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:2/2/2016)... Feb. 2, 2016 This BCC Research ... market by reviewing the recent advances in high ... drive the field forward. Includes forecast through 2019. ... the challenges and opportunities that exist in the ... solution developers, as well as IT and bioinformatics ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... NEW YORK , Feb. 2, 2016 Technology ... service presents an analysis of the digital and computed ... Malaysia , and Indonesia ... current trends and market size, as well as regional ... by country and discusses market penetration and market attractiveness, ...
(Date:2/2/2016)... MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. , Feb. 2, 2016 ... diabetic retinopathy market, Frost & Sullivan recognizes US-based ... North America Frost & Sullivan Award for New ... technology provider in North America ... standard in the rapidly growing diabetic retinopathy market. ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... February 08, 2016 , ... Date and time: ... Institute at the Pennsylvania Biotechnology Center of Bucks County, 3805 Old Easton Road, ... College (TCMC) will hold an open house for participants to learn about a ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... February 09, 2016 , ... The publishing industry ... Access publishing is one of the popular publication models that has received wider ... and 3000+ International Conferences across the globe, OMICS International is ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... LEXINGTON, Massachusetts , February 9, 2016 ... Enables Children to Take Part in Life-Changing Camp ... announcing a new initiative designed to positively affect the lives of ... rare disease care. --> SHPG ) is announcing a ... with rare diseases, as well as the future of rare disease ...
(Date:2/8/2016)... LOS ANGELES , Feb. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... research and development company specializing in oncology, today ... loan and security agreement with Hercules Technology Growth ... up to $40 million in financing. ... received the first $25 million of financing under ...
Breaking Biology Technology: