Superfund Research Program
Risk and Geospatial Sciences Core
Project Leader: Weihsueh A. Chiu
Grant Number: P42ES027704
Funding Period: 2022-2027
- Project Summary
Project Summary (2022-2027)
The Texas A&M University Superfund Research Center is investigating the impacts of environmental emergency-related contamination events across the source-to-outcome continuum, including exposure, human health hazard, and mitigation of contamination and toxicity. To achieve the Texas A&M Superfund Research Center’s goal of improving decision-making after an environmental emergency, the center’s projects and cores need to make their findings interpretable by first responders, impacted communities, and government bodies involved in site management and cleanup. Therefore, the entire center is supported by a Risk and Geospatial Sciences Core (RGSC), which has expertise in synthesizing, mapping, and visualizing relevant scientific data and conclusions for use by those involved in decisions related to risk management.
The overall objective of the Risk and Geospatial Sciences Core is to provide the Center with data and services for characterizing human health risks and the geographic distribution from environmental mixtures created during disasters, thereby supporting the cohesion, relevance, and implementation of project findings in the context of environmental decision-making. Their work facilitates interaction among center projects, while also serving as a bridge to the Disaster Research Response, Community Engagement, and Administrative and Research Translation cores. Key services provided include human health risk assessment (Aim 1), geospatial data and analysis (Aim 2), and application to disaster research planning, sampling, and interpretation (Aim 3).
In Aim 1, human health risk modeling is used to make inferences about hazard or risk in the human population based on experimental or observational data, serving as an essential bridge between scientific data and environmental policy decisions. In the context of Superfund, human health risk modeling is used to demonstrate that exposure standards or environmental remediation decisions both protect human health and reduce toxicity or risk.
In Aim 2, geospatial data and analysis is utilized to address the complex spatiotemporal dynamics of environmental emergency-related contamination, providing essential geographical contextualization and visualization to inform decision-making.
In Aim 3, the core provides both risk and geospatial expertise to support rapid mobilization and sampling, as well as timely and decision-relevant interpretation, coordinated by the Disaster Research Response Core. These services support the center’s overall goal by helping to interpret and translate research project findings into information that can be used by varied stakeholders, from communities to federal and state decision makers, to assess the human health impact of contaminant exposures after an environmental emergency, and enhance the planning, emergency response, as well as long-term recovery and remediation efforts related to environmental disasters.