RESOURCE: How Clean Is That Dirt?

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Science  17 Jan 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5605, pp. 319
DOI: 10.1126/science.299.5605.319a

Environmental scientists tracing the movement of pollutants and monitoring the cleanup of toxic waste used to have to lug their samples back to the lab for analysis. These days, they can perform plenty of tests for detecting soil and water contamination in the field. To find out which one is right for your work, check out the online Field Analytic Technologies Encyclopedia, sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers.

The site reviews the methods, uses, sensitivity, and costs of nine common technologies. They include chemical test kits, immunoassays that use antibodies, portable mass spectrometers, and infrared spectroscopy. You'll also find a set of training manuals on these and other techniques for detecting organic and inorganic contaminants.

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