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University of Iowa

Superfund Research Program

Community Outreach Core

Project Leader: Craig L. Just
Co-Investigator: David Osterberg
Grant Number: P42ES013661
Funding Period: 2006-2024
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Project Summary (2010-2015)

The mission of the lowa Superfund Basic Research Program, Community Outreach Core (COC) is to address community concerns related to the sources, remediations and human impacts of hazardous chemicals, particularly PCBs, and to improve scientific literacy from the junior high to the adult level. To meet this mission, broad aims and specific objectives have been developed to facilitate coordinated activities between the COC personnel, the Community Advisory Boards and our partner schools in East Chicago, Indiana, Columbus Junction, Iowa and Chicago, Illinois. The Community Advisory Board (CAB) in East Chicago feels that PCB contamination from industrial sources in the area is a potential community health issue. The dissemination of detailed PCB measurements in individuals, homes, schools and near the location of the soon to be constructed Confined Disposal Facility empowers the CAB to engage residents meaningfully. PCB contamination is currently of little concern to residents in Columbus Junction and Chicago, but CAB members and school officials in these communities are excited to be involved with the COC as a means to promote scientific literacy. With partner involvement, the COC will develop an "Airborne PCB: Sources, Remediations, and Human Impacts" science education module to be used in the classrooms of the Core's partner schools and elsewhere. Additionally, the COC is developing a PCB Sustainability Case Study that istargeting teachers of first-year general education classes at colleges and universities. The case study method is an effective and well documented pedagogical tool and the PCB Sustainability Case Study will be widely distributed via the Electronic Hallway and by other internet teaching resource portals. Lastly, the COC will seek to engage Mississippi River communities that may be concerned with potential dredging of PCB-laden sediments for navigational purposes. Engaging additional communities provides a means to expand the influence of the COC beyond our current partner list and determine if developed outreach materials have applicability on a wider, perhaps national, scale.

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