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

r the accident, 90 percent of the lake's alligators disappeared. Large numbers of migratory birds were poisoned, likely from consumption of contaminated fish. Further, migrant farm workers engaged in citrus cultivation in the area lost their livelihoods when area farms were shut down. Many were subsequently beset by a variety of health issues, believed to be related to the contamination.

Superfund sites are those belonging to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Contamination and Liability Act (or "Superfund" law). The Environmental Protection Agency compiles a database of such sites, which are deemed to pose a risk to human health and/or the environment. While over 40,000 such sites exist in the U.S., only a fraction of these have been placed on the National Priorities List (NPL) and targeted for cleanup.

The five contaminants in the new study will be evaluated for their effects on two marine organisms Lumbriculus variegates, (a species of black worm) and Pimephales promelas (known as the fathead minnow). Contaminant exposure in fish will also be examined using DNA microarray analysis, allowing for a determination of health effects that may not be predicted solely on the basis of exposure levels to parent compounds.

Both theory and laboratory data will be used to establish mathematical relationships between pollutant concentrations in bulk water, pore water, worms and fish. These results will then be applied to IS2B-derived data to predict existing health risks. Further, the study will monitor the effectiveness of two remediation approaches, granular activated carbon (GAC) amendment and deep tilling of contaminated sediment.

Halden is optimistic about the potential of the new project to accurately measure contaminants, evaluate their risks to health, and ultimately inform policy to avert potential human exposures and associated adverse health outcomes: "The project will provide information on traditional and so-called emer
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Contact: Joe Caspermeyer
joseph.caspermeyer@asu.edu
Arizona State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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