REEL Student Presentations Fall 2013

Determination of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons In an Automotive Service Center

Carl Allamby, REEL Organic Chemistry Lab, Department of Chemistry

Carl AllambyThe purpose of this research is to analyze the air in an automotive repair center for potentially cancer causing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH’s). A furnace and respirator mask will be used as collection devices of airborne particles. The furnace filter is used because the air in the repair garage is the air source of the furnace, thus any airborne contaminants will likely pass through the filter at some point. The respirator is used to collect particles being directly inhaled. The filters will be dissolved in dichloromethane and the resulting solution will be analyzed using a gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy analyzer (GC-MS). Upon conclusion, several PAH’s were in existence in the furnace filter, although no harmful levels were indicated. The respirator mask filter analysis lacked indication of any PAH’s making the inhalation of harmful PAH’s improbable. However, the methods of standard preparation and the efficiency of filtration must be improved in future experiments to improve the reliability of the results.


Elham Ghaderian and Ghazal Sadeghi, REEL General Chemistry Lab, Department of Chemistry

GhazalAndElhamPhthalates are chemicals that are widely used in everyday products and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastics, mainly because of their ability to enhance flexibility and durability. Presence of phthalates in various products contributes to the substantial exposure, which people across all spectrums may experience. Continuity in phthalate exposure has several side effects including endocrine disruption, neurological damage, asthma, hormonal imbalances, obesity, infertility, genital defects, and testicular cancer. The purpose of this research experiment was to determine the dioctyl phthalate (DEHP) concentration of PVC plastic parts of toothbrushes. The method used to conduct the experiment was Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry. The result showed considerable concentration of phthalates in the tested toothbrushes. Therefore, this study adds to the current knowledge by stating that considerable concentration of phthalates could also be found in toothbrushes, which due to the daily exposure, would certainly have negative effects on users’ health in the long term.


Wendy Slone, REEL General Chemistry Lab, Department of Chemistry

WendySloneUrban gardens are on the rise. However, many of the sites occupied by urban gardens were once residential or industrial sites. Issues with soil contaminated with lead have been extensively studied in many communities; however, recent attention has been given to testing lead levels in vegetation produced and consumed from community gardens. The objective of this study was to examine soil and vegetation samples (carrots, carrot leaves, and tomatoes) to determine the concentration of lead levels, while comparing them to the acceptable lead range established by the State of Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The methodology employed by this study called for the collection of random soil and vegetation samples from a community garden located on the Eastside of Cleveland. The samples were digested using nitric acid, filtered and analyzed using and inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (IPC) to determine the presence/concentration of lead in the samples. The results from the experiment indicated low levels of lead in the soil and vegetation samples, which fell below the acceptable range, 80 parts per million (ppm) established by the State of Ohio.

Investigation of Triclosan in Personal Care Products

Marie-Noel Salem and Alexandria Goff, REEL Organic Chemistry Lab, Department of Chemistry

With the obsession of disinfecting, preventing illness and staying clean, antibacterial products have gained popularity on the consumer market. However, the active ingredient in these products, Triclosan, has been recently researched due to safety and health concerns about its potentially harmful effects to public health. The goal of this project is to test the concentration of Triclosan (TCS) in daily care products. Soap was obtained from a local store and toothpaste from a local dentist in order to determine the concentration of the agent in these products. Triclosan was separated from the proper samples and GC/MS was used to determine the amount. Results show a small concentration of TCS in the hand soap and no detection of the agent in the toothpaste sample. Results were inconclusive in confirmation of Triclosan presence in the sample.

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