In the News Archives

March 11 2013

Novel approach for field testing arsenic in tubewell water piloted by Lex van Geen and Chander Kumar Singh

Columbia SRP Associate Director Alexander van Geen and TERI University’s Chander Kumar Singh have joined forces to pilot a novel approach for encouraging arsenic testing of tubewell water in India. Millions of tubewells across the Indo-Gangetic plain supply drinking water that is relatively free of microbial contaminants. However, many of these tubewells tap groundwater that is high in arsenic and should be used only for washing. Van Geen and Singh offer a new approach to field testing in order to distinguish safe from unsafe wells, and suggests that people are willing to pay for tubewell testing. They plan to extend this program to 200 villages of Araihazar, Bangladesh, using billboard-sized Google Earth maps of these villages to attract the public’s attention. The online article "Reducing poisoning by arsenic in tubewell water" posted on Ideas for India describes the project in more detail.

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November 13 2012

Director Graziano Selected as Chair for NRC Committee to Review Inorganic Arsenic Risk

Columbia SRP Director Dr. Joseph Graziano will chair the National Research Council (NRC) committee to evaluate critical scientific issues to assess effects from oral exposure to inorganic arsenic. The committee also includes CU SRP Principal Investigator Habibul Ahsan and as well as SRP grantees Maragaret Karagas, Rebecca Fry, and Bob Wright. The committee will plan and conduct a public workshop to gather a variety of perspectives from key stakeholders and the public.

It will then prepare an interim report providing recommendations on how to address these issues in EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) assessment of inorganic arsenic. After the IRIS assessment is revised by EPA, the committee will then review the assessment to determine whether dose-response relationships between inorganic arsenic and cancer and noncancer effects are appropriately estimated and characterized.

The committee will also determine whether the arsenic document implements the recommendations made in Chapter 7 of the 2011 NRC report on formaldehyde for improving descriptions of methods and criteria for selecting studies, approaches to evaluating critical studies, weight-of-evidence analyses, and justification of modeling approaches in IRIS assessments. A final report will be published when the project is completed at the end of 2015.

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October 23 2012

CU SRP students Caitlin Howe & Brandilyn Peters highlighted at SRP 25th anniversary

SRP Award Winner Caitlin Howe (L) and Session Speaker Brandilyn Peters (R) with mentor Dr. Mary Gamble (C).

The NIEHS celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Superfund Research Program at its annual meeting in Raleigh, North Carolina, October 21-24. Columbia's SRP received high honors for the outstanding performance of two of its students, both mentored by CU SRP scientist Dr. Mary Gamble.

Caitlin Howe received 1st place for her biomedical poster on "Associations between S-adenosylmethionine, S-adenosylhomocysteine and Arsenic Methylation." A total of 143 biomedical and non-biomedical trainee posters were scored by agency and alumni judges.

Brandilyn Peters, a CU SRP student was selected as one of a three trainees to give an oral presentation as part of the scientific session targeting Research on a Global Scale. She presented "Creatinine, arsenic Metabolism, and renal Function in an Arsenic Exposed Population in Bangladesh."

Congratulations to all our students and their mentors!!

May 1 2012

NIEHS Environmental Factor, May 2012: Columbia University unveils NPL Mapper

The NIEHS E Factor online news media features the CU SRP National Priority List Superfund Footprint Mapper as part of its Science Notebook May 2012 edition. Research Translation Core Co-PI Meredith Golden with a team of geographic information specialists led by Tricia Chai-Onn developed the new online mapping service capable of displaying population and environmental characteristics for areas surrounding the footprints of more than 1500 Superfund sites.

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April 1 2012

NIEHS Research Brief 208: A Flurry of Arsenic Findings

Several Columbia SRP scientists, including Habib Ahsan, Marie Argos, Mary Gamble, Yu Chen, and Karrie Radloff, along with their expert research and laboratory teams have made significant contributions to our scientific understanding of the human health impacts and pathways of exposure to arsenic. As part of CU SRP research in Bangladesh, genetic screening technologies have been used to identify genetic changes that make some individuals more susceptible to arsenic-induced skin lesions (see Hot Off the Presses). Another study demonstrates that folic acid supplementation facilitates arsenic methylation and elimination, thus lowering blood arsenic concentrations. Two other epidemiological studies provide new evidence of health effects from arsenic even at low and moderate levels of exposure. In terms of limiting exposures to arsenic, our geoscientists have shown that populations with high levels of arsenic in their drinking water should use deep wells with low arsenic concentrations and prevent increases in arsenic levels by limiting the amount of water pumped. Please click below for the full NIEHS Research Brief(pdf).

PDF icon NIEHS Research Brief 208522.13 KB

December 1 2011

Consumer Reports on Arsenic in your Juice cites CU SRP Director

The January 2012 Consumer Reports Magazine cites Columbia's SRP Director Joseph Graziano in its article, "Arsenic in your juice: How much is too much? Federal limits do not exist". Dr. Graziano suggests a comprehensive approach to reducing exposures to arsenic: "We tackled every source (of lead), from gasoline to paint to solder in food cans, and we should be just as vigilant in preventing arsenic from entering our food and water because the consequences of exposure are enormous for adults as well as children." Please click here for the article. Test results for arsenic and lead in apple juice and grape juice are also available through the link below.

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November 9 2011

SRP selects Columbia Project to Highlight for Monthly Research Brief #203

The NIEHS SRP Research Brief #203: "Research Shows Arsenic Attaches to Sediments, Protects Human Health" is part of the Columbia SRP project on Mitigation of Arsenic Mobilization in Groundwater which Alexander van Geen heads. CU PhD graduate, Kathleen Radloff, led the team of scientists investigating a key research question: Could the use of deep-water wells cause arsenic-laden water from shallower aquifers to contaminate aquifers tapped by deeper wells?

November 4 2011

Webinar: "Poison in the Well: Exposure, Consequences and Remediation of Arsenic in Bangladesh"

CU SRP Director Dr. Joseph Graziano presented a webinar for the Northeastern SRP on November 4th entitled, "Poison in the Well: Exposure, Consequences and Remediation of Arsenic in Bangladesh".

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October 9 2011

Columbia SRP paper in Nature Geoscience studies influence of adsorption and water demand on Arsenic migration to deep aquifers.

The Nature Geoscience paper, "Arsenic migration to deep groundwater in Bangladesh influenced by adsorption and water demand" is now released for advance online publication (9 October 2011). Kathleen Radloff, NIEHS 2009 Wetterhahn Award recipient and former Columbia SRP graduate student, is the lead author. Dr. Radloff is currently with Gradient Corporation in Cambridge, Ma. Other CU SRP authors include Yan Zheng, Martin Stute, Ben Bostick, Ivan Mihajlov, Peter Schlosser, and Alexander van Geen. Columbia's scientists worked closely on this study with their partners from Bangladesh, led by Dr. Kazi Matin Ahmed.

The paper focuses on whether deep aquifers are at risk of arsenic contamination due to high levels of arsenic in the groundwater above. The SRP-funded study injects arsenic-bearing groundwater into a deep aquifer in Bangladesh and monitors the reduction in arsenic levels over time following the withdrawal of the water. Within 24 hours, the level of arsenic was reduced by 70% in the deep aquifer zone, due to adsorption on sediments. Experimentally determined adsorption properties of sands in the deep aquifer zone and present and future scenarios of water demands were then incorporated in to a groundwater flow and transport model for the Bengal Basin by Dr. Holly Michael of the University of Delaware. Simulations show that arsenic adsorption significantly retards the transport, resulting in a lower risk of arsenic contamination in deep groundwater. The authors point out that some areas are still vulnerable to arsenic intrusion and should be monitored. To view/download the paper go online to Nature Geoscience, click here

January 1 2011

SRP selects Columbia Project to Highlight for Monthly Research Brief #193

The NIEHS SRP Research Brief #193: "Accelerating Pump-and-Treat Remediation at Arsenic-Contaminated Sites" is part of the Columbia SRP project on Mobilization of Anthropogenic Arsenic in Groundwater which Steve Chillrud heads. Other SRP scientists working on this project include Martin Stute, Brian Mailloux, and former CU graduate student, Karen Wovkulich.

If you would like to receive the Research Brief as a podcast, you can subscribe via iTunes (search Superfund Research Program), or download this one from the SRP Research Brief webpage (


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