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Final Progress Reports: Columbia University: Community Engagement Core

Superfund Research Program

Community Engagement Core

Project Leader: Yan Zheng
Co-Investigator: Sara V. Flanagan (Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University)
Grant Number: P42ES010349
Funding Period: 2012-2021

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Final Progress Reports

Year:   2020  2016 

In 2020 the Community Engagement Core (CEC) team contributed two papers to a Science of the Total Environment special issue on persistent toxic substances, as well as an invited perspective paper in Science. Yang 2020 reports a collaboration with the Research Translation Core (RTC) and state partners in Maine and New Jersey to evaluate the effectiveness of household arsenic treatment systems and ascertain how untreated well water chemistry and other factors influence arsenic removal. Flanagan 2020 reports on a collaboration with New Jersey state partners supported by Flanagan’s KC Donnelly award to test outreach to private well owners in the neighborhood of known wells with elevated arsenic based on Private Well Testing Act records. This targeted approach succeeded not only in identifying a much higher proportion of at-risk households than blanket testing by town or county, but also in motivating testing among households unreached by prior awareness-raising activities. The CEC is also working with NJDEP and NJDOH partners to report the impact of previous community and targeted well testing campaigns in New Jersey with at least two manuscripts in progress. Zheng 2020 provided a broader perspective to an article that appeared in Science in the same issue that used a machine learning model to estimate the population at risk of groundwater arsenic exposure. The paper called for screening of all domestic wells for inorganic arsenic to aid the identification of exposed populations, and developing sensitive, reliable, inexpensive, and user-friendly testing methods for inorganic arsenic in water and urine, preferably with on-site rapid measurement capability, to achieve this goal.

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