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Renowned Scientists Provide Valuable Insight on Water Quality Issues

June 21st, 2011

By Joe Gorsuch, Manager of Health & Environmental Sciences, CDA

Joe Gorsuch works with environmental regulations and the collection of ecotox data.  For 30 years prior to joining the CDA in March, 2009, he worked with Kodak, conducting environmental effects and fate field and lab studies to register chemicals for the photographic industry.  From 2005 to 2009 he was President and Owner of Gorsuch Environmental Managements Services, Inc. [GEMS, Inc.] coordinating environmental studies.  He holds an undergraduate degree in Wildlife Biology and a master’s degree in Environmental Sciences, focusing on Aquatic Toxicology, both from Purdue University.

The posting of the video called “Copper:  Building a Sustainable Future” on the website of the Copper Development Association, copper.org, represents an opportunity for everyone concerned with water quality in our lakes and oceans to gain some valuable insight into this issue as it pertains to copper.  While attending a recent conference of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC), I was privileged to appear in the video, along with Dr. Robert Dwyer of the International Copper Association (ICA), presenting the copper industry’s point-of-view relating to recent concerns about copper dust from vehicle brake pads in stormwater runoff and its effect on salmon populations.

The CDA and the ICA are committed to pursuing and relying on accurate, objective science around these issues to ensure that copper use is safe and appropriate for people, wildlife and the planet at large.  To that end, I would like to direct your attention to the two experts featured in the video who are familiar with the environmental challenges our industry faces, and have occasionally provided their consulting services.  They are highly respected international scientists whose contributions to the body of knowledge of aquatic toxicology are substantial.

Dr. Joe Meyer is a Principal Scientist for ARCADIS, an international organization that provides consultancy, design, engineering and management services in the fields of infrastructure, water, environment and building.  Joe is an aquatic ecotoxicologist and biogeochemist, a retired Zoology professor at the University of Wyoming and former Director of the Red Buttes Environmental Research Laboratory. While at UW, Joe was involved with U.S. EPA Science Advisory Board activities in both aquatic toxicity and water quality programs studying what toxic effects resulted from different types of exposures.  His report, “Relationship between biotic ligand model-based water quality criteria and avoidance and olfactory responses to copper by fish,” written with W.J. Adams, appears on the website of the National Center for Biotechnology Information.  Joe is contributing his expertise to the CDA’s understanding of metal mixtures.  For example, in a normal environment, you won’t find water with only a single metal in it.  There will be multiple metals and other contaminants.  In order to determine what’s harming the animals, you have to know what elements are toxic to the animals as well as the combined concentrations of various mixtures.  Joe Meyer is coordinating the studies that are being conducted at Colorado School of Mines and assisting in the interpretation of the data.

The other scientist featured in the video is Dr. Anne Fairbrother, Senior Managing Scientist and Office Director for the engineering and scientific consulting firm, Exponent.  Her background is in ecotoxicology, wildlife toxicology, contaminated site assessment and regulatory science for existing and emerging chemicals in the U.S. and Europe.  She was also a scientist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.  In the video, Anne discusses the topic of environmental sustainability and protecting the environment so that it will remain healthy and be here when our kids grow up.  While at the EPA, she helped lead the metal framework document preparation, covering all metals in different compartments of the environment.  It’s a landmark document that’s used as a model for many other environmental programs worldwide.  We turn to her because of her background working in metals and work with water quality regulators and other stakeholders from industry, state, federal and academic arenas.

We at the CDA and ICA are pleased to have scientists of the caliber of Drs. Anne Fairbrother and Joe Meyer to help ensure that the science we rely on is accurate and impartial.  I strongly encourage you to view the video if you haven’t yet, in order to gain their important perspectives on the critical issue of copper and water quality.


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