Extraction of 1,4 Dioxane from Drinking Water

1,4 dioxane – sometimes referred to as just dioxane – has gotten a lot of press since the U.S. EPA added it to the third Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule (UCMR 3). It is a relatively common solvent in analytical laboratories; however, it also finds use as a stabilizer for manufacturing items such as shampoo, cosmetics and food additives. After the EPA deemed this compound “likely to be carcinogenic to humans” and found it in a number of groundwater sources across the U.S., 1,4 dioxane was added to the UCMR 3 list and is now a regulated, routinely monitored contaminant.

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Tuesday Trivia Answer – August 28, 2018

Just to recap last week’s Tuesday Trivia post: Due to rising levels of ______ (fill in the blank) ________, some species of fish are slowly losing their ability to smell.

Answer: Carbon dioxide (CO2)

As the levels of carbon dioxide rise in a body of water, carbon dioxide converts to carbonic acid which increases the acidity of the water. It turns out, acidic conditions reduce the sensitivity of the olfactory sensors in a fish (i.e. the nerves responsible for being able to smell).

As we’ve demonstrated with posts and trivia questions in the past, protecting, testing and treating our fresh water sources is important to the health of everyone. Read through this helpful infographic for a quick review of the potential contaminants that could find their way into our water sources.

Join us next week to Expand Your Horizon!

SVOCs – Should I be Worried About Those?

If you’ve ever taken on a home renovation project and needed to purchase wall paint, you may have looked at “low VOC” or “no VOC” paint. Even if you don’t know what VOCs are, you are likely familiar with the terrible, headache-inducing smell that greets you when you pry the lid off a new can. Not only is the odor unpleasant, but the fumes are harmful when you breathe them in over a prolonged period of time.

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The Basics of Solvent Drying

Solvent drying is a key step in many laboratories that are using organic solvents for syntheses and extractions. In the case of hexane extractions during oil and grease measurements, this step is necessary to ensure that the extracts are accurately dried, concentrated and weighed.

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PFCs in the Antarctic

“Magical.”

If I had to use a single word to describe aquariums, it would be “magical.” Whether you’re a child or a child at heart (like me!), it is easy to get lost with the turtles, sea lions, eels, sharks and any other aquatic life you can imagine. The exhibits closely mimic the sights, sounds and smells of each aquatic environment – so closely, that you might think you’re out in the ocean or in the middle of the Antarctic.

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Fats, Oils and Grease, Oh My!

If you are unfamiliar with terms like “fatberg” and “FOG,” you might not realize the significance and environmental ramifications of this phenomenon. Your perspective will change if you look through recent news articles where fatbergs have blocked and damaged sewer systems in major cities.

Photo credit: Thames Water

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Tuesday Trivia – July 31, 2018 Answer

For those who saw last week’s Tuesday Trivia post, read on for the answer you’ve been waiting for.

For those who are unfamiliar with these posts, every other Tuesday, a trivia question will get posted to allow us to test our wits and expand our horizons.

As a reminder, the question that was posed last week:

Imagine shrinking the Earth’s water supply down to 100 liters. The volume of fresh, usable water would be roughly ____(fill in the blank)____ liters.

Answer:  0.003 liters!

This may seem like a surprising answer, given that water is everywhere on the Earth – glaciers, lakes, rivers, streams, oceans and aquifers.  There’s even moisture in the atmosphere!  However, you must first take into account that most of the water on Earth (roughly 97%) is contained within our oceans which makes it salt water, not fresh water.  A significant portion of the remaining fresh water is tied up in glaciers, too polluted for safe consumption, or is buried too deep under the Earth’s crust.  Obviously, we could make attempts to clean up our polluted waters or pull fresh water out of the Earth, but those quickly become cost-prohibitive options for the planet’s growing population.

Clearly, fresh water is a precious resource for us. Click here to learn more about methods for monitoring and protecting our water sources.

Stay tuned for a new trivia question next week. In the meantime, wrack your brain for your best trivia questions and send them to me in the comments section. We’re eager to expand our horizons!