Sunblock Could Harm Sea Animals, Seals/Sea Lions Once Spread TB, Link Between Colds/Infections and Strokes in Children, Life Found Deep Beneath Antarctic Ice

Posted August 20th, 2014 at 8:40 pm (UTC+0)
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 Beachgoer spraying herself with sunblock (JD Harvill via Flickr/Creative Commons)


Beachgoer spraying herself with sunblock (JD Harvill via Flickr/Creative Commons)

Sunblock Good For You – May Be Bad For Marine Animals

For many people, especially in the northern hemisphere, summer time is also vacation time, and one of the most popular destinations is the beach.  One of the most important rituals for beachgoers is slathering on gobs of sunblock on their bodies.

But what people count on to protect them from sunburn and skin damage has been found to be harmful to some marine animals, according to a new study published in the American Chemical Society’s journal Environmental Science and Technology.

It turns out that when people take a dip in the ocean, key ingredients in sunblock – such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide – wash off the skin and can form new compounds such as hydrogen peroxide when they react to ultraviolet light from the sun.

The study’s findings were based on lab tests, seawater sampling and also tourism data.  The researchers found a significant summertime spike in hydrogen peroxide levels in coastal waters, and that the key ingredients found sunblock were responsible.

The research pointed out that the high levels of hydrogen peroxide can harm phytoplankton, which many ocean dwellers from small fish to whales, depend on for their food supplies.

 

Sea lions (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Sea lions (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Study: Seals and Sea Lions Helped Spread Tuberculosis to South American Natives 1,000 Years Ago

An international group of scientists has found that seals and sea lions caught the potentially deadly tuberculosis, probably from humans, and then carried and spread the disease to native people living in South America, years before the first Europeans arrived.

In a new paper published in the journal Nature, the researchers, who studied a number of ancient and newer DNA samples, found that the strains of tuberculosis found in the genomes of humans who lived in what is now Peru a thousand years ago were closely related to strains found in a group of animals called pinnipeds, which are seals and sea lions.

However, the more modern and virulent strains of tuberculosis are those that are related to the forms of the disease carried and spread by Europeans years ago.

The study indicates that the tuberculosis strains found in ancient South Americans that were earlier transmitted by the seals and sea lions were completely replace by those brought by European explorers who landed in the New World several hundred years ago.

 

Child with a cold (Aikawa Ke via Flickr/Creative Commons

Child with a cold (Aikawa Ke via Flickr/Creative Commons

Scientists Find Possible Link Between Colds, Infection and the Risk of Stroke in Children

Researchers writing in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology® found evidence indicating that children who catch colds or other related minor infections may also have a slight, temporary risk of having a stroke.

Researchers studying a medical database found children who suffered from a stroke were 12 times as likely to have also had some kind of infection within three days prior to having the stroke.

But Dr. Lars Marquardt of Germany’s University of Erlangen-Nuremberg said in a press release that, “While the study does show an increased risk, the overall risk of stroke among children is still extremely low.  Minor infections are very common in children while strokes are thankfully very rare. Parents should not be alarmed whatsoever if a child catches a simple cold,” he said.

 

First view of the bottom of Antarctic subglacial Lake Whillans, captured by a high-resolution imaging system to help WISSARD team verify that the rest of their instruments could be safely deployed into the lake in 2013. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

First view of the bottom of Antarctic subglacial Lake Whillans, captured by a high-resolution imaging system to help WISSARD team verify that the rest of their instruments could be safely deployed into the lake in 2013. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Researchers Provide Evidence of Life and an Ecosystem Inside Ancient Antarctic Subglacial Lake

Early in 2013 Dr. John Priscu a professor from Montana State University along with the research team he helped lead to the Antarctic Ice Sheet burrowed deep into the ice to look for life in the ancient fresh water subglacial Lake Whillans.  The subglacial lake hasn’t seen the sun, nor has it been exposed to the outside environment for millions of years.

Now, Dr. Priscu and his colleagues have written a landmark paper in the journal Nature that details the findings and analysis made from research conducted in that expedition.

The study shows that there is indeed microbe life and an active ecosystem in the waters almost one kilometer below the surface.

These microorganisms, called Archaea, are able to survive and grow because they convert ammonium and methane that is found in Lake Whillans into energy, the researchers said.

“We were able to prove unequivocally to the world that Antarctica is not a dead continent,” Priscu said in a press release.

One Response to “Sunblock Could Harm Sea Animals, Seals/Sea Lions Once Spread TB, Link Between Colds/Infections and Strokes in Children, Life Found Deep Beneath Antarctic Ice”

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