Eight reasons why water fluoridation has failed modern civilization

If you went up to the average person on the street today and tried to explain that most Americans drink, bathe in, and wash their dishes and clothes in an industrial waste product that is linked to causing endocrine disruption and cancer, you might be labeled a loon.

barbatbeaapaBut this is exactly what millions of city-dwellers do every day without realizing it, thanks to an outdated and completely unscientific public health intervention known as artificial water fluoridation. Read more

Bats use water ripples to hunt frogs

As the male túngara frog serenades female frogs from a pond, he creates watery ripples that make him easier to target by rivals and predators such as bats, according to researchers from The University of Texas at Austin, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), Leiden University and Salisbury University.

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Ripples continue for several seconds after a male tungara frog has stopped calling.

A túngara frog will stop calling if it sees a bat overhead, but ripples continue moving for several seconds after the call ceases. In the study, published this week in the journal Science, researchers found evidence that bats use echolocation — a natural form of sonar — to detect these ripples and home in on a frog. The discovery sheds light on an ongoing evolutionary arms race between frogs and bats. Read more

Idea inspired by breath-freshening strips leads to water test for the world

Inspiration can come in many forms, but this one truly was a breath of fresh air. A group of McMaster researchers has solved the problem of cumbersome, expensive and painfully slow water-testing by turning the process upside-down.

001Instead of shipping water to the lab, they have created a way to take the lab to the water, putting potentially life-saving technology into the hands of everyday people. The team has reduced the sophisticated chemistry required for testing water safety to a simple pill, by adapting technology found in a dissolving breath strip. Want to know if a well is contaminated? Drop a pill in a vial of water and shake vigorously. If the colour changes, there’s the answer. Read more

Progress in the automatic detection of water contaminants

Researchers at UPM are working in the development of hydrocarbons early detection devices for rivers in order to prevent contamination that could seriously affect the environment.

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Oil fluorescence produced by an ultraviolet LED.

The new devices use ultraviolet LED as light source that detects contaminant substances thanks to a fluorescence method. This can result in many benefits compared to the current systems due to the development of faster, robust and affordable detection systems. These new devices will be useful for the search of potential dangerous substances present in continental waters, all this according to researchers of the Telecommunication School of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM), who are currently studying its viability. Read more

Want to save water? Toilets have greatest impact

Many Americans are confused about the best ways to conserve water and have a slippery grasp on how much water different activities use, according to a national online survey conducted by an Indiana University researcher.

Experts say the best strategy for conserving water is to focus on efficiency improvements such as replacing toilets and retrofitting washing machines. However, the largest group of the participants, nearly 43 percent, cited taking shorter showers, which does save water but may not be the most effective action. Very few participants cited replacing toilets or flushing less, even though toilets use the most volume of water daily.

Toilets

The results of the survey of 1,020 participants are detailed in the article “Perceptions of Water Use” by author Shahzeen Attari, an assistant professor at Indiana University Bloomington’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs. The article appears the week of March 3 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read more