Good job bringing this to light. People won't realise how huge the problem is and municipalities are woefully ill equipped to...
Agreed; mining can never be sustainable, but then how do you get the metals to make all the things you need in the course of...
Very good piece.
a potential counter threat to white blood cells (wbcs) has been recently uncovered. The wbcs are rendered irreversibly powerless after a brief exposure to triphenyltin (tpt), a compound found in some agricultural pesticides and fungicides. This was discovered during a study conducted by researchers from Nashville-based Tennessee State University.
Tests conducted by researchers indicated an apparent irreversible inhibition of the cells' function after as little as an one-hour exposure to tpt. "A one-hour exposure to tpt causes about a 50 per cent to 60 per cent loss of the tumour killing function of the cells," said Margaret Whalen, who oversaw the work. Even after the tpt is removed, the cells are unable to regain their strength, as evident during tests conducted by Whalen's group with human leukaemia cells. "Even after the compound is not present in the body, the wbcs are unable to kill the leukaemia cells," Whalen said. She believes the findings could explain to some extent why a few people face more cancer risks.
The tests were the first ever to examine tpt specifically in human natural killer cells. Most other studies have involved animal cell lines. It's also the first time the irreversible effect has been shown, she added. "The results indicate that brief exposures to tpt can cause persistent suppression of human immune system function," said Sharnise Wilson, one of the researchers. "Though most of the tpt levels that agricultural workers are exposed to in the fields are probably lower than what was tested by us, it is hard to know what real life levels for phenyltins are," noted Whalen.
In the near future, Whalen, in collaboration with researchers from the Murray State University in Kentucky, usa, hopes to test blood samples of agricultural workers who have been exposed to tpt to see whether significant quantities of the compound can be measured in their blood.
The researchers are currently investigating whether interleukin-2 -- a protein produced by other immune system cells -- might help reverse the inhibitory effect of tpt. "It looks like it can to some extent," said Whalen, but she quickly pointed out that the study is still ongoing and there is no conclusive data.