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Your Environment. Your Health.

2019 News

Superfund Research Program

New Video Series Spotlights PFAS
New Video Series Spotlights PFAS
December 12, 2019
In an eight-part video series, Silent Chemicals, Loud Science, researchers at the University of Rhode Island Superfund Research Program Center (URI SRP Center), funded by NIEHS, share important information about per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). PFAS are commonly used in consumer products and firefighting foams and can accumulate in the environment.
Bill Suk, Prarthana Shankar, Zunwei Chen, and Shuai Xie
2019 Annual Meeting Celebrates Trainees
December 11, 2019
The Superfund Research Program (SRP) Annual Meeting, held November 18 – 20 in Seattle, brought together SRP researchers, trainees, administrators, and partners to share findings and discuss research and training. The meeting centered on "Data to Knowledge to Action" and emphasized how fundamental research has stimulated knowledge translation, training, and prevention and intervention activities. SRP is a program of NIEHS.
Kelly Ferguson, Ph.D., and John Meeker, Sc.D.
Collaboration Between NIEHS and SRP Center Finds Phthalates May Contribute to Preterm Births
November 25, 2019
Puerto Rico has one of the highest preterm birth rates in the world. Researchers from Northeastern University's Puerto Rico Testsite for Exploring Contamination Threats (PROTECT) Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center may be a step closer to understanding why.
Pacific Basin Consortium participants
PBC Meeting Strengthens International Environmental Health Network
October 31, 2019
NIEHS staff and grantees shared their expertise and discussed ways to address pressing environmental health issues at the Pacific Basin Consortium (PBC) conference, September 15 -19 in Kyoto, Japan.
Findable, Accessible, Reusable, Interoperable, Accelerating the Pace of Research
Supplements Expand SRP's Capacity for Data Sharing
October 23, 2019
The Superfund Research Program (SRP) awarded administrative supplements to its Multiproject Center (P42) and Individual Research (R01) grantees to expand data integration, interoperability, and reuse. The SRP encourages data sharing among its grantees to accelerate new discoveries, stimulate new collaborations, and increase scientific transparency and rigor.
Artistic rendering of graphene
Blocking Mosquitoes with a Graphene Shield
September 11, 2019
An innovative graphene-based film helps shield people from disease-carrying mosquitoes, according to a new study. The research, conducted by the Brown University Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center, was published August 26 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Jitka Becanova, Ph.D., standing in front of her poster
SRP Presented New Research at PFAS Meeting
September 09, 2019
Superfund Research Program (SRP) grantees from around the country gathered August 12 – 15 to discuss per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry's North America Focused Topic Meeting in Durham, North Carolina.
Site-adapted community at contaminated site, high-throughput sequencing and analyses, targeted culture designed for precision bioaugmentation, and community capable of enhanced biodegradation
Modifying Microbes to Reduce Soil Contamination
September 03, 2019
Microbes in soil can break down just about anything from fallen leaves to harmful contaminants, with the right combination of species. The Duke University Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center identifies which microbial communities in soils can enhance degradation of contaminants.
Joseph Braun, Ph.D.,
Childhood Exposure to PFAS May Change Metabolism
August 06, 2019
A study led by Joseph Braun, Ph.D., at the Brown University Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center, explains how per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) alter biological pathways involved in metabolism. PFAS are a group of man-made chemicals that persist in the environment and are used in firefighting foam, cookware coatings, carpets, and upholstery.
Dean Neff, Keith Rhodes, Madi Polera, and Catherine Kastleman
North Carolina Coastal Community Enjoys Fish Smart Celebration
July 24, 2019
At the Fish Smart Celebration, the Duke Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center team worked to protect the health of subsistence fishers who cast their lines in the Cape Fear River in Wilmington, North Carolina. The May event, held in partnership with Cape Fear River Watch, was part of the Center's "Stop, Check, Enjoy" campaign.
UK SRP Center Booth
SRP Trainees Talk Science at 2019 Expanding Your Horizons Conference
July 23, 2019
The University of Kentucky Superfund Research Program (UK SRP) Center showcased its work at Kentucky's third annual Expanding Your Horizons Conference on April 20. Middle school girls from across the state attended the all-day event. The goal was to inspire young girls to pursue science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers.
tribal youth
OSU SRP Connects Tribal Youth to Science on Campus
July 18, 2019
The Oregon State University (OSU) Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center hosted high school students from tribal nations for its third annual Tribal Youth Campus Tour. During the two-day learning exchange, tribal youth from the Columbia River region learned about SRP research, environmental health, and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math.
Researchers at the University of New Mexico study how dust from abandoned uranium mines travels in the environment and affects human health.
SRP Research Highlighted at Drought Summit
July 16, 2019
Danielle Carlin, Ph.D., program administrator with the Superfund Research Program (SRP), presented drought-related research from SRP Centers during the National Drought & Public Health Summit in Atlanta, Georgia, June 17.
Philippe Grandjean, M.D., Ph.D., and Rainer Lohmann, Ph.D.,
Second National PFAS Conference Held in Boston
July 15, 2019
The 2019 Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS): Second National Conference, held June 10–12 at Northeastern University in Boston, brought researchers from diverse disciplines together to discuss cutting-edge PFAS research and strategies to protect human health.
male reproductive toxicity
Key Characteristics Help Researchers Understand Male Reproductive Toxicants
June 28, 2019
New research from the University of California, Berkeley Superfund Research Program (UC Berkeley SRP) Center identifies a set of eight key characteristics for male reproductive toxicants (MRTs) – chemicals that cause negative effects on the male reproductive system. Key characteristics explain the actions of certain chemicals inside the body.
Silicone Wristbands
Silicone Wristbands Identify Common Exposures Across Continents
June 27, 2019
In a new study, funded in part by the Oregon State University Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center, researchers identified common chemical exposure trends in 14 communities across three continents. The researchers, led by Kim Anderson, Ph.D., used silicone wristbands that capture personal exposures to investigate differences and trends in chemical mixtures in North America, South America, and Africa.
Ivan Rusyn, Ph.D.
Rusyn Receives Inaugural University Professorship, Names it After K.C. Donnelly
June 19, 2019
Ivan Rusyn, Ph.D., director of the Texas A&M University (TAMU) Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center, became one of the first five TAMU faculty members to be awarded the title of University Professor. This honor recognizes scholars who have demonstrated significant accomplishments in their field. Rusyn specializes in analyzing the combined effects of multiple chemicals on human health and leads the TAMU SRP Center, which focuses on addressing exposure to mixtures during environmental emergency-related contamination events.
TAMU SRP trainees
TAMU SRP Trainees Receive Valuable Training
June 13, 2019
Ten Texas A&M University (TAMU) Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center trainees are now more prepared to respond in a safe manner during an emergency. The trainees, along with Garett Sansom, Ph.D., Community Engagement Core member, each earned their 40-hour Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) certification this May.
Sara Hearon, Tim Phillips, and Meichen Wang
Technology to Reduce Harmful Exposures after Disasters Goes Commercial
June 06, 2019
Researchers at the Texas A&M University (TAMU) Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center have developed a new technology that can bind to hazardous chemicals in the body after exposure, reducing their uptake in the body. This technology, known as broad acting enterosorbent materials, can be added to food or water to reduce exposure to harmful mixtures of contaminants following natural disasters and other emergencies. It has been patented and granted a worldwide exclusive license to Texas EnteroSorbents, Inc. for commercialization.
Steven Chow, Michelle Lorah, Edward Bouwer, and Heather Henry
SRP Represents at International Battelle Symposium
June 05, 2019
Superfund Research Program (SRP) researchers were on hand at the Battelle Fifth International Symposium on Bioremediation and Sustainable Environmental Technologies to discuss advances in green and sustainable approaches to clean up hazardous waste sites.
Map of National Priorities List (NPL) Sites
EPA Adds Seven Hazardous Waste Sites to the National Priorities List
June 04, 2019
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced that it added seven hazardous waste sites to the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites. The added sites in California, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Puerto Rico, and West Virginia include former mine, steel, metal finishing, and landfill sites.
Soil Inversion and Increased Rice Yield
Inverting Soil Decreases Arsenic and Improves Rice Yields
May 29, 2019
By exchanging high-arsenic soil at the surface with deeper low-arsenic soil, researchers from the Columbia University Superfund Research Program (SRP) have demonstrated increased rice crop yields in Bangladesh. This approach, called soil inversion, increased rice yields 15 - 30% compared to plots that were not inverted. The team, led by Alexander van Geen, Ph.D., also reported that arsenic concentrations remained lower over four seasons of monitoring.
Jerry Schnoor, Ph.D
Jerry Schnoor Receives 2019 ACS Award for Innovative Plant-Based Cleanup Advances
May 02, 2019
Jerry Schnoor, Ph.D., a University of Iowa Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center project leader, received the American Chemical Society (ACS) Award for Creative Advances in Environmental Science and Technology during the ACS Spring 2019 National Meeting, held March 31 - April 4 in Orlando, Florida.
Breakout Group
NC Fish Forum Brings Partners Together to Improve Fish Consumption Advisories
May 02, 2019
On March 21, the Duke University Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center convened stakeholders from across North Carolina in Raleigh to discuss fish consumption advisories and how to improve the process to best protect public health. NC Fish Forum attendees focused on known risks like mercury, as well as emerging contaminants such as per- and polyfluorinated compounds.
Jennifer Horney
Translating Research to Assessments and Planning for a Changing Climate
April 24, 2019
Two Texas A&M University (TAMU) Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center projects are translating their research to help communities facing impacts and health risks from climate-related disasters, such as wildfires and flooding. These projects are improving community assessments and resilience planning in areas facing these challenges.
Heat map showing risk of PFAS contamination in Rhode Island
Brown SRP Database Helps Identify Areas of Toxic Waste Contamination
April 19, 2019
Researchers from the Brown University Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center designed a geospatial tool and database to map and identify areas in Rhode Island that are likely to be contaminated with toxic waste.
Stephanie Eick
Socioeconomic Status Contributes to Arsenic-related Diabetes Risk
April 17, 2019
A new Superfund Research Program (SRP) study showed that arsenic-exposed Chileans with lower socioeconomic status (SES) were more likely to develop diabetes than those with higher SES. According to the authors, these results suggest that low SES individuals may be more vulnerable to some of the harmful effects of arsenic exposure, such as type 2 diabetes.
CycloPure, Inc.
SRP-Funded Small Business Gears Up to Hit the Shelves
April 12, 2019
CycloPure, Inc., a small business funded by the Superfund Research Program (SRP), has announced a major advance in their cost-effective water filtration technology called DEXSORB. Their new product, DEXSORB+, works to rapidly remove per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from contaminated water supplies. PFAS, which have been used in consumer products and aqueous film-forming foams at airports, military installations, and firefighting training sites, do not break down and can accumulate in the environment.
Henry, right, stops to take a photo with Boston SRP Center project leader Jennifer Schlezinger, Ph.D., left, and Boston SRP Center trainee and Wetterhahn Award winner Stephanie Kim, center.
SRP Research Shines at SOT
April 10, 2019
Superfund Research Program (SRP) grantees from all over the country gathered in Baltimore, Maryland, for the 2019 Society of Toxicology (SOT) Annual Meeting on March 10 – 14. Grantees and staff gave talks and presented posters highlighting SRP-funded research advances in toxicology.
Master plan for the Sunnyside community
Economic Benefits of Green Infrastructure for Vacant Lands
March 20, 2019

A recent study at the Texas A&M University (TAMU) Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center suggests that installing green infrastructure features, such as water-absorbing rain gardens, on vacant lands can provide ecological and economic benefits, particularly in communities with frequent flooding.

Flaxseeds
Component of Flaxseed Helps Protect Heart Function in Septic Mice
March 20, 2019
A novel synthetic compound made from flaxseed can protect heart function in mice with sepsis, according to new research in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center. Sepsis is an inflammatory condition that develops in response to infection and can lead to heart failure and death.
Dividing Cells
How High-Fat Diets Drive Colorectal Cancer Growth
March 19, 2019
New research identifies a pathway that explains how high-fat diets can lead to colorectal cancer, a cancer that starts in the colon or rectum. The new findings may help explain why colorectal cancer rates are increasing in adults under 50 years old and open new possibilities for treating cancer.
Images of cell growth on the MicroColonyChip over time, including 40X magnification. From Cell Reports 2019 26(6):1668-1678.e4. DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.01.053
SRP Grantees Develop a Better Way to Measure Cell Survival
March 18, 2019
Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center recently developed a new test that rapidly measures the effect of different chemicals on cell survival. Measuring cell survival is critical for screening potentially toxic chemicals and protecting human health. The technology was developed as part of an NIEHS small business grant, with partial funding from the MIT SRP Center.
Sites Unseen
In Sites Unseen, Frickel Examines Legacies of Industrial Past
February 20, 2019

In a new book, Scott Frickel, Ph.D., a professor of sociology and member of the Brown University Superfund Research Program (Brown SRP) Center, discusses the industrial past of four different cities, and how their history helps us to better understand and manage potentially toxic contamination.

Gardiner collects water samples
STEEP Highlighted in Nature News Feature
February 20, 2019
University of Rhode Island Superfund Research Program (SRP) Sources, Transport, Exposure, and Effects of PFASs (STEEP) Center researchers were featured in a story in Nature about their efforts to measure poly- and perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) in water, and to understand their movement in the environment and impacts on human health.
Measuring levels of particulate matter and PAHs on the Swinomish Reservation
Assessing PAH Exposure with the Swinomish Tribe
February 14, 2019
Researchers from the Oregon State University Superfund Research Program (OSU SRP) Center have collaborated with the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community (SITC) to measure potential exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The community-based participatory research project engaged residents in the research study.
Julia Brody, Ph.D.,
SRP Researchers Reflect on Sharing Research Results at PEPH Network Meeting
February 13, 2019
Environmental health science professionals came together to discuss reporting back research results at the annual NIEHS Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) meeting, held Dec 13-14. Among the participants, members of several Superfund Research Program (SRP)-funded Centers shared their experiences and tools focused on reporting research results back to study participants. According to an NIEHS story, the meeting reflected a critical need to ensure that individuals and communities that are part of a research study have access to their data and information on what it means for their health.
Monica Ramirez-Andreotta, Ph.D.
Ramirez-Andreotta Receives 2019 AAAS Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science
February 13, 2019
Monica Ramirez-Andreotta, Ph.D., assistant professor in the department of soil, water, and environmental science at the University of Arizona (UA), is the winner of the 2019 Early Career Award for Public Engagement with Science, presented by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Ramirez-Andreotta is the leader of the UA Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center Research Translation Core and Training Core.
Fact sheet about PFAS exposure
STEEP Gets Creative to Communicate Science
February 07, 2019
The University of Rhode Island Superfund Research Program (URI SRP) Center has produced a variety of resources to explain the potential effects of poly- and perfluorinated alkyl substances (PFASs) and ways to reduce exposure. The URI SRP Sources, Transport, Exposure, and Effects of PFASs (STEEP) Center is addressing the emerging and expanding problem of PFAS contamination.
Robert Wright speaking to an audience.
SRP Researchers Share Findings at Exposome Conference
January 28, 2019
Current and former Superfund Research Program (SRP) researchers described their work and learned from others as part of the New York City Exposome Symposium Nov 2 – 3. The symposium delved into innovative approaches in exposomics, the study of how the complex mix of nutritional, chemical, and social environments shapes human health throughout the lifespan.
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