WSU environmental professor to serve on Ohio AG’s council

A Wright State University ground water and soil remediation expert has been selected to serve on Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost’s newly formed Scientific Advisory Council.

Abinash Agrawal, an earth and environmental sciences professor, is among 12 environmental scientists from nine universities across the state who have been asked to serve on the council, which will serve as a “sounding board regarding the best ways to preserve and safeguard Ohio’s natural resources,” according to a news release.

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Agrawal, who has been studying ground water for more than 25 years, teaches courses that look at an in-depth study of the sources, transformation and the fate of contaminants in groundwater and its remediation techniques. Serving on the attorney general’s council is an honor and an opportunity to contribute, he said.

“I will work with outstanding colleagues on this council,” he said.

The formation of the council is part of Yost’s commitment to taking a scientific approach to environmental protection, the release says. The scientists will meet with Yost and his Environmental Protection Section to discuss the latest environmental issues and to act as a sounding board for his decision-making solutions and opportunities, officials said.

“This is not a blue-ribbon committee set up to make people feel good about the environment,” Yost says in the release. “I take my duty to protect Ohio’s natural resources seriously, and the scientists we’ve enlisted to share their expertise and counsel will help me accomplish this effectively and smartly.”

The council has had one meeting so far, Agrawal said, noting that they’ve not determined the scope of the work they will be doing. The council will likely focus on the emerging environmental issues in the state, he said.

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Those issues will likely include Polyfluoroalkyl substances — or PFAS, which experts have said is a major threat to drinking water. The so-called “forever chemicals” include various types of substances known as PFOA, PFOS and GenX. They can be found in firefighting foam, water-repellent fabrics, nonstick products, waxes, polishes and some food packaging, according to the U.S. EPA.

Studies suggest that exposure to the chemical might affect pregnancy, increase cholesterol levels and cause some forms of cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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