Navigation Links
Increasing levels of rare element found worldwide
Date:4/21/2009

HANOVER, NH Dartmouth researchers have determined that the presence of the rare element osmium is on the rise globally. They trace this increase to the consumption of refined platinum, the primary ingredient in catalytic converters, the equipment commonly installed in cars to reduce smog. A volatile form of osmium is generated during platinum refinement and also during the normal operation of cars, and it gets dispersed globally through the atmosphere.

While osmium is found naturally, the researchers were surprised to discover that most of the osmium in rain and snow, and in the surface waters of rivers and oceans, is produced during the refining of platinum. "It's interesting, maybe ironic, that we stopped adding lead to gasoline in the 70s so that catalytic converters could be introduced to remove smog from car exhaust," says Dartmouth Associate Professor of Earth Sciences Mukul Sharma. "Now we learn that using platinum in the converters is responsible for an increase in osmium. Fortunately, unlike lead, the concentration of osmium in water is extremely small and may not adversely affect biology."

Sharma worked with Dartmouth Ph.D. student Cynthia Chen and Peter Sedwick at Old Dominion University. Their study will be published in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences during the week of April 20, 2009.

The research team measured osmium in precipitation in North America, Europe, Asia, and Antarctica, and in both surface water and deep water from the North Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Antarctic (or Southern) Oceans. Human-made osmium also comes from chromium smelters, hospital incinerators, and the normal operation of cars, but it's primarily the industrial extraction and refining of platinum that produces the bulk of the osmium found in rain and snow.

Sharma explains that about 95 percent of the world's platinum comes from South Africa and Russia where it is roasted at extremely high temperatures during the extraction and refinement process. The process removes sulfur present in the ore as sulfur dioxide and, at the same time, releases osmium, which is abundant in the ore.

"Neither South Africa nor Russia has implemented environmental laws regulating this, but if steps are taken to minimize these emissions, the incidence of osmium will certainly subside," says Sharma. "It's surprising that we are seeing this measurable increase in osmium on a global scale, and we can virtually blame it on one thing: our insatiable demand for platinum-based catalytic converters."


'/>"/>

Contact: Sue Knapp
sue.knapp@dartmouth.edu
603-646-3661
Dartmouth College
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. GEN highlights increasing use of digital gene expression profiling
2. UConn chemists find secret to increasing luminescence efficiency of carbon nanotubes
3. Time running out on coral reefs as climate change becomes increasing threat
4. Nitrate concentrations of ground water increasing in many areas of the United States
5. Biological invasions increasing due to freshwater impoundments, says CU-Boulder study
6. The epigenetics of increasing weight through the generations
7. Growth hormones link to starvation may be clue to increasing life span, researchers find
8. Organic corn: Increasing rotation complexity increases yields
9. Increasing nitrogen pollution overwhelms filtering capability of streams
10. Mountain summits in the Alps becoming increasingly similar
11. Toxic releases down from North American industry leaders, increasing from other facilities
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/6/2017)... RAM Group , Singaporean based ... in biometric authentication based on a novel  ... to perform biometric authentication. These new sensors are based on ... Ram Group and its partners. This sensor will have ... and security. Ram Group is a next generation ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... The global military biometrics market ... by the presence of several large global players. The ... major players - 3M Cogent, NEC Corporation, M2SYS Technology, ... 61% of the global military biometric market in 2016. ... military biometrics market boast global presence, which has catapulted ...
(Date:4/17/2017)... April 17, 2017 NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... the filing of its 2016 Annual Report on Form 10-K on ... ... is available in the Investor Relations section of the Company,s website ... SEC,s website at http://www.sec.gov . 2016 Year Highlights: ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... A ... pregnancy rates in frozen and fresh in vitro fertilization (IVF) transfer ... age to IVF success. , After comparing the results from the fresh and ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... Poway, California (PRWEB) , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... afternoon speaking at his local San Diego Rotary Club. The event ... San Diego, CA and had 300+ attendees. Dr. Harman, DVM, MPVM was joined ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... Oct. 9, 2017  BioTech Holdings announced today ... which its ProCell stem cell therapy prevents limb ... The Company, demonstrated that treatment with ProCell resulted ... saved as compared to standard bone marrow stem ... resulted in reduction of therapeutic effect.  ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... Phoenix, Arizona (PRWEB) , ... ... ... than 15 years’ experience providing advanced instruments and applications consulting for microscopy ... the in-house expertise in application consulting, Nanoscience Analytical offers a broad range ...
Breaking Biology Technology: