Navigation

Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink.

Like the Ancient Mariner, billions of people worldwide have poor access to clean drinking water. Desalination – filtering the salt from seawater using membranes with very small pores – offers one potential solution, and desalination technology is widely used in some Middle East countries. Current desalination membranes work but improvements are always needed. A recent report in the journal Nature Nanotechnology describes how very thin layers of carbon known as graphene oxide create a tunable sieve to remove salts from water.

Closer to home, and closer to practical use, is a system created by UBC engineers that uses bacteria to improve the performance of a conventional membrane filter. The system removes contaminants and pathogens by using a bacterial coating (a bio film) on the membrane surface to produce drinking water. Salt stills gets past this membrane, but this system can reuse contaminated fresh water for drinking and cooking.

How much pee is in the pool?

With the good weather finally here, we’ve been thinking of heading to the swimming pool.  And then we recalled the report earlier this year from the University of Alberta that detected a soft-drink sweetener in public pool water.  No – it was not just a spilled beverage.  Acesulfame K (ACE) passes unchanged into urine so finding ACE in public pools and hot tubs is a marker for how much peeing is going on.  A lot it turns out – they found ACE in all the pools and hot tubs they tested.  Not so sweet.
Or if you are thinking about heading to the river instead, there is ACE there too.  Not only does ACE pass though people, it passes through waste-water treatment plants.

Canadian Mineral Analysts Conference – September 10-14, 2017

The 2017 CMA Conference will be held in Kamloops, BC, on September 10th to the 14th at the Coast Hotel & Conference Centre. Workshops include the topics of traceability and method validation.  Conference tours include local laboratories and the New Afton underground gold mine.

Registration forms for the conference are now available.   Registrants that would like to present a technical paper, can download a submission form. Information about the CMA is on-line.

High school chemistry in the news

A class of Australian students has reinvented the synthesis of the drug Daraprim as a class project.  Daraprim is the HIV drug at the center of the drug pricing storm that blew up during the 2016 US election after Turing Pharmaceuticals increased the price fifty-fold.  Although the students’ sample is chemically identical to Daraprim, it has a new synthesis so would require full safety testing and regulatory approval to get to market. Sad.

Seven high school chemistry labs in the UK were recently visited by the bomb squad to deal with an incorrectly stored chemical used by students.  DNPH or dinitrophenyl hydrazine is usually stored with water because it is explosive when dried.  The schools involved uncovered the problem as part of a national review of chemical storage at schools.   DNPH is used for a color test to identify classes of chemicals in samples as part of chemists’ puzzle-solving training – a colorless DNPH solution makes a bright yellow solid when it contacts specific compounds.  Elementary.

 

Nanolytica 2017@SFU Thursday May 4, 2017

PerkinElmer and Simon Fraser University are providing a free symposium that brings together industrial, government, and academic researchers to discuss developments, challenges and future opportunities at the interface of the analytical sciences and nanotechnology.
Thursday, May 4th, 2017; 9:00 AM – 6:30 PM
Simon Fraser University Leslie & Gordon Diamond Family Auditorium, Burnaby Campus
8888 University Dr., Burnaby, B.C. Canada V5A 1S6
Registration and further information: Nanolytica-2017@SFU

What’s that smell?!

Chemistry is the sensual science – and that includes odors both pleasant and unpleasant.  A couple of recent news items caught our attention.  Check out the following links to see what chemists know about the smell of old books …   and the “fugitive odors” of sewage and other nasty smells.

Call for Abstracts – Science Advisory Board on Contaminated Sites

7th Annual SABCS Conference on Contaminated Sites   will be held September 28,2017

A CALL FOR ABSTRACTS for submitted papers is now open.  Closing date is May 15 to provide ample time for planning and approvals.

The SABCS 7th Annual Conference and Workshop on Contaminated Sites is being held on September 28th and 27th 2017. We have secured the same convenient venues in downtown Vancouver. Mark these dates and locations in your calendar.

September 28, 2017 : SABCS 7th Annual Conference on Contaminated Sites

Segal Building, Room 1200 – 1500, 500 Granville Street, Vancouver, BC

September 27, 2017: SABCS  7th Annual Technical Workshop on Contaminated Sites

Earl and Jennie Lohn Policy Room, SFU Harbourside Centre,515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC

Please contact the conference chair, Zahra Pirani for further details on opportunities for sponsorship or for general conference inquiries at zahra.pirani (at) ch2m.com

March for Science April 22, 2017

Science plays a key role in our lives and the ACPBC stands with the many scientists, citizens, and scientific organizations world-wide in support of the March for Science.

The Marches scheduled in BC are:

Vancouver: 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Queen Elizabeth Theatre Plaza to Creekside Park (near Science World)

Victoria: 2:15pm at Centennial Square, march starts around 3:00pm and ends at the Legislature.

Professional Chemists Sign Mobility Agreement

 Professional Chemists can now transfer their professional registration between provinces across Canada. The Federation of Canada’s Professional Chemists (FCPC) announced today that provincial chemists’ organizations have adopted a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate mobility of professional chemists between provinces. Professional Chemists have requirements for education and work experience. They must also adhere to a strict Code of Ethics that seeks to ensure public health and safety and to protect the environment in the work that they perform.

 Through this agreement, Professional Chemists who are members of organizations established in each province will be able to move and work in other provinces. Currently there are six provincial members and two associate members of the FCPC representing over 4000 individual Professional Chemists across Canada.

 For more information on the FCPC and to view the agreement see the Press Release or the FCPC website www.cpchem.ca

2016 ACPBC Scholarship winner Cassidy Conover

The winner of the 2016 ACPBC Undergraduate Scholarship is Cassidy Conover, a 4th year Chemistry student at the University of Victoria.  In addition to her Co-op Chemistry degree program, and a Minor in Applied Ethics, she has volunteered extensively in the Scientists in the Schools program – bringing hands on chemistry experiments to classes of elementary school kids.  Read more.

Congratulations Cassidy!