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Smith P.G.,Stantec Consulting Ltd. | Boutin C.,Environment Canada | Knopper L.,Intrinsik Environmental Sciences Inc.
Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology | Year: 2013

Vanadium concentrations in soil can be increased through anthropogenic inputs and can be harmful to plants. A Petri dish experiment was conducted to assess the effect of vanadium toxicity on the germination and survival of the garden lettuce, Lactuca sativa. A second study was conducted in a greenhouse to investigate the influence of species selection and nutrient concentration on the toxicity of vanadium pentoxide to plants. L. sativa and four non-crop native plant species, two grasses (Elymus virginicus and Panicum virgatum) and two broad-leaved species (Lycopus americanus and Prunella vulgaris) were selected. Artificial soil was used in both experiments, and a geometric progression of five vanadium concentrations plus controls was selected for the soil treatments. Results of the Petri dish experiment showed that seedling survival is a less sensitive end point than above-ground dry weight (DW) as measured in the greenhouse experiment. Nutrient level (100, 10, and 1 kg/ha) was found to strongly influence vanadium toxicity in the greenhouse study. At 100 kg/ha, plant tolerance to vanadium was greatest, as indicated by higher no-observed, lowest-observed, and percentage effect concentration values. Results showed that forbs (L. americanus and P. vulgaris) tended to be more sensitive than both the crop (L. sativa) and grasses (E. virginicus and P. virgatum) at high concentrations of vanadium. Soil concentrations resulting in a 25 % decrease in shoot DW were generally less than the Canadian soil quality guideline for vanadium, suggesting that 130 mg/kg may not be protective of the Canadian native plant species used in this study. © 2012 Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada.


Hull R.N.,Intrinsik Environmental Sciences Inc. | Luoma S.N.,University of California at Davis | Bayne B.A.,AECOM Technology Corporation | Iliff J.,National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | And 4 more authors.
Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management | Year: 2016

Ecosystem restoration planning near the beginning of the site assessment and management process ("early integration") involves consideration of restoration goals from the outset in developing solutions for contaminated ecosystems. There are limitations to integration that stem from institutional barriers, few successful precedents, and limited availability of guidance. Challenges occur in integrating expertise from various disciplines and multiple, sometimes divergent interests and goals. The more complex process can result in timing, capacity, communication, and collaboration challenges. On the other hand, integrating the 2 approaches presents new and creative opportunities. For example, integration allows early planning for expanding ecosystem services on or near contaminated lands or waters that might otherwise have been unaddressed by remediation alone. Integrated plans can explicitly pursue ecosystem services that have market value, which can add to funds for long-term monitoring and management. Early integration presents opportunities for improved and productive collaboration and coordination between ecosystem restoration and contaminant assessment and management. Examples exist where early integration facilitates liability resolution and generates positive public relations. Restoration planning and implementation before the completion of the contaminated site assessment, remediation, or management process ("early restoration") can facilitate coordination with offsite restoration options and a regional approach to restoration of contaminated environments. Integration of performance monitoring, for both remedial and restoration actions, can save resources and expand the interpretive power of results. Early integration may aid experimentation, which may be more feasible on contaminated lands than in many other situations. The potential application of concepts and tools from adaptive management is discussed as a way of avoiding pitfalls and achieving benefits in early integration. In any case, there will be challenges with early integration of restoration concepts for contaminated ecosystems, but the benefits are likely to outweigh them. © 2016 SETAC.


Ollson C.A.,Intrinsik Environmental Sciences Inc. | Knopper L.D.,Intrinsik Environmental Sciences Inc. | Whitfield Aslund M.L.,Intrinsik Environmental Sciences Inc. | Jayasinghe R.,Stantec Inc.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2014

The regions of Durham and York in Ontario, Canada have partnered to construct an energy-from-waste thermal treatment facility as part of a long term strategy for the management of their municipal solid waste. This paper presents the results of a comprehensive human health risk assessment for this facility. This assessment was based on extensive sampling of baseline environmental conditions (e.g., collection and analysis of air, soil, water, and biota samples) as well as detailed site specific modeling to predict facility-related emissions of 87 identified contaminants of potential concern. Emissions were estimated for both the approved initial operating design capacity of the facility (140,000 tonnes per year) and for the maximum design capacity (400,000 tonnes per year). For the 140,000 tonnes per year scenario, this assessment indicated that facility-related emissions are unlikely to cause adverse health risks to local residents, farmers, or other receptors (e.g., recreational users). For the 400,000 tonnes per year scenarios, slightly elevated risks were noted with respect to inhalation (hydrogen chloride) and infant consumption of breast milk (dioxins and furans), but only during predicted 'upset conditions' (i.e. facility start-up, shutdown, and loss of air pollution control) that represent unusual and/or transient occurrences. However, current provincial regulations require that additional environmental screening would be mandatory prior to expansion of the facility beyond the initial approved capacity (140,000 tonnes per year). Therefore, the potential risks due to upset conditions for the 400,000 tonnes per year scenario should be more closely investigated if future expansion is pursued. © 2013 The Authors.


Whitfield Aslund M.L.,Intrinsik Environmental Sciences Inc. | Ollson C.A.,Intrinsik Environmental Sciences Inc. | Knopper L.D.,Intrinsik Environmental Sciences Inc.
Energy Policy | Year: 2013

Wind turbines produce sound during their operation; therefore, jurisdictions around the world have developed regulations regarding the placement of electricity generating wind farms with the intent of preventing unacceptable levels of 'community noise' in their vicinity. However, as survey results indicate that the relationship between wind turbine noise and annoyance may differ from noise-annoyance relationships for other common noise sources (e.g., rail, traffic), there are concerns that the application of general noise guidelines for wind turbines may lead to unacceptably high levels of annoyance in communities. In this study, previously published survey results that quantified wind turbine noise and self-reported annoyance were applied to the predicted noise levels (from turbines and transformers) for over 8000 receptors in the vicinity of 13 planned wind power developments in the province of Ontario, Canada. The results of this analysis indicate that the current wind turbine noise restrictions in Ontario will limit community exposure to wind turbine related noise such that levels of annoyance are unlikely to exceed previously established background levels of noise-related annoyance from other common noise sources. This provides valuable context that should be considered by policy-makers when evaluating the potential impacts of wind turbine noise on the community. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.


Rodney S.I.,Intrinsik Environmental Sciences Inc. | Teed R.S.,Intrinsik Environmental Sciences Inc. | Moore D.R.J.,Intrinsik Environmental Sciences Inc.
Human and Ecological Risk Assessment | Year: 2013

A major difficulty in addressing chemical mixtures through legislation or regulations revolves around our limited understanding of their potential impacts. This review provides an overview of recent research on pesticide mixture toxicity to aquatic biota and the methods employed to predict toxic effects. The most common approaches are to assume concentration-addition or independent action of chemicals in a mixture. There are a number of cases in the literature of interactions between pesticides. However, models accounting for possible interactions between mixture components are used infrequently. Although results are limited, studies investigating the effects of pesticide mixtures have not demonstrated significant synergism at environmentally relevant concentrations. Based on the results of our review, we conclude that the concentration-addition model is a generally conservative and practical first-tier model for the ecological assessment of pesticide mixtures in aquatic systems. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.


Bacigalupo C.,Intrinsik Environmental Sciences Inc. | Hale B.,University of Guelph
Human and Ecological Risk Assessment | Year: 2011

Using publicly available data for contaminated sites, regression relationships between As or Pb concentrations in co-located soils and leaf, root, and fruit vegetables, were developed. The improvement of these regression relationships by additional independent variables known to influence bioavailability of these trace elements in soil (soil pH, available phosphorous, Fe oxide, total Fe, and organic carbon content) was tested. Soil pH, but not plant-available P, decreased unexplained variation in the model for As in leafy vegetables. Iron oxide concentration in soil reduced unexplained variability in As concentrations in root vegetables, but with a positive coefficient thus contradicting its anticipated role as a competitor for As uptake by plants. None of the soil characteristics beyond total Pb concentration reduced variability observed in Pb concentrations in leafy or root vegetables, and there was no model that predicted Pb concentrations in fruit. Predictions of tissue concentration from single-value Plant-Uptake Factors (PUFs) for As in leaf and root vegetables, and for Pb accumulation in root vegetables, deviated more from the observed values than predictions from the regression relationships. The FW PUF determined from this study was within an order of magnitude of that used by the United Kingdom for development of generic soil quality values. © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


Koppe B.,Intrinsik Environmental Sciences Inc.
Proceedings of the Air and Waste Management Association's Annual Conference and Exhibition, AWMA | Year: 2010

There have been concerns on water use, changes in the quality of the "receiving" environment (air, water, soil, and biota), effects on the landscape, and impacts on indigenous ways of life in Athabasca oil sands. There were suggestions that the deterioration in water quality and air quality is leading to the gradual poisoning of the Wood Buffalo communities of Fort McKay and Fort Chipewyan. A discussion covers an overview of health-related data that have been collected to date in the Wood Buffalo Region, including the overall findings of multiple quantitative health risk assessments; recent reports that suggest that a community downstream of the oil sands is suffering from "higher than expected" rates of certain, rare forms of cancer, and whether or not this could be due to the contamination of the Athabasca River, the largest watercourse in the Athabasca oil sands.; and comparison of environmental data (air, water, and biota) collected from the oil sands against health-based guidelines in addition to data that have been collected from areas in Canada that have not been influenced by oil sands development. This is an abstract of a paper presented at the 103rd AWMA Annual Conference and Exhibition (Alberta, Canada 6/22-25/2010).


Moore D.R.J.,Intrinsik Environmental Sciences Inc. | Teed R.S.,Intrinsik Environmental Sciences Inc.
Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management | Year: 2013

Salmon populations in the Pacific Northwest are being affected by a variety of environmental stressors including intense fishing pressure, parasites and disease, climatic variability and change, land development, hatchery production, hydropower operations, stormwater runoff, and exposure to toxic contaminants. In recent years, there has been much concern that mixtures of pesticides are causing toxic effects to Pacific salmon. In this study,we compared measured stream water concentrations from 2 monitoring studies conducted in the Pacific Northwest with concentration-response curves derived for inhibition of brain acetylcholinesterase activity in juvenile coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) for mixtures of organophosphate (OPs) and carbamate (CBs) pesticides. In the first monitoring study, samples were collected from 2003 to 2007 in salmonid-bearing waters of 5 urban or agricultural watersheds inWashington State. This study was targeted to areas of high pesticide use and generally involved weekly sampling during the pesticide use season. The second monitoring study was the United States Geological Survey National Water Quality Assessment that included samples taken from 2003 to 2010 in California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. OPs and CBs were frequently detected in both studies. The available monitoring data collected since 2003, however, demonstrates that mixtures of OPs and CBs in surface waters rarely occur at levels capable of producing significant physiological and behavioral effects in Pacific salmon. The observed mixtures never reached concentrations capable of causing mortality. We conclude that mixtures of organophosphates and carbamates do not pose a significant direct risk to Pacific salmon. © 2012 SETAC.


Bacigalupo C.,Intrinsik Environmental Sciences Inc. | Hale B.,University of Guelph
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2012

The consumption of home grown vegetables may represent a significant exposure pathway for arsenic (As) and lead (Pb) relative to direct incidental ingestion of soil, thus a probabilistic screening tool for estimating these exposures was developed using regression models relating co-located soil and home garden (HG) vegetable concentrations of Pb and As established from multiple independent studies and 2-dimensional Monte Carlo analyses. For high-quantity consumers of HG vegetables (i.e., the upper 95th percentile of consumers in the general population), the HG consumption pathway can be as significant as incidental soil and dust ingestion for inorganic As and, therefore, should be considered when developing generic health-based soil criteria in residential settings. Predicted Pb Hazard Quotient (HQ) estimates among young children resulting from HG consumption were 4- to 10-fold lower than exposures resulting from direct incidental soil and dust ingestion. The difference in soil/dust ingestion rates used to characterize young children (the 95th percentile of 202. mg/d) versus a lifetime residential receptor (the 95th percentile of 30. mg/d) was a primary factor contributing to the relative differences observed between HQ and incremental lifetime cancer risk (ILCR) resulting from these two exposure pathways for lead Pb and inorganic arsenic As, respectively. © 2012 Elsevier B.V.


Knopper L.D.,Intrinsik Environmental Sciences Inc. | Ollson C.A.,Intrinsik Environmental Sciences Inc.
Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source | Year: 2011

Background: Wind power has been harnessed as a source of power around the world. Debate is ongoing with respect to the relationship between reported health effects and wind turbines, specifically in terms of audible and inaudible noise. As a result, minimum setback distances have been established world-wide to reduce or avoid potential complaints from, or potential effects to, people living in proximity to wind turbines. People interested in this debate turn to two sources of information to make informed decisions: scientific peer-reviewed studies published in scientific journals and the popular literature and internet. Methods. The purpose of this paper is to review the peer-reviewed scientific literature, government agency reports, and the most prominent information found in the popular literature. Combinations of key words were entered into the Thomson Reuters Web of Knowledge SM and the internet search engine Google. The review was conducted in the spirit of the evaluation process outlined in the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. Results: Conclusions of the peer reviewed literature differ in some ways from those in the popular literature. In peer reviewed studies, wind turbine annoyance has been statistically associated with wind turbine noise, but found to be more strongly related to visual impact, attitude to wind turbines and sensitivity to noise. To date, no peer reviewed articles demonstrate a direct causal link between people living in proximity to modern wind turbines, the noise they emit and resulting physiological health effects. If anything, reported health effects are likely attributed to a number of environmental stressors that result in an annoyed/stressed state in a segment of the population. In the popular literature, self-reported health outcomes are related to distance from turbines and the claim is made that infrasound is the causative factor for the reported effects, even though sound pressure levels are not measured. Conclusions: What both types of studies have in common is the conclusion that wind turbines can be a source of annoyance for some people. The difference between both types is the reason for annoyance. While it is acknowledged that noise from wind turbines can be annoying to some and associated with some reported health effects (e.g., sleep disturbance), especially when found at sound pressure levels greater than 40 db(A), given that annoyance appears to be more strongly related to visual cues and attitude than to noise itself, self reported health effects of people living near wind turbines are more likely attributed to physical manifestation from an annoyed state than from wind turbines themselves. In other words, it appears that it is the change in the environment that is associated with reported health effects and not a turbine-specific variable like audible noise or infrasound. Regardless of its cause, a certain level of annoyance in a population can be expected (as with any number of projects that change the local environment) and the acceptable level is a policy decision to be made by elected officials and their government representatives where the benefits of wind power are weighted against their cons. Assessing the effects of wind turbines on human health is an emerging field and conducting further research into the effects of wind turbines (and environmental changes) on human health, emotional and physical, is warranted. © 2011 Knopper and Ollson; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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