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Chemistry Research


Environmental Chemistry

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Environmental chemistry is the scientific study of the chemical and biochemical phenomena that occur in natural places. It should not be confused with green chemistry, which seeks to reduce potential pollution at its source. It can be defined as the study of the sources, reactions, transport, effects, and fates of chemical species in the air, soil, and water environments; and the effect of human activity and biological activity on these. Environmental chemistry is an interdisciplinary science that includes stmospheric, aquatic and soil chemistry, as well as heavily relying on analytical chemistry and being related to environmental and other areas of science. 

Environmental chemistry involves first understanding how the uncontaminated environment works, which chemicals in what concentrations are present naturally, and with what effects. Without this it would be impossible to accurately study the effects humans have on the environment through the release of chemicals. 

Environmental chemists draw on a range of concepts from chemistry and various environmental sciences to assist in their study of what is happening to a chemical species in the environment. Important general concepts from chemistry include understanding chemical reactions and equations, solutions, units, sampling, and analytical techniques. 

 

Faculty in this Research Area

 

Dr. Kenneth Friesen - Air-Water Behavior of Hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs) in Lake Winnipeg

The environmental and analytical chemistry of persistent organic chemicals including environmental reactivity or persistence, photocatalytic degradation, air-water exchange, and analytical methods. Current projects involve photolytic studies of short-chain polychlorinated n-alkanes (PCAs) and synthetic polymers, air-water behavior of hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCHs) in Lake Winnipeg and LC-MS/MS analysis of fluorinated organic compounds (FOCs).

 

Dr. Charles S. Wong - Elucidating the fate, behavior, and effects of anthropogenic compounds in the environment

Dr. Wong's research interests are in the area of environmental chemistry, and focus on elucidating the fate, behavior, and effects of anthropogenic compounds in the environment. A thorough understanding of how chemical pollutants move, react, and persist in the environment is crucial for finding solutions to the risks they may pose to the public, to wildlife, and to environmental resources. Of particular interest are chemicals that are widely produced and released as a result of human activity, and/or chemicals that bioaccumulate up aquatic and terrestrial food webs that are globally distributed from long-range transport.