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Your Environment. Your Health.

Research Briefs by Year: 2015

Superfund Research Program

  • 241 - SRP Researchers Determine that Triclosan Promotes Liver Tumor Growth in Mice -- Tukey, Hammock
    Release Date: 01/07/2015

    A collaborative study showed that long-term exposure to triclosan promotes the growth of liver tumors in laboratory mice, raising concerns about its safety for humans. Triclosan is a common antibacterial chemical used in a wide variety of consumer products such as cosmetics, soaps, detergents, and toothpaste.

  • 242 - Assessing and Reducing Health Risks from Arsenic in Private Well Water -- Zheng
    Release Date: 02/04/2015

    We are at a crossroads when it comes to reducing the risk of adverse health outcomes from arsenic in private well water in the United States, according to Yan Zheng, Ph.D., professor at the City University of New York and community engagement leader at the Columbia University Superfund Research Program (CU SRP), and Joseph Ayotte, P.G., a U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist. They claim we have a better understanding of factors influencing arsenic occurrence in well water and its health effects, but little knowledge about what actions households with private wells have taken to reduce arsenic exposure and the reasons for taking those actions.

  • 243 - Detecting Environmental Chemicals with Novel Immunoassay Technology -- Pan
    Release Date: 03/04/2015

    A new low-cost portable device uses a smart phone to detect the presence and concentrations of BDE-47 (2,2',4,4'-tetrabromodiphenyl ether), a type of flame retardant and widespread environmental contaminant. The device uses a lab-on-a-chip (LOC) platform to perform microscale enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA), a popular lab technique that uses antibodies designed to measure a specific substance in a sample. The LOC platform performed comparably to the standard ELISA laboratory protocol but in much less time and with much smaller sample sizes.

  • 244 - Switchgrass and Bacteria Work Together to Remove PCBs from Soil -- Schnoor, Mattes
    Release Date: 04/01/2015

    Researchers at the University of Iowa Superfund Research Program (Iowa SRP) Center have found that switchgrass, a plant native to central North America, can effectively remove polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from contaminated soil. When PCB-degrading bacteria is added, removal of PCBs from the soil can increase further. This phytoremediation method may be an efficient and sustainable strategy to removing PCBs from hazardous waste sites.

  • 245 - Using Lead Isotopes to Identify Sources of Metal and Metalloid Contaminants -- Betterton
    Release Date: 05/06/2015

    By sampling wind-blown dust and aerosol, researchers from the University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (UA SRP) have measured airborne metal and metalloid contaminant dispersion patterns from mining operations. While using an existing technique in a new way, the UA SRP researchers measured the extent of soil contamination near a mine and smelter while verifying the use of lead isotope analysis to identify contaminant sources.

  • 246 - River Algae Affects Mercury Pollution at Superfund Site -- Chen
    Release Date: 06/03/2015

    A new study has shown that periphyton -- a community of algae, bacteria, and other natural material living on submerged surfaces -- is helping to transform mercury from a Superfund site into methylmercury, a more toxic form. The study, led by Dartmouth College Superfund Research Program (SRP) researchers, also found lower than anticipated levels of methylmercury in small fish located downstream from a former chemical plant, despite elevated levels of methylmercury in sediment, water, and periphyton.

  • 247 - PCE in Drinking Water Linked to Cancer and Epilepsy -- Aschengrau
    Release Date: 07/01/2015

    Early-life exposure to tetrachloroethylene (PCE; perchloroethylene) in drinking water may increase the risk of epilepsy and certain types of cancer into adulthood, according to Boston University Superfund Research Program (BU SRP) Center researchers. PCE is a solvent frequently used in dry cleaning solutions, adhesives, metal degreasers, and other commercial products.

  • 248 - Cellulose Nanomaterials in Environmental Cleanup Technologies -- Wiesner
    Release Date: 08/05/2015

    Nanomaterials made of cellulose – a natural polymer used mainly to produce paper – hold great promise in environmental remediation applications and water filtration membranes, according to Duke University Superfund Research Program (Duke SRP) researchers. In a compilation of research findings, Duke SRP researchers led by Mark Wiesner, Ph.D., outline the physical and chemical properties, production costs, and current use of cellulose nanomaterials.

  • 249 - Newly Discovered Cells Regenerate Liver Tissue Without Forming Tumors -- Karin
    Release Date: 09/02/2015

    Researchers, through the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center, have discovered a population of liver cells that are better at regenerating liver tissue than ordinary liver cells, or hepatocytes. The study is the first to identify these so-called "hybrid hepatocytes" and show that they are able to regenerate liver tissue without giving rise to cancer. While most of the work described in the study was done in mouse models, the researchers also found similar cells in human livers.

  • 250 - Intestinal Microbes Protect the Liver and Prevent Liver Fibrosis -- Brenner
    Release Date: 10/07/2015

    Bacteria and other microbes in the intestines prevent liver fibrosis, or scarring, upon chronic liver injury in mice, according to a new study from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). The research, funded in part by the Superfund Research Program (SRP), is the first to show a beneficial role of intestinal microbiota in maintaining liver homeostasis and preventing liver fibrosis resulting from chronic damage to the liver.

  • 251 - Development of a Sustainable Remediation System to Remove TCE from Groundwater -- Alshawabkeh
    Release Date: 11/04/2015

    An electrochemical system can effectively remove trichloroethylene (TCE) from groundwater at high flow rates, as demonstrated by researchers at the Northeastern University Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center. They optimized the electrode material and configuration to determine the best conditions to dechlorinate TCE at a flow rate of one liter per minute, which exists in karst aquifers.

  • 252 - Bioavailability Changes in Sediments and Bioaccumulation in Fish -- Ghosh
    Release Date: 12/02/2015

    Changes in uptake of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in fish after remediation of their aquatic environment may be predicted, according to researchers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. They measured freely dissolved concentrations of PCBs in water and applied mathematical models to predict the effectiveness of sediment remediation. The study is one step toward understanding how PCB bioavailability changes in sediment as a result of activated carbon amendments, a method to sequester PCBs, can influence transfer of PCBs to fish.

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