birds, and butterflies have declined in abundance over the past few decades.  By removing overgrown landscaping and nuisance plant species from our property, the goats are protecting native plants that serve as pollinator habitat from invasive vegetation that could have easily disturbed their growth and threatened their survival.  Space has also been created so new pollinator-friendly vegetation has room to grow, and areas have been left free of plant life to provide habitat for ground-nesting pollinators like bumble bees.

Taking steps to protect and increase habitat for pollinators helps to mitigate their decline and strengthen their numbers.  These efforts are essential in protecting the health of the environment and in ensuring the sustainability of our food production systems, as well as their continued economic contribution to the agriculture industry.  EPA is committed to helping restore pollinator populations to healthy levels, consistent with the June 2014 Presidential Memorandum “Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators”.

This is the first time EPA has used conservation grazing or “goatscaping”, and I doubt it will be the last.  Goats are efficient workers, environmentally-friendly, and able to work safely and easily in areas that may be dangerous or difficult for humans and heavy equipment.  Best of all, by using goats to clear overgrown landscaping, especially invasive plant life, we are helping pollinators prosper.  Visit EPA’s pollinator protection page to learn more about pollinator health, what EPA is doing, and how you can help!

About the Author:  Sara Ernst is an Oak Ridge Associated Universities contractor and works as the Science Communications Specialist in the Atlantic Ecology Division of EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

This Week in EPA Science

By Kacey Fitzpatrick

research_recap_250It’s National Pollinator Week! One of EPA’s lab is promoting pollinator health by creating an amazing habitat for honey bees and other pollinators right in their backyard. Read about it in the blog Promoting Pollinator Health at the EPA Western Ecology Division.

And here is some more of the latest buzz:

Underwater Science
Did you know that EPA has a team of scientists that work underwater? The EPA scientific diving program helps Superfund sites go from contaminated to clean – and keeps them that way! Read about what it’s like to be on the EPA Dive team in the blog Over 30 years of Wyckoff Superfund Site Diving Science.

Living Shoreline Project
EPA is assisting with a project to protect the eroding shoreline at the Felix Neck Wildlife Refuge on Martha’s Vineyard in Edgartown, Massachusetts. A living shoreline was created with 10-foot logs, each made of dense coconut fibers and held firmly in place with wooden stakes. The living shoreline will serve as a laboratory for a number of projects in the coming years, while also stabilizing and restoring the marsh in the face of storms and rising seas. Read more about the project in the article Coconut Fiber to the Rescue: Island’s First Living Shoreline Installed at Felix Neck.

Homeland Security Research
EPA researchers recently collaborated with the Department of Homeland Security to study what would happen if terrorists introduced pathogenic spores, like anthrax, into the New York City subway system. This study is part of the DHS and EPA collaborative Underground Transport Restoration Project.  The overall goal of the project is to develop capabilities to enable the rapid return to service of subway systems following a chemical or biological attack. BBC wrote about the study in the article Meet New York City’s Anthrax Detectives.

How your breath could help doctors diagnose illness
EPA Researcher Joachim Pleil’s expertise in breath research was recently highlighted in the Boston Globe article How your breath could help doctors diagnose illness.

Wildfire Smoke Guide
EPA has updated its Wildfire Smoke: A Guide for Public Health Officials that provides information on the health effects of wildfire smoke and populations potentially at greatest risk from wildfire smoke exposure. The guide provides recommendations for public health action to reduce risks. EPA researchers provided their expertise on health effects from air pollutants generated by wildfires. The guide is available on the AirNow web site, which provides air quality forecasts and includes information on Smoke and Your Health.

Evaluating Urban Resilience to Climate Change
EPA is releasing an external peer review draft report that describes an assessment tool to help cities identify climate change risks. The tool  to eight sectors managed by municipalities: water, energy, transportation, public health, economy, land use, natural environment and telecommunications. A Federal Register notice of the report titled Evaluating Urban Resilience to Climate Change: A Multi-Sector Approach provides information for public comment.

Exceptional Scientific Publication
A paper by EPA researcher Robert M. Burgess, Ph.D. and co-authors entitled “The Gellyfish: An in situ equilibrium-based sampler for determining multiple free metal ion concentrations in marine ecosystems” was honored as one of 2015’s “Exceptional Papers” by Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

And coming up next week:

Webinar on Air Quality and Community Science
June 29th, 3-4 p.m. EDT
Learn about air quality monitoring and community science at a free webinar next week! EPA researcher Ron Williams will talk about our online Air Sensor Toolbox, which provides a one-stop place for information and guidance on how to evaluate the performance of air sensors available in the marketplace, what to consider before conducting an air monitoring project, and what others are doing to monitor air quality. Register for the webinar here and learn more at our Air Sensor Toolbox page.

Honey bee pollinating flower

Honey bee pollinating flower

About the Author: Kacey Fitzpatrick is a student contractor and writer working with the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development. She is a regular contributor to It All Starts with Science and the founding writer of “The Research Recap.”

 

Happy National Pollinator Week!

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

Please share this post. However, please don't change the title or the content. If you do make changes, don't attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.