Louisiana State University (LSU) Superfund Research Program (SRP) grantees discussed applications of nanotechnology for safe and sustainable environmental remediation at a workshop June 5-6 with others from the environmental remediation community, industry, academia, and government.
Participants of the inaugural workshop, Nano-4-Rem , in Hammond, La., shared thoughts and ideas on work practices that support nanotechnology-enabled environmental remediation. The workshop also gave participants from diverse groups and organizations an opportunity to become acquainted with other nanotechnology stakeholders and give presentations within the nanotechnology field.
During his presentation, SRP Project Leader Slawo Lomnicki , Ph.D., discussed the challenges, risks, and research directions of nanotechnology for the environment, bringing in his own research related to reactivity and properties of nanoparticles. He also explained the health and environmental effects of environmentally persistent free radicals (EPFRs), the focus of the LSU SRP Center. Because fine particles and nanoparticles have high surface-to-volume ratios and increased reactivity, they may be particularly prone to EPFR formation. The LSU group has found that EPFRs lead to oxidative damage and may contribute to heart and lung dysfunction.
The two day workshop concluded with teams discussing case studies in which nanotechnology was used for site remediation. Participants were challenged to develop strategies for making the remediation activity more sustainable for human health and the environment.
The small group setting of the workshop provided many opportunities for informal interaction between LSU SRP grantees and other participants. Gregory Gervais, chief of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Technology Assessment branch within the Superfund Program, and Michael Gill, EPA Office of Research and Development Superfund and Technology Liaison to EPA Region 9 were two of the organizers of the workshop.