OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Corvallis Science Pub to focus on pollution in the western U.S.

04/02/2012

CORVALLIS, Ore. – An Oregon State University scientist who has monitored air in China and measured pollution from California to the Arctic will address air quality in the West at the April 9 Corvallis Science Pub.

The program begins at 6 p.m. Monday at the Old World Deli, 341 Second St. in Corvallis. It is free and open to the public.

Despite their protected status, western national parks are not immune from the effects of modern life. Pollution in the form of pesticides, PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants) and PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons released by forest fires and fossil fuel combustion) show up in parks across the country.

Staci Simonich, professor in the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences, has been tracking sources of such contamination in high-elevation parks, including Sequoia in the Sierras, Washington’s Olympic and Denali in Alaska.

At the April 9 Corvallis Science Pub, Simonich, an environmental chemist, will discuss her research on regional and international sources of pollution in the western United States. Using facilities in Oregon and other western states to track air movement, she and her colleagues have correlated the results of air and soil sampling in parks with events such as forest fires and pesticide use. She will discuss the factors that influence pollutant transport to and distribution in soils, plants and animals.

Simonich received her Ph.D. in 1995 from Indiana University. As a professor in the departments of Chemistry and of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology, she leads a research team through OSU’s NIH-funded Superfund Research Center to understand how people in the United States and China are exposed to PAHs.

Sponsors of Science Pub include Terra magazine at OSU, the Downtown Corvallis Association and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

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