Tuesday: ‘Healthy planet, healthy patients’

The Environmental Professionals Network (EPN) presents its next public breakfast program, “Healthy Planet, Healthy Patients: Hospitals Reduce Their Environmental Footprint” from 7:15-9:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16, in the Nationwide and Ohio Farm Bureau 4-H Building on Ohio State’s Columbus campus. Registration is $10, free for students, and includes breakfast. Find out more and register.

EPN, a statewide professional group, is a service of CFAES’s School of Environment and Natural Resources.

‘What’s exciting is that it’s a natural product’

“We’re taking advantage of something plants have been doing for millions of years” — evolving chemicals to defend themselves from pests — “to hopefully get a leg up on mosquitoes.”

So says CFAES scientist Pete Piermarini, pictured, explaining a recent study. In it, he and scientist Liva Rakotondraibe of Ohio State’s College of Pharmacy discovered a possible new mosquito-fighting chemical in a plant from Madagascar.

Read the full story. (Photo: Ken Chamberlain, CFAES.)

They’re seeing if toxins from Lake Erie algae get into food you might eat

Do toxins from Lake Erie algal blooms get into Lake Erie fish you might eat? What about vegetables that growers watered with water they pulled from the lake? Scientists with CFAES, funded by Ohio Sea Grant and the Ohio Department of Higher Education’s Harmful Algal Bloom Research Initiative, are helping find answers.

See stunning aerial photos of Lake Erie algal blooms

NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory has posted some stunning aerial photos, taken Sept. 20, of a harmful algal bloom in western Lake Erie. You can see more, too, from Sept. 14 (the fifth one down, among many, may smack your gob) and Aug. 14.

Lake Erie algal bloom research at risk

A June 14 Great Lakes Today story by Elizabeth Miller said the proposed 2018 federal budget would “cut all federal funding for Sea Grant programs, including Ohio’s.” At risk, among other things, would be crucial health-related research on harmful algal blooms.

Miller, for example, interviewed two Ohio Sea Grant-funded researchers, Stuart Ludsin and CFAES’s Jiyoung Lee, who are trying to determine if toxins produced by harmful algal blooms can get into food — specifically, into fresh vegetables irrigated with bloom-tainted waters and fish such as walleye that swam in such waters.

To stave off, or not, another water crisis

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which, among its work, keeps the air you breathe and water you drink clean, would see the biggest cut — 31 percent — of any federal agency in the White House’s proposed 2018 budget, according to a Reuters story. EPA’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative would be especially hard hit. It faces a 97-percent cut in the proposed budget.

How would those cuts, if approved, hit home? Jeff Reutter, special adviser to Ohio State’s Ohio Sea Grant program, said in a recent issue of Cleveland Scene, “If we lose the EPA, we lose Lake Erie.”

The lake, among other things, provides drinking water for 3 million Ohioans.