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Zeolite to minimize environmental pollution

One of the main factors that drove the three students, Sofia Destro, Giorgia Merolli, and Andrea Venturelli toward this research is the awareness of the criticality of heavy metals for human health and environmental protection. This is why the European Directive sets their limit value in soils intended for agriculture. 

In particular, nickel shows a pronounced allergenic character and can accumulate in vegetables such as tomatoes, leading to a significant risk to human health.

The project, carried out in collaboration with DISIT (Department of Science and Technological Innovation) in Alexandria and MCL (Manto Circular Lab), aims to remove heavy metals such as nickel, copper, cadmium and lead from cultivated soil and runoff water using a low-cost natural zeolite. The use of this adsorbent material, characterized with specific analytical techniques, makes it possible to minimize environmental impact in order to purify runoff water, restore soil and ensure that organic products are obtained. Clinoptilolite has proven to be attractive both for its adsorption capacity and the possibility of recycling. The performance of the zeolite selected in the study was compared with the depolluting capacity of a synthetic zeolite already tested. This project is the result of a collaboration between students from three schools in two different regions (Piedmont and Lombardy).

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