Recent News

Duke Superfund Researcher Presents at Iowa Seminar

July 01, 2016

Dr. Lee Ferguson from the Duke Superfund Research Program presented at the April 29, 2016 University of Iowa Environmental Science Seminar. His talked was entitled "Helping Contaminants Emerge: New Approaches for Identifying Organic Micropollutants Relevant to Ecological and Human Exposure."

8th International PCB Workshop Journal Released

March 30, 2016

Proceedings from the 8th International PCB Workshop in Woods Hole, MA were released in the February 2016 journal of Environmental Science and Pollution Research. The conference was entitled "PCBs in Schools, Exposures, Effects, Remediation and Regulation."

A primary objective of the PCB Workshop was to provide a single forum for the world experts on issues of analysis, fate and transport, exposure assessment, metabolism and disposition, toxicity, and public health policy – a unique opportunity for scientists to come together and learn from each other. 95 articles are included in the journal.

There were over 200 attendees. The conference was oranaized by the University of Iowa Superfund Research program and the Boston University Superfund Program. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences helped support the conference with grant R13 ES024637.

First Ever Urban PCBs Emissions Inventory

March 16, 2016


In the October 6, 2015 issue of Environmental Science and Technology four researchers from the University of Iowa Superfund Research Program report on an inventory of PCB stocks and emissions for Chicago, Illinois. Caitlan Shanahan, Scott Spak, Andres Martinez, and Keri Hornbuckle reported that stocks and emission are highly concentrated and not correlated with population density or demographics at the neighborhood scale. The abstract for the report can be found at    


National SRP Meeting Highlights

February 17, 2016


The Iowa Superfund Research Program was well represented at the National Superfund Research Program Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico in November 2015.SRP National Director Bill Suk, far left, presents Bill Klaren, second from right, a poster award

Superfund trainees Gopi Galupudi, Bill Klaren, Marisa Salomon Beltran, Eric Rodriguez, and Victoria Parker presented posters. Bill received a best-poster award for his presentation(co-authored by Gadupudi GS, Wels B, Simmons DL, Olivier AK, Robertson LW, University of Iowa SRP) entitled "Progression of micronutrient alteration and hepatoxicity following acute PCB 126 exposure." Only 4 best poster awards were given from the 100+ posters presented.

Dr. Peter Thorne, University of Iowa SRP Project 6 Leader, presented a poster entitled " Exposures to PCBs Not Found In Commerical Mixtures: Evidence from Biomonitoring Among Urban and Rural Adolescents and Their Mothers." Dr. Thorne also presented a platform from Project 7 (Peter S. Thorne, Xin Hu, Andrea Adamcakova-Dodd, Hans Joachmim Lehmler) entitled " Subchronic Inhalation Toxcity Study of a Complex PCB Mixture Representing Urban Air."

Community Engagement Core Leader Dr. Craig Just presented a poster, co-authored by David Osterberg, Scott Spak, University of Iowa SRP, entiteled " The Iowa Superfund Research Program, Ecolotree, and the Town of Altavista Expand a partnership. He also co-led a CEC/RTC work group discussion on 'online communication of science" with Kathrin Lawlor from Dartmouth University.

Other attendees included Dr. Larry Robertson, Director of the Iowa Superfund Research Program; Gabrielle Ludewig, Training Core Leader; David Osterberg, Research Translation Core Leader; and David Purdy, Program Administrator.

Mindy Sickels, Business Manager for the Iowa Superfund Research Program, facilitated the National Superfund Research Program Confernce's Project Administrator sessions.


Superfund Research Program Funding Renewed

February 17, 2016


The Superfund Research Program at the University of Iowa (isrp) has received a five-year renewal of funding from the National Institute of Environmental Health. Based at the UI College of Public Health since 2005, the isrp is a joint endeavor involving basic, mechanistic, and applied research projects in biomedical and environmental research areas addressing semivolatile polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

The overall goal of the isrp is to identify atmospheric sources, exposures, and potential consequences to human health of semi-volatile PCBs. To achieve this goal, the isrp addresses volatilization, transport and resultant exposure of lower halogenated PCBs, especially those PCBs that are associated with contaminated waters, former industrial sites, and buildings (especially school buildings). The program identifies routes of exposure with an eye to preventing or limiting exposure and ameliorating the effects.

New funding for the period 2015 – 2020 brings the total of NIH support for this effort centered at the University of Iowa to a sum in excess of $40 million.

UI engineers find switchgrass removes PCBs from soils

March 11, 2015

University of Iowa researchers have found a type of grass that was once a staple of the American prairie can remove soil laden with PCBs, toxic chemicals once used for cooling and other industrial purposes.

The researchers report that switchgrass successfully removed up to 40 percent of the PCBs from contaminated soils in lab experiments. When boosted by a PCB-oxidizing microorganism, the removal rate reached 47 percent.

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