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Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Superfund Research Program

Human Cell Culture Studies of Mutagens in the Aberjona Basin

Project Leader: William G. Thilly
Grant Number: P42ES004675
Funding Period: 1995 - 2000

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Project Summary (1995-2000)

The focus of this project is directed towards determining the mutagenicity of contaminated river and lake sediments from the Aberjona Valley on human cell cultures. These sediments have been shown to mutate human cells in short term assays. In order to provide information required for these studies, scientists obtain mutational spectra from human cell cultures for raw river sediments, chromate and chromate/ arsenite mixtures. Longterm, low-dose protocols are used to recreate the conditions calculated to have existed in children drinking the contaminated water from wells G and H. Humans are usually exposed to water - borne chemicals at concentrations low enough to justify an assumption of independent action. This is not the case for the estimate for chromate and arsenite in East Woburn drinking water drawn from municipal wells G and H. Thus, researchers examine the mutagenic result of arsenite interaction with chromate and other mutagens. Furthermore, human body water concentrations would be significantly lower than drinking water levels. Therefore, it is necessary to examine the mutagenicity of the sediments' chemicals at concentrations covering the range expected for children from birth to adolescence. It is further necessary to extend the studies of stream and lake sediments into the two additional sub-basins which feed the Mystic Lakes studies in the hydrogeology projects 1-6.

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