Pittsburgh , PA (April 11, 2005) – For a cautionary example of the paradox of innovation, look no further than asbestos, says Pratim Biswas, Ph.D. “Here was a product that for many years was very effective, and now it's banned because of the harmful effects of its airborne microfibers,” says Dr. Biswas, the Stifel and Quinette Jens Professor of Environmental Engineering Science at Washington University in St. Louis .
Dr. Biswas sees asbestos as an analogy for the potential implications of manipulating even tinier particles at the atomic level—specifically, particles with a diameter of 10–100 nanometers, or about one-one thousandth the width of a human hair. Studies have shown that nanoparticles contribute to, and may even accelerate, adverse effects on the environment, public health, and quality of daily life. “In the same way as asbestos, we don't want to learn in 10 years that these nanoparticles are harmful,” says Biswas.
In light of this issue, Dr. Biswas will present a timely overview of “Nanoparticles and the Environment” at the 2005 Critical Review from 8:30 a.m. to Noon, Wednesday, June 22, as part of A&WMA's 98 th Annual Conference & Exhibition in Minneapolis, MN. The Conference & Exhibition takes place June 21-24.
Dr. Biswas will be joined in the presentation by Chang-Yu Wu, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Environmental Engineering at the University of Florida . Drs. Biswas and Wu will discuss:
An overview of nanotechnology, it's role in the economy, and how nanoparticles are “building blocks”;
Sources of nanoparticles—ranging from industrial emissions to atmospheric formation and conversion to occupational settings—and engineered nanoparticle production methodologies;
Measuring nanoparticles and the efficiency of capturing them in current particle control devices;
Use of nanoparticles in environmental technologies and implications for the energy sector;
Environmental impacts and potential health effects of nanoparticles; and
Recommendations for future research and regulation.
Dr. Biswas' research has contributed to the reduction of environmentally harmful submicrometer and ultrafine particles in aerosols. He also has pioneered processes for removing pollutants like heavy metals (e.g., lead and mercury) from coal combustion exhausts.
The 2005 Critical Review will be published in the June issue of the Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association.
For more information or to register, visit and bookmark www.awma.org/ace2005 , or call A&WMA Member Services at 1-412-232-3444 or 1-800-270-3444.
The Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan professional organization that provides training, information, and networking opportunities to thousands of environmental professionals in 65 countries.