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River PAHs Characterization Part 1: An Introduction

For the last few years we have spent a lot of our free time collecting sediment samples from rivers across southern Alberta and characterizing these for Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). Often driving many hours across prairie gravel roads for a single good sample, it quickly became a passion of quality...

Biogenic Toluene - Where does it come from?

In the first post of this series, I described the basis for how we became involved in determining a method for the detection of a natural, biogenic source of toluene. In this post, I describe how the process works and provide some thoughts on how to conduct an investigation.

Advice from your chemist - top four things when dealing with your spill into a river

You have had a spill… don’t panic, everything will be fine. Accidents happen. It is what you do next that is important. I have worked on many spills and here are what I believe are four of the most important things from a chemist’s perspective.

Toluene is natural - really?

In 2015, Chemistry Matters Inc. (CMI) provided the scientific support for Nexen at Long Lake during their emulsion release. As part of that role, I pored over data every evening, often long through the night to be able to communicate results to regulators and Nexen management and to put together the next day's...

3 Real-Life Examples of How Chemists Keep the Science 'On the Rails' During an Oil Spill Response

My last blog post on the need for having a trusted chemist on your oil spill response team created a bit of a stir on LinkedIn with everyone insisting they have a more important role or a role that is of higher priority. Thank you all for the comments and the responses, this is what social media is about!

A Chemist Should Be Your First Call When Faced with an Oil Spill Emergency

When they do happen, oil spills can be nasty, and the company responsible will likely enter emergency panic mode as it responds to contain and clean up the oil.

Whether in the Lab or in the Field - It's All About Chemistry

I was recently at a lunch meeting with a client to re-engage me in a historical project that I worked on many years before but had stalled due to lack of funding. We were discussing the project once again, and it was to begin in short order . . . But, even though I stay incredibly busy with my existing workload, I...

Best Practices for Collecting Flawless Field Samples for Court Cases

A little under a year ago, Chemistry Matters provided an all-day legal sampling seminar on best practices, requirements and techniques for legal sampling.  

What is Forensic Chemistry Consulting, Anyway?

I am always fascinated with the use of the latest analytical chemistry techniques in solving unique environmental, geochemical, and arson cases and projects. My interest in these techniques coincides with this also being the ‘golden age’ of analytical chemistry. Analytical chemistry has recently developed so...

Do Samples Need Ice for Storage and Transport to the Laboratory?

During my seminars on arson and legal sampling over the years, one fundamental question is asked a lot regarding the collection of samples for ignitable liquid residue (ILR) analysis for a potential arson investigation. That question is, "Do my samples really need ice for storage and transport to the laboratory?"

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