Author Archives: Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management

About Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management

Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management (IEAM) is published quarterly by the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). The journal is devoted to bridging the gap between scientific research and the use of science in decision making, regulation, and environmental management. IEAM aims to be the premier scientific journal for presenting new information, promoting dialogue, and fostering new methods for analysis of biological, ecological, chemical, engineering, environmental, physical and social science research applicable to the advancement of environmental policy and regulation, environmental management strategies, and sound approaches to environmental problem-solving. IEAM provides a peer-reviewed international forum for communicating new ideas and information from environmental science professionals in academia, business, government, and nongovernmental organizations. The journal welcomes scientific, social, and regulatory information through critical reviews, original research, commentaries, policy analyses, case studies, and special series. IEAM strives to provide a unique position in the peer-reviewed literature, focusing on continually evolving collaborations by offering perspectives from diverse disciplines and a variety of stakeholders. The internationally recognized scientists, academicians, and policy specialists who serve as subject matter Editors, members of the Editorial Board, and manuscript reviewers reflect this diversity of views and experience in each of the following major topic areas: Climate change challenges Decision analysis Ecological and human health risk assessment Environment impact analysis Environmental policy and regulation Environmental management Life cycle analysis and sustainable environmental practices In addition, IEAM regularly features non–peer-reviewed Learned Discourses that provide a forum for rapid communication of professional opinions on timely scientific issues, and Book Reviews that alert the scientific community to new publications in the broad field of environmental science.

Micro and Nanoplastics in the Environment: Risk for the Environment and Human Health

A guest post by Francisca Fernandez-Piñas, Miguel Gonzalez-Pleiter, and Roberto Rosal

The following post is one of a series previewing the research that will be presented at the SETAC Europe Annual Meeting in Rome, Italy (13-17 May 2018).

The use of plastic materials has been increasing since the mid-20th century to reach current production volumes of more than 300 million metric tons per year. The global flow of plastic materials is still linear, which means it is not “circular,” or a closed loop that results in sustainable re-use. From manufacturing to landfilling, more than 30% of plastic materials end up leaking into the environment in an uncontrolled manner. This is particularly evident in the aquatic environment where plastic debris has been detected in increasing amounts since the 1970s. Continue reading

Human-Made Changes of the Mississippi River’s Flow Amplify Extreme Flooding

By Roberta Attanasio, Blog Editor

For millennia, human societies have altered river flows in different ways. In the 20th century, the impact of human activities on rivers and watershed environments has increased exponentially—and engineering works such as channelization and dam construction have created new, complex, hybrid human-natural systems. Continue reading

Start with the problem, is wildlife in decline or not?

The following post is one of a series previewing the research that will be presented at the SETAC Europe Annual Meeting in Rome, Italy (13-17 May 2018).

A guest post by Andrew C. Johnson

Over a nearly 30 year career in environmental science I have witnessed scares over pesticides, endocrine disruptors, pharmaceuticals, nanoparticles, and now microplastics. The pattern is largely the same, a chemist detects the substance, and then laboratory tests confirm that some toxic properties exist. Further studies are then carried out in the laboratory at what are called ‘environmentally relevant concentrations,’ which appear to clinch the deal. Catastrophe is around the corner, if it hasn’t happened already.

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White-tailed eagle grabbing a fish near Raftsund, Lofoten/Norway Photo by Christoph Müller CC-BY 4.0

But what is really happening to exposed wildlife?  Why do we not seem to ask this question?  Could it be that wildlife exposed to our current fashionable substance of concern are prospering, whilst others might be suffering due to something we have not examined yet?  Even worse, existing problems for wildlife might be due to a chemical, such as a metal, which we have lost interest in due to their having gone out of fashion?

Rather than being chemical driven, let us learn to re-connect with trends in wildlife populations and examine their responses to the place and timing of exposure.

Session: Can trends in wildlife populations revolutionise our understanding of the impacts of chemicals on the environment?
15 May 2018 | 8:30 a.m.–10:05 a.m. | Room E

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Two mammal-eating “transient” killer whales photographed off the south side of Unimak Island, eastern Aleutian Islands, Alaska. Photographer: Robert Pittman Published courtesy of NOAA.

As the Arctic Ice Shrinks, Polar Bears May Need to Work Harder for a Living

By Roberta Attanasio, Blog Editor

It’s celebration time for the iconic polar bear, the poster child of climate change. Or better, it’s a different type of celebration. Every year, February 27—International Polar Bear Day—highlights the challenges that this big, charismatic creature faces in a warming Arctic, and becomes a day of action to reduce carbon emissions. The nineteen subpopulations of polar bears spend their winter on sheets of frozen ocean water, which melt and retreat in warmer months, to then advance again in the fall. As ice keeps melting because of higher temperatures, their natural habitat shrinks, affecting their capacity to travel, hunt, and breed. In other words, their lives are tied to the annual spread and shrinkage of Arctic sea ice.

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Polar bear silently stepping from an ice floe by Andreas Weith [Wikimedia Commons – Creative Commons Attribution–Share Alike 4.0]

Continue reading

Sexual Harassment in the Scientific Community: Title IX and Federal Research Funding

By Roberta Attanasio, IEAM Blog Editor

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Lewd Pointing by Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr/CC-BY-SA 2.0

In a recent tell-all letter to the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology tackled the issue of sexual harassment of women in the academic scientific community. The committee defined the issue as a “pernicious problem,” and stated that “sexual harassment is not outside the norm for women in academia.” Continue reading

What to Expect in 2018: Horizon Scanning Identifies Risks and Opportunities Related to Global Biological Diversity

By Roberta Attanasio, IEAM Blog Editor

What are the emerging issues that will likely affect global diversity, ecosystem services, and conservation efforts in 2018? Results from the 9th annual horizon scan, conducted by 24 experts and described in a recently published study, identified early signs of the 15 top future challenges and trends related to themes that include new mechanisms driving the emergence and geographic expansion of diseases, innovative biotechnologies, reassessment of global change, and the development of strategic infrastructure to facilitate global economic priorities. Continue reading

Carbon-Sucking Technologies: Moving Forward Despite Controversy

By Roberta Attanasio, IEAM Blog Editor

The 23rd conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was in full swing recently (6–17 November 2017). There, the countries that signed the 2015 Paris agreement discussed steps to keep the threat of climate change under control and—according to the Paris Agreement’s central aim—hold the rise in global temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by curbing industrial emissions of carbon dioxide. At the same time, scientists involved in the Global Carbon Project reported that total carbon dioxide emissions held stable from 2014 to 2016, at about 36 billion tons per year. They went on to clarify that this was a temporary hiatus that will end in 2017, and that economic projections suggest the likelihood of further emissions growth in 2018.  Continue reading