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Your Environment. Your Health.

Ecology

Superfund Research Program

An important feature of SRP is that it supports ecological research. The Program's broad mandates enable its investigators to conduct research that enhances our ability to assess or predict the damage that hazardous substances can cause to ecosystems. More so, SRP research has demonstrated that studying the effects from hazardous substances on ecosystems and wildlife can lead to an improved understanding of the impact of hazardous substances on human health. For example:

  • Egg Membranes Provide Valuable Exposure and Effects Information : Working with Dr. Michael Hooper at the University of Washington Superfund Research Program, Dr. George Cobb and his students from the Institute of Environmental & Human Health at Texas Tech University, have developed methods whereby the wastes left in eggshells provide valuable information on exposure to organochlorine contaminants such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), endosulfan and a wide variety of residual organochlorine pesticides that remain in the environment since their phase out in the 1970s.

  • Killifish adapt to PAH exposure, but at what cost?: Generations of exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons appear to lead to adaptation in killifish, accompanied by higher mortality rates, according to a study out of Duke University. Published in the journal Neurotoxicology and Teratology, the findings from a Duke Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center study led by Richard Di Giulio, Ph.D. shed light on the evolution of resistance to environmental chemicals and the environmental effects and associated costs of chronic exposure in killifish.

  • Wildlife Biomonitoring at Hazardous Waste Sites : SRP researchers have developed and applied biomarkers and analytical techniques to allow them to monitor the health of wildlife inhabiting hazardous waste sites. Their data provide important information about the bioavailability of contaminants at hazardous waste sites, supporting the design of appropriate remediation strategies.