University of Iowa
Superfund Research Program
Semi-volatile PCBs: Sources, Exposures, Toxicities
The Superfund basic research program at the University of Iowa (isbrp) is a joint endeavor involving basic, mechanistic and applied projects in biomedical and non-biomedical research areas. The program's overall theme is the consequences of atmospheric sources and exposures to semi-volatile Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), and it deals with volatilization, transport and exposure of lower halogenated PCBs, especially those PCBs that are associated with contaminated waters, former industrial sites, other atmospheric sources, and the consequences of exposure to them. Researchers plan to identify routes of exposure with an eye to preventing or limiting exposure and ameliorating the effects.
The isbrp brings together 22 scientists, representing six departments in four colleges. Working together, they measure sources, transport and environmental exposure of PCBs (Drs. Hornbuckle and Thorne); their distribution, metabolism and toxicity in animals and humans (Drs. Robertson, Goswami, and Duffel); and novel methods of phytoremediation (Dr. Schnoor). Studies include a community-based participatory research project—an assessment of exposures to citizens who live or work in the vicinity of sources of lower chlorinated PCBs in the Chicago Metropolitan area. Researchers enjoy the cooperation of citizen groups in Chicago, where many ethnic-minority citizens are living below the poverty line near deindustrialized sites.
The research projects and overall efficiency are supported by seven cores— Administration, Synthesis, Analytical, Inhalation Toxicology, Training, Research Translation and Community Outreach — through which program and project administrators oversee coordination, information transfer, design and analysis of experiments, and assessment of research. The assessment process culminates in an annual meeting of a seven-member External Advisory Committee. The Synthesis Core synthesizes all compounds/mixtures to be studied while the Analytical Core provides critical compositional information from metabolism to movement. Community Outreach and Research Translation Cores transmit research findings to a variety of stakeholders and involve those stakeholders in research activities. A Training Core and the research projects provide for the training of more than twenty students and postdoctoral scholars. Overall this multidisciplinary program brings a broad range of experience and expertise to bear on problems associated with Superfund chemicals that are critical to the Midwest and the nation.