Equation could help decide future of land tainted with pesticides, pharmaceuticals
Building on an idea developed by medicinal chemists, Johns Hopkins researchers have devised a new mathematical tool that accurately predicts how long certain pollutants -- including pesticides and pharmaceuticals -- will remain in soil.
The work is timely because researchers and public officials have become increasingly concerned about pharmaceuticals and personal care products that have been detected in soil and water. Environmental engineers are seeking better ways to track these emerging pollutants, which tend to be more complex and water-soluble than previous contaminants of concern, such as chlorinated solvents and petroleum byproducts.
This new modeling approach is important because environmental regulators and cleanup consultants need to know the extent to which hazardous contaminants will linger on a piece of land and the rate at which they will migrate toward critical water resources and supplies. The new approach will help them decide whether the pollutants need to be removed and how best to accomplish this, the researchers say.
Phil Sneiderman | EurekAlert!
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