Environmental Chemistry By: Gloria Furlong


Temperature vs Heat

Temperature is the measurement of energy in a substance and Heat is the transfer of energy from one substance to another
  1. The First law is the conservation of energy and mass. Energy can not be created or destroyed
  2. The Second law states that entropy is always increasing, the changes in the entropy of the universe can never be negative
  3. The Third law states that at absolute zero nothing is moving; absolute zero can never be reached
  4. The Zeroth law states heat flows from high to low

Calories and Specific Heat

  • Heat flows from high to low
  • A calorie is the energy it takes to heat 1 gram of water by 1 degrees Celsius


Up-Cycling vs Down-Cycling

  • Up-Cycling- reuse (discarded objects or material) in such a way as to create a product of a higher quality or value than the original.
  • Down-Cycling- breaking an item down into its component elements or materials. Once the constituent elements or materials are recovered, they are reused if possible but usually as a lower-value product

Plastics and Issues

Plastics must be down-cycled and it is cheaper to make new than to recycle. It takes a long time to recycle it can take years and it can harm us

  • Acetaldehyde which has been linked to:
  • DNA damage
  • Abnormal muscle development
  • Alzheimer's and is listed as a carcinogen by the international agency for research on cancer

Danger from HDPE HDPE is one of the types of plastics that does NOT contain BPA or other commonly found toxic research on cancer

Polyvinyl Chloride:

  • Endocrines disruption
  • Fetal development
  • Breast or testicular cancers
  • Autism

Low Density Polethylene: produced in 1933 by Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) using a high pressure process via free radical polymerization.

Vinyl Chloride is linked to

  • Cancer
  • Liver lung and kidney damage
  • Decrease in normal reproduction function
  • Brain Lung and blood cancers
  • Ground and water pollution

Doxins are linked to:

  • Reproductive Issues
  • Developmental problems
  • Hormone disruption
  • Immune impairment
  • Is a known human carcinogen

The 3 types of plastics often contain BPA. BPA has been linked to developmental issues during pregnancy and childhood. Linking it to birth defects and neurological disorders.

LDPE is sourced for fossil fuels and therefore not renewable, as well as not being biodegradable and poses a larger issue for the environment since most LDPE do dont get to recycle

Scientists have found that PP can leak two chemical compounds that interrupt human enzyme and brain receptors

Polystyrene contains both styrene and benzene, two dangerous chemical compounds linked to human health risks. Styrene has been shown to be toxic to the nervous system, hematological, cytogenetic, carinogenic, and disruptive to menstrual cycles. Benzene is a known caricnogen, particularly leukemia and linked to anemia, excessive bleeding, and other blood disorders, irregular menstrual cycles, love birth weight, bone marrow damage, and more.

Plastics can be a variety of plastics, making it hard to determine their safety. According to the Evnironmental Working Group, it often consists of polycarbonate, the platic most likely to contain BPA which impacts development during pregnancy and childhood. 12 BPA has been linked to neurological disorders.

Recycling Metals and Paper

  • Metals- is a closed loop you can make a lot of money and it saves a lot of energy
  • Paper- has to be down-cycled and is made from fiber and eventually you compost it


Soil Profiles

O: The O horizon is a surface horizon that is comprised of organic material at various stages of decomposition. It is most prominent in forested areas where there is the accumulation of debris fallen from trees.

A: The A horizon is a surface horizon that largely consists of minerals (sand, silt, and clay) and with appreciable amounts of organic matter. This horizon is predominantly the surface layer of many soils in grasslands and agricultural lands.

E: The E horizon is a subsurface horizon that has been heavily leached. Leaching is the process in which soluble nutrients are lost from the soil due to precipitation or irrigation. The horizon is typically light in color. It is generally found beneath the O horizon.

B: The B horizon is a subsurface horizon that has accumulated from the layer(s) above. It is a site of deposition of certain minerals that have leached from the layer(s) above.

C: The C horizon is a subsurface horizon. It is the least weathered horizon. Also known as the saprolite, it is unconsolidated, loose parent material.

Sand, Silt and Clay (Soil Texture)

  • Soil texture refers to particle size
  • Soil texture gives us 6 properties

6 Soil Properties

  1. Porosity- How much empty space is in soil
  2. Permeability- How fast water flows through soil
  3. Infiltration- Water moving down
  4. Shrink & Swell- Soil expand or contract
  5. Water holding capacity- How much water it holds on to & how well
  6. Erodibility- How much the water is eroded by air

Soil Texture

  • Sand- Gritty feel, seen with naked eye
  • Silt- Dust, powder smooth feel, slippery when wet, seen with hand lens
  • Clay- Hard when dry, when wet is sticky, can be seen with electron microscope

Issues with soil and soil properties

soil quality is affected by the aspects of agriculture. These impacts include compaction, loss of soil structure, nutrient degration and soil salinity. These are real and at time severe issues

Soil Properties: All soils contain mineral particles, organic matter, water and air. The combinations of these determine the soils properties. Its texture, structure, prosperity, chemistry and color.

Plant Nutrients

Micro and Macro

  • Micro-nutrients are those elements that plants need in small amounts (sometimes trace-amounts)
  • Macro-nutrients are those elements that are needed in relatively large amounts


  • Fertilizers promote plant growth and green lawns by helping plants meet their nutrient needs.
  • Overuse or misuse of fertilizers can lead to excess nutrients such as nitrates, contaminating water supply
  • Nutrients phosphorus and potassium are applied to the land in the form of fertilizer

Deficiencies and Toxicities

Symptoms caused by nutrient dificientcies are generally grouped into 5 categories

  1. Stunted growth
  2. Chlorosis
  3. Intervenial Chlorosis
  4. Purplish-red coloring
  5. Necrosis


Properties of Water

  • Water is transparent and nearly colorless chemical substance that is the main constituent of Earth's streams, lakes, and oceans, and the fluid of most living organisms.
  • Water is called the "Universal Solvent" because it dissolves more substances than any other liquid
  • That means wherever the water goes, either through the ground or through our bodies, it takes along valuable chemicals, minerals and nutrients

Types of Water Pollution

  • Surface Water Pollution - is the most visible form of pollution and we can see it floating on our waters in lakes, streams, and oceans
  • Ground Water Pollution- is usually caused by high toxic chemicals and pesticides from farming that leak through the ground and contaminate the wells and aquifers below the surfaces.
  • Microbiological pollution- is the natural form of water pollution that is caused by microorganism is uncured water
  • Oxygen Depletion Pollution- water bodies have microorganisms. Which include aerobic and anaerobic organisms. When it is too much biodegradable matter things that easily decay end up in the water
  • Nutrient Pollution- Are usually found in wastewater and fertilizers
  • Suspended Matter Pollution- Occurs when pollution enters the water and does not mix in with the water molecules

Water Treatment (removing pollution)

Steam Boilers can suffer from scale or corrosion when left untreated. Scale deposits can lead to weak and dangerous machinery, while additional fuel is required to heat the same level of water because of the rise in the thermal resistance

Water Issues

The availability of water is a concern for some countries. But the scarcity at the heart of the global water crisis is rooted in power, poverty and inequality, not a physical availability.

Atoms and ions

Atomic Theory

  1. All matter is made of atoms. Atoms are indivisible and indestructible.
  2. All atoms of a given element are identical in mass and properties
  3. Compounds are formed by a combination of two or more different kinds of atoms.
  4. A chemical reaction is a rearrangement of atoms.

Ions and Ionic Compounds

  • Ions are atoms on a group of atoms with a positive or negative charge
  • Anions gained electrons and is a negative charge
  • Cations lost and electrons and is a positive charge
Created By
Gloria Furlong


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