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Your Environment. Your Health.

Research Briefs by Year: 2020

Superfund Research Program

  • 309 - Toxic Breakdown Products Formed During Contaminant Clean-Up -- Sedlak
    Release Date: 09/02/2020

    Chemical oxidation is a process commonly used to treat water contaminated with aromatic compounds like benzene. But, unexpected and potentially harmful breakdown products may result from this treatment process, according to a recent study from the NIEHS-funded University of California, Berkeley Superfund Research Program Center.

  • 308 - Using Fungi to Clean up Contaminated Soil -- Gunsch
    Release Date: 08/05/2020

    Native fungal communities point to a new way of cleaning up contaminated soil. After conducting a study to characterize fungi found in soil contaminated with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), researchers at the NIEHS-funded Superfund Research Program at Duke University discovered a group of fungi that may be promising for remediation.

  • 307 - Clay Layers May Worsen Arsenic Contamination -- van Geen
    Release Date: 07/08/2020

    Layers of clay are widely thought to protect groundwater aquifers from above-ground contaminants. But according to a new NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) study, these clay layers may play a role in increasing groundwater arsenic contamination.

  • 306 - Three-Dimensional Cell Model Enhances DNA Damage Testing -- Engelward
    Release Date: 06/03/2020

    Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center scientists developed a new platform, known as the SpheroidChip analysis method, to rapidly test for DNA damage in three-dimensional (3D) cell models. Development was led by Bevin Engelward, Sc.D., at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  • 305 - Arsenic Complicates Groundwater Bioremediation -- Alvarez-Cohen
    Release Date: 05/06/2020

    A common groundwater contaminant, trichloroethene (TCE), can be reduced by certain bacteria, a process known as bioremediation. But, according to a new NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) study, this process may stall when arsenic is present. TCE, a widely used industrial solvent, pollutes groundwater from improper handling practices.

  • 304 - Electrochemical System Degrades PCE in Groundwater -- Alshawabkeh
    Release Date: 04/01/2020

    An electrochemical system can effectively break down tetrachloroethylene (PCE) in groundwater, according to a new study from the NIEHS-funded Northeastern University Superfund Research Program (SRP) Center. After testing different design parameters to determine the best conditions for degrading PCE, the researchers achieved 86% removal of the contaminant from groundwater sources.

  • 303 - High-Fiber Diet May Protect Against Harmful Health Effects of PCBs -- Hennig
    Release Date: 03/04/2020

    Two new NIEHS-funded Superfund Research Program (SRP) studies showed how a type of dietary fiber, inulin, may protect against heart disease, including heart disease resulting from exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). According to University of Kentucky SRP Center researchers, a diet high in inulin may reduce or modify certain lipids associated with an increased chance of developing cardiovascular problems and may protect against adverse cardiovascular effects caused by environmental toxicants.

  • 302 - PAH and Hypoxia Exposure Result in Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Fish -- Di Giulio
    Release Date: 02/05/2020

    Zebrafish exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in water with inadequate oxygen, or hypoxia, can experience a broad range of effects on the mitochondria, according to an NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP)-funded study. Changes to the function and integrity of mitochondria, which are organelles that make energy for the cell, can disrupt metabolism and reduce organism fitness and performance.

  • 301 - Cadmium Exposure Impairs Production of Neurons Responsible for Learning and Memory -- Xia
    Release Date: 01/08/2020

    A new study funded by the Superfund Research Program (SRP) shows cadmium exposure can impair new neurons from forming and maturing in the hippocampus region of the brain. Led by Zhengui Xia, Ph.D., the researchers at the University of Washington (UW) SRP Center also found that cadmium can lead to the death of stem cells that produce these neurons. In people, learning and memory formation depends on the production of new neurons in this region of the brain.

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