Superfund Research Program
Final Progress Reports
Center outcomes this year continue the Core’s record of success. Four examples follow, that epitomize the SRP goal of blending fundamental science with research translation and outreach to stakeholders. (1) University of Arizona (UA) Superfund Research Center (SRC) research shows that sub-micron mining dust particulates, which contain the highest contaminant load, are more effective in penetrating the indoor environment and that their distribution is sensitive to indoor air circulation rates. This information is communicated during team conference calls with ATSDR, EPA, equivalent Arizona agencies, and community members regarding health issues at the ASARCO Hayden Plant Alternative Superfund site and the Iron King Mine Superfund site. (2) Important to understanding exposures to mining dust is UA SRC biomedical research showing that arsenic exposure by inhalation, using real world dusts, leads to alterations in airway epithelium that permanently reduces airway epithelial barrier function and increases the risk of airway/lung disease. (3) Prevention of exposure to mining dust is the subject of UA SRC research regarding mine waste reclamation work. Outcomes are communicated to the mining industry in twice yearly meetings with the UA Center for Environmentally Sustainable Mining (CESM) Technical Advisory Committee which has representatives from major mining companies, rock product associations, and consulting companies. (4) The UA SRC is generating novel results on the transport of per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in environmental systems related to description of the influence of adsorption at air-water and oil-water interfaces on transport of PFAS in porous media and the development of conceptual and mathematical models for PFAS retention in multi-phase systems. This information is critical for assessing PFAS exposure risks, developing management and mitigation strategies, and implementing effective remediation efforts.