Superfund Research Program

One of the primary goals of SRP-funded research is to improve public health. Thus, the program supports a wide range of research to address the broad public health concerns arising from the release of hazardous substances into the environment. The intent is to provide sound science to those making public policy, regulatory, remediation, and risk reduction decisions. SRP-funded research has been successful in this area as studies have improved our understanding of minimizing the health effects associated with exposures to environmental contaminants. For example:

  • Arsenic Drinking Water Standard: SRP-funded researchers at several universities played a vital role in the process leading to the revised drinking water standard for arsenic by contributing greatly to our knowledge of the risk and health effects of arsenic in drinking water.

  • Dartmouth SRP Center Informs Protective Limit for Arsenic in Water: A bill to sharply lower the drinking water limit for arsenic in New Hampshire was signed into law by Governor Chris Sununu on July 12, 2019. The new rule, informed by Dartmouth College Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center research and outreach efforts, sets the state Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) at 5 parts per billion (ppb), which is half of the federal limit. According to the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES), the new limit will better protect human health by reducing the number of arsenic-related illnesses and deaths.

  • Removal of Chlorpyrifos and Diazinon from Retail Sales: The collective body of the research carried out by Drs. Lucio Costa and Clement Furlong on the importance of genetic variability in the human paraoxonase (PON1) gene in determining sensitivity to specific organophosphate exposures has provided regulators with data that was important in the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) negotiating removal of chlorpyrifos and diazinon from retail sales and home use.

  • Revolutionizing Understanding of PCBs as Air Pollutants: Researchers at the NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP)-funded Center at the University of Iowa developed new methods to improve how we compare and quantify sources of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in air. Their work is informing policies and strategies to clean up these contaminants in air, including at Superfund sites and in schools.

  • SRP Researchers Inform Health-Related Decision Making on PFAS: Researchers supported by the NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) informed new drinking water health advisories issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for several types of per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS).

  • Tackling Triclosan: Congress Recommends Review Based in Part on SRP Research: Congress Recommends Review Based in Part on SRP Research: Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) has called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to consider more stringent regulations for the antimicrobial compounds triclosan (TCS) and triclocarban (TCC). His complaint was filed partly under consideration of Superfund Research Program research demonstrating the chemicals' environmental persistence and bioaccumulation in aquatic species.