Eastern Lake Ontario Environmental Research Group 2000 (cont'd from eloerg.tripod.com/waupoos)

Great Lakes Toxics revisited, November 2012
Slide to Extinction, Chris Humphrey, letter to Globe, October 31, 2018
Peter Galbraith, FRCP, obituary, October 2017
White Pines on Death Bed, Bruce Bell, Intelligencer, July 17,2018
Thucydides Trap, letter to Globe, May 2018
Great Lakes toxics down, SUNY Oswego/Clarkson U, April 2018
Machine subversion of democracy, letter to Globe, April 2018
Air Pollution overrides Ancestral Genes, Globe, March 2018
Olympian Cathal Kelly, letter to Globe, March 2018
Environmentalists seeking unemployment, letter to Globe, February 2018
Less is more on Bike Lanes, National Post, January 2018
Tramadol, 10 years on, Globe and Mail, November 2017
White Stripes: Belleville bicycle lanes, letters, November 2017
Occupational Cancers, CCO research results, Globe and Mail, October 2017
Big Pharmoney and Canadian Drug Use Guidelines, Globe and Mail, June 21, 2017, Kelly Grant
Oxycontin, 20 years on, letter to Globe, May 2017
Lake Ontario wind turbines to remain on hold? Feb 2017
Obituary, Raold Serebrin, September 2016
Sartorial slip or signal? letter to Globe editor, October 2016
Weapons of mass distraction, letter to Globe editor, Oct 2016
Point O turbines 99% Down the Drain, CCSAGE, July 7, 2016
Point O turbines Dead and Damned, PECFN, July 6, 2016
Rabid diplomat, letter to Globe, May, 2016
More on bats: rabid rocker? letter to Globe, January 2016
Lighthouses of eastern Lake Ontario, new book by Marc Seguin, March 2016
Continuing corporate windpower malfeasance: Windstream and Trillium Corp, Feb 2016
Amherst Island: the next fine mess, Feb 2016
Valerie Langer: Thirty years of effort pays off on the B.C. coast, Feb 1,2016
Trillium log, 6th annual ELO expedtion, September 2015
Trillium Wind Corp intent on Spoliation of eastern Lake Ontario and Main Duck Isle, June 2015
Turtles rule? Ontario Court of Appeal Decision: Turtlegate, April 2015
Obituaries, Mary Terrance (Luke) Hill, January 2015; Valerie Ingrid (Hill) Kaldes, July 2015
Ontario Court of Appeal turtle hearing, December 2014
Trillium Log, 5th annual ELO expedition, September 2014
Planetary public health manifesto, The Lancet, March 2014
Ostrander Bioblitz, butterfly inventory walk, August 10, 2014
Victory at Cape Vincent: British Petroleum withdraws turbine proposal, February 2014
Stay of execution granted by Ontario Court of Appeal, March 2014
Never say die: Will the Court of Appeal let the Ostrander Phoenix fly free again? March 2014
Divisional Court ruling in Ostrander: turtles belly up, Trojan horses win, February 2014
Lafarge 2020, pushing the air envelope again, Hazardous waste as cement kiln fuel proposal, Jan2014
Another fine mess in Port Hope: municipal waste incinerator proposal, January 2014
Ostrander: fiasco, or snafu? you decide, December 2013
Ostrander rises again, Noli illegitimi carborundum, December 2013
British Petroleum backing off Cape Vincent after a decade of aggression? December 2013
Turbines best Bald Eagles in U.S law, December 2013
SARStock 10 years after, letter to editor, August 2003
Trillium log September 2013: Surfin' USA: Hanging Ten in a Hughes 29
ERT Post mortem: Garth Manning lets it all hang out, August 2013
ERT post mortem: Cheryl Anderson lets it all hang out, August 2013
ERT Post Mortem: Ian Dubin lets it all hang out, August 2013
Great Lakes United turns thirty, goes down, RIP GLU, July 29, 2013
ERT decision, Ostrander turns turtle, goes down, July 3, 2013
PECFN Thankyou, and Appeal for funds, July 6, 2013
Minister of Env on Lake Ontario Off shore wind turbine status, June 2013
Lake Ontario water level control plan, June 2013
Play by Play, Part II, APPEC Ostrander ERT Appeal, June 2013
Ostrander ERT June 2013, Appendix VI, an indirect cause of human morbidity and mortality ?
ELOERG Presentation to Ostrander ERT, Part II, Human Health, May 2013
The Dirty E-Word, Terry Sprague, Picton Gazette, April 2013
Toxics in Great Lakes Plastic Pollution, April 2013
Bill Evans on Birds and Wind farms, April 2013
Mayday, Naval Marine Archive, April 2013
Experimental Lakes Area, Kenora, Closing by Federal Gov't, March 2013
Fishing Lease Phase out on Prince Edward Point, March 2013
Windstream makes $1/2 Billion NAFTA claim, March 2013
Play by Play, PECFN Ostrander ERT Appeal, March 2013
Offshore Wind turbine moratorium 2 years later, The Star, Feb 2013
ELOERG ERT submission on Ostrander: Appendix V: Pushing the Envelope of the MoE SEV, Feb 2013
Wente on Wind and Bald Eagle mugging, Globe and Mail, February 2, 2013
Sprague on Wind and Bald Eagle mugging, Picton Gazette, Jan 25, 2013
Cry Me a River over a Few Bats: Submission to Env Review Tribunal, ELOERG, January 2013
Lake Ontario's Troubled Waters: U of Michigan GLEAM, January 2013
Letter to Minister of Environment re: Ostrander, January 2013
No Balm in Gilead: Ostrander IWT's as Trojan Horses, January 2013
Ostrander Turbines: another Christmas gift by the MoE, Dec 2012
Occupational carcinogens: Ontario Blue Collar breast cancer study, November 2012
Fresh water fish Extinctions, Scientific American,November 2012
Great Lakes Toxics revisited, November 2012
Frack the What ? November 2012
$ 2 1/4 Billion Trillium Power lawsuit knockback Appeal, November 2012
Canada Centre for Inland Waters decimated, October 2012
Birds, Bats, Turbines, and the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, October 2012
Ecological public health, the 21st centurys big idea? British MedicalJournal Sept1,2012
Trillium log, Sept 2012
George Prevost, Saviour of the Canadas, 1812 - 1814. June 2012
The Victory at Picton: Bicentennial Conference on War of 1812-1814, Differing Perspectives, May 2012
Carleton Island and the 1812, letter to the Globe, October 2011
Queen's Fine Arts Department Succumbs, letter to Principal, December 2011
Mr. Kumar and the Super 30, November 2011
Letters, Articles and Projects from the Nineties
Alban Goddard Hill, web site manager

Enter subhead content here

Great Lakes legacy contaminants decreasing, but newer ones on the rise. 


US Fish & Wildlife Service
A biologist conducts a necropsy on a Great Lakes fish.

By Brian Bienkowski
Staff Writer
Environmental Health News
Nov. 8, 2012


Legacy contaminants are decreasing more quickly than previously reported in three of the Great Lakes, but have stayed virtually the same in two other lakes, according to new research.

“These are very positive results. The lakes are improving and slowly cleaning themselves up,” said Thomas Holsen, co-director of Clarkson University’s Center for the Environment and co-author of the study.

Even with the decreases, it will be 20 to 30 years until the decades-old contaminants in Great Lakes fish decline to the point that consumption advisories can be eliminated, Holsen said. In addition, the older contaminants are being replaced by newer ones, mostly flame retardants, that are building up in fish and wildlife.

Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), the pesticide DDT and other banned compounds dropped about 50 percent in fish in Lakes Michigan, Ontario and Huron from 1999 through 2009, although there were no significant changes in Lakes Superior and Erie fish, according to the study to be published this month in the journal Science of the Total Environment.

The status quo at Superior and Erie – which have lower levels of contaminants than the other lakes – is not surprising, Holsen said. Lake Superior is big, deep and cold, so changes happen more slowly. And Lake Erie’s walleye have a shorter food chain than the trout tested in the other lakes, so the contaminants did not build up as much.

US Geological Survey
Great Lakes fish are affected not only by contaminants but also by invasive species.

PCBs – industrial compounds that are the most prevalent pollutants tested –  are decreasing at the slowest pace, at about 3 to 8 percent per year, while DDT declined about 11 to 16 percent per year. The pesticide mirex, which is only detected in Lake Ontario, decreased 15 to 25 percent per year.

That is substantially faster than previous rates for the contaminants: 2 to 4 percent annual decreases between 1980 and 2003. PCBs and DDT concentrations stayed relatively stable from 2000 to 2003.

“If you look at PCBs in the region, there are still very high concentrations in urban areas,” Holsen said.

All of the compounds studied were phased out in the 1970s after they began building up in the environment, particularly in the Great Lakes. Because they are slow to break down, they persist in the lakes’ sediments and still are accumulating in fish and other wildlife.

Fish consumption warnings remain throughout the basin for PCBs, which have been linked to an array of health effects, including cancer and reduced IQs in people.

All the compounds studied were phased out in the 1970s after they began building up in the environment, particularly in the Great Lakes. But they persist in the lakes’ sediments and still are accumulating in fish and other wildlife.PCBs also seem to affect the reproduction of lake trout. Their populations are rebounding as the PCB levels decline, but they face other threats, too, such as invasive species.

“There is significant evidence that contaminants contribute to a lack of reproduction in the lakes,” said Deborah Swackhamer, co-director of the University of Minnesota’s Water Resources Center. “PCBs and dioxin are going down in Lake Ontario and contaminants are going down in Superior, and you’re seeing more successful lake trout reproduction in these lakes.”

Since bans have eliminated manufacture and use of the compounds, they are now getting into the lakes mostly through what’s circulating in the air.

US Fish & Wildlife Service
Researchers collect fish for contaminants testing in the St. Louis River.

“We’ve tackled the low-hanging fruit,” said Ronald Hites, a professor at Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs who specializes in air monitoring in the Great Lakes basin.

Through atmospheric deposition, the chemicals move from the air to the Earth’s surface. “The trends in the air are much the same. These old chemicals are decreasing,” Hites said. “Especially in the more remote regions like northern Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, it’s almost all atmospheric deposition.”

But it’s not all good news for the lakes, which hold 20 percent of the world’s fresh surface water. Other contaminants that build up in the bodies of people and animals are on the rise.

Since bans have eliminated manufacture and use of the compounds, they are now getting into the lakes mostly through what’s in the air.Flame retardants that have replaced banned polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) in furniture and other consumer products are showing up more frequently in the region, Hites said.

Thirteen currently used flame retardants are increasing in Great Lakes sediment, according to a February study. While they are at lower levels than PBDEs, the authors from the University of Illinois at Chicago called the trend “disturbing.”

New flame retardants also were found in 89 percent of the livers of ringer-bill gulls that breed near Lake Ontario, according to a 2012 study from researchers at the University of Quebec.

In another study by Hites, two new flame retardants – one of them sold as Firemaster 550 – were detected in more than half of the air samples taken at six sites along the shores of the Great Lakes, with the highest concentrations around Chicago and Cleveland.

US Environmental Protection Agency
PCBs are getting into the Great Lakes mostly from what's circulating in the air.

“The old-fashioned ones are just being replaced by something else,” Hites said. “We’re seeing one of the new flame retardants (Firemaster 550) increasing quite rapidly, doubling every two years.”

The Great Lakes region still has 43 “Areas of Concern,” a term the EPA uses to identify spots with severe environmental degradation. Only four sites have been delisted since 1987 when the program started.

More than 100 contaminant cleanup projects are funded under the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, launched by President Obama in 2009.

Jeff Skelding, director of the Healing Our Waters-Great Lakes Coalition, said he is pleased to see legacy compounds decreasing. But he warns that there is more work to do.

“The report is an important reminder to the U.S. Congress and next president to support programs like the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative that are accelerating the cleanup of toxic hotspots around the region,” Skelding said. “If federal public officials cut funding, projects will become harder and more expensive the longer we wait.”

  Creative Commons License

The above work, by Environmental Health News, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Enter supporting content here

Eastern Lake Ontario Environmental Research Group