Science Inventory

Biofuels and the bay: Characterizing health and ecosystem impacts in the Chesapeake

Citation:

MADDEN, M. C. AND A. M. JARABEK. Biofuels and the bay: Characterizing health and ecosystem impacts in the Chesapeake. Presented at Society of Toxicology , Baltimore, MD, March 15 - 19, 2009.

Impact/Purpose:

research results

Description:

The global climate crisis has stimulated the search for alternative fuels. Biofuels have been the focus of a recent report by the Chesapeake Bay Commission that evaluated alternative fuel development efforts in the local area. Already under stress from anthropomorphic factors, the Chesapeake Bay Region could be adversely impacted by the wide spectrum of use of the region for biofuels production, transport, storage, and combustion. This regional-interest symposium will characterize the potential adverse effects on public health and ecological degradation from the production and use of biofuels in the Bay – an uncertain and complex challenge. There are multiple types of biofuels that are derived from various feedstocks and production processes. The amount of land use devoted to biofuels in this region will vary tremendously in part by the biofuel stock in economic demand, the advances made in the growth rate and energy content of plant stocks, and whether it can be imported. Domestic corn planting in the Bay Region increased 11,000 acres from 2005 to 2006 -- primarily for use in ethanol production with consequences for decreased food availability, soil loss, and nutrient runoff. In contrast, a biodiesel production plant in Baltimore will import soybean as the raw material due to ecomonic incentives, thereby avoiding issues with domestic corn production. Potential human health effects will occur through exposure to the fuels, inhalation of combustion products, and fallout into water supplies. Algal blooms due to increased nitrogen deposition in the estuarine environment from biofuel production would impact public and environmental health. Air quality could be impacted from combustion, as could water quality through deposition of the fuel products into the Bay. Estuarine and marine organisms, some with commercial importance, could be adversely impacted. Ethical issues over the displacement of crops for food to energy for mobile sources have arisen and will be considered. This symposium will describe the public health and ecological problems posed by the potentially wide spectrum of biofuels being considered for use in the Bay, and then consider how toxicological sciences can contribute to characterization of the risk. Biofuel effects on the Chesapeake ecosystem and residents in this region will be considered by a panel of experts from relevant toxicological disciplines. [This is an abstract of a proposed presentation and may not reflect US EPA policy.]

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/ABSTRACT)
Product Published Date: 03/15/2009
Record Last Revised: 04/08/2009
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 201379

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY

HUMAN STUDIES DIVISION

CLINICAL RESEARCH BRANCH