Superfund Research Program
Trace Elements Analysis Core
The Trace Element Analysis (TEA) Core continues to provide state of the art analytical resources and expertise to Dartmouth Superfund researchers. The laboratory was further renovated in 2010 by the purchase and installation of a class 100 laminar flow bench in the rear laboratory room. HEPA filters were installed to filter incoming air and a regular fume hood was removed. There is now positive pressure HEPA-filtered air and a class 100 clean bench in this room providing a significantly cleaner environment for sample preparation and analysis. These modifications were made in response to comments raised by their external advisory committee. The TEA core registered and participated in two proficiency testing schemes for analytical laboratories. The first is run by the Center for Toxicology in Quebec which sends out biological samples (blood, serum, urine, and hair) three times annually as PT samples. The second is run by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) which sends out urine samples for arsenic speciation on an annual basis. The Core’s participation in these schemes arose again from excellent input from their External Advisory Committee. The TEA laboratory provides training opportunities for students; Vivien Taylor, a post-doctoral student, is developing methods for arsenic analysis and speciation in foods. The TEA Core has a graduate student trainee, Sam Beal, who will spend the winter term learning the intricacies of ultra-low level mercury analysis and applying these to assess airborne mercury (Hg) pollution from Asia by determining Hg in ice cores from Alaska.
The TEA Core updated instrumentation in 2010 with the purchase of a field flow fractionation unit which performs particle separations in the nanometer range and on which they intend to develop methods to study metal-containing nanoparticles in environmental and biological systems. Ultra-low mercury analysis will now be performed with a dedicated mercury analyzer, the MERX_T, purchased from Brooks Rand Ltd. Also, with matching funds from Dartmouth College, the TEA lab replaced their oldest ICP-MS with a new state-of-the-art Agilent 7700x ICP-MS. This new instrument is an order of magnitude more sensitive than the older instrument.
The TEA Core is collaborating with Dr. Celia Chen in her sample collection and analysis of sediments from the Berlin, NH EPA superfund site, and with Drs. Chen, Folt, and Stanton on sample analysis from the Callahan Mine (Maine) superfund site. The TEA Core is collaborating with Drs. Margaret Karagas and Mary Guerinot on a pilot project examining arsenic concentration and speciation in infant and early stage foods. The Core has collaborated with the Integrative Biology Core which developed a database for sample submission and billing.
The TEA Core is also collaborating with Dr. Karagas and the Brown Superfund Research Program in an ARRA project analyzing toenails as biomarkers in birth cohort studies. This project funds one technician position, partially funds the post-doctoral student, and has funded some of the instrument purchases above.