A Cocktail of Contaminants: Moving Away From Single Chemical Science

Efforts to relax environmental regulations and weaken wetland protections have been in the news a lot in Wisconsin recently, which made the post we just read from The Fisheries Blog even more relevant. What’s in our water? The answer is a whole lot of things. The real question is what they all do when they mix together. Dana Sackett has more on why scientists are focusing more on the whole cocktail and less on single ingredients.
By: Dana Sackett

flickr CC-BY-SA-2.0

For me, the word cocktail usually brings to mind delightful adult beverages or a foggy witch’s brew (still in Halloween mode).  However, more frequently, as an environmental scientist, this word is being used to describe the conditions of our aquatic environments.  Our waterways are often where the slurry of chemicals from agricultural run-off, human sewage treatment plants, industrial discharges, and stormwater runoff from roads and landfills end-up. 
One of the great difficulties for environmental toxicologists is determining, and trying to predict, the impacts of every combination of chemicals when there are thousands released into the environment. Continue reading at The Fisheries Blog –>

Photo at Top: NTL LTER Researchers use dye tracers to track how nutrients (and contaminants) move through a wetland.

Photo: A. Hinterthuer