Aug 21, 2008

U.S. Wins Stockholm Junior Water Prize

Joyce Chai was awarded the prize for her study "Modeling the Toxic Effects of Silver Nanoparticles under Varying Environmental Conditions"

Joyce Chai from the U.S. was awarded the prestigious 2008 Stockholm Junior Water Prize, sponsored globally by ITT Corp., in a formal ceremony in the Stockholm International Fairs and Conference Center during the World Water Week in Stockholm.

The student from Palos Verdes Peninsula High School in Rolling Hills Estates, Calif., received the Prize from the hands of H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria on behalf of the Stockholm Water Foundation. She also received a $5,000 scholarship and a crystal sculpture.

The Stockholm Junior Water Prize is presented each year to high-school-age students for outstanding water-related projects that focus on topics of environmental, scientific, social or technological importance. The international honor is given to an individual or group who, like their 30 co-competitors, has been awarded the top prize among national competitions. The National Country winners travel to Stockholm from as far away as Argentina, Ghana and Vietnam.

The official motivation of the Nominating Committee for this year’s winner is: “The project from the USA entitled 'Modeling the Toxic Effects of Silver Nanoparticles under Varying Environmental Conditions' is the winner of the 2008 Stockholm Junior Water Prize for discovering the potential toxicity of silver nanoparticles. This is a new, hardly investigated category of micropollutants, which are commonly used in industry for a variety of purposes. These particles are then released into the environment, including water bodies, without proper knowledge of their fate and potential toxicity. The remarkable level of scientific research takes steps towards understanding and quantifying the potential environmental consequences and risks of their use. This study repudiates the assertion that silver nanoparticles are more reliable and less environmentally hazardous than silver ions. This initial research questions the reliability of their use in consumer products.

The scientific impact of this investigation is extremely profound, and we expect that it will open the door to serious questioning and further studies regarding the widespread use of silver nanoparticles.”

The projects “Restoration of Water Reservoirs Using Latent Phases of Aquatic Organisms,” from Alexey Shinkarev, Russian Federation, and “Firewood Hearth Distillers for Safe Water for Vulnerable Rural Populations” from the Sri Lankan team of R.D. Dasun Thakshala Siriwardana, Sandun Gayath, Sameera Dissanayaka and A. Sujith Madushan Silva received honorable mention.