Science  26 Sep 2008:
Vol. 321, Issue 5897, pp. 1755

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  1. EPA Nixes Perchlorate Standard

    1. Eli Kintisch

    After a multiyear bureaucratic fight, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided not to regulate a toxic rocket fuel component leaching into the nation's drinking water. The proposed ruling explains that requiring the cleanup of perchlorate, which is polluting areas near U.S. military sites, would provide no “meaningful opportunity for health risk reduction.” It's a controversial decision. “There is substantial evidence that this chemical needs to be regulated,” says toxicologist Melanie Marty, chair of EPA's child health advisory committee. In a 2006 letter to EPA, Marty cited studies that suggest current perchlorate levels at hundreds of U.S. sites could “result in exposures that pose neurodevelopmental risks” to infants.

  2. Scientists Go Nano a Mano

    1. Robert F. Service

    Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation jointly funded two centers to track the environmental implications of nanomaterials for 5 years. A $24 million center led by the University of California, Los Angeles, will perform cell-based studies to find materials that pose the greatest potential risks. The other center, awarded $14 million and led by researchers at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, will track the effects of nanomaterials on organisms as they move through tightly controlled ecosystems in labs. Andrew Maynard, a nanotechnology expert with the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C., says the work “is an important step.” But he would prefer to see a “robust federal risk research strategy” to systematically evaluate dangers from all potential nanomaterials.

  3. Gray Wolf Regains Protection

    1. Eli Kintisch

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has put the gray wolf back on the endangered species list. The listing conforms to a U.S. district court order issued in July (Science, 25 July, p. 475). There had been speculation that the government might appeal the ruling, which came after the Natural Resources Defense Council and other groups challenged a February decision by the agency to delist the Northern Rockies wolves. Now scientists with the council say they're cautiously optimistic about the wolf's chances. Two thousand wolves roam the region, they calculate; more than 2500 are needed for proper genetic mixing.