Agriculture
Got Milk? How?
Getting the dirt on carbon
Microbes at the Gas Pump
Amphibians
Newts
Salamanders
Tree Frogs
Animals
A Meal Plan for Birds
Polly Shouldn't Get a Cracker
How to Silence a Cricket
Behavior
Mosquito duets
A Global Warming Flap
Brainy bees know two from three
Birds
Vultures
Doves
Lovebirds
Chemistry and Materials
Makeup Science
Big Machine Reveals Small Worlds
Getting the dirt on carbon
Computers
Seen on the Science Fair Scene
Games with a Purpose
The Book of Life
Dinosaurs and Fossils
Dinosaur Eggs-citement
The Paleontologist and the Three Dinosaurs
Middle school science adventures
E Learning Jamaica
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
E Learning in Jamaica WIN PRIZES and try our Fun Animated Games
Earth
Detecting an Eerie Sea Glow
Hints of Life in Ancient Lava
Life trapped under a glacier
Environment
Antarctica warms, which threatens penguins
Plastic Meals for Seals
Fungus Hunt
Finding the Past
Digging Up Stone Age Art
Words of the Distant Past
Your inner Neandertal
Fish
Electric Ray
Dogfish
Flounder
Food and Nutrition
Symbols from the Stone Age
Packing Fat
Chocolate Rules
GSAT English Rules
Adjectives and Adverbs
Who vs. That vs. Which
Whoever vs. Whomever
GSAT Exam Preparation Jamaica
GSAT stars reap scholarship glory
Tarrant High overcoming the odds
Ministry of Education Announces 82 GSAT Scholarships for 2010
GSAT Exams Jamaica Scholarships
2014 GSAT Results for Jamaican Kids
Access denied - Disabled boy aces GSAT
Results of GSAT are in schools this week
GSAT Mathematics
How to Slice a Cake Fairly
10 Common Mistakes When Preparing for the GSAT Math Test
Play for Science
Human Body
Dreaming makes perfect
Sea Kids See Clearly Underwater
A Long Trek to Asia
Invertebrates
Dust Mites
Starfish
Hermit Crabs
Mammals
Lhasa Apsos
Sun Bear
Bandicoot
Parents
Choosing a Preschool: What to Consider
What Not to Say to Emerging Readers
Expert report highlights the importance to parents of reading to children!
Physics
Gaining a Swift Lift
The Particle Zoo
Invisibility Ring
Plants
Plants Travel Wind Highways
Bright Blooms That Glow
Surprise Visitor
Reptiles
Iguanas
Box Turtles
Crocodiles
Space and Astronomy
A Darker, Warmer Red Planet
Saturn's New Moons
Icy Red Planet
Technology and Engineering
Sugar Power for Cell Phones
Morphing a Wing to Save Fuel
Searching for Alien Life
The Parts of Speech
Problems with Prepositions
Countable and Uncountable Nouns
Pronouns
Transportation
Middle school science adventures
Charged cars that would charge
Are Propellers Fin-ished?
Weather
Recipe for a Hurricane
Weekend Weather Really Is Different
In Antarctica watch the heat (and your step)
Add your Article

Pollution Detective

Kelydra Welcker's neighbors have an invisible problem. Kelydra, 17, lives in Parkersburg, W.Va. Nearby, a DuPont chemical plant makes a variety of products, including the nonstick material Teflon. Tiny amounts of an ingredient used to produce Teflon have ended up in the area's water supply. Lab tests have shown that this chemical, known as APFO, is toxic and may cause cancer in animals. The water that comes out of Parkersburg's faucets looks and tastes fine, but many people worry that drinking it will hurt their health. Instead of just worrying about the problem, Kelydra took action. She invented a way to detect and help remove APFO from drinking water. And she has applied for a patent on the process. This science project earned Kelydra a trip to the 2006 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), held last May in Indianapolis. About 1,500 students from around the world competed for prizes at the fair. "I want to clean the environment," says Kelydra, a junior at Parkersburg South High School. "I want to make the world a better place for our children." Mosquito studies Kelydra began her research on toxic substances when she was in seventh grade. She wondered how pollution might affect animals in her area's streams and rivers. Scientists had already learned that chemicals called steroids can alter fish behavior. As part of her seventh-grade science project, Kelydra looked for similar effects on mosquitoes. She focused on the effects of estrogen and several other steroids that are known as endocrine disruptors. The body's endocrine system produces chemical substances called hormones. Hormones regulate growth, the production of eggs in females, and other processes essential for life. As a result of her early research, Kelydra discovered that endocrine disruptors affect the rates at which mosquitoes hatch and that they also change the buzzing sounds that mosquitoes make when they beat their wings. That discovery earned her a spot as a finalist in the 2002 Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge (DCYSC). At DCYSC, Kelydra learned that scientists have to speak clearly if they want to persuade people that their research is significant. "It's important to be able to talk in sound bites, short and sweet," she says, "so that people can put the message in their heads." Another research effort involving mosquitoes brought Kelydra to the 2005 ISEF in Phoenix, Ariz. At this event, she won a $500 prize for the best use of photography in a science project. Chemical effects This year, Kelydra focused on APFO, the chemical that has been worrisome to her neighbors in Parkersburg. APFO is short for ammonium perfluorooctanoate, which is also sometimes called PFOA or C8. Each molecule of APFO consists of 8 carbon atoms, 15 fluorine atoms, 2 oxygen atoms, 3 hydrogen atoms, and 1 nitrogen atom. APFO is a building block in the production of Teflon. It's also used in the manufacture of water- and stain-resistant clothing, fire-fighting foams, and other products. And it can form from substances used to make grease-resistant fast-food packaging, candy wrappers, and pizza-box liners. The chemical has shown up not only in drinking water but also in the bodies of people and animals, including those living in the Parkersburg area. To illustrate the potential dangers of APFO, Kelydra turned again to mosquitoes. She bred some 2,400 mosquitoes in her kitchen and timed their life cycles. Her results suggested that when APFO is in the environment, mosquitoes hatch sooner than they do normally. So, more generations of mosquitoes end up living and breeding each season. With more mosquitoes around, diseases that they carry, such as West Nile virus, can spread more quickly, Kelydra says. Water treatment To help her neighbors and to improve the environment, Kelydra wanted to find a way to detect and measure APFO in water. She sought to create a test that was simple and inexpensive so that people could analyze water coming out of their home taps. Kelydra knew that when you shake water contaminated with relatively high amounts of APFO, the water gets foamy. The more APFO in the water, the foamier it gets. When APFO gets into drinking water, however, the concentrations are usually too low to create foam. To increase the concentration of APFO in a water sample to levels at which it could be detected by foaming, Kelydra used an apparatus called an electrolytic cell. One of the cell's electrodes worked like an electrically charged wand. It attracted APFO. This meant that the amount of APFO in the water decreased. At the same time, she could carefully rinse off the wand, creating a new solution with a higher concentration of APFO. When she shook the new solution, foam formed. "It worked like a dream," Kelydra says. The technique can do more than detect APFO in water, she says. It might also help people remove the chemical from their water supply. Next year, Kelydra plans to create a system that will allow people to purify several gallons of water overnight. She's enthusiastic about the idea. And, on the basis of her experiences so far, she's confident that it will work.

Pollution Detective
Pollution Detective








Designed and Powered by HBJamaica.com™