Research Recap: This Week in EPA Science

By Kacey Fitzpatrick

Research recap graphic identifier, a microscope with the words "research recap" around it in a circleOne thing I’ve learned since starting work here at EPA is that we love to use acronyms. I even keep a running list in my notebook which I sometimes discretely check mid-conversation. For example, I work in EPA ORD IOAA Comms (translation: Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, Immediate Office of the Assistant Administrator, Science Communications).

Read below to find out why a discussion at EPA involving PARIS isn’t necessarily about the city in France, and learn about more research that’s been highlighted this week.

That being said, here is today’s Research Recap: this week in EPA science, or as we like to call it: R.R. – T.W.I.E.P.A.S. (Just kidding!)

 

  • PARIS III: EPA’s Solvent Substitution Software Tool

EPA researchers have developed a software tool called “Program for Assisting the Replacement of industrial Solvents, version 3.0, “ or PARIS III, that helps companies find alternate chemical mixtures or solvents that still improve their industrial processes but are not as harmful to our environment. The tool is provided by the EPA for free, and can be effective and efficiently used to help individuals find better and more benign solvent mixtures for many different common industrial processes.

Read more.

Download the tool.

 

  • Digitally Detecting Waterborne Illnesses

EPA researchers are bringing current methods of monitoring human pathogens in drinking water into the digital age. This advancement would offer a whole new set of opportunities, including greater statistical power to detect if the pathogen is present and, if so, to determine its concentration.

Dr. Eric Villegas, a scientist working on the project explains, “Digital PCR can perform up to a million reactions in the same amount of time that standard techniques take, improving how we model the detection of waterborne pathogens.”

Read more.

 

  • EPA Announces Funding to Create Two New Drinking Water Innovation Centers.

Two EPA-funded innovation enters will develop and test advanced, low cost methods to reduce, control, and eliminate groups of water contaminants that present challenges to communities worldwide.

“These centers will help to develop innovative and practical solutions for challenges faced by smaller drinking water systems, which make up the majority of public water systems in the United States,” said Lek Kadeli, Acting Assistant Administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

Read more.

 

  • EPA, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality renew partnerships with Hampton University, Norfolk State University

The goals of the partnership include promoting an increase in the number of minorities with careers in environmental science and environmental engineering, and promoting a greater understanding of the causes and effects of air pollution. The partnership will also continue an EPA-funded program called LEAP—Linking Environmental and Academic Programs—at both universities.

Read more.

 

If you have any comments or questions about what I share or about the week’s events, please submit them below in the comments section!

About the Author: Writer Kacey Fitzpatrick recently joined the science communication team in EPA’s Office of Research and Development as a student contractor.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.

PARIS III: EPA’s Solvent Substitution Software Tool

By Paul Harten, Ph.D.

Opening screen of EPA's PARIS III.

EPA’s PARIS III

For decades, companies have used chemicals or solvents to improve the performance of their industrial processes. Unfortunately, many of these solvents are released as harmful wastes into our environment. EPA researchers are helping reduce that practice.

Recently, my colleagues and I developed a software tool, called PARIS III, that helps companies find alternate chemical mixtures or solvents that still improve their industrial processes but are not as harmful to our environment.

PARIS III stands for “Program for Assisting the Replacement of industrial Solvents, version 3.0”. Previous versions of the PARIS tool have been as effective, but this version has specifically been developed by the EPA as a free solvent substitution software tool. It can be used by any environmentally-conscious individual, including solvent technicians, industrial and solvent engineers, and environmental consultants.

The PARIS III database includes more than 4000 solvents commonly used by industry. In the search for replacements, it taps only those that have less environmental impact (greener), mixing them together in different proportions to find mixtures that perform as close as possible to the performance of those currently used by companies. The close replacement mixtures found can then be sorted to choose those mixtures that are least harmful to the environment.

To download and learn more about the tool, go to: www.epa.gov/nrmrl/std/parisIII/parisIII.html

Learn more and download the tool at the website listed below.

The software uses the Environmental Index of solvent mixtures. That is a measure of a solvent mixtures’ impact on the environment, made by combining a various indicators, including human health, acid rain, and global warming. By looking at the ratio of the original solvent mixture’s Environmental Index to the Environmental Index of its replacement, you can get an estimate of how much harm to the environment will be avoided. For example, if the Environmental Index of the original solvent mixture is 10.0, and the Environmental Index of the replacement solvent mixture is 1.0, then using the replacement solvent instead of the original solvent will reduce harm to the environment by a factor of 10.0 to 1.0.

This solvent substitution software tool is provided by the EPA for free, and can be effective and efficiently used to help environmentally-conscious individuals find better and greener solvent mixtures for many different common industrial processes. Simply download and start using this tool at EPA’s website:

www2.epa.gov/chemical-research/program-assisting-replacement-industrial-solvents-paris-iii

About the Author: EPA Physical Scientist Paul Harten has a Ph.D. in computational physics and a great amount of experience in computer science. He has been extensively involved with growth in the computer-oriented environmental sciences during his fifteen years with the Agency.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.