Superfund Research Program
Health Effects and Geochemistry of Arsenic
Center Director: Ana Navas-Acien
Grant Number: P42ES010349
Funding Period: 2000-2021
News Items List
Extramural Paper of the Month: Tropical Cyclones Linked to Rise in U.S. Deaths
SRP News Page - May 2022
Over the last three decades, tropical cyclones in the U.S. were associated with higher death rates in subsequent months, according to a study by the Columbia University SRP Center. The study included data on deaths in U.S. counties that experienced at least one tropical cyclone between 1988 and 2018.
Uncovering the Link Between Metals and Disease
SRP News Page - April 2022
Tiffany Sanchez, Ph.D., a former trainee at the Columbia University SRP Center, reflected on her experience as a trainee working with large cohorts, or groups of participants, to understand the connections between metal exposures and disease.
Arsenic, uranium mix may increase diabetes risk in American Indians
Environmental Factor - November 2021
Analyzing how toxic metals interact to affect metabolism, NIEHS-funded researchers find that co-exposures may pave way for disease.
Scientific art competition showcases trainees' research, imagination
Environmental Factor - September 2021
When the COVID-19 pandemic forced university laboratories to shut down or go remote, the NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) created an opportunity for trainees to celebrate their research efforts and the stories behind them. Led by SRP Health Scientist Administrator Danielle Carlin, Ph.D., SRP hosted a scientific art competition for trainees.
First-of-its-Kind Arsenic Meta-Analysis Paves the Way for Future Data Integration
Research Brief - September 2021
Researchers from NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) centers at the University of California (UC), Berkeley and Columbia University used advanced analysis techniques to combine data from populations in Chile and Bangladesh. The purpose was to detect common DNA methylation (DNAm) signatures associated with arsenic exposure.
Characterizing Arsenic Exposure in Public Water Supplies and Private Wells
Research Brief - August 2021
A recent NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP)-funded study revealed that while arsenic concentrations in community water systems (CWS) have decreased over time, certain populations are still vulnerable to elevated levels of arsenic.
Data sharing key to environmental health research, experts say
Environmental Factor - June 2021
Three NIEHS Superfund Research Program events focus on how data science can be harnessed to better study contaminants.
Hospitalization following extreme weather, opportunities for resilience
Paper of the Month - May 2021
NIEHS-funded researchers observed an increase in respiratory disease and other hospitalizations among older adults following exposure to tropical cyclones, which may help hospitals become better prepared in the future. Tropical cyclone is a generic term used to describe tropical depressions, tropical storms, and hurricanes.
SRP Grantees Share Innovative Science at Microbiome Conference
SRP News Page - April 2021
In an NIEHS virtual symposium, held February 23-24, NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) grantees were well represented within the broader NIEHS community, sharing their efforts to understand the relationship between environmental exposures, the microbiome, and human health.
SRP Studies Highlight Strategies to Improve Well Testing for Arsenic and Document Benefits
SRP News Page - October 2020
In a pair of recent publications, researchers from the Columbia University SRP Center demonstrated a strategy to improve private well testing for arsenic. They also showed that water treatment systems effectively reduced arsenic water levels and may reduce the likelihood of developing cancer.
K.C. Donnelly Externships awarded to outstanding Superfund trainees
Environmental Factor - August 2020
Eleven outstanding trainees in the NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) have won K.C. Donnelly Externship Award Supplements. The annual awards allow trainees to work side-by-side with experts at an outside institution to learn new methods and techniques to enrich their research.
Symposium Brings Together Metals and Epigenetics Experts
SRP News Page - July 2020
In a virtual symposium, NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) grantees and colleagues shared research findings and discussed leveraging data to learn how metal exposures can lead to epigenetic changes.
Clay Layers May Worsen Arsenic Contamination
Research Brief - July 2020
Layers of clay are widely thought to protect groundwater aquifers from above-ground contaminants. But according to a new NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) study, these clay layers may play a role in increasing groundwater arsenic contamination.
SRP Centers Combat COVID-19
SRP News Page - June 2020
NIEHS SRP Centers across the country are contributing their expertise to respond to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. From increasing testing capacity and improving personal protective equipment to creating online tools and outreach materials, SRP researchers are fighting COVID-19 from the local to the global level.
Inverting Soil Decreases Arsenic and Improves Rice Yields
SRP News Page - May 2019
By exchanging high-arsenic soil at the surface with deeper low-arsenic soil, researchers from the Columbia University Superfund Research Program (SRP) have demonstrated increased rice crop yields in Bangladesh. This approach, called soil inversion, increased rice yields 15 - 30 percent compared to plots that were not inverted. The team, led by Alexander van Geen, Ph.D., also reported that arsenic concentrations remained lower over four seasons of monitoring.
SRP Grantees Discuss Kidney Disease at NIH Workshop
SRP News Page - July 2018
Clinicians, basic scientists, epidemiologists, and public health officials met June 25 - 26 to develop a coordinated research agenda for a growing epidemic of chronic kidney diseases. The workshop, held in Bethesda, Maryland, was jointly sponsored by NIEHS and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Eight Northeast SRP Centers Convene at Regional Meeting
SRP News Page - April 2018
The Northeast Superfund Research Program (SRP) Meeting brought together eight SRP Centers to discuss collaborations and network. Held in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, on March 26 - 27, the meeting included scientific presentations and poster sessions.
SRP Research Finds Ancestry-Based Differences in Telomere Length Genes
SRP News Page - February 2018
People with different ancestries may inherit telomere length differently, according to a new study from the Columbia University Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center. Telomeres are segments at the end of DNA, and telomere length plays an important role in aging and aging-related diseases. This study provides new information about the genes associated with telomere length across populations and highlights the importance of including diverse populations in genome-wide association studies (GWAS).
Arsenic Conference Explores Multidisciplinary Approaches to Protecting Human Health
SRP News Page - December 2017
On Nov. 2 - 3, researchers, stakeholders, and government officials met in Hanoi, Vietnam, to discuss the sources and health effects of arsenic and to explore multidisciplinary remediation strategies for the U.S. and around the world. Sponsored in part by the Columbia University Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center, the goal of the symposium was to develop strategies to reduce arsenic exposure and related diseases.
Arsenic exposure declines after new EPA regulations
Paper of the Month - December 2017
NIEHS grantees reported that after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lowered the limit for arsenic levels in drinking water, exposure to arsenic dropped significantly among people using public water systems in the U.S. Because arsenic exposure is associated with higher rates of several types of cancer, the researchers estimated that reduced exposure was equivalent to a reduction of 200 to 900 lung and bladder cancer cases or 50 cases of skin cancer per year. They observed no improvements in arsenic exposure rates among users of private wells, which are not federally regulated.
Arsenic declines in public drinking water
Environmental Factor - November 2017
NIEHS-funded researchers reported that exposure to arsenic in drinking water was significantly reduced among Americans using public water systems after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lowered maximum levels of arsenic in 2006.
Unique opportunities to study health effects of arsenic and more
Environmental Factor - October 2017
In a Sept. 14 talk for the Keystone Science Seminar Series, Habibul Ahsan, M.D., described innovative research approaches, such as building strong networks in the community, to help tackle human health impacts from toxicants in areas where resources are low.
Susceptibility to Arsenic-Induced Skin Lesions Influenced by DNA Differences
Research Brief - September 2017
New research shows that deletions or duplications of long stretches of DNA, also known as copy number variations (CNVs), that occur in several gene locations are associated with a higher risk of developing arsenic-induced skin lesions. Skin lesions are a hallmark of arsenic toxicity that appear relatively early with chronic arsenic exposure. This newly discovered link may help to explain why some people exposed to arsenic develop skin lesions and get sick while others exposed to the same levels do not.
Northeast SRP Researchers Gather to Discuss Research and Opportunities for Collaboration
SRP News Page - April 2017
On April 4 and 5, SRP researchers from institutions across the northeast gathered in Boston for the Northeast Superfund Research Program (SRP) Meeting. The event was hosted by the Northeastern University PROTECT SRP Center and co-sponsored by SRP Centers from Boston University, Brown University, Columbia University, Dartmouth College, and the University of Pennsylvania.
Importance of Young Dissolved Organic Carbon to the Release of Arsenic in Aquifers
Research Brief - September 2016
Carbon from relatively new sources of organic material on the surface, or young carbon, can stimulate microbial communities deep in aquifers, leading to the release of arsenic into water, according to a recent field study by Columbia University Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center researchers. The researchers found that near-surface sources of organic carbon are central in microbial metabolism, even in aquifers that are far below and separated from the land where carbon is derived.
Six promising Superfund trainees receive K.C. Donnelly awards
Environmental Factor - September 2016
Six promising NIEHS-funded Superfund Research Program (SRP) trainees were awarded K.C. Donnelly Externship Award Supplements to fund their research at other institutions. The annual award, now in its sixth year, honors the memory of longtime SRP grantee and environmental health researcher Kirby (K.C.) Donnelly, Ph.D.
SRP Grantee Moderates Smartphone Apps for Citizen Scientists Workshop
SRP News Page - November 2015
Smartphones are revolutionizing the collection and sharing of environmental data, but their potential as tools for citizen science is vastly under-utilized. To help promote and optimize use of mobile applications, the Earth Institute at Columbia University is hosting a series of workshops, which began October 13, looking at Smartphone Apps for Citizen Scientists.
Assessing and Reducing Health Risks from Arsenic in Private Well Water
Research Brief - February 2015
We are at a crossroads when it comes to reducing the risk of adverse health outcomes from arsenic in private well water in the United States, according to Yan Zheng, Ph.D., professor at the City University of New York and community engagement leader at the Columbia University Superfund Research Program (CU SRP), and Joseph Ayotte, P.G., a U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist.
Workshop advances arsenic research and prevention
Environmental Factor - April 2014
The NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) hosted a meeting March 3-4 that gave scientists across a range of disciplines a venue for laying the foundation for the next generation of arsenic research.