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Pesticides in Drinking Water: Project-Based Learning within the Introductory Chemistry Curriculum

O'Hara, Patricia B. and Sanborn, Jon A. and Howard, Meredith (1999) Pesticides in Drinking Water: Project-Based Learning within the Introductory Chemistry Curriculum. Journal of Chemical Education, 76 (12). pp. 1673-1677. ISSN 0021-9584. doi:10.1021/ed076p1673.

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Public concern has been expressed regarding low-level contamination of public drinking water with "xenoestrogens", which are manmade compounds that act like the growth stimulant, estrogen. A new introductory chemistry module is described, which has as its central theme the measurement of trace levels of these xenoestrogens in the form of pesticides in the Town of Amherst's public drinking water. After a basic introduction to sample handling and measurement of pH, temperature, and conductivity, the students travel in small groups to several sites to collect water and perform preliminary characterization of their samples. In subsequent weeks, they learn to perform various analytical techniques such as solid-phase extraction, GC-MS, ELISA, and absorption spectroscopy to measure the levels of the pesticides DDT, DDD, DDE, methoxychlor, and endosulfan, all of which are potent estrogen mimics. In addition to individual lab reports, students are asked to combine their results and analyze the data set to determine the mean concentration and the statistical significance. Finally, they use molecular modeling to explore the three-dimensional structure of three pesticide families and compare these structures to the steroid hormones whose actions they are purported to mimic.

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Additional Information:© 1999 American Chemical Society, Division of Chemical Education. Support from the New England Consortium of Undergraduate Science Education, Amherst College Environmental Sciences, and NSF grant CTEP-9653966 is gratefully acknowledged.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
New England Consortium of Undergraduate Science EducationUNSPECIFIED
Amherst CollegeUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:12
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170322-155204369
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Official Citation:Pesticides in Drinking Water: Project-Based Learning within the Introductory Chemistry Curriculum Meredith Howard, Patricia B. O'Hara, and Jon A. Sanborn Journal of Chemical Education 1999 76 (12), 1673 DOI: 10.1021/ed076p1673
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:75326
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:23 Mar 2017 20:14
Last Modified:15 Nov 2021 16:32

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