Navigation Links
National study explores the reaction and transport of tungsten in drinking water
Date:1/27/2011

MANHATTAN, Kan. -- A Kansas State University scientist is digging deep to solidify information about potential tungsten contamination in the nation's groundwater and aquifers.

Tungsten is a naturally occurring metallic element that in its alloy or solid form is primarily used for incandescent lightbulb filaments and X-ray tubes.

In an effort to limit toxins in the environment, tungsten is replacing lead in fishing weights and in ammunition for hunting and recreational shooting. The military is substituting tungsten in its high kinetic energy penetrators and small arms ammunition, as well as other ammunitions.

"Tungsten originally was thought to be nontoxic, as it was believed to be an inert metal of low environmental mobility," said Saugata Datta, assistant professor of geology at K-State. "But tungsten is a contaminant in groundwater and a growing concern."

Scientists and health officials began connecting tungsten to clusters of childhood leukemia cases in the Western U.S. after finding high concentrations of the element in residents' bodies. People examined lived in towns near tungsten-bearing ore deposits and even hard metal processing plants. Drinking water in these areas has an elevated concentration of tungsten.

"Animal model studies have shown tungsten can be toxic and even carcinogenic," Datta said. "Because of this, we need to understand tungsten's biogeochemistry in the environment, about which very little is known."

To find out how tungsten reacts and relates to groundwater and the surrounding environment -- referred to as biogeochemistry -- Datta recently began collaborating with Karen Johannesson, professor of earth and environmental sciences at Tulane University.

Their research is being funded by a three-year grant issued by the Hydrology Division of the National Science Foundation in fall 2010.

The project investigates the biogeochemistry of tungsten reaction and transport in
'/>"/>

Contact: Saugata Datta
sdatta@k-state.edu
785-532-2241
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Elsevier sponsors launch ceremonies for the International Year of Chemistry
2. International conference puts food safety under the microscope
3. US launches International Year of Chemistry Feb. 1 with panel of world-renowned chemists
4. Story tips from the Department of Energys Oak Ridge National Laboratory January 2011
5. Press registration opens for American Chemical Society National Meeting, March 27-31, 2011
6. National Cancer Institute renews Cancer Center designation for Huntsman Cancer Institute
7. Biophysical Society announces winners of 2011 International Travel Awards
8. Dodds contributes to new national study on nitrogen water pollution
9. SU biologist partners with National Park Service to study bison grazing in Yellowstone
10. Pacific Northwest National Laboratorys 2010 AGU tip sheet
11. National team of scientists peers into the future of stem cell biology
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment: