Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program
Fall 2013 Newsletter
Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program

Dartmouth hosts NH Arsenic Consortium

The Dartmouth RTC and CEC held a meeting of the NH Arsenic Consortium on September 12. Twenty-five people attended including representatives from the EPA, NH DES, NH DHHS, local towns, the medical community, the Dartmouth SRP program, and the Dartmouth Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Center. The group set new priorities, developed an action plan, and heard presentations from agency officials and academic researchers. Composed of academic and agency researchers, and representatives from health and environmental agencies, non-profit organizations and local towns, the Consortium seeks to provide the latest information to its members and the public, coordinate outreach and other intervention efforts, and prioritize tasks to have the greatest possible impact on reducing exposure to arsenic in food and drinking water and ultimately improving public health.


Dartmouth SRP Director, Bruce Stanton, visits the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

Dr. Stanton spoke to ATSDR staff on September 18th and presented "Organic Forms of Arsenic Have Untoward Effects on the Pseudomonas aeruginosa Induced Immune Response in Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells." Approximately 100 people attended in-person and others from the NIEHS, EPA and CDC/ATSDR attended by webinar. Dr. Stanton also met with scientists at the CDC/ATSDR and participated in the Public Health Perspective Panel Discussion that followed his presentation.

Study of Callahan Mine Superfund Site in Brooksville, ME suggests ongoing contamination

Dartmouth SRP researchers evaluated copper, zinc, cadmium, and lead concentrations in sediment, whole water, and Atlantic killifish (Fundulus heteroclitus) in Goose Pond Estuary, which is in Brooksville, Maine, adjacent to Penobscot Bay and the Callahan Mine. Callahan Mine is a former zinc/copper open-pit mine that was reputedly the only intertidal heavy metal mine in the world at the time of its operation. The mine ceased operations in 1972. Results of the study showed that killifish tissue had elevated levels of metals. The conclusions suggest (1) the contaminated sediment and seepage from a tailings impoundment and waste rock pile create a continual flux of metals into the water column, (2) the metals are bioavailable and bioconcentrating in killifish, and (3) Callahan Mine is directly affecting metal bioaccumulation in fauna in the Goose Pond estuary and, potentially, in Penobscot Bay by the way of trophic nekton relay. The study appears in the September issue of the Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology.

Study relates arsenic exposure at levels common in the US to Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Dartmouth SRP researchers conducted a population-based case–control study of a population in New Hampshire, USA. The results suggest that arsenic exposure at levels common in the US relates to squamous cell carcinoma and that arsenic metabolism ability does not modify the association. Read the full study in Environmental Health Perspectives.

Food At Risk

Discover Magazine's October issue cover story by Deborah Blum features research by Dartmouth Toxic Metals Superfund Research Program. Blum also recently blogged about the arsenic in our drinking water on Poison Pen, the New York Times Well Blog.

Arsenic Analysis of Rice-Based Food Products

Brian Jackson, Ph.D. presented research findings at the American Society for Mass Spectrometry Annual Meeting. Dr. Jackson's lab analyzed samples of food products and found levels of arsenic that could pose health risks.

Superfund Partnerships

The Harvard SRP distributed Dartmouth's movie, Mercury: From Source to Seafood, to communities associated with the Tar Creek, OK Superfund Site and assisted with the development of a postcard survey designed to evaluate the movie.

Celia Chen, Ph.D., assisted with the Arizona SRP's production of an informational brochure on the ways that mercury can affect health.

Dr. Chen also participated in the International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant in Edinburgh, Scotland this summer. The theme of the conference was "Science informing global policy,"  which has been the focus of the Dartmouth SRP C-MERC efforts to bring marine mercury science policy to the implementation of the new UNEP Minimata Convention on Mercury that is to be signed in Minimata Japan this month. At the meeting, program trainee Kate Buckman presented two posters on "the influence of epilithophytes on methylmercury bioaccumulation in a contaminated river system, Berlin, NH" and "Methylmercury bioaccumulation in zooplankton and fish from the Mediterranean Sea."