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University of California-Davis

Superfund Research Program

Remediation and Health Effects

Project Leader: Ian M. Kennedy
Grant Number: P42ES004699
Funding Period: 1995-2010

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Project Summary (2005-2010)

Thermal remediation can be an effective way of handling hazardous waste that is found in Superfund sites. Despite success in using this technology, public concern persists over the hazards of byproducts. This project examines the potential for health effects of incineration byproducts by working in conjunction with the bio marker projects within the UC Davis Superfund program. Simple well-defined laboratory flames are used to generate a series of aerosol particles that may contain transition metals such as chromium and iron, and may also be seeded with chlorine. The presence of chlorine can lead to the formation of chlorinated dioxins. A molecular beam sampling technique explores the detailed reactions within these systems as metals are added to the flow. The potential for metals to catalyze reactions with PAH and other toxic species is being examined. Samples of combustion-generated aerosols are being analyzed using cell cultures and gene microarray technologies. Atmospheric transformation of particles between the source of the emission and exposed populations can change the toxicity of byproducts. Project researchers are simulating the atmospheric reactions in a chamber in which ultraviolet light and reactive gaseous species are allowed to interact with aerosol samples. The researchers are looking for the production of OH in simulated lung fluid that is exposed to fresh and atmospherically aged aerosol particles. They are also evaluating changes in toxicity due to atmospheric aging by working with the biomarker projects within the program. Finally, the researchers are investigating the possibility of a novel technology for waste treatment that involves microwave plasmas. They are using their molecular beam sampling and mass spectrometer system to study the kinetics and the potential for toxic by-products during microwave plasma treatment of organic and chlorinated organic compounds.

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