The field of science and technology thrives on inquiry and innovation. As scientists, we are usually inspired by a challenge and jump at the opportunity to further develop our skills. It is this drive that Babcock Labs seeks in its analysts, and this month, there is one analyst in particular whose work exemplifies a commitment to technology and science.
Babcock Labs Senior Chemist David Schiessel presented his poster and research on synthetic pyrethroids at the 2014 California Stormwater Quality Association (CASQA) Conference. Pyrethroids, which are commonly used in RAID products and by commercial structural pest control companies, are considered contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) for aquatic systems. Currently, most laboratories use adapted methods (EPA 8270) that require large volumes of sample (1 liter) and a laborious extraction. However, David, with the help of other Babcock Laboratories staff, has developed a new method that is more environmentally friendly and sustainable, yet provides low-level detection and rapid turnaround. This newly developed method is the first to use direct injection and LC/MS/MS, saving clients on shipping costs while lowering reporting limits. Recently, our communications team sat down with David to discuss the new method and his experience at CASQA:
Q) What was it like to present at CASQA? Do you see yourself presenting again in the future?
A) I thoroughly enjoyed presenting at the annual CASQA conference! I was a bit anxious prior to presenting but as soon as I started my presentation I went into what I can only describe as “auto-pilot mode”. I hope to present there again or at other conferences that are relevant to the methods Babcock Labs has developed and those that the lab is currently still developing. I am very passionate about method development and to be able to share that with any group is an enjoyable experience.
Q) Did you feel that the presentation was successful?
A) The presentation was a huge success for Babcock Labs and for me, even preceding the conference. Weeks prior, I was contacted by researchers at the University of California, Davis, about the abstract that was published on the CASQA website. Babcock Labs will be collaborating with UC Davis on split samples this fall. Beyond this incredible partnership opportunity, our primary goal was to publish our new method and the annual CASQA conference was the vehicle that allowed us to accomplish this goal.
Q) What types of questions and feedback did you receive from the audience and session viewers?
A) There were more questions asked after the presentation than I expected. One of the highlights during the question portion came in the form of a comment made by Dr. Kelly Moran of TDC Environmental. She is one of the experts on the subject of pyrethroids and when she introduced herself, I’m afraid I became a bit star-struck! She had nothing but praise for our method and Babcock Labs for pioneering the LC/MS/MS analysis for pyrethoids. She was specifically elated that we have plans to develop a method for Fipronil and its degradates using the same technology.
Q) What key takeaway(s) do you hope audience members left with?
A) There are two key concepts that I hope attendees took away from the presentation. First, that Babcock Labs is an innovating lab and, when regulations allow it, we think outside the box. Secondly, I hope attendees learned that LC/MS/MS is underutilized for detecting environmental contaminants, including pyrethroids, and is extremely robust in many different matrices.
Q) What does this research and method development mean for Babcock Labs?
A) First and foremost, the research and method development we’ve produced establishes Babcock Labs as an industry leader in innovation for methods development. Our publication of this research and the new method will help verify LC/MS/MS as a superior technology to certain analyses. During the CASQA conference Babcock Labs staff were able to make contact with key professionals, which will allow our laboratory to be a part of the on-going research efforts and method development projects within the industry.
Q) What does this research and method development mean for Babcock Labs clients?
A) These accomplishments at the technological level also translate into direct benefits for our clients. Our method development efforts attest to our continuous commitment to increase data quality while lowering costs for clients. The research that Babcock Labs has conducted has – and will continue to – demonstrate Babcock Labs’ expertise in analytical testing, making our laboratory a reliable, credible, and competitive choice.
Babcock Laboratories would like to thank and congratulate every team member that helped with the research and method development for this analysis. We are proud to have such an incredible team of analysts and staff. The laboratory would also like to thank CASQA for the opportunity to present at its annual conference.