COMBINING FORCES FOR THE ENVIRONMENT

With ever-increasing industrialization, the protection of our environment is essential; we need to do everything we can to protect our Earth. One starting point is a fast, precise, and reproducible analysis of those resources we return to nature after use, such as wastewater and emissions to the air.

Wastewater management

Over the past years, companies in Asia were fined for disposing of used industrial waste tainted with chemicals and heavy metals into the water. For example, in Vietnam, fish carcasses washed up on the beaches of Hà Tĩnh and many fishermen lost their livelihoods. This clearly also had a lasting effect on water safety. Although these companies have received fines, their waste management issues still affect the public and ecosystem.

Careful monitoring of wastewater before it is disposed of can save a lot of money (fines range from millions to billions of dollars). It can prevent damage to the environment, avoiding the need to spend on recovery efforts.

Malvern Panalytical supports companies with analytical solutions which ensure environmentally responsible disposal of used industrial water.

  • Prevent heavy metals from getting into your process: careful in-bound QC elemental analysis for heavy metals using our Epsilon 4 benchtop EDXRF spectrometer.
  • Monitor factories’ effluent streams: online monitoring of your wastewater for heavy metals before disposing into the environment using Epsilon Xflow. You can take immediate counteractions to prevent environmental damage.
  • Treating water with contaminants: add the right dose of coagulants by carefully monitoring the zeta potential of particles during your flocculation and sedimentation process. Take a look at this blog to see how a small town in Canada used our Zetasizer WT after a fire to treat the ash in their waters.

Monitoring the air we breathe

Outdoor air pollution can have many sources, both anthropogenic (power generation, vehicle emissions, industrial and agricultural emissions, etc.) and natural, for instance, volcanic eruption, wind erosion, or wildfires. A key area of concern is the Suspended Particulate Matter (SPM), which can have adverse effects on health, particularly in the particle size range under ten microns. Depending on their size, they have the ability to penetrate deep into the lungs or permeate throughout the body and even into the brain.

Particulate matter has been classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a Group 1 carcinogen alongside tobacco smoke and asbestos[1], and particles <2.5 microns have been attributed to over 3.2 million premature deaths annually[2].

Many countries and regions of the world have enacted legislation setting air quality standards. The US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) published a comprehensive method (IO-3.3) for determining the elemental concentrations of 44 elements on air filters using energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence (EDXRF)[3].

When this method was developed in 1999, measurements by floor-standing instruments took over 4 hours per sample to achieve the detection limits specified in the EPA method. Nowadays, the Malvern Panalytical Epsilon 4 EDXRF benchtop instrument has the capability to achieve fully compliant results in only 45 minutes per sample. One can load air filters into the spectrometer with only minimal sample preparation. The samples remain intact for further analysis such as weighing and analysis of hydrocarbons. For all these reasons, EDXRF is less labor-intensive compared to alternatives such as ICP and AA.

Learn more about elemental analysis of air filters according to the EPA method IO-3.3 using the Epsilon 4 in an application note on the Malvern Panalytical website.

146, both focusing on air quality. Global harmonized monitoring and testing is the start of understanding where we stand and deciding internationally which improvement measure to implement.

TACO VAN DER MATEN – SEGMENT MANAGER OILS, CHEMICAL, POLYMERS, AND PAST-CHAIR EXEC BOARD ASTM INTERNATIONAL, DIRECTOR TI-COAST

Concern for respirable silica

Airborne silica particles pose a carcinogenic threat especially for foundry workers, at stonecutting, quarry work, and tunneling, even at concentrations as low as 50 μg/m3. The maximum permissible exposure limit of respirable crystalline silica (RCS) at a workplace is under constant scrutiny and there is a continuous push to improve limits of detection and quantification while keeping a reasonable measurement time. X-ray diffraction (XRD) is the method of choice for these demands and can even distinguish between the common polymorphs of silica (quartz, cristobalite, and tridymite)[4].

Recent advances in optics design have led to the great improvements of the low limits of detection for XRD, and 5 – 10-minute measurement around the primary quartz reflection is sufficient to achieve satisfactory detection and quantification limits to comply with the existing regulations even using a modern compact diffractometer running at reduced power. Full power floor-standing instruments allow further improvement in the detection and quantification limits. Malvern Panalytical’s XRD instruments combine high sensitivity and speed of detection and offer a robust turnkey solution for the quantification of respirable silica.

Written by: Taco van der Maten Posted by: Malvern Panaltyical (www.materials-talks.com)

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