Stem Digital, Day 4


Arsenic Test Strips laid out with key

Day 4 of the STEM Digital class at UMass Amherst dealt with Dr. Julian Tyson’s work on Arsenic.  Arsenic is of major concern in both rice and drinking water supplies.  We talked at length about arsenic contamination in rice due to previous use of arsenic in fertilizers and pesticides.  This leads to a lot of arsenic being absorbed in rice now used in these fields.  Rice is efficient at taking arsenic from the soil.

There are many places where drinking water is contaminated.  Arsenic in the United States is limited to a part of 10 ppb, set by the U.S. EPA’s standards on drinking water.  We talked about the importance of checking Arsenic levels in private wells.  There are many places, one of which is Bangladesh, where arsenic is killing a lot of people.

We were also able to tour Dr. Julian Tyson’s lab in Goessmann Laboratory, and see how he conducts analytical chemistry, which was very impressive.  I wish I had taken pictures of all of the machines!