Ashley Wilczek ’19
Predicting Elemental Toxicity Based on Perturbations to Natural Concentrations
The environmental behaviors and human health impacts of several elements are unknown. Yet increasingly, these elements are showing up in emerging technologies. The major goal of my internship was to investigate how the toxicity of an element (represented by permissible levels in drinking water) is related to the natural concentration of that element (represented by average concentration in world streams). R.M Garrels also investigated this relationship in 1975; Garrels showed that there is a strong correlation between the natural concentration of an element and its toxicity, and during my internship, I was able to update his plot. I also further investigated this relationship and began to explore if it exists in other medias, such as the atmosphere. Furthermore, I examined how the EPA regulates contaminants in drinking water. This experience helped me practice the patience and concentration necessary for literature-based research and furthered my interest in a career in healthcare.
Department of Geosciences, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
Sarah Jane White, Visiting Associate Research Scholar, Geosciences