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Superfund Research Program

January 29, 2015 New

SRP-Funded Technology Converts Waste into a Resource

A Superfund Research Program (SRP) small business grantee revealed how copper can be profitably removed from mine waste. Patrick James, Ph.D., the president and CEO of the SRP-funded small business Blue Planet Strategies (BPS) described his technology in this month’s Mining Engineering magazine.

BPS has developed and patented the Dynamic Electrolytic Mine Effluent Treatment (DEMET) technology, which leverages well-established and scalable processes to make a profit from extracting copper from what has been considered waste in the past. The technology uses electricity to cost effectively concentrate copper from waste generated as a result of mining operations. The concentrated product can then be used in conventional processing systems to recover copper.

James and his team are working to apply the DEMET system to a variety of additional metals including iron, nickel, zinc, gold, and silver. This system creates an economic driver to promote environmental cleanups by targeting metals that are profitable once removed. This is particularly valuable for abandoned mine sites nationwide where no previous economic incentive for cleanup existed.

More information is available in the Mining Engineering online exclusive publication.

January 26, 2015

The SOT Recognizes Slotkin for Excellence in Teaching

Theodore Slotkin, Ph.D.
Duke University Superfund Research Program (Duke SRP) Center project leader Theodore Slotkin, Ph.D., was chosen to receive the 2015 Society of Toxicology (SOT) Education Award. This award honors an individual who teaches and trains toxicologists and has made significant contributions to education in the field of toxicology.

Slotkin has been teaching and mentoring future toxicologists at Duke University for more than 40 years, with many SOT members receiving training from him. He has a project with the Duke SRP Center to better understand what happens in the brain when someone already being exposed to one chemical (such as nicotine from cigarette smoke or dexamethasone from preterm labor therapy) is exposed to other environmental chemicals such as organophosphate pesticides, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and polybrominated diphenyl ethers.

"The Society believes strongly in supporting the development and growth of toxicology’s next generation of researchers, and serving on the frontline in this effort are the toxicologists who have dedicated themselves to not only the profession, but to mentoring budding scientists in the possibilities of the field," says Norbert Kaminski, Ph.D., the 2014-2015 SOT President. He went on to include that Slotkin is not only an excellent scientist but, potentially more importantly, also an inspiration to his students.

January 14, 2015

Chemical Leveraging Resources to Better Understand Chemical Exposures

map of southeastern USA with monitoring sites identified
Monitoring sites on land and water throughout the Southeast are displayed and searchable at the Southeast Global Change Monitoring Portal.

A joint effort has led to the creation of the Southeast Global Change Monitoring Portal (GCMP), a database that provides a centralized, comprehensive catalog of monitoring sites associated with aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems in the southeastern United States. The GCMP database, created through a collaboration between Southeast Climate Science Center (SECSC) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Superfund Research Program (UNC SRP) Center, consolidates information about biological, physical, and chemical data in air, land, and water collected at monitoring sites. By consolidating this information into one database, GCMP supports multiple state and federal agencies and other organizations that are monitoring one or more aspect of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems so that associated data can be readily found.

The effort is led by Damian Shea, Ph.D., a professor at North Carolina State and a project leader for the UNC SRP. While the SECSC was mostly interested in climate-related stressors to ecosystems when creating the tool, Shea and his research group realized there was also a need to know more about chemical stressors in the same region.

"By leveraging resources from the SRP to enhance the project, we could include a significant number of monitoring programs that have produced, and continue to produce, data on chemical exposure in the Southeast U.S.," remarked Shea.

While the portal will continue to evolve and grow, it is already an excellent resource to determine what chemical monitoring programs exist in the southeast and learn how to access the data.

To learn more, visit the SECSC website.

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