NIEHS Webinar on Communicating Risk and Engaging Communities: Arsenic and Well Testing, July 21, 2016, 1 – 3 pm ET

The NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) is presenting the fourth session in the Risk e-Learning series SRP Water Innovation - An Integrated Approach to Sustainable Solutions. Session IV, Communicating Risk and Engaging Communities: Arsenic and Well Testing, on July 21, 1-3pm will feature efforts by several SRP Centers to engage communities on private water related to well testing and treatment alternatives. The session will begin with an overview of the risks of exposure to arsenic, which has a high prevalence in private water wells in some US communities. To register.

• Rebecca Fry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
• Kathleen Gray, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
• Yan Zheng, Ph.D., Columbia University
• Mark Borsuk, Ph.D., Dartmouth College
• Moderator: Felicia Barnett, Superfund and Technology Liaison, EPA Region 4

Applied Bioinformatics Course offered at the MDI Biological Lab in Maine, July 23-28

The Mt. Desert Island Biological Lab in ME is partnering with the Dartmouth SRP and Director Bruce Stanton to run a course on Applied Bioinformatics. The goal of the course is to provide hands-on training with major bioinformatics resources while developing a conceptual framework to foster successful application of the bioinformatic skillset to biological research. Please register and find more information here.

Superfund Annual Meeting to be Held in December

This year the national Superfund Research Program Annual meeting will be held as part of NIEHS' (National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences) 50th anniversary celebration, entitled the "Environmental Health Science (EHS) FEST." The celebration will be held December 5-8 in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. Additional information.

Recent News


Canadian Food Inspection Agency Report on Arsenic Levels in Beverages, Food

A Report by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency examines the analysis of beverage and food samples collected from Canadian retail stores for levels of inorganic and organic arsenic. The Report concludes that "the levels of arsenic in the products tested in this survey were not considered to pose a concern to human health."

Elevated Levels of Arsenic Found in Epping, NH Well Water

Water testing in Epping, NH has found elevated levels of arsenic in recent samples taken from the new town well. According to a story in the NH Union Leader, the contamination is not considered an emergency by the town, and an arsenic removal system will be installed in the future.


Water Management May Reduce Effects of Climate Change on Rice Production and Arsenic Uptake by Rice Plants in Asia

According to Dennis Wichelns, Senior Fellow of Thailand-Based Stockholm Environment Institute, adapting the practice of "de-watering" by farmers in Asia will reduce the effects of climate change on rice production, as well reduce arsenic uptake by rice plants. "De-watering" involves removing water from rice paddies at least once during the growing season. See full story.

FDA Finds Excessive Amounts of Arsenic in Apple Juice from Yakima Valley Processor

The Seattle Times reports that the FDA has found almost nine times the allowed limit in samples of apple juice taken from a Yakima Valley, WA processor. Prolonged exposure to high levels of inorganic arsenic has been associated with a number of health conditions.


Mary Lou Guerinot Elected to National Academy of Sciences!!

Dr. Guerinot's election to the National Academy of Sciences is one of the highest honors in science. "Mary Lou Guerinot exemplifies the best of our Dartmouth faculty, and this is a well-deserved honor," says Provost Carolyn Dever. Read details.

Elevated Bladder Cancer Risk in New England Linked to Arsenic in Drinking Water from Private Wells

A new study from the National Cancer Institute shows that drinking water from private wells may have contributed to elevated risk of bladder cancer in New England. Dartmouth Superfund researcher, Dr. Margaret Karagas, participated in the study. National Cancer Institute press release; NH DES press release.


Drinking Water Forum in Maine

On April 24, a community forum on drinking water issues will be convened by the Environmental Health Strategy Center/Prevent Harm in Rockport, ME. A panel of speakers will discuss the problem of arsenic in well water from different perspectives.

Researcher Margaret Karagas Quoted in NY Times on FDA Proposed Limit for Arsenic in Rice Cereal

Dr. Margaret Karagas provided comments to the NY Times on the FDA's proposed action level for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal.


Bruce Stanton Presented at 2016 SOT Annual Meeting

Bruce Stanton, Ph.D., presented at the SOT (Society of Toxicology) 2016 Annual Meeting in March as part of a workshop entitled Moving beyond cancer: current state of the science of noncancer health effects of arsenic. His talk focused on arsenic and pulmonary infections.

US Supreme Court Rejects Attempt to Stay MATS

The US Supreme Court has rejected a petition by 20 states to temporarily halt enforcement by the EPA of regulations that limit heavy metal pollution from oil- and coal-fired power plants. Led by Michigan, the states had asked the Court to stay the Mercury Air Toxics Standard — commonly referred to as MATS — while the D.C. Circuit court considers its legality. See article in Climate Progress .

Tulane Professor Tests for Arsenic in Rural LA Drinking Water

Research conducted by Tulane University geochemistry professor Karen Johannesson has found the presence of arsenic in parts of rural LA to be at least 10 times higher than EPA standards of less than 10 parts per billion. While the amount is significantly less than what she and her colleagues found in the Bengal Basin of India , she says that it is alarming nonetheless, as arsenic is associated with an array of health issues. Dr. Johannesson's team's paper on arsenic in shallow groundwater from the Napoleonville, LA site recently was accepted for publication in the Journal of Hydrology: Regional Studies.

Dartmouth Researchers find Potential Link between in Utero Arsenic Exposure and Growth in Developing Fetuses

New research published in Environmental Health Perspectives, details a study led by Diane Gilbert-Diamond with Margaret Karagas as senior author, which looks at the relation between in utero arsenic exposure and birth outcomes in a cohort of mothers and their newborns from New Hampshire.


YouTube Video Highlights Student Dragonfly Work

The YouTube video "Outside Science (inside parks): Blue Skies and Dragonflies" highlights student citizen science research collecting dragonfly larvae. The larvae are indicators of pollution, and are used to study the amount of mercury present in the environment. Their research is similar to our SRP Dragonfly project and is part of the US-wide dragonfly research collaboration that researcher Celia Chen is involved with.

Investigators Find High Concentrations of Toxic Metals in Whales

Investigations led by the University of Aberdeen, in collaboration with the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme, have shown that a pod of beached whales had high concentrations of mercury and cadmium, including in their brains. The level of these toxic metals in the whales increased with their age. Scientists found mercury at levels high enough to cause severe neurological damage in humans and demonstrated for the first time that the toxic element cadmium can cross the blood-brain barrier in adults. See article in The Press and Journal.

Dartmouth SRP Paper Selected as NIEHS Research Brief

The paper,which was published in PLoS One and examines the effects of low dose organic arsenic (MMA) exposure on the immune system in the lung, has been chosen by NIEHS as a research brief.

Researcher Brian Jackson Quoted on Effects of Arsenic Levels in Rice Snacks

"If you are a person who is eating rice every day, and also snacking on rice products, then that five micrograms from rice crackers becomes significant. If once a month, not so much," Brian Jackson, a research associate professor and the director of Dartmouth's Trace Metal Analysis Core Facility, tells The Daily Meal in a story about arsenic levels in the snacks and whether they pose a risk to people. Read more.


Dr's Guerinot & Punshon's Award Winning Image Featured

Mary Lou Guerinot is featured in a Dartmouth news video discussing hers and Tracy Punshon's FAESB Bio-Art competition award winning image of zinc in an Arabidopsis plant. They also were featured in the NIEHS Director's Blog on January 21. Their entry will be displayed in the NIH Visitors Center.

Study on Lentils Can Counteract Arsenic Poisoning in Bangladesh

Researchers at the University of Calgary are studying whether Saskatchewan-grown lentils can counteract the effects of chronic arsenic poisoning from well water in Bangladesh. This problem affects up to 77 million people in that country and has been called "the worst case of mass poisoning in the world" by the World Health Organization (WHO). The study is described on the CBCNews web site.

FDA Withdraws Approval of Arsenic-based Nitarsone in Animal Feed

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has withdrawn approval of the use of Nitarsone in animal feed as of December 31, 2015 as reported on the FDA website.

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