Science Advisory Board for Contaminated Sites Workshop and Conference

Registration is now open for the Seventh Annual SABCS Conference and Workshop on Contaminated Sites
The conference will be held September 28, 2017 in the Segal Building, Room 1200 – 1500, 500 Granville Street, Vancouver, BC.

As in previous years, a Technical Workshop will be held on the previous day September 27, 2017. This year’s topic is Innovative Methods in Site Characterization. The program includes 9 speakers from across Canada and the US including two presentations from the BC Ministry of Environment.

Registration and full conference and workshop programs are available in the SABCS website. Registration can be accessed directly at the following URL.

Check out new lower rates for the workshop and lower fee for new professionals in the contaminated sites area. Includes hot breakfast, buffet lunch, delegates list and of course, provides presentations on a USB drive for the days you attend.

Elemental Haiku

Check out this Periodic Table!  A haiku for every one of the 118 know elements (plus one for the next one to be made).


Deadlines: Canadian Mineral Analysts Conference September 10 – 14

The 2017 CMA Conference will be held in Kamloops, BC, between September 10 and 14 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.

If you are planning to submit a technical paper  – act now.  The deadline is August 6.  Download a submission form.

The registration deadline is August 25.  Registration forms for the conference are available

Information about the CMA is on-line.

Notice of Annual General Meeting October 20, 2017

October 20, 2017
Room Open at 16:30
Call to Order 17:00
Meeting Scheduled: 17:00-19:00

Simon Fraser University Harbour Centre
515 West Hasting Street, Vancouver BC
Room 7000 (Earl and Jennie Lohn Policy Room)

The AGM is open to all ACPBC members and will include:
 the business of electing the Directors and Officers;
 the audited financial statements for 2016 – 2017;
 ratification of the Audit committee for 2017 – 2018;
 announcement of membership for the Nominating, Membership and Registration, Professional Affairs, and Discipline committees;
 report of the Board.

In addition to contributing to building a strong and relevant professional association for Chemists in BC, this is a great opportunity to meet fellow members, make new contacts in the profession and catch up with old friends.

Dennis Wester
Secretary ACPBC
Dated: July 27, 2017

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.