Superfund Research Program

The SRP was created as a multidisciplinary research program to address the broad, complex health and environmental issues that arise from the multimedia nature of hazardous waste sites. In meeting these objectives, SRP-funded research has led to analytical advances that have been used in risk assessments and to improve the understanding of toxicity and disease etiology. For example:

  • Bioassay for Dioxin and Dioxin-like Chemicals : SRP-funded researchers have developed, validated, and patented a cell bioassay system (CALUX®) for dioxins and dioxin-like chemicals in a wide variety of matrices that is sensitive, specific, quick, and inexpensive.
  • Development and Application of the "Gellyfish" : Dr. James Shine at the Harvard School of Public Health SRP has developed and tested the "Gellyfish" - a passive sampling device that can simultaneously determine the free metal ion concentration of multiple metals. This will greatly enhance our ability to estimate the potential fate and effects of heavy metals in the environment, allowing for assessment of their bioavailability and subsequent risks to human health.
  • Fundamental Discovery Points to New Therapies for Wide-ranging Diseases: NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP)-funded scientists at the University of California, Davis Center have translated basic research in insects and rodents into promising new therapies and pain treatment options for dogs, horses, and humans. This decades-long research is spearheaded by Center Director Bruce Hammock, Ph.D.
  • Integrating Approaches to Predict How Contaminants Move in the Environment : Researchers funded by the NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) at the University of Arizona (UA) study how hazardous materials move in the environment. By combining mathematical models with laboratory and field studies, the team can better understand factors that cause contaminant cleanup to stall and identify cost-effective solutions to better protect human health.
  • Key Characteristics Inform Risk Assessment : NIEHS-funded University of California, Berkeley Superfund Research Program Center (UC Berkeley SRP Center) researchers and collaborators developed a new approach to help risk assessors predict the toxicity of chemicals based on shared characteristics. The approach allows for identification of the events, or key characteristics, that are shared by chemicals with similar toxic effects.
  • Tracking Personal Exposures Over Time and Around the World: With funding from the NIEHS Superfund Research Program and other NIEHS programs, researchers at the Oregon State University (OSU) SRP Center developed a simple, non-invasive approach to monitor personal chemical exposures using silicone wristbands. The highly sensitive wristbands can be used to measure exposure to low levels of hundreds of chemicals, offering a unique tool to better understand the complex, realistic mixtures people may be exposed to.