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Troubled waters: New device brings flexibility, precision to contamination measurement
Date:11/8/2011

Lake ApopkaFlorida's third largestwas once a haven for migratory birds, vacationers and fishermen. Today it is a toxic broth of chemicals and ranks among America's more disturbing Superfund sites.

Here, Rolf Halden and his colleagues from the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State Universityand collaborator Nancy Denslow at the University of Florida, Gainesville, are testing a new device, designed to measure contaminants with unprecedented precision, accuracy and sensitivity. In addition to detailed analyses of sediments, the team will evaluate the health effects of five specific compounds on two species of marine organism. The new project will also assess the effectiveness of remediation efforts currently being used to clean up the contaminated site.

Halden, associate director of the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology and his team have recently received a three-year, $830K grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). Their efforts are expected to provide stakeholders at many of the nation's Superfund sites with a novel analytical tool to gauge the threat to public health posed by contaminated sediments before, during and after cleanup efforts.

The instrument being used for these studies is known as the in situ sampling/bioavailability determination tool or IS2Ba patent-pending device that can simultaneously measure contaminant levels in bulk water and pore water (the fluid occupying spaces between sediment particles).

Halden says that conceptually the sampling instrument is simple, but emphasizes that IS2B nevertheless will facilitate analyses with uncanny resolution: "Once perfected, the device will enable the determination of the fraction of chemicals that actually are available for uptake by aquatic organisms; this knowledge is important because it determines the body burden in, for example, fish harvested for human consumption."

When IS2B is in use, half of its tu
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Contact: Joe Caspermeyer
joseph.caspermeyer@asu.edu
Arizona State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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