New research shows that high concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) found in coal tar pavement sealants are oxidized into toxic, water-soluble compounds by sunlight and subsequently washed into the environment by rainwater, polluting natural water systems, negatively impacting marine ecosystems and public health. 

Using the world's most powerful mass spectrometer, scientists have developed a new method to profile complex PFAS mixtures at the molecular level, facilitating future PFAS characterization in support of environmental and human health studies.

Sunlight can chemically transform plastics from consumer plastic bags into complex chemical mixtures that leach into the ocean. Understanding the impact of plastic pollution requires advanced analytical techniques that can identify transformed plastic molecules in water samples, and requires instrumentation only available at the Maglab.

Researchers share new insights on the role of seasonality in dissolved organic matter (DOM) composition in large Arctic rivers. 

Road asphalt is made from aggregate (rocks) mixed with a "binder” from the residue remaining after extraction of gasoline and oils from petroleum crude oil. Until recently, this binder was thought to be chemically unreactive. Maglab scientists subjected a thin film of asphalt binder to simulated sunlight in the laboratory and used ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometry to reveal thousands of new, water-soluble chemicals that could be released into the environment by rainfall.