SEPA Project Promotes Data Literacy, Increasing Private Well Water Testing for As

SEPA project “Data to Action: A Secondary School-Based Citizen Science Project to Address Arsenic Contamination of Well Water” is aimed at promoting both data literacy and increasing rates of private well water testing for Arsenic in participating communities. Funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it is being implemented by Dartmouth SRP in partnership with the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory.  Bruce Stanton (Project 3 Leader) is a co-PI. SRP researcher Kate Buckman is the project’s NH school coordinator.

Videos on the project describe student and teacher involvement with the project:

Maine PBS: Waterville Senior High School
YouTube: An Introduction to DataLit


Preliminary Investigation of Polymer-Based In Situ Passive Samplers for Mercury and Methylmercury

Dartmouth Superfund Research Program researchers Vivien Taylor (lead author) and Kate Buckman are co-authors of the paper Preliminary Investigation of Polymer-Based In Situ Passive Samplers for Mercury and Methylmercury, which was published in Chemosphere.  In their study, the “development of an in situ passive sampler for mercury (Hg), and its toxic form, methylmercury (MeHg), using simple polymer films, was explored for the potential to make an efficient and environmentally relevant monitoring tool for this widespread aquatic pollutant.”

Communicating Arsenic’s Risks

Dartmouth Superfund Research Program Director Celia Chen, former Dartmouth Superfund Research Program Community Engagement Core (CEC) Leaders Shannon Rogers (lead author) and Mark Borsuk, current Research Translation Coordinator Laurie Rardin, and former CEC Coordinator Kathrin Lawlor are co-authors of the paper Communicating Arsenic’s Risks. The study describes “two types of environmental communication efforts that have been undertaken by the Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program (DTMSRP)-the development and evaluation of a comprehensive website, Arsenic and You, and a mental models research approach to better understand the disconnect between expert and community perceptions of arsenic risk.” The paper is published in International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Dr. Laurel Schaider Presents on Contaminants of Emerging Concern

Laurel Schaider, Ph.D., gave a talk on “PFAS and Other Contaminants of Emerging Concern in the Waters of Cape Cod: Understanding Exposures and Addressing Community Concerns”. Dr. Schaider’s  September 18 seminar, which was co-sponsored by our Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program and Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine Department of Epidemiology and attended by more than 40 people, focused on the health effects of PFAS, current research studies and activities to educate  communities about PFAS. Dr. Schaeder is Research Scientist at Silent Spring Institute and lead investigator of PFAS-REACH (Research, Education, and Action for Community Health), a new study evaluating PFAS immunotoxicity in children and addressing the needs of communities affected by PFAS water contamination, She also co-leads the STEEP Superfund Research Program’s Community Engagement Core.

Dartmouth Superfund Research Program Researchers Present at ICMGP Meeting

Dartmouth Superfund Research Program researchers Celia Chen, Kate Buckman and Vivien Taylor gave several oral and poster presentations related to our mercury research at the September 8-13 ICMGP (International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant) in Krakow, Poland. Abstract titles for the oral presentations were: “Relationships Between Mercury in Sediment and the Water Column to Fish Bioaccumulation in Human Impacted Estuaries in Long Island, NY” (presenter: Celia Chen), “Meta-Analysis of Mercury Concentration in Forage Fish Across Northeast USA Estuaries” (Presenter: Kate Buckman). Drs. Chen, Buckman and Taylor also were co-authors of the abstract “Ecosystem Controls on the Incidence of Methylmercury in Temperate Estuarine Water Columns” (presenter: Emily Seelen). Complete listing of conference oral presentations. Our SRP was a Silver Sponsor of the Conference and SRP Director Dr. Chen was on the meeting’s Scientific Steering Committee. The Conference was attended by more than 700 people from 50 countries.

Validity of Retrospective Occupational Exposure Estimates of Lead and Manganese in a Case-Control Study

Dartmouth Superfund Research Program researchers Margaret Karagas and Brian Jackson are co-authors of the paper Validity of Retrospective Occupational Exposure Estimates of Lead and Manganese in a Case-Control Study. The study used toenail samples as bioindicators of exposure and “assessed whether work tasks and expert assessments of occupational metal exposure obtained from personal interviews were associated with lead and manganese concentrations”. The paper is published in the journal Occupational & Environmental Medicine.

Communities Working to Comply With Lower NH Arsenic Limits

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

RTC Coordinator Laurie Rardin Presents Program on Private Well Testing

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 Mary Lou Guerinot Speaks at American Society of Plant Biologists Annual Meeting

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.


SRP Director Celia Chen Quoted on Study on Rising Mercury Concentrations

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.”