Southern Nevada Section

Nano Particles Environmental Measurements

This was a very interesting and informative talk about the basic concepts and technolgies that can be used to detect and characterize nanomaterials.  The particular twist that made this endevor interesting was that the matrix was not some controlled laboratory setting but dealt with how to study nanomaterials that are out and about in the world, i.e., out in the dirt, leaves, rocks, etc. of the world.


 Wayne Sovocool, Kazumasa Lindley, Edward M. Heithmar

Treasurer, Chair, and Speaker



“Detecting and characterizing engineered nanomaterials:

 a key tool for environmentally responsible nanotechnology”


By: Dr. Edward M. Heithmar

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency,

Office of Research and Development, National Exposure Research Laboratory


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

5:30 PM-Reception, 6:00 PM-Section Meeting and Presentation

US EPA Auditorium

944 East Harmon Ave.

Las Vegas, NV 89119


Visitors are welcome!


Abstract:  The same properties of engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) that are the basis for their many novel applications also raise important issues related to their environmental impact.  ENMs might not behave similarly in the environment to the dissolved or solid forms of the chemicals from which they are manufactured.  The novel reactions that ENMs can facilitate might also lead to previously unknown mechanisms adverse effect.  Many ENMs will be released to the environment in substantial quantities as their use grows.  Uncertainties related to these issues, along with an increasingly precautionary societal approach to new technology, have fueled a tremendous expansion in research into the various aspects of the environmental, health, and safety (EHS) of ENMs.  This presentation will discuss some of the EHS science questions related to ENMs.  It will introduce a qualitative risk model that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and others use to organize EHS research.  The central role of metrology tools in all types of EHS research related to ENMs will be discussed, as well as the unique challenges these materials pose in developing these tools.  A review of current approaches to detecting and characterizing ENMs will be provided, discussing the strengths and limitations of each.  A new metrology tool, single particle inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, will be described, and a few applications of the method will be presented.  Finally, likely future directions in metrology methods development for ENMs will be discussed.


Biography:  Edward Heithmar is a chemist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development.  He works at the National Exposure Research Laboratory in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Dr. Heithmar is developing methods for detecting and characterizing engineered nanomaterials (ENMs) in environmental media.  These tools are critical to understanding the potential environmental impact of nanotechnology.  He is exploring several measurement approaches for assessing the concentration and size distribution of ENMs in the environment.  He has helped develop a new method, single particle – inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, for characterizing part-per-trillion levels of metal-bearing nanoparticles.  Dr. Heithmar received his Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh.  His research interests cover the analytical aspects of environmental chemistry.  Much of his work has involved developing methods for measuring individual chemical forms, or species, of toxic elements in the environment.  Information on speciation is essential for accurate exposure and risk assessments, because the various chemical forms of a toxic element exhibit widely differing environmental behavior.  Dr. Heithmar spends much of his free time backcountry driving and hiking with his wife, Lisa, and their two four-legged companions, Cricket and Wiley.