Stevens Is Getting the Lead Out — The Green Way
Ambient lead dust from house paints, aging water-supply infrastructure and other sources has been linked to declines in IQ in exposed children, as well as a host of other neurological disorders and birth defects. Enter a potential green solution from researchers at Stevens: vetiver, a fast-growing Asian bunchgrass with long, dense root systems that uptake large quantities of heavy metals and organic substances.
Working with a $500,000 support grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), environmental engineering professor Dibyendu Sarkar is testing the plant's filtering capabilities in six pilot projects in Jersey City, New Jersey, and San Antonio, Texas. In early greenhouse tests, vetiver removed up to 24 percent of ambient lead from soils in test columns in one EDDS application cycle.