What are some examples of environmental chemistry

Chemistry + environment = environmental chemistry!

The curiosity of chemists - and other natural scientists - has brought a whole series of new substances and processes to mankind, without which our present-day life in this form would be inconceivable. Let us think, among other things, of all the different plastics, fertilizers or pesticides and the large-scale processes for producing them. Many of the chemical substances were discovered by accident or synthesized for a purpose entirely different from what they are used for today.

Famous examples of this are DDT or bisphenol A. For a long time, the focus in chemistry was on researching the elements and their properties, the synthesis of new substances and the development of analytical methods for monitoring chemical processes. Often little consideration was given to possible side effects or harmful effects on people and the environment. The toxic effects of substances on humans have been researched by toxicologists since time immemorial, but what effects substances can have in the environment only became a research topic after the emergence of environmental awareness in the middle of the last century.

A newly developed area of ​​chemistry makes an important contribution to this: environmental chemistry. She studies the behavior, fate and fate of chemicals in the environment. In addition to environmental analysis, research into and understanding of the processes that are important for the fate of substances in the environment is a topic here. It was only through understanding these processes that many environmental problems were recognized and approaches to solving them could be developed.

In the context of this lecture, some examples will be shown in which chemistry presented itself as an environmental science and contributed to answering important questions that are of global importance.

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