examples of environmental chemistry

There may also be changes in physical states, such as evaporation of liquids, or crystallization of dissolved substances.

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sponsors an annual challenge for the most innovative green chemistry inventions, plus you can find examples of green chemistry in many of the products you buy and use. Environmental Encyclopedia. Green paints go way beyond eliminating lead from formulations!

This, coupled with the persistence of these chemicals, results in their strong tendency to food-chain/web accumulate or biomagnify (i.e., to occur in their largest concentrations in top predators). For instance, lakes near large smelters at Sudbury, Ontario , have been polluted by sulfuric acid , copper, nickel, and other metals, which in some cases occur in concentrations large enough to cause toxicity to aquatic plants and animals. The movements of chemicals within and among compartments often involve a complex of transformations among potential molecular states.

In general, marine ecosystems become eutrophic when they are fertilized with nitrate, and freshwater systems with phosphate.

Environmental chemistry affects the world in diverse ways (both beneficial and detrimental) at scales ranging from global to microscopic . Water can exist in various forms within the environment , including: (1) liquid water of oceans, lakes and ponds, rivers and stream…, Biomagnification (or bioaccumulation ) refers to the ability of living organisms to accumulate certain chemicals to a concentration larger than that…, Biogeochemistry

Other important sources of oil pollution include operational discharges from tankers disposing oily bilge waters, and chronic releases from oil refineries and urban runoff . The atmosphere also can contain high concentrations of gases, vapors, or particulates that are potentially harmful to people, other animals, or vegetation, or that cause damages to buildings, art, or other materials.

Freedman, B. Tens of thousands of lake and running-water ecosystems have been damaged in this way. The most important cations in typical fresh waters are calcium (Ca2+), magnesium (Mg2+), sodium (Na+), ammonium (NH + 4 ), and hydrogen ion (H+; this is only present in acidic waters, otherwise hydroxy ion or OH- occurs).

There are also finely suspended droplets of petroleum in water beneath slicks, as a result of wave action on the floating oil.

Soils near Sudbury, for example, can contain nickel and copper concentrations up to 5,000 ppm each. Environmental chemistry refers to the occurrence, movements, and transformations of chemicals in the environment . Organic and mineral forms of sulfur also occur in fossil fuels such as petroleum and coal , and the combustion of those materials also results in an emission of sulfur dioxide to the atmosphere.

Oil pollution can result from accidental spills of petroleum from wrecked tankers, offshore drilling platforms, broken pipelines, and from spills during warfare, as occurred during the Gulf War of 1991.

Surface waters acidified by atmospheric depositions commonly develop pHs of about 4.5–5.5.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Environmental science is an interdisciplinary academic field that integrates physical, biological and information sciences (including ecology, biology, physics, chemistry, zoology, mineralogy, oceanology, limnology, soil science, geology, atmospheric science, and geodesy) to the study of the environment, and the solution of environmental problems. Nitrogen gas (N2) comprises about 79% of the mass of Earth's atmosphere, while 20% is oxygen (O2), 0.9% argon (Ar), 0.035% carbon dioxide (CO2), and the remainder composed of a variety of trace gases.

San Diego: Academic Press, 1995. In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations.

Many of the processes used to make products rely on toxic chemicals or could be streamlined to reduce the use of resources and release of waste. Here are some interesting sustainable chemistry achievements: Other trace toxics also cause ecological damages.

The concentration of natural hydrocarbons in seawater is about 1 ppb, mostly due to releases from phytoplankton and bacteria. Environmental Chemistry studies the chemical processes related to our waterways, soil, and air as a result of mankind's activity in those environments.


Environmental studies deal with the sum of all social, economical, biological, physical and chemical interrelations with our surroundings.

The occurrence of chemicals refers to their presence and quantities in various compartments of the environment and ecosystems. Catherine S. Beneath a slick of petroleum spilled at sea, however, the concentration of dissolved hydrocarbons can exceed several ppm, enough to cause toxicity to some organisms. Eventually, the plant may die and its biomass deposited to the soil surface as litter. Soils collected near urban factories for recycling old automobile batteries can contain lead in concentrations in the percent range, while the edges of roads can contain thousands of ppm of lead emitted through the use of leaded gasoline . We all know that the world is becoming polluted day by day. Virtually all of the other stable elements are also present in soil and rocks, and all of these can occur in a great variety of molecular forms and minerals. The previous process used hazardous chemicals and released a large volume of toxic waste. This can cause severe toxicity, characterized by reproductive failures, and even the deaths of adult birds, both of which can cause populations to collapse.

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In comparison, a more central location in North America had a sodium concentration of 0.09 mg/l and chloride 0.15 mg/l. The sulfate may eventually be deposited with precipitation to a terrestrial ecosystem, where it may be absorbed along with soil water by tree roots, and later used to synthesize biochemicals such as proteins and amino acids.

In this unit the focus will be on environmental chemistry.

Contamination refers to the presence of one or more chemicals in concentrations higher than normally occurs in the ambient environment, but not high enough to cause biological or ecological damages.

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