Blackboard - Discussion Pages

Charles E. Ophardt, Professor of Chemistry, Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, IL 60126,, Copyright 2004


Online Topic Discussion: Two Questions are required:

Question 1 select a hazardous chemical - free choice (2 pts)

Question 2 in two parts is required for this topic (4 pts).

Extra credit (1 pt.) A third question may be to respond or comment to someone else, or use General Questions to ask a general question the Prof or others might answer.

Check answers already completed in
Blackboard - Discussion Pages

Write out answers to questions in a WORD PROCESSOR
and then copy and paste into

Requirements for the Lecture On-Line Discussion
Method to list references and citations.

Text Readings: Chap. 19 - p. 564-580

1. Definitions of toxic or hazardous waste
 Brief definition: Fatal to humans in low doses; carcinogenic, mutagenic; flammable or ignitable at less than 60 C; corrosive; or highly reactive or explosive

Text p. 564-66

Toxic Alert Home Page

Toxic Substances: Chemicals that are fatal to animals and humans in low doses; most are neurotoxins, which attack nerve cells.  
 Hazardous Substances: Substances or action that can cause injury, disease, economic loss, or environmental damage.  
 Physical hazards: ionizing radiation, fires  
Chemical hazards: harmful chemicals in air, water, or food. Can cause harm because they are flammable or explosive, irritate or damage the skin or lungs, or induce allergic reactions of the immune system (allergens), carcinogens, mutagens, and teratogens  
Biological hazards: disease causing bacteria and viruses  

2. Toxicology, Poisons, and Hazards - Chap 18
A. Testing For Toxicity - LD 50 - a lethal dose of chemical that results in the death of 50 % of the test subjects.  p.535-537
B. Corrosive - Strong Acids and Bases and Oxidizing Agents such as ozone, hydrogen peroxide.  p. 538
C. Metabolic Poisons - Hydrogen cyanide, HCN, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide  p.539
D. Toxic Metals - Mercury, Lead, Cadmium, Arsenic

 p. 539-543

Case Study - Mercury - Minamata Bay

Lead Poisoning -

E. Neurotoxins - Chemical warfare agents, pesticides, botulism, anthrax  p. 543-547
 F. Mutagens - cause mutations - Alfatoxin, benzopyrene, nitrous acid , caffeine
Carcinogens - cause cancer - benzopyrene, naphthylamine, vinyl chloride, radiation
Teratogens - cause birth defects - As, Cd, Hg, PCB's, Thalidomide

 p. 547-554

Bruce Ames Statement on Causes of Cancer

Report on Carcinogens

 G. PCB's, Dioxins,Biomagnification- based upon solubility - likes dissolve likes; organics accumulate in the fatty tissues of each higher order animal.
Pesticides: Insectides- chlorinated such as DDT, organophosphate - parathion; carbamates - carbaryl (Sevin), Aldicarb

Herbicides: weed killers - 2,4-D, Agent Orange, atrazine

 p. 230, 304, 422



Agent Orange

Biomagnification of DDT

 H. Asbestos

p. 33-35, 554-55

 EPA Asbestos Info - also other links on indoor air pollution

 K. PBT: Persistent, Bioaccumulative and Toxic Chemicals

 p.302-04, 425-26

Fact Sheet for PBTs -Persistent, Bioaccumulative, and Toxic Chemicals (PBT) - Fact sheet on each.

QUES. 1: Choose any chemical or element from the list in section # 2 (above). In section #2 K - PBT there are 10 compounds that you can choose from. Briefly describe what the comound is, what it is used for, why and how it is a health hazard, and any corrective measures needed.


Do a Waste disposal method or a Case Study from Section # 6 A and B (see below). Give about the same information as requested for the chemical above.

 See text pages and links above and below

3. Risk Assessment
 A. Measuring Toxicity p. 552
 Ames Test - screening test for mutagens
 B. Risk assessment and acceptance

ProfO Notes: Risk Assessment Summary

Estimating Risk


4. Environmental Impact of hazardous waste
 A. Contaminate groundwater and other water supplies  Groundwater Basics
Groundwater Contamination - many brief spcific links - nice diagrams
 B. Soil contamination  Waste Disposal of Sludge - from water treatment plant
 C. Habitat destruction of major ecosystems  Biomagnification of DDT
 D. Risks to Human Health  
 E. Fires, Explosions, and Property Damage  

 5. Sources and producers of hazardous waste Hazardous Waste Definitions, Methods, Superfund

6. Waste disposal methods - p. 568-573
A. Methods: Land fills, incineration, deep injection wells, lagoons, land spreading, unsafe storage, illegal dumping

 Municipal sludge disposal
Hazardous waste incineration
Hazardous Waste Incineration - downside
New technology to destroy PCBs using liquid ammonia and sodium metal solutions
Alternate Technologies - for hazardous waste treatment

Injection Wells - EPA

 B. Case Studies:

Love Canal, NY

Times Beach, MO

Valley of the Drums, KY

Love Canal - EPA links

Times Beach - Series of links

Valley of the Drums - graphic

 C. Superfund Clean Up Superfund - A concise description of the program
Superfund Home Page
Superfund 20th Anniversary Report
NOTES: In 1980, Congress established what is commonly known as the Superfund Program. This is a fund financed jointly by the federal and state governments and taxes on chemical and petrochemical industries. The money is to be used for the cleanup of abandoned or inactive hazardous-waste dump sites and leaking underground tanks that are threats to human health and the environment. The EPA is authorized to collect fines and sue the owners of abandoned sites and tanks to recover up to three times the cleanup costs.
In 1989, the EPA estimated that there are more than 32, 000 sites in the United States containing hazardous sites, but has stopped looking for any others. By 1991, The EPA placed 1,211 sites on a National Priority list for cleanup because of their threat to nearby populations.
In 1991, the EPA announced that $ 7 billion at been spent and declared 64 sites "clean", removed 24 sites from the Priority list, spent an average of $26 million per site. In fact only $2.4 billion was actually spent on clean-up. The remaining money was spent on administrative and litigation costs to compel owners of waste to pay up.


 Do both parts for full credit.

QUES. 2a: Pick ONE Superfund Site in Illinois or anywhere in the U.S., give a 2-3 sentence description of the site and list several hazardous chemicals which are present. Then select ONE chemical found at the selected superfund site and briefly report some interesting facts about this one specific chemical, such as what is it? impacts on the ecology and environment, and impacts on health.

 Pick a Superfund Site in Illinois

Find a Superfund Site Anywhere in the U.S.

Brief Description of Chemicals and Health Effects

Most common chemicals found at Superfund Sites

Toxic Chemical Descriptions

QUES. 2b: Site Clean-Up or Remediation: Select ONE method and briefly explain how it is used to clean up the selected chemical (part a.). Include a description of the method, what contaminants are cleaned up, what are the chemistry, biology, or science principles used in the method?

Superfund Home Page

Clean up Process

EPA Site Remediation Technologies

Technology Focus - click on side menu for more specifics.

Cleaning up Superfund Sites -

7. Control and Management
 A. Reduce or waste minimization through process changes, Recycle and Reuse .
 B. Conversion to less hazardous form  

8. Hazardous Household Chemicals
  Lawn care fertilizers and Pesticides