Extracting Perfluorinated Compounds from Drinking Water – Why is it so Challenging?

For the past few years, news reporters have used words like “developing” and “emerging” and “crisis” to describe perfluorinated compounds. When you see adjectives like this, you can’t help but think “how did we not know about these PFC things before now?”

The truth is, these compounds have been produced for decades – some, for over half a century – and their chemical and physical properties are well-known. The strength of the carbon-fluorine bond in these compounds makes them heat-, water- and stain-resistant. Continue reading Extracting Perfluorinated Compounds from Drinking Water – Why is it so Challenging?

Tuesday Trivia Answer – for October 30, 2018

Just a reminder of last week’s post:

  1. Carving pumpkins is part of many modern Halloween traditions; however, carvings weren’t originally performed with pumpkins. Which vegetables were originally used for carving?
  2. Halloween parties have their origins with the American settlers who used to gather to celebrate the annual _______(fill in the blank)________
  3. The earliest costumes were worn to protect people against ____(fill in the blank)_____
  4. What is the most popular Halloween candy?

a.  Hershey’s candy bars
b.  Skittles
c.  Reese’s peanut butter cups
d.  Snickers

Answers:

  1. Turnips and potatoes
  2. Harvest
  3. Evil Spirits
  4. Skittles

Share your early Halloween memories in the comments below and join us next week to Expand Your Horizon!

Paraquat and Diquat Use in Pesticides

If you read one of my earlier posts on pesticide contamination in drinking water,  you may have started to make a mental list of all the compounds you’ve heard or talked about in reference to their use in pesticides. If so, two of those compounds were likely paraquat and diquat.

These compounds are complex dipyridyls but with chemical names like 1,1′-dimethyl-4,4′- bipyridilium dichloride salt and 1,1′-ethylene-2,2′-bipyridilium dibromide salt, I assume you’re like me and refer to them as paraquat and diquat, respectively. Dipyridyls are effective herbicides which is why they are so commonly used to eradicate unruly weeds. Unfortunately, many herbicide products are non-selective and will kill a variety of plants, flowers and grasses along with those pesky weeds.

Continue reading Paraquat and Diquat Use in Pesticides

Tuesday Trivia – October 30, 2018

On the eve of Halloween, I find myself reminiscing about how I celebrated the holiday as a child. I remember the excitement of getting dressed up as my favorite animal or TV character, and bringing home a sack full of candy after a successful night of trick or treating. I also remember doing fun activities like making glow in the dark slime or ghost rockets.

Continue reading Tuesday Trivia – October 30, 2018

National Chemistry Week

If you’re like me, you’ve spent National Chemistry Week drinking from your coffee mug that’s shaped like a beaker, you’ve been cooking with the spices you store in test tubes, you’ve been wearing your t-shirts with periodic tables printed on them and you’ve been telling your best chemistry jokes.

Originally known as National Chemistry Day back in 1987, the American Chemical Society (ACS) created this even to bring awareness of the importance of chemistry in our day-to-day lives. The holiday has since been expanded to a full week and has been celebrated during the fourth week in October since 1989. To focus activities and celebrations for the holiday, the ACS assigns a theme each year. This year’s theme is “Chemistry is Out of This World!”

While National Chemistry Week runs from Oct 21-27, Mole Day is specifically celebrated on Oct 23 from 6:02 am to 6:02 pm. It’s a very specific window to celebrate the holiday, but there’s a reason. If you’re not sure what the reason is, write out the time and date using only numerical representation. Still scratching your head? Read on!

Continue reading National Chemistry Week

Tuesday Trivia – Answer for October 16, 2018

During National Chemistry Week, we’re continuing our trivia with an “Out of this World” focus.

Just a reminder of last week’s post:

An interesting study at the University of Georgia revealed the major component of interstellar clouds to be:

(a) Hydrogen and helium atoms
(b) Mothballs
(c) My dreams
(d) Ammonia
(e) Carbon Monoxide

Answer: mothballs

A handful of researchers measured infrared emission from some interstellar clouds and found a measurable concentration of gas-phase naphthalene, which is the main compound in mothballs. Just to clarify, naphthalene is pretty flammable so modern day mothballs are primarily composed of 1,4-dichlorobenzene, but older mothballs contained lots of naphthalene.

It’s only the third day of National Chemistry Week so you have 4 more days to celebrate the fact that chemistry is out of this world!

Join us next week to Expand Your Horizon!

Changes to EPA Method 625 – How do They Affect You?

With the prevalence of contaminants in wastewater today, it is important to have a method for properly extracting and quantifying those compounds, to allow our wastewater treatment plants to remove them during the treatment process, when and where they need to.

The U.S. EPA has written a number of methods for determining contaminants in wastewater – compounds from organophosphorus pesticides (Method 614.1) to organochlorine pesticides (Method 608.3) to chlorinated hydrocarbons (Method 612) have EPA-published methods for guidance. The method I want to focus on here is that for determining bases, neutrals and acids (Method 625.1) and I’m highlighting it because there’s been a change in how this method can be executed, which could have a significant impact on your laboratory. Curious about what I’m alluding to? Read on!

Continue reading Changes to EPA Method 625 – How do They Affect You?

Pesticide Contamination – Is That Water Safe to Drink?

Have you ever spent the day walking through the woods, paused to take in the natural sights, smells and sounds of a babbling brook or flowing waterfall and thought….“I wonder how many pesticides are in that water?”

I recently experienced this when I escaped from the stress and chaos of real life to spend a day hiking through the woods. I mapped out my route, packed plenty of snacks and water, and tossed my camera (i.e. my iPhone which has a camera) into my backpack, and I was off. I wasn’t far into my hike before I heard the familiar rush of moving water. Excited at the thought of finding a natural stream or brook, I rushed toward the noise until I reached the edge of a bank that overlooked a flowing river. As I took in the breath-taking scenery, I found myself lost in thoughts like “I wonder how polluted this water is?” or “I bet there are pesticides in this water. Is it safe to drink?”

Continue reading Pesticide Contamination – Is That Water Safe to Drink?