What is Environmental Chemistry? - Topics & Definition

What is Environmental Chemistry? - Topics & Definition
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  • 0:00 The Environment and Chemistry
  • 0:22 What Is Environmental…
  • 0:59 Examples
  • 2:47 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
This lesson teaches you about the topic and importance of environmental chemistry. Find out what people in this field do and how it impacts the environment around us.

The Environment and Chemistry

Are you big on protecting the environment? Perhaps you love local city parks, mountains, streams, the ocean, and much more. What if you also enjoy chemistry? Why not combine the two and study environmental chemistry?

Not sure what that is? Let's find out together.

What Is Environmental Chemistry?

Environmental chemistry involves the study of chemicals and chemical processes within the air, water, and soil. It also involves studying how these chemicals get there, what they do, and how humans are intertwined in all of this.

Environmental chemistry is more than just water, air, soil, and chemicals. People in this field use math, biology, genetics, hydrology, engineering, toxicology, and a lot more to help answer important questions about our environment, the chemicals therein, and what role people play in all of this or how it impacts us as a result.


That might sound boring to you but let's see what this actually means in the real-world sense of what an environmental chemist may do. Think back to the last time a pipe in your home was clogged. Maybe you or someone else used a chemical substance to help unclog it. You poured it down the sink or toilet and let it do its thing. Do you recall what that bottle of chemicals said on the warning label? It almost certainly said to avoid eating or drinking it as well as getting it on your skin or in your eyes. Why? Because those chemicals are super dangerous!

But you flushed that stuff down into a water source. A water source others may later use to drink, bathe, and cook. At this point, you should be wondering if what you just did was dangerous, how those chemicals will affect the environment, and how those chemicals will impact other people. How are those chemicals going to be safely neutralized, if they have to be? Those are just a fraction of the issues that environmental chemists deal with and try to answer.

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