Take leads, for example. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there is “no safe level” of lead in children’s blood, but the organization does not have the necessary medical intervention to determine when levels are reached. We have established a useful Blood Lead Reference Value (BLRV). In 2012, this level was set at 5 micrograms per deciliter of blood. However, in 2021 the cut-off value has been lowered to 3.5 µL/dL. This is because more studies have demonstrated that even low levels of lead can have detrimental effects on children’s brains, hearts, and immune systems. With new discoveries, this cutoff could be even lower, says Marsit.
Acquiring the Exposome may seem like an impossible challenge. As Mudway puts it, we’re trying to understand the impact of “anywhere, anytime, anything.”
But we are on track. Some research teams are focusing on groups of people who are particularly susceptible to disease, trying to figure out what role exposure to chemicals might play. Some researchers are investigating the effects of And tests that measure exposure to chemicals have improved over time. Perhaps the bigger challenge is convincing polluters to stop pumping these chemicals into our environment.
Read more from the Tech Review archive
Seabirds eating microplastics altered their gut microbiota. We are also ingesting microplastics and credit cards are estimated to be worth a week’s worth.
The Environmental Protection Agency has limited authority when it comes to emissions control in the United States. As my colleague Casey Crownhart reported, these were further reduced last summer when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the EPA had no authority to limit carbon emissions.
Casey has also explored technologies that could help reduce the emissions associated with air travel. (This article is from her excellent weekly newsletter, The Spark, which you can sign up for here.)
Unfortunately, reducing air pollution can have unintended consequences for climate change. As my colleague James Temple reported in 2019, research suggests that cleaning the air makes droughts even more severe.
Less pollution, more art. As reported by Rob Matheson in 2018, that was the goal of startup Graviky Labs. The company has developed a system that collects soot and turns it into inks and paints for artists.