Informing Public Policy
Superfund Research Program
One of the primary goals of SRP-funded research is to improve public health. Thus, the Program supports a wide range of research to address the broad public health concerns arising from the release of hazardous substances into the environment. The intent is to provide sound science to those making public policy, regulatory, remediation and risk reduction decisions. SRP-funded research has been successful in this area as studies have improved our understanding and minimizing the health effects associated with exposures to environmental contaminants. For example:
- Arsenic Drinking Water Standard : SRP-funded researchers at several universities played a vital role in the process leading to the revised drinking water standard for arsenic by contributing greatly to our knowledge of the risk and health effects of arsenic in drinking water.
- Brown Researchers Create Mercury-Adsorbent Container Linings for Broken CFLs : The Brown University (BU) Superfund Research Program's (SRP) team of researchers, led by Dr. Robert Hurt, senior engineering student Natalie Johnson, and graduate student Love Sarin, discovered that a variant of a substance called nanoselenium can absorb most of the mercury emitted from broken and spent compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs).
- Fry Maps Arsenic Levels Across NC (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2012/2/science-fry/index.htm): University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill SRP researcher Rebecca Fry, Ph.D., analyzed levels of arsenic in North Carolina, finding specific areas of the state that should be targeted for monitoring and remediation programs.
- PCBs in the Hudson River : The SRP funds wide-ranging research into the human and environmental impacts of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) contamination. Aspects of these studies provided information that was seminal in the EPA determination of an appropriate remediation strategy to address PCB contamination of the Hudson River.
- Removal of Chlorpyrifos and Diazinon from Retail Sales: The collective body of the research carried out by Drs. Lucio Costa and Clement Furlong on the importance of genetic variability in the human paraoxonase (PON1) gene in determining sensitivity to specific organophosphate exposures has provided regulators with data that was important in the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) negotiating removal of chlorpyrifos and diazinon from retail sales and home use.
- Seminar series marks ATSDR/Superfund collaboration (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2012/4/spotlight-atsdr/index.htm): The SRP/ATSDR seminar series began in 2007, when Frederick Pfaender, Ph.D., was invited to give a seminar. Since then, 16 investigators have presented their research to an ever-growing audience of regulators and researchers.
- Studies find arsenic in food adds up (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2012/3/science-arsenic/index.htm): Three studies from the SRP and the NIEHS/EPA Centers for Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research add to the growing body of evidence that arsenic levels in food require regulation.
- Superfund Research Prompts Review of Antimicrobials (http://www.niehs.nih.gov/news/newsletter/2010/march/science-superfund.cfm): Based in part on the findings of SRP researcher Rolf Halden, Ph.D., Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass) petitioned the U.S. EPA to regulate antimicrobial agents under the Safe Drinking Water Act.
- Tackling Triclosan: Congress Recommends Review Based in Part on SRP Research : Congress Recommends Review Based in Part on SRP Research: Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) has called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to consider more stringent regulations for the antimicrobial compounds triclosan (TCS) and triclocarban (TCC). His complaint was filed partly under consideration of Superfund Research Program research demonstrating the chemicals' environmental persistence and bioaccumulation in aquatic species.