PFAS contamination near Richmond Air Base prompts egg and meat consumption warning
In June, the Air Force announced a 10-square-kilometre plume of PFAS contamination had been found in the ground water below and around the Richmond Air Base, 50 kilometres north-west of Sydney’s CBD.
Twenty-five surface water test sites were also found to have had PFAS contamination above safe drinking levels, including Rickabys Creek and Bakers Lagoon.
However, the Human Health Risk Assessment released today says people living in the area should limit their intake of locally grown eggs and red meat, and locally caught fish to reduce their exposure to the chemical.
The report said people living in the investigation area around the air base should not eat more than 24 eggs per month, 50 serves of red meat per month or 12 servings of fin fish per month that have been grown or caught locally.
That amount is smaller for children.
"Each chook egg had a different level of PFAS in it.
"I was really distressed, particularly because I’d been feeding them to my grandchildren — one of whom is under six.
An ecological risk assessment also released today found unacceptable risks of contamination for animals and the environment on and around the base.
There is also some exposure risk for animals and birds in the Hawkesbury River, the assessment found.
According to NSW Health, PFAS does not break down in the environment and can accumulate and persist for a long time in humans and the environment.
Hanover bald eagles near fledging: Video traces their lives from egg to today
Hanover bald eagles near fledging: Video traces their lives from egg to today.
The eaglets hatched from their eggs on March 20 and 21, and the eaglets are now within a few weeks of the three-month point in their lives, the point at which young bald eagles usually start flying.
If all continues to go well, when the eaglets leave the nest they will mark the ninth time that the bald eagle pair at the nest monitored by viewers around the world on a web cam that live streams through the Pennsylvania Game Commission website have fledged eaglets.
The pair usually fledge two eaglets per year.
The nest near Hanover is one of more than 200 nests with growing eaglets in them across the state.
The commission does not believe that decline reflected an actual decrease in the state’s bald eagle population.
The much larger number of bald eagles in Pennsylvania today also could be contributing to lower counts because new pairs might build their nests between existing nests of other pairs and thus go undetected.
The bald eagle population has grown and spread across Pennsylvania to the point that most of us now live within a few miles of some likely spot for viewing the big birds of prey.
After ending decades of devastation of bald eagle populations by organochloride pesticides like DDT, water pollution and shootings, which brought the birds to edge of extirpation from Pennsylvania in 1983, the commission began a reintroduction program of hacking eaglets from protected platforms at sites like Haldeman Island in the Susquehanna River near Duncannon.
By 1998, Pennsylvania was home to 25 pairs of nesting bald eagles.
Emergence of winter moths has scientist worried about another spring of defoliation
"Their caterpillars defoliated 27,000 acres in Rhode Island in the spring of 2015, but even though we had winter moths everywhere last year and I saw a zillion eggs, they caused almost zero defoliation."
Faubert believes last year’s strange winter and spring weather negated what she expected to be a dire season for winter moth defoliation.
Winter moth eggs typically hatch during a warm spell in April, but last year they began hatching during a warm period in late March.
With little defoliation occurring last year from winter moths, Faubert said it’s possible that there will be fewer adult moths flying around in the next month.
"Defoliation is very stressful to trees," Faubert said.
The females crawl up tree trunks to lay their eggs.
In an experiment she conducted last year, Faubert placed two tree bands, separated by about a foot, around one tree.
One strategy Faubert is deploying to control winter moth populations is the release of a tiny parasitic fly that lays its eggs on tree leaves.
When the winter moth caterpillar consumes the eggs while eating the leaves, the eggs hatch inside the caterpillar and the fly larva eat it from the inside out.
Faubert released the flies in seven locations in Rhode Island between 2011 and 2015, and she hopes to soon see signs that it is beginning to work.