Lecture: Carbon nanotubes are popular, but are they toxic for the environment?

Thursday, March 29, 2012 - 9:32am
Western Today staff

Aaron Edgington of the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology at Oregon State University will present "Toxicity of Carbon Nanotubes" as part of Western Washington University’s Huxley College of the Environment Speaker Series at noon on Friday, March 30, in Academic Instructional Center West Room 304 onthe WWU campus.

The presentation is free and open to the public.

Nanotechnology has exploded as an industry over the last 20 years. There are an estimated 1,000 consumer products on the market today that contain nanomaterials and two million jobs worldwide will be devoted directly to nanotechnology research, development and product manufacturing by 2015. Carbon nanotubes (CNTs) have a unique combination of properties that make CNTs a commonly used nanomaterial in the industry.

Despite environmental regulations imposing industrial safeguards, chemical contaminants from manufacturing processes are often deposited into the aquatic environment. Edgington’s research seeks to determine the toxicity and biodistribution of CNTs to Daphnia magna, small planktonic crustaceans. Edginton’s research suggests that suspended CNT exposure has the potential to cause adverse effects to exposed D. magna and other filter feeding aquatic organisms.

Aaron Edgington grew up in Forks and began his undergraduate study at Peninsula Community College. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Western’s Huxley College of the Environment in 2004. He then worked for Parametrix as an aquatic toxicology lab technician and completed his doctorate in Environmental Toxicology at Clemson University in 2011. He is currently a postdoctoral scholar at Oregon State University, working in the Department of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology.

Anyone interested in this topic is encouraged to come and participate; the presentation will include a question-and-answer period. The speaker series is held by WWU's Huxley College of the Environment to bring together the environmentally minded community and other interested members of the WWU and Bellingham communities. Speakers address topics of contemporary environmental concern in the region and the world.

For more information, please contact the main office of Huxley College of the Environment, at (360) 650-3520.

WWU’s Huxley College of the Environment is one of the oldest environmental colleges in the nation and a recognized national leader in producing the next generation of environmental stewards. The College’s academic programs reflect a broad view of the physical, biological, social and cultural world. This innovative and interdisciplinary approach makes Huxley unique. The College has earned international recognition for the quality of its programs.