Chemical

Neonicotinoid Pesticide Linked to Decline of Birds (and Bees)

Publication: NBC News   Date: July 9, 2014   View Article

A controversial agricultural insecticide that has been implicated in the collapse of bee colonies around the world also appears to be causing bird populations to drop, according to a new study. The insecticides known as neonicotinoids are designed to attack the central nervous system of insects that devour crops, but only about 5 percent of the chemical compound stays on the plant. The rest leaches into the soil and water, where it does its magic on other bugs, the researchers said.

Frogs in high mountains are contaminated with farm chemicals, study says

Publication: NBC News   Date: July 26, 2013   View Article

What gets sprayed on the farm doesn’t stay on the farm, suggests a new study that finds frogs living in mountains far away from agricultural fields are contaminated with a range of pesticides, particularly fungicides, used to protect crops from bugs, weeds and molds.

“These fungicides have not been reported in the amphibians to date,” study leader Kelly Smalling, a research hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey, told NBC News.

Honey bees in trouble? Blame farm chemicals, study says

Publication: NBC News   Date: July 24, 2013   View Article

Honey bees rented to out pollinate crops from apples to watermelons return to their hives with pollen containing an array of agricultural chemicals that make the insects more vulnerable to infection by a lethal parasite, according to a new study.

While other research has shown certain pesticides, including insecticides known as neonicotinoids and others used to fight parasitic mites, can compromise bee health, the new study shines a light on the impact of sprays used to kill fungi and molds.

New tech said to clean up fracking water

Publication: NBC News   Date: February 5, 2013   View Article

A new water desalination technology may prove a savior for the oil and natural gas industries confronting growing concerns about the wastewater that flows to the surface in the months and years after a well is fracked.

In fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, operations 3 million to 5 million gallons of water are injected deep underground, along with sand and a chemical cocktail, to fracture shale rock and extract the embedded natural gas.

Tiny sensors that measure amplitude are big step

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: February 8, 2012   View Article

Anyone who watched the recent X-Games coverage heard commentators obsess about “amplitude” — how high snowboarders such as Shaun White soar above the lip of the superpipe to perform aerial tricks.

Scientists more concerned with using vibrating sensors to detect harmful chemicals in the air we breathe and food we eat than White’s frontside double cork 1260 share the love for amplitude.

Glowing bacteria encrypt codes

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: September 28, 2011   View Article

Scientists are tweaking bacteria to send encrypted messages that can be shipped via snail mail on sheets of paper-like material called nitrocellulose.

The recipient grows the bacteria with a select cocktail of nutrients and other chemicals. Once grown, each microbe glows one of seven colors when exposed to the right kind of light. Different colored microbes are arranged to represent different letters and symbols. If you know the nutrient and chemical cocktail as well as the keys to the code, you can decipher the message.

Plastic bottles made with plants

Publication: msnbc.com   Date: September 16, 2011   View Article

Travel to almost anywhere in the world and chances are high that a bottle of Coke or Pepsi is close at hand. That’s why the development and rollout of plastic bottles made with at least a portion of plant materials is potentially good news for the environment.

The Coca-Cola Co. made headlines in the UK Monday with the rollout there of its plastic bottle made with up to 30 percent plant material. The bottle is an identical match with polyethylene terephthalate (PET), a type of recyclable plastic widely used around the world.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach