Navigation Links
National study explores the reaction and transport of tungsten in drinking water
Date:1/27/2011

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- A Kansas State University scientist is digging deep to solidify information about potential tungsten contamination in the nation's groundwater and aquifers.

Tungsten is a naturally occurring metallic element that in its alloy or solid form is primarily used for incandescent lightbulb filaments and X-ray tubes.

In an effort to limit toxins in the environment, tungsten is replacing lead in fishing weights and in ammunition for hunting and recreational shooting. The military is substituting tungsten in its high kinetic energy penetrators and small arms ammunition, as well as other ammunitions.

"Tungsten originally was thought to be nontoxic, as it was believed to be an inert metal of low environmental mobility," said Saugata Datta, assistant professor of geology at K-State. "But tungsten is a contaminant in groundwater and a growing concern."

Scientists and health officials began connecting tungsten to clusters of childhood leukemia cases in the Western U.S. after finding high concentrations of the element in residents' bodies. People examined lived in towns near tungsten-bearing ore deposits and even hard metal processing plants. Drinking water in these areas has an elevated concentration of tungsten.

"Animal model studies have shown tungsten can be toxic and even carcinogenic," Datta said. "Because of this, we need to understand tungsten's biogeochemistry in the environment, about which very little is known."

To find out how tungsten reacts and relates to groundwater and the surrounding environment -- referred to as biogeochemistry -- Datta recently began collaborating with Karen Johannesson, professor of earth and environmental sciences at Tulane University.

Their research is being funded by a three-year grant issued by the Hydrology Division of the National Science Foundation in fall 2010.

The project investigates the biogeochemistry of tungsten reaction and transport in the environment. More specifically it's an evaluation of how tungsten concentrations change along groundwater flow paths and modify the groundwater makeup.

When tungsten is exposed to oxygen -- a process called oxidation -- it often seeps into the ground and even into groundwater-bearing aquifers. During this process the tungsten can also mix with organic matter present in natural soils. In the presence of sulfur rich solutions, it forms thiotungstate complexes, which are also toxic.

To gather information the researchers are looking at pristine aquifers, like the Ogallala, as well as affected aquifers. Data from these findings can be used to create a conceptual model for this project and future studies, Datta said.

"Looking at emerging contaminants is one of the biggest things for an environmental geoscientist, and health is a big issue connected to any elemental or environmental study we do," Datta said.

"We are trying to approach this project from the standpoint of understanding this element and its behaviors in the environment before taking our findings to the general public so the situation can be addressed," he said.

Datta's previous work studied arsenic levels in the groundwater in West Bengal, India, and Bangladesh. Along with a K-State graduate student, he looked at why naturally occurring arsenic -- another toxin in nature -- got into groundwater from river-borne sediments, and finding well locations for cleaner water.


'/>"/>

Contact: Saugata Datta
sdatta@k-state.edu
785-532-2241
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Elsevier sponsors launch ceremonies for the International Year of Chemistry
2. International conference puts food safety under the microscope
3. US launches International Year of Chemistry Feb. 1 with panel of world-renowned chemists
4. Story tips from the Department of Energys Oak Ridge National Laboratory January 2011
5. Press registration opens for American Chemical Society National Meeting, March 27-31, 2011
6. National Cancer Institute renews Cancer Center designation for Huntsman Cancer Institute
7. Biophysical Society announces winners of 2011 International Travel Awards
8. Dodds contributes to new national study on nitrogen water pollution
9. SU biologist partners with National Park Service to study bison grazing in Yellowstone
10. Pacific Northwest National Laboratorys 2010 AGU tip sheet
11. National team of scientists peers into the future of stem cell biology
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 4, 2017 KEY FINDINGS ... anticipated to expand at a CAGR of 25.76% during ... diseases is the primary factor for the growth of ... report: https://www.reportbuyer.com/product/4807905/ MARKET INSIGHTS The global ... product, technology, application, and geography. The stem cell market ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... HONG KONG , March 30, 2017 ... developed a system for three-dimensional (3D) fingerprint identification by adopting ground ... technology into a new realm of speed and accuracy for use ... applications at an affordable cost. ... ...
(Date:3/27/2017)... , March 27, 2017  Catholic Health Services ... Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Analytics for achieving Stage ... Model sm . In addition, CHS previously earned ... hospitals using an electronic medical record (EMR). ... high level of EMR usage in an outpatient ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/16/2017)... ... May 16, 2017 , ... Seattle-based ... metagenomic deconvolution service. ProxiMeta enables researchers to obtain complete, distinct genomes from ... at lower cost. , “We’re very excited about the commercial launch of ...
(Date:5/16/2017)... 2017 Telehealth has long been a ... that has been kept completely separate from discussions ... to   Logicalis Healthcare Solutions , the healthcare-focused ... and managed services provider ( www.us.logicalis.com ), there ... interrelationship between telehealth, imaging, and EHR optimization that ...
(Date:5/15/2017)... PA (PRWEB) , ... May 15, 2017 , ... ... insights in a presentation of “The Key Role of Specifications in Process Validation,” at ... of Philadelphia . The event will bring together leaders from the pharmaceutical and biotech ...
(Date:5/15/2017)... ... May 15, 2017 , ... Continuing to ... skincare brand has today launched its first-ever cross-medium campaign, #StandFirm, with high-visibility social ... digital and social media channels, emphasizing Algenist’s stance on individuality and disruption: ...
Breaking Biology Technology: