We all use sponges to clean up little spills or messes in the kitchen. But could sponges also be used to help clean up serious pollutants like mercury or lead from our water? Maybe so, according to the Environmental News Service, which reports that a new sponge-like foam has been developed that can remove heavy metals from liquid. Such so-called aerogels have been around for a while, but now, researchers at Northwestern University and the Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago have pioneered a new rigid foam from the same material used in semiconductors that can attract heavy metals. This sounds like one idea that could sure soak up some real environmental benefits.