Researching Safer Coatings at UMass Lowell
Dr. Sanjeev K. Manohar, from the UMass Lowell Department of Chemical Engineering, is conducting research on developing safer coatings for flexible plastic film substrates. His research
Dr. Manohar's research group supports innovation in the design and development of chemical and biological sensors using nanostructured electronic and photonic materials.
is focused on applications requiring high conductivity, flexibility, and high transparency. The funding for his research is being provided by the Toxics Use Reduction Institute and the Safer Products Solution Center.
During February, Dr. Manohar provided a mid-year update on his research to date. He is being assisted in his research by Srikanthrao Agnihotra, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Chemistry, and Srikanth Ammu, a Ph.D. candidate in the Biomedical Engineering and Biotechnology Program.
To date, the team has conducted extensive research with various materials including indium tin oxide, reduced graphene oxide, and carbon nanotubes.The team has made significant progress in increasing the flexibility of indium tin oxide, using safer chemicals during the particle enrichment process, reducing the amount of carbon nanotubes needed for coatings, and increasing the conductivity of reduced graphene oxide.
Dr. Manohar's team also has been working with a Massachusetts manufacturer to ensure that the results will address current needs.
For information on this and other safer alternatives research projects being conducted at UML, please contact Pam Eliason or Greg Morose at TURI.
Science Advisory Board Reviews Halogenated Compounds, Volatile Methyl Siloxanes and Hydrofluorinated Ethers
The TURA Science Advisory Board (SAB) has finished its work reviewing the 'Certain Halogenated Hydrocarbons' category, with a recommendation for adding the category to the TURA list. This work originated from the listing of the halogenated compound n-Propyl Bromide (nPB), after which the SAB was concerned that companies might turn to other similar but unlisted halogenated solvents, thinking they were safer substitutes because they were not on the TURA list.
The Certain Halogenated Hydrocarbons category includes all substances not already on the TURA list that have:
* chlorine, bromine, fluorine or iodine
* and 4 or fewer carbon atoms
* and/or hydrogen atoms
The SAB noted that all the substances in the Certain Halogenated Hydrocarbons category had toxicity characteristics in common with other currently listed substances encompassed in the category such as central nervous system (CNS) effects. TURI will be developing a policy analysis for this recommendation and presenting it to the TURA Advisory Committee and Administrative Council.
In 2012, the SAB continues to work on several projects relating to alternatives to Higher Hazard Substances. It is reviewing the cyclic Volatile Methyl Siloxanes (VMSs) commonly known as D4 and D5. One use for D5 (decamethylcyclopentasiloxane) is as a replacement for perchloroethylene in dry cleaning. The primary concerns with the cyclic VMSs are persistence, bioaccumulation and potential for endocrine disruption. The SAB has recommended tabling D5 until more information is available, and is currently reviewing studies on D4.
The SAB also is examining the Hydrofluorinated Ethers category (HFEs). Concerns with HFEs are primarily persistence in the environment and breakdown products. Review of this category is ongoing.
For further information on the Science Advisory Board, please contact Heather Tenney at TURI.
Pam Eliason presented an overview of the TURA Program and highlighted the success of AlphaGary as an example of the power of TUR planning to reduce carcinogens and other toxic chemicals in the work place. This presentation, at the National Network on Environments and Women's Health conference in January was jointly sponsored by the Canadian Auto Workers, and focused on exposure and health concerns for women working in the automotive plastics industry.
Heidi Wilcox of the TURI Green Cleaning Laboratory gave a workshop at the Hamilton-Wenham Library in February. She talked about alternatives to toxins in household cleaning, including make-it-yourself versions of cleaning products, and presented details about non-chemical methods such as steam vapor and electrolyzed water.