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Michigan State University

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Superfund Research Program

Health Hazards from Groundwater Contamination

Center Director: Norbert E. Kaminski
Grant Number: P42ES004911
Funding Period: 1989-2027

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Summary (2000-2006)

The Michigan State University Superfund Basic Research Program that began in 1988 is focused on the health hazards from groundwater that has been contaminated by polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The program consists of nine research projects (4 biomedical, 5 non-biomedical), one research support core (remediation products), and administrative and outreach cores. The general goal of the program is to understand and attenuate potential negative impacts of human exposure to PCBs, VOCs and PAHs. Specifically, researchers are: (1) investigating the mechanisms of toxicity of PCBs and other persistent environmental contaminants in different target organs; (2) elucidating the factors controlling the environmental persistence and bioavailability of contaminants to microbes involved in biodegradation; (3) determining the effectiveness of purposefully altered (engineered) subsurface environments on the rates of biodegradation; and (4) evaluating chemical products produced from bioremediation for toxicity potential. The biomedical projects are examining the ability of PCBs to cause immunotoxicity, reproductive and developmental toxicity, and developmental neurotoxicity. Site remediation research includes: (1) reductive bioremediation of groundwater contaminants; (2) synthesis and development of novel macrochemicals to participate in retention of chemicals in groundwater plumes containing halogenated solvents and metals; and (3) an examination of factors that control the rate of groundwater and soil bioremediation.

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