Superfund Research Program
Analytical Chemistry Core
Final Progress Reports
Very quantitative clinical data and environmental data are needed to make meaningful decisions. For example if one obtained from a doctor’s office the information, "you have glucose in your blood" the information might be interesting, but hardly useful since a lack of glucose indicates that you are not alive. In contrast the information that "your fasting glucose level was 98 mg/dl" gives valuable information for evaluating health and life style. This illustrates the importance of reliable and quantitative information.
The analytical core develops highly quantitative methods to provide data on important metabolites and human health and on environmental contaminants to which we are exposed. For example regarding human health researchers have developed analytical methods to monitor accurately the biologically active form of vitamin D and biologically active metabolites of omega 3 lipids. Both of these metabolite groups appear critical for health, they increasingly seem important for evaluating the role of these dietary materials in inflammatory conditions such as hardening of the arteries and joint pain, and both groups of natural products are common food additives. The quantitative methods developed in the laboratory will allow them to ask if these metabolites or biomarkers of health and exposure are altered by exposure to Superfund chemicals.
The other component of this study is of course the ability to measure Superfund and other environmental chemicals to which we may be exposed. Researchers need to measure the chemicals both in environmental samples and in human body fluids such as urine and blood. For example researchers have developed sensitive methods for the personal care products triclosan and triclocarban. Some people are exposed to these materials because of their use of toothpaste, soap and other consumer products in which these materials are used. However, they have found in collaboration with other Superfund investigators that they are very stable in the environment, and all are exposed to them at low levels through drinking water and diet. Thus the two analytical methods, one for biological markers of health and the other for environmental contaminants allow them to associate environmental exposure with biomarkers of human health.