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, and risk reduction decisions. SRP-funded research has been successful in this area as studies have improved our understanding of the health effects associated with exposures to environmental contaminants. The following stories provide information on public health impacts. They are merely highlights and represent the breadth of work SRP researchers undertake. To see older stories, visit our archives webpage.
Researchers at the Texas A&M University (TAMU) Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center developed a therapeutic sorbent technology that can bind to hazardous chemicals in the body after exposure, reducing their uptake and bioavailability. Built on decades of research, these broad-acting enterosorbent materials can be added to food or water and ingested by humans and animals to reduce harmful contaminant exposures following natural disasters, chemical spills, and other emergencies.
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.
University of Kentucky (UK) Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center trainee Joshua Preston is an undergraduate senior working under the guidance of Kevin Pearson, Ph.D. With the SRP team, Preston is exploring how exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) during and around pregnancy impacts offspring later in development. In particular, Preston explores how PCB exposure influences how genes are expressed in mice and how that may disrupt normal metabolic function and alter body composition. This information will be useful to understand the underlying mechanisms of how PCBs impact the body during development, which may open the door for targeted interventions to improve health.