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Your Environment. Your Health.

Progress Reports: Dartmouth College: Trace Elements Analysis Core

Superfund Research Program

Trace Elements Analysis Core

Project Leader: Brian P. Jackson
Co-Investigator: Tracy Punshon
Grant Number: P42ES007373
Funding Period: 2008-2020
View this project in the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT)

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Progress Reports

Year:   2019  2018  2017  2016  2015  2014  2013  2012  2011  2010  2009  2008  2007  2006  2005  2004 

Aims

The goal of the Trace Element Analysis (TEA) Core is to provide state of the art analytical resources and expertise to Dartmouth Superfund projects.

Studies and Results

The TEA Core also adds value to the projects by providing method development and therefore allowing new avenues of research such as:

The work of the TEA Core on the occurrence of arsenic in food was the main highlight in 2012. The on-line publication of the Environmental Health Perspectives paper received 23,000 'hits' during the first week that it was posted. The researchers showed that the use of rice or rice products, specifically brown rice syrup in the case of the EHP paper, increased the arsenic concentrations in food. The use of organic brown rice syrup in toddler formula caused the total arsenic concentration of the formula to be around 20 times higher than other infant or toddler formulas and above the EPA safe drinking water limit for inorganic arsenic for the soy-based toddler formula. The study was reported by all the major news agencies on the day of release and also prompted press release responses from The US Rice Federation, the US FDA and the Organic Trade Association. Many individuals contacted Jackson via e-mail or telephone to ask questions about the study and, while concerned over the findings of the study, were overwhelmingly supportive and appreciative of the research.

The Core's work on toenail analysis has been used by collaborators from the National Cancer Institute in Spain to show a positive association of cadmium, arsenic and lead and a negative association of nickel and selenium in risk of exocrine pancreatic cancer.

Significance

The work of the TEA Core on arsenic in food contributed to the growing calls from scientists and consumers for regulatory guidelines or limits on inorganic arsenic in foodstuffs. National agencies such as the US FDA and international agencies such as the WHO are currently considering these issues and the researchers expect guidelines to be issued in the relatively near future.

Plans

The TEA Core will work with Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Exposure Assessment of Metals to develop methods for the determination of arsenic in breast milk and for the elemental mapping of arsenic in placenta, and with Arsenic and the Ubiquitin-Lysosome Pathway to speciate arsenic in lung epithelial cells. The Core will work with Arsenic Uptake, Transport and Accumulation in Plants and pursue further determinations of arsenic in foods with a focus on rice-based gluten-free foods. The Core will also continue to work with Bioaccumulation and Trophic Transfer of Hg in Aquatic Food Webs in the application of enriched isotopic mercury tracers to study mercury biogeochemistry.

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