By Henry Nowicki, Barbara Sherman and Homer Yute

Those of us who operate businesses need to find promotion opportunities to generate future leads, customers and business. National Chemistry Week (NCW), which falls in the second week of November each year, offers another chance for business operators to promote their water conditioning and purification products. NCW is an annual American Chemical Society (ACS) event designed to make the public aware of the chemical profession and how work of its members and non-members benefits the public.

Chemistry in the home
All three authors participated at the NCW program on Nov. 10-11, 2000, at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh. Over 6,000 persons attended this Pittsburgh NCW celebration, which featured 23 booths. This year’s theme was “Kitchen Chemistry.”

Naturally, our exhibit dealt with water conditioning and purification. We showed how activated carbon takes chlorine taste and odor out of city drinking water and demonstrated the use of test strips to monitor chlorine. Brita provided a water pitcher and Industrial Test Systems Inc. provided test strips for our exhibit. Coordination of your exhibit with vendors can add value to your exhibit.

A historical perspective
This event’s origins date back to 1987 when a few local ACS sections initiated a single day to celebrate industry contributions. Providing a positive spin on our profession and society was a good idea. In 1993, NCW was organized at the ACS National level as a weeklong celebration promoted by its 160,000 members and its 188 local sections each November.

The unifying event this year, “Chemists Reacting to Hunger,” was promoted to all local sections, which were urged to coordinate food drives to benefit local organizations. This is the first time NCW has featured this kind of activity. Also a first, the ACS Publications Division made electronic editions of all ACS journals on-line available to the public free of charge—all week long.

The NCW program office at ACS headquarters in Washington, D.C., sent 150,000 copies of the new publication, “Get Cooking With Chemistry,” to the local sections along with 60,000 copies of ChemMatters. And, as an added bonus, the October issue of the Journal of Chemical Education featured NCW as its theme.

Youth appeal
Younger generations are very interested in water quality issues. Most of the 6,000 attendees at the NCW event in Pittsburgh were young and receptive to our water chemistry booth. We demonstrated dechlorination of city water with granular activated carbon (GAC)—the monitoring of free and total chlorine using test strips in the influent and effluent of a GAC water filter. Other test strips were used to monitor: total hardness, total suspended solids, pH, total alkalinity, nitrite and nitrate, copper and iron. Test strips were also given to those who stopped by at our booth so they could test their home water quality for free and total chlorine at their convenience.

Also on display was a kit containing test strips for 30 students in a classroom environment and a booklet for the instructor to provide low cost and simple experiments for demonstrating the water cycle, groundwater, etc. Teachers want teaching aids which are simple, fast, operationally easy, easy to understand, safe with no disposal of chemicals, compliance with all environmental and safety laws, excellent shelf-life and test strips with relevant chemical parameters to get the interest of students along with low cost. Several teachers showed interest in the classroom kit.

Conclusion
To learn more about events in your area for National Chemistry Week, which this year will be November 4-10, 2001, contact the American Chemical Society office of Community Activities at (800) 227-5558, ext. 6097. You’ll be provided with the NCW coordinator name and telephone number in your local area. A videotape distributed free by the ACS entitled “It’s All Chemistry” is available to enhance your exhibit. While it doesn’t list names of local NCW coordinators, the ACS website——should also prove useful to help you plan for providing an exhibit. Participation in the event is recommended.

Remember, promotion and awareness are predecessors to sales and profits. NCW is recommended as a tool to help develop your promotion of your services and products. Next year’s theme is “Chemistry and Art.” Local ACS coordinators would have more information on the possibility of exhibiting water conditioning and purification services.

Acknowledgment
Bayer’s Michael Mautino, functioning for the second year as the ACS Pittsburgh section coordinator for NCW events, provided digital photographs for this article. We also thank Yasmine Shoemaker of J&S Co. for arranging test strips for the NCW exhibit.

About the authors
Dr. Henry Nowicki directs laboratory testing and consulting services at PACS Inc. of Pittsburgh. He is also a member of the WC&P Technical Review Committee. Barbara Sherman directs PACS short courses and conferences business. Homer Yute develops software programs for the activated carbon industry. They can be reached at (724) 457-6576, email: hnpacs@aol.com or website: http://www.pacslabs.com.

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