Superfund Research Program
SRP Researcher Uncovers History of Industrial Sites and Green Spaces in Providence
A Brown University team, led by Community Engagement Core (CEC) leader Scott Frickel, Ph.D., is working to uncover the history of green spaces in Providence, Rhode Island. Green spaces are regarded by many as beneficial to the health of urban dwellers.
With funding from an SRP grant, Frickel added Providence to an existing study that looks at how industrial sites have changed over decades in New Orleans, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, and Portland, Oregon. In the study, he is including how green spaces are changing, and he sent a team of students to document four Providence neighborhoods. For nearly a year, they photographed and noted the location of any kind of green space. With this information, they plan to map the data to understand how green spaces are organized and distributed across neighborhoods.
"[They are looking at] abandoned lots, forested nooks and crannies, and hillsides that are just there unused – maybe fenced, maybe not – to get a sense of what kind of green space actually exists in a neighborhood and whether that varies from one neighborhood to another," said Frickel.
Frickel also wants to document the origins of these green spaces. In the other four cities, Frickel found many parks, playgrounds, and even daycare centers were once industrial sites. A similar record may be a concern for Providence, a port city with a long history of industrial pollution.
Frickel's research team now has two historical databases: one for industrial sites over the past 50 years and another for urban green spaces since the 1930s. The project is in its early stage. Frickel and his students will begin making sense of the collected data in the spring of 2016.
For more information on the project, visit Rhode Island Public Radio.
Dartmouth-Sponsored Food Collaborative Convenes in Hanover
The Collaborative on Food with Arsenic and associated Risk and Regulation (C-FARR) gathered in Hanover, New Hampshire, November 2 to address issues related to sources of arsenic and exposure in people through the food they eat. C-FARR, which includes a team of arsenic scientists and stakeholders from around the country, is sponsored by the Dartmouth College Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center and the Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Center at Dartmouth.
To date, arsenic regulation has focused on levels in drinking water due to the prevalence of arsenic in groundwater in certain regions of the world. However, recent studies have shown that food is also a considerable source of arsenic exposure for people. Recent research has revealed that arsenic is taken up in food crops, particularly rice, and has resulted in significant exposure in humans. Arsenic also has been found in foods sweetened with rice products and apple and grape juices.
The C-FARR workshop in November brought together researchers studying arsenic in soils, uptake into biota, dietary exposures to arsenic via rice and other foods, and risk associated with exposure to organic and inorganic arsenicals that occur in food. They focused on six topics, which will form the basis for six synthesis papers: sources of arsenic in soil and groundwater, food diet and exposure, exposure to organic arsenic species from seafood, arsenic uptake and metabolism in rice, human arsenic exposure through rice and potential health consequences, and moving from arsenic epidemiology to practical recommendations. Dartmouth SRP Center members provided the welcome, overview, and goals of the workshop and are leading many of the synthesis paper working groups.
Over the next two years, the C-FARR team will gather and analyze data and publish a series of papers. Salient findings from this initiative also will be translated and distributed to public health and policy stakeholders.
Pezzoli Receives UC System President's Award
Keith Pezzoli, Ph.D., from the University of California (UC) San Diego, received an Award for Outstanding Faculty Leadership in Presidential Initiatives from Janet Napolitano, J.D., president of the UC system. From across the UC campuses, 10 faculty members were honored for demonstrating outstanding leadership on system-wide initiatives.
The award honors Pezzoli's leadership on the UC Global Food Initiative (GFI), where he leads a subcommittee on urban agriculture and food disparities. He is actively involved with community youth development workshops focused on urban agriculture and health. He also leads the Communication, Literacy and Education for Agricultural Research (CLEAR) project, a partnership with UC Davis that is helping prepare the next generation of science communicators in food and agriculture.
Pezzoli leads the Community Engagement Core and Research Translation Core of UC San Diego's Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center. The Center works closely with the UC GFI by helping address issues of toxicity and risk assessment in areas, such as brownfield sites, where people living in low-income communities grow food on contaminated land. This year, Napolitano visited a field site in southeast San Diego where local residents and their SRP and GFI partners are building a community garden, food forest, neighborhood food security network, and environmental health learning center.
For more information about the winners, see the UC news page.