Agilent in the Environment

A billion people globally have no access to safe drinking water.  Only 1 percent of China’s 560 million urban residents breathe air that is deemed safe (by EU Standards).  Soil contaminants such as petroleum, solvents, metals, pesticides and pharmaceuticals are infiltrating groundwater aquifers.

These issues are at the center of Agilent’s environmental solutions business.  For 34 years, environmental labs have used Agilent systems for testing water, wastewater, soils and sediments.  Agilent instruments can perform more than 800 different analytical applications and tests related to the environment.

Toxic heavy metals such as lead and cadmium contaminate our water, air and soil, posing a significant threat to humans.  The most recent concern is Chromium VI (hexavalent chromium), chemical compounds used in making stainless steel, textile dyes and wood preservatives.  Agilent atomic spectroscopy solutions – including its inductively coupled plasma/mass spectrometer (ICP/MS) – can detect concentrations as low as 10 parts per billion with minimal sample handling.

Laboratories testing for water safety must traditionally conduct manual, time-consuming tests that require large samples of water in order to meet government regulations.  Agilent now provides a complete line of solid phase extraction (SPE) sample preparation solutions that speed and simplify the filtering process.

Sick building syndrome” can affect the air quality of interior work spaces, posing health problems for workers.  It can be caused by anything from new paint on the walls to solvents used in manufacturing.  Agilent thermal desorption (TD) techniques can test indoor air emissions from building materials, furnishing and ventilation systems – even the air quality inside of vehicles.

Environmental labs must increasingly detect “non-targeted” contaminants – substances that their tests may not be specifically looking for.  Agilent’s highly advanced quadrupole time-of-flight (Q-TOF) mass specs have comprehensive databases of almost 1,600 entries, helping identify compounds that may be present in a very wide range of environmental samples.

Agilent also partners with industry thought leaders at the cutting edge of environmental research.  Dr. Shane Snyder at the University of Arizona is exploring how to transform recycled waste and ocean water into fresh potable water.  Professor Guibin Jiang at the Chinese Academy of Science is investigating persistent organic pollutants and nanoparticles in water systems across China.

Agilent’s customer markets include energy and chemicals, food, the environment, forensics, pharmaceuticals, research and diagnostics.


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