NJ .com: New tool lets you see if there’s lead in the water at your school. “For parents who want to know if there is lead in the water at their kid’s school, finding the answer is now a little bit easier. On Thursday, the New Jersey Department of Education launched a new website to serve as a centralized database with information about lead testing in Garden State schools.”
Washington Post: Worried you ingested something deadly? This virtual poison control website can be a lifesaving tool.. “The first fully automated virtual poison control center, Webpoisoncontrol is an interactive tool that guides you through the same process you would encounter if you called one on the phone. Designed by board-certified toxicology experts, the tool does triage and provides recommendations and information on thousands of substances. It even emails you afterward to follow up so you can get help if the situation changes. The site is available in app form, too, for Android devices and iPhones.”
The Star: U of T Indigenous-led lab creates new app for reporting pollution in Chemical Valley. “Vanessa and Beze Gray run an annual ‘Toxic Tour’ of the siblings’ childhood home — Aamjiwnaang First Nation. The 2,500 acres of ancestral land is wedged on three sides by sprawling petroleum and chemical companies that, for generations, have discharged pollutants into Canada’s Chemical Valley.”
PR Newswire: The Lead in School Drinking Water Database (PRESS RELEASE). “The Lead In School Water Project is the first web-based application to rank and track every US state in terms of school-related lead exposure, testing and policy. This project’s goal is to provide a free public resource for parents, facility managers and regulators to monitor the latest data on their school’s waterborne lead concentrations.”
Texas Medical Center: Big data to show how mixed toxins affect children. “Rice University researchers have won a prestigious National Institutes of Health grant to build data analysis tools and analyze how exposure to mixed toxins in the environment affects a population, especially children. The four-year $1.7 million R01 grant will allow a team led by Marie Lynn Miranda, Rice’s Howard R. Hughes Provost and a professor of statistics, to analyze the massive set of data she and her colleagues gathered for the entire state of North Carolina over more than 20 years.”
Phys.org: Crowdsourced game aims to find solutions to aflatoxin. “Mars, Inc., UC Davis and partners have launched a crowdsourcing initiative to solve the problem of aflatoxin contamination of crops. A series of aflatoxin puzzles will go online on Foldit, a platform that allows gamers to explore how amino acids are folded together to create proteins. The puzzles provide gamers with a starting enzyme that has the potential to degrade aflatoxin. Gamers from around the world then battle it out to redesign and improve the enzyme so that it can neutralize aflatoxin. Successful candidates from the computer game will be tested in the laboratory of Justin Siegel, assistant professor of chemistry, biochemistry and molecular medicine at UC Davis.”
Now available: a database of peptide toxins from scorpion venom. “The Kalium database is a set of information on peptide toxins extracted from scorpion venom that act on potassium channels. This constitutes half of all known peptide blockers of these channels. Once they enter the body, they selectively act on certain ion channels – membrane proteins that play a leading role in the transmission of signals in the nervous system. The disruption of the function of these proteins leads to various diseases, and therefore, they are considered important pharmacological targets.” There are currently 174 toxins in the database.
Now available: a therapeutic venom database. “VenomKB, short for Venom Knowledge Base, summarizes the results of 5,117 studies in the medical literature describing the use of venom toxins as painkillers and as treatments for diseases like cancer, diabetes, obesity, and heart failure. Drawn from an automated analysis of the literature, VenomKB documents nearly 42,723 effects on the body.”