Superfund Research Program

This Progress in Research webinar series showcased research from 11 new and renewed Multiproject Center grant recipients, funded by SRP in 2022. These awards were made as part of the P42 grant solicitation RFA-ES-20-014. In the four-part series, awardees highlighted their research projects, accomplishments, and next steps. The newly funded centers, including Wayne State University, Columbia University, and Yale University, brought fresh ideas and approaches to tackle complex problems related to hazardous substances.

Session I — Emergencies and Emerging Contaminants
April 28, 2023
12:00 – 2:00 p.m. EDT

To view the recorded archive, visit EPA's CLU-IN Training & Events webpage.

  • Texas A&M University
  • Michigan State University
  • Yale University

The Texas A&M University SRP Center works to understand how climate-related disasters, coupled with the vulnerability of communities disproportionately exposed to environmental contamination, increase the health risks associated with contamination events. Center scientists develop, apply, and translate a comprehensive set of tools and models to help first responders, impacted communities, and government agencies characterize and mitigate the human health consequences of exposure to hazardous mixtures.

The Michigan State University SRP Center investigates pollutants in the halogenated aromatic hydrocarbon family — including dioxins, biphenyls, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons — which are commonly found at Superfund sites and pose a human health risk. The center’s central theme is to define specific aspects of environmental, microbial, and mammalian biological responses to these environmental contaminants, with the goal of understanding their environmental fate and developing state-of-the-art remediation technologies to reduce their toxicity.

The Yale University SRP Center is driven by community-based concerns about emerging contaminants that affect water resources and drinking water supplies at multiple sites across the U.S. Center researchers engage in problem-based, solution-oriented research related to 1,4-dioxane, an emerging water contaminant that is widespread and persistent in the environment, poorly regulated, has consistently shown carcinogenic effects, and is not mitigated using standard approaches. The center addresses critical gaps in the understanding of cancer mechanisms, chemical mixture interactions, and detection and treatment technologies through innovative techniques that inform risk assessment and help affected communities remove these contaminants from their water supplies.

Session II — Heavy Metals in Native American Communities
May 5, 2023
12:00 – 2:00 p.m. EDT

To view the recorded archive, visit EPA's CLU-IN Training & Events webpage.

  • University of New Mexico
  • Columbia University

The University of New Mexico SRP Center  collaborates with Indigenous partners from Navajo Nation and Laguna Pueblo to reduce the health risks associated with exposure to metal mixtures from abandoned uranium mines. Center scientists use community informed, solution-oriented team science to prevent exposures and protect health through development of partnered environmental and clinical interventions.

The Columbia University Northern Plains SRP Center studies hazardous metals in drinking water, which are common contaminants near Superfund sites and abandoned uranium mines that play a role in the high burden of heart disease and diabetes affecting Tribal communities in the U.S. Northern Plains. The center will continue to generate knowledge to understand the underlying mechanisms and possible solutions to exposures to hazardous metal mixtures using systems science, local community knowledge, and novel remediation technology.

Session III — Environmental Justice and Emerging Contaminants
May 12, 2023
12:00 – 2:00 p.m. EDT

To view the recorded archive, visit EPA's CLU-IN Training & Events webpage.

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of Rhode Island

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology SRP Center studies N-nitrosamines, a family of carcinogenic chemicals found in water at hazardous waste sites. To address the needs of affected communities, center scientists work to create new technologies to detect contaminants in the environment, reveal their health impacts, guide effective cleanup, and destroy hazardous chemicals in drinking water. They also aim to identify opportunities for interventions that prevent disease.

The University of California, Berkeley SRP Center works with key stakeholders to better assess the risks of exposure to contaminants, such as arsenic, chromium, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), and halogenated contaminants. Their goal is to protect vulnerable communities, understand and account for interactions between mixtures of chemicals, and perform on-site remediation without depleting valuable resources. By using biomedical and engineering approaches, center scientists aim to generate research findings that will help solve these problems in association with community partners and government stakeholders.

The University of Rhode Island SRP Center aims to provide actionable insights, tools, and solutions to tackle PFAS contamination. Researchers at the center seek to understand the transport and transformation of these substances in the environment and develop detection tools to support groundwater remediation. They also work to advance the understanding of PFAS toxicity in the human body to prevent health effects, particularly in children. The center engages new and established partners across multiple sites to execute effective outreach and collaboration.

Session IV — Chemical Exposures Across the Life Course
May 19, 2023
12:00 – 2:00 p.m. EDT

To view the recorded archive, visit EPA's CLU-IN Training & Events webpage.

  • Duke University
  • University of Louisville
  • Wayne State University

The Duke University SRP Center studies the neurodevelopmental health impacts of early-life exposures to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and heavy metals. Center researchers seek to understand the impacts of multiple contaminant exposures in humans, elucidate neurotoxic mechanisms that occur from these co-exposures, and develop novel remediation and treatment strategies to protect health. The center will provide key data and information needed to improve public health guidance and environmental clean-up goals to effectively mitigate the negative health consequences of co-exposure to hazardous chemicals.

The University of Louisville SRP Center conducts state-of-the-art research on the toxicity of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to determine how they affect the prevalence and severity of cardiometabolic diseases — obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease — in exposed populations. Center scientists develop new methods and devices for quantifying VOC concentrations, offering precise yet low-cost measurements at hazardous waste sites. The team hopes that their findings will lead to rigorous evaluation and better understanding of the effects of these hazardous chemicals.

The Wayne State University SRP Center proposes an integrated, transdisciplinary framework, rooted in advanced environmental engineering techniques and biomedical research, to address human exposure routes and health risks from VOCs in urban areas. Center scientists study the relationship between VOC exposure and human health risks — for preterm birth and associated adverse health outcomes in particular — combined with new methods and technologies to assess, communicate, and reduce those health risks. The center hopes to improve public health interventions and have a positive impact on the well-being of affected communities.