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水4.0:饮用水的过去、现在与未来 (双语Ch 8节选)

已有 1656 次阅读 2015-9-9 03:20 |个人分类:Water 4.0|系统分类:科普集锦|关键词:Water,4.0,,Chapter,8| Water, chapter


Traces of Trouble:

Hormones,Pharmaceuticals, and Toxic Chemicals


“痕量”的麻: 激素、物和有毒化学品

In 1995, I was invited to give a talk at a scientific conference featuring the up-and-coming water pollution researchers. Of course I agreed to go. After all, I was flattered by the attention, and as a freshly minted assistant professor I knew that being identified as someone who stood out from his peers would be useful when it came time for tenure review. That the conference was to be held in Honolulu in mid-December had only a minor bearingon my decision to accept the invitation.


Like most of the other speakers, I planned to slink off to the beach for a week of rejuvenation after giving my talk. To be polite, I had to attenda day of sessions with my colleagues, but that seemed like a small price topay. I wasn’t expecting to learn much, because I already knew most of the other presenters and had read their papers or seen them give talks at other conferences. I certainly didn’t anticipate that one of the talks would change the focus of my subsequent research and cause me to develop a deep skepticism about the ways in which cities obtain, treat, and dispose of water.


The source of my trouble was a new graduate from Brunel University in England named Susan Jobling. I had never heard of any cutting edge research outthis tiny school just outside Landon and was surprised when she reported findings unlike anything I had ever read. Jobling talked about research she had recently completed as part of her Ph.D. under the supervision of John Sumpter, a biologist who had switched his research focus from the fundamentals of fish reproduction to water pollution upon learning of the alarmingly high prevalence in British rivers of male fish with eggs growing in their testes. Sumpter found out about this unusual phenomenon from British government researchers who had observed hermaphroditic fish in the River Lea, a tributary of the Thames River, starting in the early 1980s. Scientists working for the government-run utility, Thames Water, had quietly been trying to determine the extent of the phenomenon and its causes for several years when Sumpter and his students got involved. Bythe early 1990s, the combined team had documented the occurrence of male fishwith eggs growing inside their testes in urban rivers throughout Britain. They also had learned that sewage treatment plants were the source of the problem: when they placed male trout in cages immediately downstream of treatment plants, the fish started producing eggs after as little as two weeks of exposure. Something in sewage was turning male fish into hermaphrodites.1



(Last two paragraphs of Chapter 8)

My encounter with Susan Jobling in 1995 led me to question the practice of using river as a dumping ground for sewage effluent. Initially, it was the presence of steroid hormones in effluent-dominated surface waters and their ability to feminize fish that drew my attention. After my colleagues and I learned that the problem could be solved by relatively simple measures, like improving the ability of the sewage treatment plant to remove organic matter or by adding a relatively inexpensive additional step, like chlorination, at the end of the treatment process, we turned our attention to the less potent manmade chemicals. We still do not know which, if any, of these chemicals might be causing subtle effects on the growth and reproduction of fish and other aquatic organisms that make their homes in effluent-dominated rivers, though it is clear that some of the compounds survive their trip to our drinking water treatment plants. In most cases, the concentrations of the difficult-to-remove compounds are so low that it is exceedingly unlikely that they will affect our health. But in a few cases, the manmade chemicals react with chemical disinfectants during drinking water treatment to produce potent mutagens or carcinogens. Initial evidence suggests that we might be able to eliminate some of these chemicals by upgrading our sewage and water treatment plants, but the total cost of such improvements is high.


In addition to activated carbon and ozone, there are numerousup-and-coming water treatment technologies that might be more effective than the retrofits that are currently being contemplated. Before we start investingin Water 3.1—an upgrade of our aging wastewater and drinking water systems to address the problems caused by trace amounts of chemicals in wastewater—we should consider approaches for breaking free of the nineteenth- and twentieth-century practice of using our rivers and drinking water supplies for waste disposal.




ps. I typed up the English myself, so errors are possible.


[美]戴·塞德拉克 著

徐向荣 等    虞左俊 校





Water 4.0: The Past, Present, and Future of the World's Most Vital Resource

Paperback:March 31, 2015

by David Sedlak (Author)

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