Press coverage

February 2017

Kickoff of Free Arsenic and Lead Testing Outreach to Obstetric and Pediatric Patients through Health Care Providers in Hunterdon County, New Jersey

Left to right: Drs. Joe Graziano, W. Jesse Kayal, Debra Curry, Stuart Braman, Dario Lecusay, and Carla Jardim

Columbia SRP director Joe Graziano, Columbia SRP scientists Steve Chillrud, Sara Flanagan, and Stuart Braman, and New Jersey Department of Health partner Jessie Gleason began the Hunterdon County Health Care Provider Outreach project with a presentation at the Delaware Valley Family Health Center (DVFHC) in Milford, New Jersey on February 3. Dr. Graziano gave a presentation and led a discussion with DVFHC Medical Director Dr. Carla Jardim, Drs. Jennifer Creager, W. Jesse Kayal, Debra Curry, Dario Lecusay, Jigger Patel, and Mary Raulf, LPN. The project is focused on providing free arsenic and lead testing of drinking water to all pediatric and obstetric patients with private wells. Hunterdon County was chosen for the project based on New Jersey Private Well Testing Act results showing a significant percentage of wells in the county with arsenic higher than permitted by New Jersey in public water supplies. Fifty prepaid FedEx boxes with sample bottles and instructions were delivered for the first two weeks along with brochures, tabletop posters, wall posters, and a handout on Key Facts about Arsenic Exposure for Health Care Providers for the 14 doctors at the clinic.

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December 2016

NIEHS EHS FEST and SRP Annual Meeting

Sara Flanagan (top left), Tiffany Sanchez (top right), Steve Chillrud and Jeff Blair (bottom left), and Sandra Baptista (bottom right)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As part of its 50th anniversary celebration, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) held the Environmental Health Science Facilities, Engagement, Science, and Training (EHS FEST) event at the Durham Convention Center in Durham, North Carolina, December 5–8. EHS FEST convened more than 1,200 attendees, including NIEHS grantees, trainees, investigators, community partners, and government collaborators. During the SRP Annual Meeting held on Monday, December 5, Sara Flanagan, doctoral student at the City University of New York and Columbia SRP CEC research associate, presented a poster co-authored with Steven Spayd, Nicholas Procopio, Steven Chillrud, Stuart Braman, James Ross, Robert Marvinney, Andrew Smith, and Yan Zheng titled “Reducing exposure to arsenic from private well water: Who benefits most from traditional testing promotion?” Madhi Saranadasa, University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, presented a poster co-authored with Maria Argos, Farzana Jasmine, Faruque Parvez, Mahfuzar Rahman, Tariqul Islam, Rakib Zaman, Mohammad Yunus, Muhammad Kibriya, and Habibul Ahsan titled “Differential gene expression and chronic arsenic exposure in a transcriptome-wide association study of adults in Bangladesh.” Joe Graziano and Nancy LoIacono represented the Columbia SRP at the Administrator’s Meeting.

Columbia SRP researchers presented four posters during the EHS FEST poster sessions held on December 6 and 7. Steven Chillrud presented a poster co-authored with Stuart Braman, Sara Flanagan, Yan Zheng, and Joseph Graziano titled “Private well arsenic-testing outreach pilot targets children, unborn babies through health care providers.” Beizhan Yan presented a poster co-authored with Martin Stute, Reynold Panettieri, James Ross, Brian Mailloux, Matthew Neidell, Lissa Soares, Marilyn Howarth, Xinhua Liu, Pouné Saberi, and Steven Chillrud titled “Association of groundwater constituents with distance to unconventional gas wells and topography in NE Pennsylvania.” Sara Flanagan presented a poster co-authored with Yan Zheng titled “The case for universal screening of private well water quality in the U.S.: Evidence from arsenic.” Tiffany Sanchez presented a poster co-authored with Faruque Parvez, Tariqul Islam, Jagoda Balac, Vesna Slavkovich, Alauddin Ahmed, Rabiul Hasan, Victoria Benoit, Xinhua Liu, Habibul Ahsan, and Joseph Graziano titled “Inorganic arsenic levels in rice are correlated with urinary arsenic: A pilot study quantifying aggregate arsenic exposure in the Health Effects of Arsenic Longitudinal Study (HEALS).” The Columbia SRP video “Arsenic in Well Water: Treatment Options” was shown at the Film Festival on Wednesday, December 7. Sandra Baptista, Columbia SRP RTC Co-PI, presented the "National Priorities List (NPL) Superfund Footprint: Site, Population, and Environmental Characteristics Mapper" at the Sensors and Technologies Fair on December 6. Steven Chillrud, Columbia SRP RTC Co-PI, and Jeff Blair of AethLabs presented “Modular Monitors for Particulates, Black Carbon, PAHs/VOCs and Bioaerosols for Public Health Studies” at the Sensors and Technologies Fair on December 7. Chillrud also participated in the Workshop on Commercializing Sensor Technologies on Thursday, December 8.

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August 2016

Ana Navas-Acien Participates in NHLBI Forum on Heart, Lung, and Sleep Disorders in AI/AN/NH Youth

NIEHS Program Officer Symma Finn (left) and Columbia SRP Scientist Ana Navas-Acien (right)

Columbia SRP scientist Dr. Ana Navas-Acien (Projects 1 and 2) participated in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Forum on Heart, Lung, and Sleep Disorders in American Indian / Alaskan Native / Native Hawaiian (AI/AN/NH) Youth held August 2-3, 2016 in Bethesda, Maryland. The NHLBI forum convened experts to identify knowledge gaps and research opportunities that can facilitate the prevention and future treatment interventions of heart, lung, and sleep disorder disease outcomes among AI/AN/NH youth. Navas-Acien’s presentation, on Day 1 of the forum, addressed "Environmental risk factors for cardiovascular disease (well water contaminants)" with a focus on arsenic. This two-day meeting was co-funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).

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July 2016

NIEHS Webinar Features Yan Zheng Speaking on Arsenic and Private Well Testing in the U.S.

The NIEHS Superfund Research Program (SRP) presented the fourth session in the Risk e-Learning webinar series SRP Water Innovation - An Integrated Approach to Sustainable Solutions. Session IV, Communicating Risk and Engaging Communities: Arsenic and Well Testing, on July 21, 2016. The session featured efforts by SRP Centers to engage communities on private water related to well testing and treatment alternatives. Columbia SRP Community Engagement Core PI Yan Zheng presented, “The Case for Universal Screening of Private Well Water Quality in the U.S.: Evidence from Arsenic.” Other speakers included Rebecca Fry (Director UNC  SRP), Mark Borsuk (Dartmouth College SRP Center), Neasha Graves (UNC SRP Center), Caroline Armijo (Residents for Coal Ash Cleanup), and Janick Artiola (University of Arizona SRP Center). An archive of this seminar is available for free download and replay at the link provided below.

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June 2016

Columbia SRP Scientists Attend 6th International Congress on Arsenic in the Environment

Ana Navas-Acien and Poojitha Balakrishnan in front of the Stockholm City Hall

Columbia SRP scientists traveled to Stockholm, Sweden to participate in the 6th International Congress on Arsenic in the Environment (As2016), held June 19–23, 2016. The Congress was organized by the International Society of Groundwater for Sustainable Development (ISGSD). The theme of As2016 was arsenic research and global sustainability. Dr. Ana Navas-Acien delivered a plenary presentation, "Arsenic and cardiovascular disease: 100 years advancing epidemiologic research." Dr. Navas-Acien also chaired a session on Arsenic and Health. Dr. Faruque Parvez gave an invited keynote talk, "Arsenic exposure, non-malignant respiratory outcomes and immune modulation in the health effects of arsenic longitudinal study (HEALS).” Dr. Parvez also chaired a session on Arsenic and Genomic Studies. During this session, Dr. Poojitha Balakrishnan, a Postdoctoral Fellow at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health working with Dr. Navas-Acien, presented, “AS3MT, Locus 10q24 and arsenic metabolism biomarkers in American Indians: The Strong Heart Family Study.” Columbia SRP Associate Director Dr. Alexander van Geen and Dr. Kazi Matin Ahmed from the University of Dhaka presented a keynote talk, "Mitigation of the impact of groundwater arsenic on human health and rice yield in Bangladesh: solutions for overcoming the current stagnation." Dr. van Geen moderated a panel discussion, "Scaling safe drinking water access – past, present and way forward for sustainable development solutions." He also presented a progress report on the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP) entitled "International drilling to recover aquifer sands (IDRAs)" and solicited community input for the next ICDP proposal. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Ph.D. student Ms. Brittany Huhmann, advised by Dr. Charles Harvey, presented her research in collaboration with Dr. van Geen, "Replacement of arsenic-contaminated soil for improved rice yields in Bangladesh". Dr. van Geen substituted for Dr. Abida Farooqi from Quaid-I-Azam University in Islamabad to present their collaborative work, "Arsenic exposure in drinking water a growing health threat: well testing in outskirts of Lahore to identify wells low in arsenic to mitigate the As crisis in Pakistan." Dr. van Geen also substituted for Ms. Runti Choudhury, Ph.D. student in the Department of Civil Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati and recipient of a Fulbright-Nehru Doctoral Research Fellowship, to present their collaborative work, "Sedimentary controls on arsenic mobilization in groundwater of aquifers in the Brahmaputra River Valley in Assam." 

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April 2016

Human Rights Watch Report Draws Attention to Arsenic in Bangladesh’s Rural Drinking Water Supply

The international nongovernmental organization Human Rights Watch investigated the issue of arsenic in the drinking water of rural Bangladesh and on April 6, 2016 released a report of this study titled Nepotism and Neglect: The Failing Response to Arsenic in the Drinking Water of Bangladesh’s Rural Poor. The Human Rights Watch report finds that the official response to arsenic contamination of drinking water in Bangladesh’s rural villages is failing. It identifies a need for a comprehensive national-level arsenic mitigation strategy for Bangladesh and recommends that the government of Bangladesh adopt a national plan to end arsenic exposure through drinking water and target new water points in the areas where the risk of arsenic contamination is high. The report is based on field work conducted in five villages in Bangladesh, 134 interviews, and the analysis of approximately 125,000 government water points installed between 2006 and 2012. The Human Rights Watch investigation was informed by a research study conducted in Araihazar by Columbia SRP scientists Alexander van Geen, Kazi Matin Ahmed, Ershad Bin Ahmed, Imtiaz Choudhurry, M. Rajib Mozumder, Benjamin Bostick, and Brian Mailloux and published in the March 2016 issue of the Journal of Water Sanitation and Hygiene for Development in the article “Inequitable allocation of deep community wells for reducing arsenic exposure in Bangladesh.”

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