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:
- Applying Superfund Expertise to the Gulf Oil Spill: Oregon State University SRP researcher Kim Anderson, Ph.D., is using a novel sampling device to monitor polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon mixtures in the air and water along four Gulf coast states.
- ARRA-funded Collaboration to Evaluate Vapor Intrusion Exposures and Risks : Five SRP Researchers from three institutions are collaborating to investigate the issue of vapor intrusion, which affects numerous communities across the country.
- 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.
- SRP researchers test less expensive method for tar remediation: Researchers from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill published a study showing that alkaline and alkaline-polymer solutions might offer an effective and less expensive way to remove tars from former manufactured gas plant sites.
- Study First to Quantify TCE in Breast Milk: For the first time, researchers have reported on the levels of the environmental contaminant trichloroethylene (TCE) in breast milk.
- Superfund Researchers Propose Exposome Paradigm: University of California-Berkeley SRP researchers Stephen Rappaport, Ph.D., and Martyn Smith, Ph.D., offer a fundamental proposal for changing the way epidemiologists measure environmental exposure.
- Zebrafish developmental assays test the safety of new chemicals: A group of molecules developed to break down pollutants in water is one step closer to commercial use, thanks to developmental tests led by Robert Tanguay, Ph.D., of the Oregon State University (OSU) Superfund Research Program. Tanguay's study, using developing zebrafish embryos, showed that the molecules designed to remove hazardous substances from water, called TAML activators, are not harmful themselves.