Along the way, Dr. Lima discovered that their sponge-like material was especially great at mopping up metals that can pollute water. Called “heavy metals,” these Earth elements include substances like lead, mercury and arsenic.
You may have heard of them. Most occur naturally in the world around us. But when large amounts of these metals or chemicals leak into water supplies, or into the soil, they can be harmful to people and wildlife.
There aren’t many materials around that can filter out the tiny, floating molecules from these hard-to-grab metals. That’s why Dr. Lima and Dr. Marshall were so excited to find that their super-heated chicken droppings made such a great mop.