Hazardous materials (hazmat) management chemists are an integral part of teams responsible for detecting and identifying chemical pollutants in the air, water, and soil.
Chemists also help design techniques that reduce pollution and remediate problems caused by hazardous waste. They help evaluate and coordinate the storage and handling of hazardous waste, the cleanup of contaminated soil or water, or other activities that impact the environment.
Hazardous waste management is a relatively new field that has evolved as a subset of environmental science, as companies realized that rigorous scientific investigation can solve environmental problems. As various government agencies began to issue and enforce waste management regulations, these organizations sought chemists who could provide the scientific knowledge necessary to
comply with the law. The field has also expanded to include investigation of all types of potentially hazardous materials, not just hazardous waste.
Hazardous waste management chemists generally use analytical chemistry skills to determine the composition of materials deemed hazardous, working either in a lab or in the field. Teamwork is key. Biologists, toxicologists, and water and soil chemists work together to evaluate hazardous wastes and develop strategies for disposal or
- Analytical and instrumentation skills are crucial for identifying and tracking materials as they move through the environment.
- Math skills are important, such as using calculus and other advanced mathematics techniques to model flow parameters.
- Interpersonal skills and teamwork are required, especially when balancing environmental effects and regulations with corporate and financial interests.
Original content at acs.org