Environment and Health

Environment and Health are also key areas where clay research has much to contribute to society.  Careful but innovative management of soils will be key to future food and water security as population pressures increase; and we are only beginning to make a modern exploration of the many interactions and uses of clay minerals in relation to health.

Please return to the full list of sessions.

Asian Clay Minerals Group Research in Progress (II) (part of Euroclay2015)

The Asian Clay Research Group was organized through the Nagoya and Seoul meeting in 2010 and 2012. We plan to hold the 3rd meeting in Guangzhou in 2016. Our first participation in The CMS meeting in College Station, Texas, USA (2014) was successful in terms of communicating/collaborating with other clay minerals groups. The purpose of this session, held as part of the Euroclay2015 meeting, is to bring active Asian clay scientists together and promote scientific communication and interaction with the international clay minerals community.

Clay and fine particle-based materials for environmental technologies and clean up

Environmental pollution is a growing public concern worldwide as society industrialises and citizens become more aware of the associated risks. Despite many resources being channelled towards the development of technologies for cleaning up contaminated environments, millions of contaminated sites still exist in sensitive locations because of the prohibitive cost of remediation or the lack of an effective technology to clean up sites to a level required by regulators.

Bioreactive clay minerals: impacts on environmental and human health

Humans and animals have historically used clays to aid in digestion, protect skin, heal wounds and soothe musculoskeletal ailments. Pharmacopeias from the 17th century highlight medicinal uses of clay minerals, yet the mechanisms by which clays can be healthful or detrimental remain largely unknown today. Nano-technological advances in the last decade have revitalized research on the interactions of clays in mammalian systems. In this session we invite research that highlights new insights on the roles of bioreactive clays affecting human health.

Natural zeolites – environmental, biomedical and industrial applications

Natural zeolites are microporous hydrated aluminosilicate minerals having countless technological applications due to their unique physicochemical features such as cation exchange, selective adsorption, molecular sieving, catalysis, etc.  As far as cation exchange is concerned, natural zeolites have been largely investigated for ammonia and heavy-metal removal, although modification of these minerals with long-chain cationic surfactants enhances their adsorption properties towards anions and low polar organic contaminants.

Clays in the Critical Zone: soils, weathering and elemental cycling

The “Critical zone" or CZ, includes the porous places extending from treetops to the bedrock, and more especially soils where organisms interact and shape the Earth’s surface over timescales from seconds to eons. Clay minerals and finely divided oxides are significant players within the CZ. In particular, they are known to be key in the fate of elements (both nutrients - including carbon - and pollutants) and molecules (e.g. pesticides but also drugs such as antibiotics).

Halloysite: a unique, diverse and widely useful natural nanomaterial

Halloysite is a clay mineral whose time has arrived. Until 2006, few papers were published on this mineral. Its main use was as a raw material for ceramics, in place of kaolinite. The approximately 800 papers published since then reflect its recognition as a nanomaterial, especially in nanotubes. These have proved widely useful, including as reinforcing fillers in plastics, as carriers for the controlled internal release of medicines – and of pesticides, and also for immobilizing catalysts. Nonetheless, it remains “a very strange mineral” as was once written.