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Your Environment. Your Health.

Community Engagement

Superfund Research Program

In addition to supporting basic scientific research, the SRP funds outreach activities, which are designed to facilitate the translation of the Program's results to the communities and organizations most concerned with the effects of hazardous substances on human health. This section highlights innovative SRP Outreach activities.

  • Boston Consensus Conference in Biomonitoring: Fourteen residents from Boston and surrounding communities spent six weeks becoming educated about the scientific, legal and ethical issues of biomonitoring.

  • Collaborations Between Scientific Communities in the U.S and Mexico: Environmental concerns along the US/Mexico Border arise from a complex combination of regional, national, and international forces, including patterns of economic growth and trade, urbanization, public policies, and demographic and social dynamics. The SRP supports outreach and communication efforts that have a direct impact on the environmental and public health of affected communities. The SRP would like to highlight the outreach and communication aspects of the program, and to acknowledge the accomplishments of Dr. Dean E. Carter who retired from his leadership role at the University of Arizona (UA) SRP.

  • Columbia University SRP Seminar Series: One of the SRP's strengths is its focus on interdisciplinary work and the dissemination of research findings to as wide an audience as possible. To that end, the Columbia University SRP has hosted a seminar series for over a decade.

  • Community guide for eating fish from North Carolina's Triangle area: A new guide will help local anglers identify fish that are safe to eat, thanks to researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center. The new website and brochure provide health advisories on consumption of fish caught in the North Carolina Triangle area. The materials combine information about possible contaminants and their health effects, with an emphasis on the importance of eating fish as part of a healthy diet.

  • Dartmouth SRP video addresses mercury exposure in seafood: The Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program (SRP) has released a 10-minute video that outlines important information for consumers about mercury in seafood. “Mercury: From Source to Seafood” is a web-based film that explains how mercury gets into the seafood we eat.

  • Duke workshop addresses environmental justice issues in North Carolina: Environmental justice, exposure to toxic chemicals, and sustainability were topics of discussion at the Environmental Justice Workshop in Durham, N.C., hosted by the NIEHS-funded Duke University Superfund Research Program (SRP). Faculty and students from Johnson C. Smith University, Charlotte-Mecklenburg K-12 teachers, and Charlotte-area community leaders met with scientists, learned about environmental health topics, and explored connections between environmental justice and sustainability.

  • Environmental Health Food Safety Scenario: In July 2002, nearly one hundred minority students from the Boston area, ages 14-17, participated in a three hour Environmental Health Food Safety Scenario at the Boston University Medical Center. The goals of the exercise were to illustrate public health in action, identify who is involved in public health, introduce dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and their health effects to students, and teach about food systems, food industry and food safety.

  • Grantees discuss Superfund pollutants and reproductive health: Early-life exposure to several common pollutants in food, drinking water, and household products has been associated with neurotoxic effects and other health outcomes, according to NIEHS-funded Superfund Research Program (SRP) presenters on a Fertility and Reproductive Health Working Group call Feb. 7, 2013, hosted by the Collaborative on Health and the Environment (CHE) and Boston University (BU) SRP.

  • Grassroots well water testing initiative reveals high levels of arsenic and radon: A push to test well water by Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program (SRP) revealed high levels of arsenic and radon in homes throughout the Tuftonboro, N.H., community.

  • NIEHS Superfund research training spurs collaboration with EPA: The University of Pennsylvania Superfund Research Program (Penn SRP) Center worked closely with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to plan a day of training on mobile air monitoring technology, groundwater restoration, and community involvement for staff from the EPA mid-Atlantic regional office. The Penn SRP Center and the EPA regional office both work to reduce the health effects of asbestos, which is a significant health concern in some areas of Pennsylvania. The event provided attendees an opportunity to exchange innovative environmental health research.

  • Outreach Core and Community Partners Implement Preventive Intervention Programs in Children's Environmental Health: Duke University's Superfund Center Outreach Core is successfully partnering with community-based organizations in Durham County, North Carolina to implement preventive intervention programs in children's environmental health.

  • Outreach Core Works with Neighborhood Grassroots Group: The Outreach Core at Brown University is working closely with a grassroots community group whose homes were built on fill from a coal gasification plant. The Core is involved in various activities that assist the group in advocating for more extensive discovery and cleanup of the fill.

  • Reporting Results Empowers Communities, Advances Health Equity : With support from the NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) and other sources, collaborators across the U.S. created the Digital Exposure Report-Back Interface (DERBI), an interactive, web-based tool that presents complex chemical exposure data in an easy-to-understand way. SRP teams use DERBI to help study participants understand their personal environmental exposures with an explanation of potential exposure sources, known and suspected health effects, and exposure reduction tips.
  • Serving Pediatric Patients from Boston to Bangladesh: Maitreyi Mazumdar: Dr. Maitreyi Mazumdar uses her cultural and language skills to increase the level of health care to Bangladeshis.

  • SRP researchers quickly inform communities near Colorado mine spill: Following the August 5, 2015 Gold King Mine spill of about three million gallons of mineral-polluted water into a tributary of the Animas River in Colorado, researchers from the University of Arizona (UA) Superfund Research Program (SRP) moved quickly to inform affected communities about potential health and environmental risks.

  • Superfund Film Raises Awareness of Well Water Arsenic: Dartmouth College's Research Translation Core (RTC) produced a film that is motivating homeowners in New Hampshire, Maine and other parts of New England to test their private wells for arsenic contamination.

  • Superfund promotes safe drinking water at Agua Fria Festival: The UA has attended the Agua Fria Festival in Dewey-Humboldt, Ariz., since 2008. Researchers and Community Engagement Core leaders share health and exposure information on arsenic and lead with the thousands of people who attend the two-day event.

  • Two New Tools Are Available on the Boston University SRP Webpage: The Boston University Superfund Research Program (BU SRP) has implemented an innovative approach to community outreach by making two new tools available on their website: the "Ask the Researcher" series and RSS Starter Kit .

  • UCSD Documentary Sets the Stage for Change: The border between the United States and Mexico may be fenced, monitored, and patrolled, but that doesn't stop watershed pollution from affecting both sides of the border. Dr. Keith Pezzoli's efforts are chronicled in the new documentary "Los Laureles Canyon: Research in Action".

  • Webinar series addresses early-life exposures: NIEHS/NTP Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., spoke at the first session of the SRP Risk-e-Learning webinar series on the long-term health effects of early-life environmental exposures. SRP has been holding the series for grantees and environmental health professional for 10 years.

  • Wetterhahn awardee discusses community project on arsenic in vegetables: By teaming up with the Dewey-Humboldt community in Arizona, former University of Arizona (UA) Superfund Research Program (SRP) training fellow Monica Ramirez-Andreotta, Ph.D., created a community-based program to better understand and communicate the risk of arsenic in homegrown vegetables near Superfund sites.

  • Wetterhahn Awardee Dr. Laura Senier Turns Attention to Schools: She has substantial experience working with environmental justice issues and in environmental health activism, but applies her social science training to understand the barriers that scientists face when they try to collaborate with regulatory officials and community organizations to bring about change. Her approach to outreach work is demonstrated by her work with the Brown University SRP Outreach Core, which investigated the siting of Providence, RI, public schools near toxic waste sites.

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