Tens of thousands of people in Maine may be exposed to very high levels of As (Arsenic) in their drinking water. In response, ME legislators are considering legislation “…that would help low-income Mainers get wells tested for the substance and require the state to consider lowering the currently acceptable contaminant level for arsenic in water provided by municipal systems.” More information.
Research from the Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program, supported by data from the New Hampshire (NH) State Cancer Registry, informed the passage of 2019 legislation which decreased the arsenic maximum contaminant level for public drinking water from 10 to 5 parts per billion in NH. House Bill 261, signed by Governor Sununu, will be effective July 2021. Read More.
Dr. Mary Lou Guerinot, Dartmouth SRP researcher and Dartmouth Professor of Biological Sciences, is profiled in the January 13, 2020 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The profile of her career accompanies the publication of Dr. Guerinot’s recent paper, “The iron deficiency response in Arabidopsis thaliana requires the phosphorylated transcription factor URI.” According to the study, researchers have discovered a gene that controls the regulation of iron uptake in plants. This discovery could be important to increasing the iron potency of crops such as rice, wheat and cassava that form the staple diets of more than half the world’s population.
176 people attended the annual Poster Session for the Dartmouth Superfund Research Program’s Dragonfly Mercury Monitoring Project which was held on January 10, 2020 at Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH. Students from Woodstock High School in VT and Stevens High School, Rivendell Academy and Pelham High School in NH presented excellent posters. The keynote speaker, Dr. Jennifer Brentrup, Postdoctoral Fellow at University of VT and Dartmouth College, spoke about her work sampling lakes to understand climate change. This community engagement effort puts mercury research into the hands of local high school students to educate them about mercury in our world and the importance of clear, data-based scientific research and communication to mitigate mercury risks. The Dragonfly Project is supported by the Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program and the Wellborn Ecology Fund. More event photos. More information about the Dragonfly Project.
Dartmouth SRP Community Engagement Core (CEC) Leader Anna Adachi-Mejia, Ph.D., published an article on the scientific writing process in Medium. The article, “Baking a process into writing your first draft of a scientific piece,” compares the writing process to the experience of baking and offers “…a framework to bake a process into writing the first draft of the scientific piece that you have been avoiding.”
Dartmouth Superfund Research Program Director Celia Chen represented Dartmouth College as an observing Civil Society Organization at the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP3) in Geneva November 25-29, 2019. The Conference was attended by parties (countries) that have ratified, accepted, approved or accessed the Minamata treaty or are in the process of ratifying it, as well as observers. Currently 115 countries have ratified or accepted the treaty. On June 11, 2013 the US was the first country to sign and accept the treaty. Discussion in “contact groups” (smaller meetings) included a focus on how the effectiveness of the treaty will be evaluated. No agreement was reached by the parties on Effectiveness Evaluation. Dr. Chen also represented Dartmouth at the 10th meeting of the Global Mercury Partnership, which was held prior to COP3, as a member of the Policy Advisory Group (PAG) on Fate and Transport of Mercury. COP4 will be in 2021.
Mary Lou Guerinot, Ph.D., Dartmouth Superfund Research Program (SRP) researcher and professor of Biological Sciences, is the senior researcher on a project that has discovered a gene that controls the iron uptake in plants. This discovery potentially could be key to the iron potency of rice and other crops that are a major part of the diet of more than half the world’s population. According to Dr. Guerinot, “We have discovered a key regulator in one of the world’s most important nutrient pathways. If we can now figure out how to optimize the pathway, we could feed billions of people that suffer from iron deficiency – a huge problem especially for women and children worldwide.” NH Union Leader Article. Dartmouth Press Release.
The Dartmouth Center team had a great time at the SRP Annual meeting in Seattle. Thanks to all of the meeting organizers! Brett Doherty (PhD Student with Project 4), gave a talk on “Periconceptional and prenatal exposure to metal mixtures in relation to behavioral development at three years of age in the New Hampshire Birth Cohort Study.” Poster presentations were given by Anna Adachi-Mejia (CEC Leader) on “New Hampshire Arsenic MCL Reduction: A Case Study in Risk Communication Planning for Contaminants of Emerging Concern”; Jiang Gui (Project 4 researcher) on “An Integrated Gaussian Graphical Model to Evaluate the Impact of Exposures on Metabolic Networks”; Hannah Laue (Project 4 student) on “Early postnatal gut microbiome and nutrient-toxic element mixtures in a United States longitudinal birth cohort”; Laurie Rardin (RTC Coordinator) on “Creating Community for Government Partnerships: Two Case Studies of Research Translation”; Todd Warczak (Project 1 Trainee) on “Arsenic Detoxification in Plant Roots: Identifying Arsenic Effluxers; and Kevin Yuan (Project 2 student) on “Patterns of inorganic and organic co-contaminants in marine fish and shellfish.”
Dartmouth Superfund Research Program Director Celia Chen co-authored an opinion article on the importance of the partnership between science and policymaking for the successful implementation of the 2017 Minamata Convention on Mercury, as she participates in the third meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-3) in Geneva Switzerland. The Op-ed appears in the Inter Press Service News Agency and focuses on the importance of the decisions COP-3 delegates will make at the November 25-29 meeting in Geneva on measuring the effectiveness of the Minamata Convention in reducing environmental mercury. These decisions are especially important due to the numerous adverse health effects of mercury. Dr. Chen represents Dartmouth College as a member of COP-3’s Policy Advisory Group on the Fate and Transport of Mercury. COP-1 Information.
According to a news story on the UN Environment Programme website, mercury continues to “…endanger human and environmental health…” Tackling this problem by comprehensively addressing mercury throughout its lifecycle is the goal of the Minamata Convention on Mercury which is taking place November 25-29 in Geneva, Switzerland. Dartmouth SRP Director and researcher Dr. Celia Chen will be attending the Convention and will be representing Dartmouth on the Policy Advisory Group (PAG) on Fate and Transport of Mercury.