Keeping up with the scientific literature nowadays could be a full time job itself. I still try to keep up with the literature for all the things I find interesting. These include past research topics from my biomonitoring days at CDC and my graduate studies as well as to current day business client’s interests, such as carbon capture and storage. I was watching a TED talk by Dr. Firestein on The Pursuit of Ignorance, which I highly recommend. Although not specifically the topic of his talk, he mentions the accumulation model of science where there were 1.5 million papers published in 2012 (3 per minute). I wondered why I always seemed to be falling behind in my science literature reading.
One of my previous passions was human biomonitoring, measurement of contaminants in humans to establish exposure of that individual or population. A recent publication from a biomonitoring study in California has even made the news here in Canada. The study by Zota et al published in Environmental Science and Technology looked at the effects of a California ban and US production phase out in 2003-2004 of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) in a pregnant women cohort. The study recruited women from a clinic in 2008-2009 and then again in 2011-2012 and measured serum concentrations of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), the BFRs that were banned.