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Your Environment. Your Health.

Colorado State University

Superfund Research Program

Integrated Research on Hazardous Waste Chemical Mixtures

Center Director: Raymond S H. Yang
Grant Number: P42ES005949
Funding Period: 1992-2000


One primary goal of this program is to incorporate state-of-the-art science into human and ecological risk assessment methodologies for chemical mixtures. Another goal is to develop engineering remediation technology, which can be implemented at Superfund hazardous waste disposal sites. The research conducted in this program encompasses both laboratory work and field work on and related to two Superfund sites in Colorado. The program consists of six projects (five biomedical and one nonbiomedical), and three cores.

Three associated projects are examining questions relating to the health effects and the mechanisms of toxicity of complex mixtures of substances regularly detected at hazardous waste sites. One project specifically emphasizes physiologically based-pharmacokinetic/pharmocodynamic (PB-PK/PD) modeling for complex mixtures. Another project is investigating the effects of complex mixtures on tumor promotion in a rodent hepatocarcinogenesis model. In this project, mixtures of chemicals as well as single components of a seven contaminant mixture (arsenic, benzene, chloroform, chromium, lead, phenol, and trichloroethylene) frequently found at waste sites are being studied. A subsequent project is attempting to delineate the mechanisms of interactive hepatotoxicity of the seven-chemical mixture.

Two molecular biology projects focus on the use of aquatic arthropods for environmental biomonitoring at heavy metal contaminated sites. By employing molecular population genetics, these projects are investigating changes in genetic structure and examining the influence of previous exposure to a mixture of heavy metals (Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn) on population, community, and ecosystem responses to subsequent stress. Both of these studies are using benthic macroinvertebrate populations and communities collected from the Arkansas River-California Gulch Superfund Site.

There is one project which features engineering principles and is designed to contribute to the innovative and efficient reduction of the amount and toxicity of hazardous wastes. This project is an environmental biotechnology project concerned with biodegradation of organic pollutant mixtures. The research is using samples collected from the Lowry Landfill Superfund Site.

Scientific cores in analytical chemistry/molecular biology, and spatial information analysis and statistics support this research program. There is also an administrative and training core. Collaborating institutions include Virginia Commonwealth University, US EPA-HERL, University of Colorado School of Medicine, University of Western Ontario, and BioMedware, Inc.