NH communities are working to comply with the state’s lowered allowable limit for arsenic in public drinking water, which goes into effect July 2021. Governor Chris Sununu signed legislation in July which reduced the allowable limit for arsenic in public drinking water from 10 ppb (parts per billion) to 5 ppb. Dartmouth’s Superfund Program researchers have found that long-term exposure to low levels of arsenic increases cancer risks and may also be linked to heart disease and diabetes. More information
Dartmouth Research Translation Core (RTC) Coordinator Laurie Rardin and partners from NHDES (Department of Environmental Services) and NHDHHS (Department of Health and Human Resources) Public Health Lab presented a program on private well testing as part of their ongoing outreach efforts to connect with NH communities about the need to test and treat private well water for arsenic and other contaminants. The August 13 presentation in Fitzwilliam, NH, which relies almost entirely on private drinking water wells, had 60 people in attendance. The audience had many questions, ranging from why should we be concerned about cancer risk, to who can I contact for help and how do I access the Be Well Informed online tool. At least 60 test kits were distributed.
SRP researcher and Project 2 Co-Leader Mary Lou Guerinot, Ph.D., gave a seminar at the American Society of Plant Biologists
August 3-7 Annual Meeting as recipient of the Society’s 2018 Stephen Hales Prize. Her talk, “Micronutrient Dynamics: From the Soil to the Seed”, which was attended by more than 1000 people, focused on regulation of iron uptake from the soil and the role of vacuolar transporters in storing iron and manganese in seeds.
Dartmouth SRP Director and Project 2 Leader Celia Chen, Ph.D., was interviewed for a WBUR story on a recent study in Nature that suggests that rising seawater temperatures could cause mercury concentrations to rise in fish. According to Dr. Chen, relaxing mercury rules in the US could also effect this scenario. “If we don’t reduce mercury emissions we are going to end up having more mercury in our fish.”
The July 6-11 MDI Biological Laboratory Applied Bioinformatics Course, co-directed by Dartmouth SRP researcher Bruce Stanton, was attended by 31 students from more than 15 institutions, including Dartmouth. The course provided intensive hands-on experience in bioinformatics, with a focus on gene expression analysis with RNA sequencing. Highlights included consultation clinics to help students incorporate bioinformatics into their own research and data, group exercises to practice skills, and a lobster bake. Dartmouth SRP Trainee Cecilia Gutierrez Perez was a TA in the course. As a TA, she “…was able to assist faculty with students and expand my Bioinformatic expertise. Having taken the course last year, helping this year was instrumental in my development as a scientist. I was able to refresh the skills previously learned and to learn by teaching others.”
On July 12, 2019, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu signed HB 261, a bill to reduce the Maximum Contaminant Level for arsenic in public water from 10 parts per billion to 5, making New Hampshire the second state in the country with this protective level. “Dartmouth’s Superfund Research Program is proud to have played a leading role in helping the state make this move in support of public health,” said Celia Chen, director of the Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program at Dartmouth. “Health policy requires fact-based, long-term research to provide the best outcomes for the general public.” See Press Release. Additional coverage: NIEHS Environmental Factor Dartmouth College News Concord Monitor NBC5 News
“Is There Arsenic in Your Drinking Water?” was the subject of an MDI Biological Laboratory Science Café held on July 8. The successful program was attended by 82 people, including four representatives of the Environmental Health Strategy Center in Portland, ME. Presentations were delivered by Jane E. Disney, senior staff scientist and director of education at MDIBL, and Bruce Stanton, a professor of microbiology and immunology at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine and the former director and current project leader of the Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program and a visiting scientist at MDIBL.
Our Community Engagement Core leader, Anna Adachi-Mejia, PhD, gave a presentation for 52 participants on Photovoice as a tool to engage community members’ perspectives, for the July 11 NIEHS SRP Community Engagement and Research Translation monthly webinar. She briefly explained the philosophy behind this technique, how it can be applied to community engagement work within the SRP and showed examples of her work using Photovoice with communities in New Hampshire and beyond. Anna answered multiple questions and is providing an opportunity for SRP team members to be part of a Photovoice working group going forward.
Dartmouth SRP Director and Project 2 Leader Celia Chen has been invited to serve as a member of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Science Advisory Board Scientific and Technological Achievement Awards (STAA) FY 2019-2021 Committee. The Committee reviews scientific publications nominated by EPA managers for FY 2019 and makes recommendations to the EPA Administrator for STAA award recipients.
Legislation to limit the amount of arsenic in public drinking water to no more than 5 parts per billion passed the NH state legislature on May 23. The bill, which cuts in half the permissible limit, now goes to the governor for his signature. Read more.