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Person C headerDevon Payne-Sturges, Dr.P.H.
Located in MPRC People
Sacoby Wilson aids Maryland Senate environmental bill
Bill would require diverse representation on the committee
Located in News
Nature and Health Spring Talk: Dr. Jennifer D. Roberts
Assistant Professor Jennifer Roberts will be a presenter for the University of Washington's Nature and Health Spring Talk series
Located in Coming Up
Tim Dyson, London School of Economics & Political Science
Global Warming and the Demographic Future
Located in Coming Up
Brian Thiede, The Pennsylvania State University
It’s Raining Babies? Flooding and Fertility Choices in Bangladesh
Located in Coming Up
Article ReferencePrimer on Costs of Action/ Inaction and Communication to Policymakers
To support the African ChemObs project (the Integrated Health and Environment Observatories and Legal and Institutional Strengthening for the Sound Management of Chemicals in Africa), we provide a critical review of methodologies for valuing the health damages from policy inaction associated with chemical exposures. In particular, we discuss how disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) and IQ loss should be valued. We conclude by providing advice on communicating the costs of inaction and the benefits and costs of action to policymakers. By the social costs of inaction, we mean the private or market costs, as well as the external costs, from pollution exposures compared with no exposure. Knowledge of these damages can then lead to policies designed to force investment and operating decisions in the market to account for (internalize) such costs/damages. The costs of inaction can be distinguished from the benefits and costs of action. The benefits of action are the value of, for example, the health improvements from regulations or other forms of action. These actions usually come with a cost of resources to bring about such actions. The net benefits to society of an action are the benefits minus the costs of action. In general, as regulations of chemicals rarely eliminate all exposures, the costs of inaction generally exceed (in absolute terms) the benefits of action.
Located in MPRC People / Maureen Cropper, Ph.D. / Maureen Cropper Publications
Article Reference Troff document (with manpage macros)Antibiotic and herbicide concentrations in household greywater reuse systems and pond water used for food crop irrigation: West Bank, Palestinian Territories
Greywater is increasingly treated and reused for agricultural irrigation in off-grid communities in the Middle East and other water scarce regions of the world. However, there is a dearth of data regarding levels of antibiotics and herbicides in off-grid greywater treatment systems. To address this knowledge gap, we evaluated levels of these contaminants in two types of greywater treatment systems on four farms in the West Bank, Palestinian Territories. Samples of household greywater (influent, n = 23), treated greywater effluent intended for agricultural irrigation (n = 23) and pumped groundwater held in irrigation water ponds (n = 12) were collected from October 2017 to June 2018. Samples were analyzed using high performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) for the following antibiotics and herbicides: alachlor, ampicillin, atrazine, azithromycin, ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, linezolid, oxacillin, oxolinic acid, penicillin G, pipemidic acid, sulfamethoxazole, triclocarban, tetracycline, triflualin, and vancomycin. All tested antibiotics and herbicides were detected in greywater influent samples at concentrations ranging from 1.3 to 1592.9 ng/L and 3.1–22.4 ng/L, respectively. When comparing influent to effluent concentrations, removal was observed for azithromycin, alachlor, linezolid, oxacillin, penicillin G, pipemidic acid, sulfamethoxazole, triclocarban, and vancomycin. Removal was not observed for atrazine, ciprofloxacin, erythromycin, oxolinic acid, tetracycline, and trifluralin. Pond water also contained the majority of tested contaminants, but at generally lower concentrations. To our knowledge, this is the first description of an extensive array of antibiotics and herbicides detected in household greywater from off-grid treatment systems.
Located in MPRC People / Amir Sapkota, Ph.D. / Amir Sapkota Publications
Article Reference Troff document (with manpage macros)Environmental Justice and the Food Environment in Prince George’s County, Maryland: Assessment of Three Communities
Lack of access to a health-promoting food environment can lead to poor health outcomes including obesity which is a problem for African-Americans in Prince George’s County, Maryland. Previous research examined the quality of the food environment at the regional level but did not consider local level indicators. In this study, we utilized an environmental justice framework to examine the local food environment in the County. We collected data from 127 food outlets, (convenience stores, grocery stores, and supermarkets), in three racially and socioeconomically diverse communities – Bladensburg (predominantly African American/ Black, with the lowest median household income); Greenbelt (similar percentage of non-white persons as Hyattsville, with the highest median household income); and Hyattsville (dominated by a Hispanic population). We examined the availability, quality, and accessibility of food within each community, using a modified version of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) healthy food availability index (HFAI).We also used ArcMap 10.6 to examine the spatial distribution of stores in relation to sociodemographic factors and generate descriptive statistics to examine HFAI score differences across the communities, sociodemographic composition, and store types at the block group level. Mean HFAI scores were 7.76, 10.75, and 9.60 for Bladensburg, Greenbelt, and Hyattsville, respectively suggesting a relative disparity in access to diverse healthy and good quality food sources for these communities although these differences were not statistically significant (p=0.79). Statistically significant differences between the communities were found with respect to ethnic stores, stores that sold fresh vegetables (p=0.047), and stores that sold fresh fruits (p=0.012). Getis-Ord Gi Hot Spot Analysis revealed one statistically significant cold spot at 95% confidence, and two others at 90% confidence in Hyattsville, indicating a cluster of low-scoring stores. The results indicate a potential need for expanded food infrastructure in these communities to improve public health. We also identified the need for culturally appropriate foods and proposed ethnic stores as potential salutogens to improve the food environment in culturally diverse neighborhoods.
Located in MPRC People / Sacoby Wilson, Ph.D., M.S. / Sacoby Wilson Publications
Article ReferenceA Conversation with Maureen Cropper
This article presents an interview with environmental economist Maureen L. Cropper. Maureen completed her Ph.D. at Cornell University and subsequently held positions at the University of California, Riverside, and the University of Southern California. At Riverside, she moved from monetary economics to environmental economics. She then landed at the University of Maryland, where she is a still a professor. She has taken on leadership roles in numerous institutional settings, including the US National Academy of Sciences and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Science Advisory Board. Her contributions to environmental economics have been groundbreaking and extensive. Together with many collaborators—including former students and colleagues at the University of Maryland, World Bank, EPA, and Resources for the Future—Maureen has produced a body of work that spans theory, methods, and empirical applied economics. Her work covers the environment, energy, climate change, and transportation in both the United States and developing countries.
Located in MPRC People / Maureen Cropper, Ph.D. / Maureen Cropper Publications
Article Reference Troff document (with manpage macros)Pharmaceuticals, herbicides, and disinfectants in agricultural water sources
Agricultural water withdrawals account for the largest proportion of global freshwater use. Increasing municipal water demands and droughts are straining agricultural water supplies. Therefore, alternative solutions to agricultural water crises are urgently needed, including the use of nontraditional water sources such as advanced treated wastewater or reclaimed water, brackish water, return flows, and effluent from produce processing facilities. However, it is critical to ensure that such usage does not compromise soil, crop, and public health. Here, we characterized five different nontraditional water types (n = 357 samples) for the presence of pharmaceuticals, herbicides, and disinfectants using ultra-high-pressure liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry based method (UPLC-MS/MS). We then evaluated whether the levels of these contaminants were influenced by season. The highest level of herbicides (atrazine) was detected in untreated pond water (median concentration 135.9 ng/L). Reclaimed water had the highest levels of antibiotics and stimulants including azithromycin (215 ng/L), sulfamethoxazole (232.1 ng/L), and caffeine (89.4 ng/L). Produce processing plant water also tended to have high levels of atrazine (102.7 ng/L) and ciprofloxacin (80.1 ng/L). In addition, we observed seasonal variability across water types, with the highest atrazine concentrations observed during summer months, while the highest median azithromycin concentrations were observed in reclaimed water during the winter season. Further studies are needed to evaluate if economically feasible on-farm water treatment technologies can effectively remove such contaminants from nontraditional irrigation water sources.
Located in MPRC People / Amir Sapkota, Ph.D. / Amir Sapkota Publications