Metals in China: Protecting the environment

September 13, 2006

A new international collaborative research project that seeks to protect the environment from metal contaminants will be launched next Monday (18 September) in Beijing, China.

The project will be launched at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry Asia/Pacific Conference. It will bring together scientists from CSIRO, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), and is sponsored by Rio Tinto, the International Copper Association and the Nickel Producers Environmental Research Association.

Co-Director of the CSIRO Centre for Environmental Contaminants Research, Professor Mike McLaughlin, says the project aims to develop robust scientific guidelines for safe levels of copper and nickel in Chinese soils.

"South-East Asia is booming. Amid rapid industrialisation and expansion of urban populations, we need to ensure the environment is protected," Professor McLaughlin says.

"Use of metals is increasing. Consider the manufacturing and industrial expansion currently underway in Asia, where the pace of development has outstripped the advancement of relevant policies and regulatory guidelines.

"We need sound local data that builds on recent scientific advances in the understanding of metal behaviour and toxicity in soils."

In the first instance, a series of field and laboratory experiments will be established for a range of soils and environments in China, to examine the behaviour and toxicity of copper and nickel in Chinese soils.

This data will be combined with data already collected in European Union and Australian research programs, and CSIRO data from other South East Asian countries, to develop models that explain toxicity across a wide range of environments.

"Data from previous projects conducted by CSIRO in Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam has suggested that soils in the region have generally low background metal concentrations, but are very sensitive to metal additions as indicated by effects on plant growth and soil microbial functions," Professor McLaughlin says.

The cooperation of Australian and Chinese governments and the global metals industries reflects a shared desire to provide science-based metals guidelines in China. The collaboration also recognises the importance of joining local knowledge with global experience in such complex scientific undertakings.
-end-
The ongoing scientific research is being endorsed by China's State Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) for guidance on revising metals standards in Chinese soils.

Research in China is being led by Professors Yibing Ma (CAAS) and Yongguan Zhu (CAS) in collaboration with CSIRO.

CSIRO Australia

Related Copper Articles from Brightsurf:

New material 'mines' copper from toxic wastewater
A team of scientists led by Berkeley Lab has designed a new material -- called ZIOS (zinc imidazole salicylaldoxime) -- that targets and traps copper ions from wastewater with unprecedented precision and speed.

Team uses copper to image Alzheimer's aggregates in the brain
A proof-of-concept study conducted in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease offers new evidence that copper isotopes can be used to detect the amyloid-beta protein deposits that form in the brains of people living with -- or at risk of developing -- Alzheimer's.

Copper boosts pig growth, and now we know why
Pigs have better feed conversion rates with copper in their diets, but until now, scientists didn't fully understand why.

Cancer cells spread using a copper-binding protein
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden, have shown that the Atox1 protein, found in breast cancer cells, participates in the process by which cancer cells metastasise.

Adding copper strengthens 3D-printed titanium
Successful trials of titanium-copper alloys for 3D printing could kickstart a new range of high-performance alloys for medical device, defence and aerospace applications.

Matrix could ensure vital copper supplies
Researchers have identified a matrix of risks that the mining industry must overcome to unlock vitally important copper reserves.

Do microbes control the formation of giant copper deposits?
One of the major issues when studying ore deposits formed in surficial or near-surface environments is the relationship between ore-forming processes and bacteria.

Copper compound as promising quantum computing unit
Chemists at Friedrich Schiller University in Jena (Germany) have now synthesised a molecule that can perform the function of a computing unit in a quantum computer.

Copper ions flow like liquid through crystalline structures
Materials scientists have sussed out the physical phenomenon underlying the promising electrical properties of a class of materials called superionic crystals through the investigation of CuCrSe2.

A copper bullet for tuberculosis
Tuberculosis is a sneaky disease, and the number one cause of death from infectious disease worldwide.

Read More: Copper News and Copper Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.