• UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    MVB: Gauchos snap 7 match losing streak with emphatic sweep of UCSD on Friday night. RECAP >>>… https://t.co/Cee1KbeXOh
    9 hours 43 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Women's Tennis: UC Santa Barb. 2, Oregon 5 (Final)
    12 hours 11 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    WBB: Gauchos Face First-Place UC Davis Looking to End Two-Game Skid https://t.co/wRGTYxtxDC
    13 hours 12 min ago
  • ucsantabarbara twitter avatar
    Called “tama” or “tamashii,” the belief in spirits of deceased ancestors goes back centuries. https://t.co/KUJg2oGc7k
    13 hours 37 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Muno (2 H, 2 R), Corey (3-4, 2 R), Davis (7 IP, 2 ER, 10 K) lead @UCSB_Baseball to 7-4 win in home opener! RECAP >>… https://t.co/I32qmDSuZB
    14 hours 4 min ago
  • ArtsandLectures twitter avatar
    Fascinating! #Sapiens + #HomoDeus author #YuvalNoahHarari predicts humankind’s future: https://t.co/5P25xtpyRQ via… https://t.co/TIAzFchgfI
    14 hours 36 min ago
  • ArtsandLectures twitter avatar
    RT @AshleyyySb: Only on Twitter to continue to absorb all insight and research from @DrSidMukherjee || Stoked to attend his lecture @Artsan
    14 hours 52 min ago
  • brenucsb twitter avatar
    Does location affect how pines react to climate change? Bren PhD student Ian McCullough shares answer #BrenPhDTalks https://t.co/6zVyQetm2t
    14 hours 57 min ago
  • UCSBgauchos twitter avatar
    Softball: Fifth-Inning Dooms Gauchos in 6-4 Loss to Purdue https://t.co/XWYKVl9UPx
    14 hours 59 min ago
  • UCSB_GradPost twitter avatar
    Register for 2017 Graduate Division Commencement before May 5! https://t.co/IDP1WGLGik #UCSB #ucsbgradpost
    15 hours 5 min ago
  • brenucsb twitter avatar
    Bren PhD student Jessica Perkins' research answers: "What Makes an #LCA Study Influential?" https://t.co/HatfwVTKV4 #BrenPhDTalks
    15 hours 6 min ago
  • brenucsb twitter avatar
    Runsheng Song shares strategies to estimate chemicals' life cycle inventories with little data #BrenPhDTalks https://t.co/gUsRney8nC #LCI
    15 hours 17 min ago
  • brenucsb twitter avatar
    #BrenPhDTalks: Bren PhD student Ying Wang looks at nanomaterial accumulation in soybeans & nitrogen-fixing bacteria https://t.co/85xiy6EmAY
    15 hours 27 min ago
  • brenucsb twitter avatar
    Bren PhD student Yuwei Qin uses US potato production to show how to model marginal production in #LCA https://t.co/jDyW0Fkzbx #BrenPhDTalks
    15 hours 37 min ago
  • brenucsb twitter avatar
    Bren PhD student Chris Heckman's research shows how soil water storage eases #climate change effects https://t.co/cflpEuiAmV #BrenPhDTalks
    15 hours 47 min ago

Faster Environmental Testing for New Synthetic Chemicals and Materials

UCSB professors to create the Sustainable Chemical Network to track the health and environmental impacts of new substances
Thursday, April 10, 2014 - 13:00
Santa Barbara, CA

Sangwon Suh.jpg

Sangwon Suh

Sangwon Suh

Photo Credit: 

Courtesy of the Bren School

Each day, roughly 15,000 new chemicals are registered to the American Chemical Society’s chemicals list. As a result, an unprecedented gap has opened between the development of these novel substances and scientists’ ability to understand their potential health and environmental impacts. Faster methods of assessing those possible effects are needed.

Determining life-cycle impacts at an early stage in the development process is the goal of the Sustainable Chemical Network, a UC Santa Barbara collaboration among professors at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management and several other departments on campus. Joining Bren School professors Sangwon Suh and Arturo Keller in the new $4.8 million initiative funded by the Environmental Protection Agency are UCSB chemical engineering professors Susannah Scott and Michael Doherty; UCSB chemistry professor Ram Seshadri; and David Auston, executive director of the UCSB Institute on Energy Efficiency. In addition, a group of industry partners — Unilever, Dow Chemical Company and Raytheon — will be involved.

“To keep up with that production, we need a creative solution to provide timely information on the environmental performance of those chemicals, and we need it at an early stage of their design,” said Suh. “It is certainly a challenge, but we have a team of excellent collaborators from multiple disciplines ready to tackle it.”

The group will create an online tool, the Chemical Life-Cycle Builder (CLB), to quickly and easily quantify environmental and health implications of new synthetic chemicals and materials — including nanomaterials — over their life cycles and share such information with the rest of the world. Life-cycle impacts may include exposure to toxic chemicals or materials, which can occur not only during the synthesis, use and end-of-life stages, but also earlier — for instance, through groundwater contamination that may occur as raw materials are extracted prior to production. Energy use and carbon footprint will also be evaluated.

Indirect impacts may result from other substances associated with the life cycle of chemicals and materials. According to the project proposal, in a recent study of 99 chemicals, a majority of the life-cycle impacts were caused by substances other than the chemicals themselves.

“While it will be challenging to predict the environmental implications of novel materials,” said Keller, “it is very exciting to be at the forefront of this research, developing the tools to do so.”

Once the method and basic data are developed and approved by the network’s industry and academic partners, the CLB will be implemented on the Web as an open-access platform. Specifically, it will enable rapid, high-throughput screening of life-cycle impacts for new chemicals; provide a platform for accessing, generating and sharing information on the life-cycle impacts of chemicals; and expand life-cycle thinking among new professionals, college and high school students and the general public through highly accessible, targeted modules.

“Wide use of CLB will enable the organic growth of a life-cycle assessment database for chemicals and materials,” said Keller. “The project is expected to develop our future workforce via the active participation of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in industry-academic partnerships, internships and international experiences.”

Contact Info: 

Julie Cohen
julie.cohen@ucsb.edu
(805) 893-7220

Topics: