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Your Environment. Your Health.

Progress Reports: Mount Sinai School of Medicine: Sources and Pathways of Persistent Chlorinated Hydrocarbon Exposure in New York City

Superfund Research Program

Sources and Pathways of Persistent Chlorinated Hydrocarbon Exposure in New York City

Project Leader: Richard F. Bopp (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute)
Grant Number: P42ES007384
Funding Period: 1995 - 2001

Progress Reports

Year:   1999  1998  1997  1996  1995 

The focus of this project is to investigate current sources of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), DDT-derived compounds and chlordane by analysis of dated sediment cores and samples from wastewater treatment plants. Comparison of PCB compositions in archived and recent sediment core samples are used to elucidate the rates and pathways of in situ reductive dechlorination, a process that reduces the carcinogenic toxicity of PCBs and forms the basis of several new remediation technologies. Extracts of representative contaminated sediments are supplied for Projects 6 and 7, which address direct links between contaminant exposure and human breast cancer.

From dated Central Park Lake sediments, researchers have developed a history of atmospheric PCB fluxes to Manhattan. From a Muscoot Reservoir sediment core, a similar but less detailed history (three distinct time horizons) was developed for the site forty miles north of Manhattan. Models were developed to account for drainage basin holdup and in situ mixing and applied successfully to both cores. These results along with a study of dioxin and dibenzofuran sources to NY/NJ Harbor sediments form the basis of a Ph.D. thesis (D.A. Chaky) to be defended in the fall of 2000.

In collaboration with Project 2, a detailed history of atmospheric particulate sources in NYC was developed and a study of Hg sources to NY/NJ Harbor sediments was completed. The Hg study supplemented with additional data from six lakes and reservoirs in NJ to be sampled in the summer of 2000 form the basis of a Ph.D. thesis (A.E. Kroenke) to be defended in the spring or summer of 2001.

A master's project (Kelly Robinson) combining results of our sediment contaminant database and the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation fish contaminant database was initiated. The focus is on chlordane, DDT-derived compounds and PCBs.

Two pilot projects were begun. In collaboration with researchers from Rensselaer's linear accelerator facility, project investigators successfully tested a photon activation technique for precise, sensitive, non-destructive, multi-element analysis of a Hudson River sediment sample. The scientists are also collaborating with researchers at SUNY Stonybrook on analysis of endocrine disruptive chemicals in dated Hudson sediment samples. The LC/MS technique that was developed can be applied to a range of endocrine active substances found in wastewater discharges from hormones to common surfactants (alkylphenol ethoxylates).

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