Nunan Lecture Series
Keri Hornbuckle, University of Iowa
Consumer and Industrial Chemicals in Natural Systems
Thursday, March 30
1:30 PM, 500 HL
The presence of consumer, industrial, and agricultural products in natural systems is well known. Our awareness of these compounds in the environment is a result of public concern about their presence and subsequent research to investigate the sources and effects. Unfortunately, determination of sources and effects is a long term problem due in part to continuing development of new compounds and the lack of information from industrial manufacturers. Source determination is a particularly vexing aspect of predicting the fate and transport. Three organic compound groups illustrate this point: perfluorinated surfactants; synthetic musk fragrances; and PCBs. Perfluorinated compounds have recently been recognized as harmful environmental contaminants and some have been removed from the market or are undergoing regulatory review. These compounds are related to the production and use of many useful products including surface protectants, fabric treatments, and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). Synthetic musk fragrances include nitroaromatics, polycyclics, and macrocyclic compounds. The most widely used fragrances are highly persistent and appear to exhibit low-level toxicity to aquatic organisms. Like the fluorochemicals, the production and use information for fragrances is proprietary and essentially unavailable to the public. PCBs are a valuable comparison group because we understand their environmental cycling and production history quite well. We are also well aware of their harmful impacts on humans and animals. Unfortunately, control of PCBs still suffers from lack of information about their current sources. These three compound groups are compared using the structure of that classic environmental engineering tool, the mass balance model.
Dr. Keri Hornbuckle received her PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1996. She has held academic positions at SUNY Buffalo (1995-1998) and the University of Iowa, Iowa City (1998-present), where she is currently an Associate Professor. She has served as the President of the International Association for Great Lakes Research (2004-2005) and has been a Board member since 2002. She was a member of the Science Advisory Board of the International Joint Commission and was liaison to the IJC's International Air Quality Advisory Board (1998-2002). She is an associate editor for the Journal of Great Lakes Research.