Inorganic Environmental Analysis by Electrochemical Methods
Environment: Water and Waste
Published Online: 15 SEP 2006
Copyright © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. All rights reserved.
Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry
How to Cite
Somer, G. 2006. Inorganic Environmental Analysis by Electrochemical Methods. Encyclopedia of Analytical Chemistry. .
- Published Online: 15 SEP 2006
After the industrial revolution considerable emphasis was placed on monitoring organic, inorganic and organometallic substances in the environment. Environmental contaminants include products of combustion, vapors, gases, industrial solvents, dusts, agricultural fertilizers, pesticides, radioisotopes, noise, ultraviolet light and certain microwave electromagnetic radiations.
Contaminants that are present in strong enough concentrations to pose an immediate threat to life or to cause unmistakable cases of disease or acute poisoning are usually readily apparent, and experience has led to the development of adequate, but by no means perfect, environmental control measures. The effects of environmental contaminants are related to time as well as concentration or intensity. Time factors become increasingly important when low concentrations of contaminants do not produce ill effects until after months or years of exposure. Trace analytical methods, therefore, play a very important role in environmental analyses. They are required for the detection and identification of chemical pollutants present in the environment. It is essential that the analytical methods applied are suitable and that they yield reliable data. These methods have to have high sensitivity, as many toxic chemicals are present in environmental samples at microgram per liter levels. Furthermore they have to cover a large dynamic range, and most important they have to be inexpensive. Voltammetry fulfills all of these features and it can be used both in trace metal analyses and in the determination of organic compounds in environmental samples. This article will cover the determination of inorganic pollutants in air, water and soil, using electrochemical (EC) methods.