EPA Science Matters Newsletter
EPA's Science Matters newsletter delivers the latest from EPA's Office of Research and Development straight to your inbox. Keep scrolling to read recent stories. Sign up to receive the newsletter.
EPA Researchers Update Tool to Support Contaminated Groundwater Cleanup at a Superfund Site in Kansas City
February 2, 2023 - Groundwater, the water found below the Earth’s surface within the cracks and crevices of soil, sand, and rock, can be particularly challenging to treat. EPA researcher Dr. Mohamed Hantush recently helped update a computer modeling tool that hydrogeologists can use to simulate the flow of groundwater accurately and efficiently through aquifers. The tool helps site cleanup professionals better understand how groundwater moves through and around a cleanup site and improves groundwater treatment plans. Read EPA Researchers Update Tool to Support Contaminated Groundwater Cleanup at a Superfund Site in Kansas City.
EPA Researchers Update the Air Sensor Guidebook
February 2, 2023 - Are you interested in starting a community air monitoring project using air sensors? EPA researchers have released a helpful resource for you: the Enhanced Air Sensor Guidebook. The Guidebook identifies best practices for using air sensors and provides recommendations for planning and implementing a study to save time, effort, and money and ultimately help users collect useful data. Read EPA Researchers Update the Air Sensor Guidebook.
EPA Research Contributes to Using Alternatives to Screen Chemicals for Endocrine Disruption
February 2, 2023 - EPA announced the release of a draft White Paper Availability of New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) in the Endocrine Disruptor Screening Program (EDSP) for public comment via the Federal Register. The paper describes validated NAMs that could be used as alternatives for certain EDSP tests. EPA researchers helped develop some of the NAMs discussed in the White Paper, including the estrogen receptor pathway model and the androgen receptor pathway model. Read EPA Research Contributes to Using Alternatives to Screen Chemicals for Endocrine Disruption.
EPA Scientist Serves as Air Resource Advisor on the McKinney Fire Modeling Smoke and Air Quality
January 17, 2023 - Last summer, a lightning-induced wildfire in Klamath National Forest in Northern California quickly grew to more than 50,000 acres. Soon after, EPA scientist Dr. John Iiames traveled to Yreka, California, to lend his expertise in air quality and smoke modeling and serve as an Air Resource Advisor to the response team. Read EPA Scientist Serves as Air Resource Advisor on the McKinney Fire Modeling Smoke and Air Quality.
Research Reflections and Looking to the New Year
December 13, 2022 - The end of one year and the start of another is a time for reflection. We asked EPA researchers what they are most proud of accomplishing in 2022 and what they most looking forward to working on in the new year. Read Research Reflections and Looking to the New Year.
Diatoms – Solving an Identity Issue
December 13, 2022 - Diatoms, single-celled algae found in almost all aquatic habitats, are incredible indicators of water quality and ecosystem health. Diatoms are collected during EPA’s National Aquatic Resource Surveys (NARS) but they are not yet included as a biological indicator in the assessments because of a lack of consistency in the identification of Diatom species. EPA researchers are making progress in diatom taxonomy so these algae could be a valuable asset to determine the biological condition of our nation’s waters. Read Diatoms – Solving an Identity Issue.
Nature’s Gifts – Ecosystem Goods and Services
December 13, 2022 - Ecosystems produce the many life-sustaining benefits we receive from nature. Read about a few of the resources and tools EPA researchers have developed to help people better understand, appreciate, and sustain these gifts. Read Nature’s Gifts – Ecosystem Goods and Services.
From Wildfire Smoke to PFAS: Innovative EPA Scientists Address Longstanding Research Gaps
December 13, 2022 - Through the Pathfinder Innovation Projects program, EPA researchers pursue their own novel research ideas that may improve public health and the environment. Read about how EPA researchers are using this program to study microorganisms in wildfire smoke plumes and study how PFAS accumulates and remains in the body. Read From Wildfire Smoke to PFAS: Innovative EPA Scientists Address Longstanding Research Gaps.
Five Hands-on Lesson Plans: Using Air Sensors to Teach About Air Quality
December 13, 2022 - Are you interested in learning about air quality and air sensors? Check out the hands-on lesson plans designed by EPA scientists and collaborators to encourage air quality education in communities and classrooms. Using air sensor technology, participants of all ages can use information in their own communities to explore real-time air quality and air pollution concepts. Read Five Hands-on Lesson Plans: Using Air Sensors to Teach About Air Quality.
EPA Researching the Impacts of Freshwater Salinization Syndrome
November 29, 2022 - Human activities such as road salt application, mining and oil production, and fertilizer application can lead to increasing freshwater salinization. EPA researchers are working to understand the magnitude, scale, and scope of freshwater salinization, which can harm aquatic life, pollute drinking water sources, and damage infrastructure. Read EPA Researching the Impacts of Freshwater Salinization Syndrome.
One Health Assessment: Fish Returning to the Penobscot River
November 29, 2022 - Many fish species have returned to the Penobscot river after a long effort to restore the river's fisheries. However, with the return of the fish came the concern of whether they carry contaminants that may pose various health concerns to tribal members and wildlife. EPA researchers worked with the Penobscot Indian Nation and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to gain a better understanding of the contaminant levels in fish that return to the river each year to spawn. Read One Health Assessment: Fish Returning to the Penobscot River.
Remediation of Fentanyl Contaminated Indoor Environments
November 29, 2022 - Drug-contaminated buildings pose a threat to public health, threaten community revitalization efforts, and pose challenges for federal, state, local, and Tribal governments and first responders. EPA researchers investigated methods to degrade fentanyl safely by determining what effective and efficient mechanisms exist to clean an area contaminated with fentanyl and whether such technologies can also be used for decontamination of personal protective equipment materials used during emergency responses. Read Remediation of Fentanyl Contaminated Indoor Environments.
Tracking Wildfire Smoke: EPA Researchers Make Better Maps with Drones
November 8, 2022 - Scientists take air quality measurements during wildfires to better understand the chemistry of the smoke and improve models used to predict where the smoke will travel. To safely take these measurements, EPA researchers have developed an air emission sensor and sampling instrument than can be used on an unmanned aircraft system, or drone. Read Tracking Wildfire Smoke: EPA Researchers Make Better Maps with Drones.
From Outer Space to Underwater: Determining Seagrass Health and Condition in Southern New England Waters Using High Resolution Remotely Sensed Imagery
October 25, 2022 - Seagrass is a critical habitat for many fish species and also sequesters carbon, serving as an important buffer to climate change. But obtaining data on seagrass distribution and condition can be costly. EPA researchers used historic and newly collected seagrass abundance data to determine if satellite images could be used to accurately estimate the location, abundance, and growth of seagrass in southern New England coastal waters. Read From Outer Space to Underwater: Determining Seagrass Health and Condition in Southern New England Waters Using High Resolution Remotely Sensed Imagery.
Preventing Algal Blooms with a “Pinch of Sugar”
October 25, 2022 - EPA researchers are looking at ways to inhibit the development of algae that can produce cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms. One method they are studying is adding a food source to water that would allow other bacteria to better compete with the cyanobacteria and prevent or reduce the development of these harmful algal blooms. Read Preventing Algal Blooms with a “Pinch of Sugar”.
In the Field with EPA: Seagrass Sampling to Expand a Nutrient Pollution Indicator
October 11, 2022 - Native seagrasses are a foundation of healthy marine ecosystems. But excess nutrients in water and invasive species can hurt these important plants. EPA is working with partners in Puerto Rico on a new project to evaluate the potential applicability of a nutrient pollution indicator for tropical seagrasses that could ultimately help states protect them. Read In the Field with EPA: Seagrass Sampling to Expand a Nutrient Pollution Indicator.
EPA Researchers Release Cumulative Impacts Report, Prioritizing Environmental Justice in New Research Cycle
October 11, 2022 - Cumulative impacts are the totality of exposures to combinations of chemical and non-chemical stressors and their effects on health, well-being, and quality of life outcomes. A new report defines cumulative impacts and shows the various research areas that can use this evolving concept. Read EPA Researchers Release Cumulative Impacts Report, Prioritizing Environmental Justice in New Research Cycle.
EPA Researchers Develop New Air Monitoring Technology to Understand Leaks and Irregular Emissions from Sources
October 11, 2022 - EPA is conducting critical research to protect and improve the quality of our air. One research initiative is looking at “fugitive emissions” which are difficult to measure and model because they escape through leaks, industrial processes, and other industrial activities making them hard to track. Read EPA Researchers Develop New Air Monitoring Technology to Understand Leaks and Irregular Emissions from Sources.
Bridging the Gap: Equitable Investment in City Greenspace
September 27, 2022 - Runoff from stormwater continues to be a major cause of water pollution in urban areas. To address this problem, cities are increasingly using green infrastructure—a variety of practices that use soil and vegetation to capture, filter, and reduce stormwater. EPA designed a framework to support the use of green infrastructure by assisting communities in making informed decisions surrounding stormwater planning and management. Read Bridging the Gap: Equitable Investment in City Greenspace.
Water You Waiting For? Analyze Multiple Water Samples Simultaneously with a New Field Device!
September 27, 2022 - Sometimes a research challenge leads to the invention of a cutting edge technology. While onsite at a water treatment plant, EPA engineer David Wahman’s team needed to measure free chlorine from parallel filters. To fill this need, Wahman created and patented the Sample Device for Mobile Water Analysis to support the simultaneous analysis of multiple water samples when using a mobile water analysis device.Read Water You Waiting For? Analyze Multiple Water Samples Simultaneously with a New Field Device!
EPA Researchers Test Mortality Management Approaches to Reduce Potential Spread of African Swine Fever Virus
September 27, 2022 - African swine fever virus is a deadly pig disease that spreads rapidly and can affect domestic and wild swine. While it has never been detected in the U.S., it is important to find ways to protect our food supplies, the pork industry, and swine around the country in the event of an outbreak. EPA researchers and responders are working with USDA’s Animal Plant Health Inspection Service to develop disease control measures and test approaches to manage infected waste, including mortality management. Read EPA Researchers Test Mortality Management Approaches to Reduce Potential Spread of African Swine Fever Virus.
New Updates to the CompTox Chemicals Dashboard and Generalized Read-Across (GenRA) Web-Application Tool
September 27, 2022 - Traditional toxicity testing can be time and resource intensive. To fill this gap, EPA researchers are developing and improving tools, databases, and resources to determine chemical safety in a more efficient, data driven way. New versions of the CompTox Chemicals Dashboard and GenRA bring added features and more data to meet the evolving needs of chemical risk assessment. Read New Updates to the CompTox Chemicals Dashboard and Generalized Read-Across (GenRA) Web-Application Tool.
Kids in the Captain’s Seat: Summer Day Camp on the Lake Explorer II Research Vessel
September 13, 2022 - Ever wanted to experience a day in the life of a Great Lakes scientist? This summer, students joined EPA scientists for a day on the Lake Explorer II research vessel. The group spent the day on Lake Superior learning about limnology, Great Lakes biology, and what it means to be a scientist. Read Kids in the Captain’s Seat: Summer Day Camp on the Lake Explorer II Research Vessel.
EPA Researchers Partner with WaterStep to Deliver Clean Water During Emergencies
September 13, 2022 - In the wake of disasters, many communities lack the infrastructure needed to deliver safe and clean water. To address this challenge, EPA researchers partnered with WaterStep to develop a modular, mobile water treatment system known as the Water on Wheels – Mobile Emergency Water Treatment System, or the WOW cart. The WOW cart can quickly and cost-effectively provide safe drinking water to affected communities following a disaster. Read EPA Researchers Partner with WaterStep to Deliver Clean Water During Emergencies.
EPA and USDA Leading Effort to Innovate the Next Generation of Industrial Fertilizers
September 13, 2022 - While fertilizers have helped us make great strides in agriculture, their improper use can lead to water and air pollution and other negative impacts. EPA and partners recently ran two challenge competitions to accelerate the development and use of new fertilizer technologies that can reduce environmental impacts. Read EPA and USDA Leading Effort to Innovate the Next Generation of Industrial Fertilizers.
Down by the Seashore: EPA Corals Lab Helps Protect Coral Reefs
August 29, 2022 - Coral reefs are declining at alarming rates from both natural and human-made threats. These reefs, sometimes called “rainforests of the sea,” are an important part of the ecosystem. At EPA's lab in Gulf Breeze, Florida, scientists address some of the pressing issues affecting coral reefs including dredging, plastic pollution, higher ocean temperatures, and changing ocean chemistry. Read Down by the Seashore: EPA Corals Lab Helps Protect Coral Reefs.
EPA Researchers Partner with Canadian Researchers to Ensure Effective Responses to Oil Spills
August 29, 2022 - Through a cooperative research agreement with Canada, EPA researchers are helping advance the science of oil spill clean ups. The research team looked at the impacts of various oil spill cleanup methods, including on aquatic life. This information will help responders make science-based decisions during oil spills. Read EPA Researchers Partner with Canadian Researchers to Ensure Effective Responses to Oil Spills.
School is in Session! EPA’s Summer Science Institute brings EPA Science to NC Students
August 16, 2022 - EPA’s Summer Science Institute brought EPA science to North Carolina students. The free week-long program for rising 11th and 12th graders aimed to increase students’ knowledge about EPA and its mission to protect human health and the environment. Read School is in Session! EPA’s Summer Science Institute brings EPA Science to NC Students.
Partners Collaborate in Smoke-Ready Communities Research to Enhance Local Readiness for Wildfires
August 16, 2022 - Wildfire smoke is continuing to impact the health of many people in fire-prone areas in the United States this summer. EPA and the U.S. Forest Service are working with two communities that are increasingly impacted by wildfires to create smoke response plans. The results can be used by other health professionals to assist communities with developing their own smoke-ready plans. Read Partners Collaborate in Smoke-Ready Communities Research to Enhance Local Readiness for Wildfires.
A Better Way: An Application for Risk Characterization of HABs on the Ohio River
August 2, 2022 - In 2015, an unprecedented algal bloom in the Ohio River caught many communities by surprise. Since then, EPA researchers have been working with water quality managers to address a gap in scientific research regarding the ability to predict harmful algal blooms on rivers. Read A Better Way: An Application for Risk Characterization of HABs on the Ohio River.
EPA Grantees Advance Use and Applications of Air Monitoring Sensors to Protect Public Health
August 2, 2022 - EPA grantees developed a toolkit to help California communities select, use, and maintain low-cost air sensors and interpret the collected data. The grantee research team engaged, educated, and empowered communities to understand the benefits of using low-cost air sensors to track air quality. Read EPA Grantees Advance Use and Applications of Air Monitoring Sensors to Protect Public Health.
Monkeypox: Applying What We Know About Biological Agents to Prepare for Emerging Public Health Threats
July 19, 2022 - EPA researchers have been studying the persistence of biological agents, including pox viruses, under various conditions for over a decade. This information has been crucial for public health officials responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now it is being used to assist state, local, and tribal communities in instituting preventative measures that will reduce the spread of the monkeypox virus. Read Monkeypox: Applying What We Know About Biological Agents to Prepare for Emerging Public Health Threats.
How Do Pesticides Affect Frogs? EPA Researchers Conduct Uptake and Toxicity Studies to Find Out
July 19, 2022 - Frogs have unique contamination routes and can be directly and indirectly exposed to pesticides throughout different stages of their life cycles. To help address this problem, EPA scientists have conducted multiple studies over a 10-year period to better understand how pesticides affect juvenile and adult frogs. Read How Do Pesticides Affect Frogs? EPA Researchers Conduct Uptake and Toxicity Studies to Find Out.
Nature’s Lawnmowers: How One EPA Facility Uses Goats for Eco-Friendly Landscaping
July 19, 2022 - Each summer, EPA's facility in Narragansett, Rhode Island, hosts a team of rescue goats to to clear the grounds of any unwanted or overgrown plants. These goat landscapers (known as goatscapers) are brought in to manage the lawns in place of using traditional landscaping practices. The goats clear invasive and overgrown plants, and in turn, they have lots of food to eat. Read Nature’s Lawnmowers: How One EPA Facility Uses Goats for Eco-Friendly Landscaping.
EPA Research Improves Air Quality Information for the Public on the AirNow Fire and Smoke Map
July 5, 2022- Air sensors have become increasingly popular for measuring air pollution across the United States, particularly during wildfires. EPA researchers want to make it easier to compare the data from air sensors with data from highly accurate monitors. Read EPA Research Improves Air Quality Information for the Public on the AirNow Fire and Smoke Map.
EPA Researchers Monitor Contamination in the Coeur d’Alene River Basin by Measuring Swan Waste
June 22, 2022- EPA researchers are using a One Health approach to monitor contamination in the Coeur d’Alene River basin. By monitoring the feeding habits and lead levels of a local migratory bird, the Tundra Swan, the research team can learn more about the contamination levels in the river basin and monitor the ongoing clean-up effort. Read EPA Researchers Monitor Contamination in the Coeur d’Alene River Basin by Measuring Swan Waste.
CyANWeb Tool Helps Monitor Water Quality to Detect Early Warning Signs of Harmful Algal Blooms
June 22, 2022- Harmful algal blooms (HABs) can increase drinking water treatment costs for communities and impact recreational areas such as lakes. To notify communities about potential HABs, EPA researchers created CyANWeb, an online tool that can help federal, state, tribal, and local partners identify when a HAB may be forming where people swim, fish, or boat. Read CyANWeb Tool Helps Monitor Water Quality to Detect Early Warning Signs of Harmful Algal Blooms.
Getting to Know Communities and Cultures: EPA Using Social Science to Protect Human Health and the Environment
June 22, 2022- Hurricanes, severe storms, and flooding impact millions of people and cause billions of dollars of damage every year. EPA researchers are using social science approaches—which involve analyzing social behavior of human beings—to better understand the needs of those impacted from a hurricane or severe storm and providing outreach and education that promotes community resilience following a disaster. Read Getting to Know Communities and Cultures: EPA Using Social Science to Protect Human Health and the Environment.
EPA Scientists and Partners Team Up to Tackle Cape Cod’s Nutrient Pollution and Protect Water Quality
June 7, 2022- Like many places in the country, Cape Cod’s coastal waters are under stress from excess nutrients. EPA researchers are collaborating with federal, state, and community partners with the common goal of restoring the water quality and natural ecosystems on which the region depends. Read EPA Scientists and Partners Team Up to Tackle Cape Cod’s Nutrient Pollution and Protect Water Quality.
Protecting Your Health from Air Pollution with Diets Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
June 7, 2022-Can regularly consuming omega-3 fatty acids help protect you from outdoor air pollution? EPA’s PISCES study, named for the Latin word for “the fish,” has shown that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids may help to reduce adverse effects of air pollution on the cardiovascular system in the short term. Read Protecting Your Health from Air Pollution with Diets Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
EPA Creates Database to Find Thermal Treatment Processes for Remediating PFAS
June 7, 2022-Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) persist in the environment and can be hard to destroy. EPA's PFAS Thermal Treatment Database (PFASTT) is an easy-to-use online tool that provides referenced information on the use of different thermal treatment processes for the remediation of PFAS. PFASTT can be used to help make decisions for effective PFAS treatment processes, plan for future treatment plant upgrades, recognize research needs, and more. Read EPA Creates Database to Find Thermal Treatment Processes for Remediating PFAS.
EPA Expands Air Monitoring Capabilities to Support Wildfire-Impacted States, Tribes and Their Frontline Firefighters
June 7, 2022- Sharing current and accurate information about wildfire smoke is very important to people in areas affected by wildfires, especially where monitoring data are sparse or absent. During the 2022 wildfire season, EPA is helping federal, state, local and tribal organizations monitor and map smoke during wildfire events by sharing equipment in areas that are affected by wildfire smoke. Read EPA Expands Air Monitoring Capabilities to Support Wildfire-Impacted States, Tribes and Their Frontline Firefighters.
Making Microplastic Identification More Accessible
May 24, 2022 - Given their variety in size and shape, there's no "one-size-fits-all" approach for measuring microplastics in the environment. Researchers at EPA recently developed a new method for identifying and counting microplastics in environmental sediment samples. Learn about their new method and how they recently used it in a case study in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island. Read Making Microplastic Identification More Accessible.
EPA Experts Support the Next Generation of Environmental Researchers at Student Design Contest
May 24, 2022 - As part of a national design contest, EPA planned and co-sponsored a task for students to design an online system for monitoring virus removal for water reuse. The teams presented innovative, well-designed, and practical solutions that EPA researchers and others can further consider as they continue to advance the science of water reuse. Read EPA Experts Support the Next Generation of Environmental Researchers at Student Design Contest.
Operators, Transform and Roll Out! Repurposing Commercial and Municipal Equipment for Disaster Response
May 24, 2022 - During a large-scale disaster, it can be costly and sometimes impossible to rely on specialized equipment or highly trained individuals to operate the technology needed to respond. EPA is collaborating with the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate to identify and evaluate commercial and municipal equipment --such as a road salt truck, a fire truck, or a golf course maintenance vehicle--that can rapidly be repurposed for emergency response activities. Read Operators, Transform and Roll Out! Repurposing Commercial and Municipal Equipment for Disaster Response.
Advancing EPA’s Understanding of the Next Generation of Pesticides
May 9, 2022 - Over the past decade, EPA has received an increasing number of pesticide product applications that potentially contain nanomaterials. To help the Agency evaluate this emerging technology, an EPA research team conducted an exhaustive search for patents and published literature related to nanopesticides to understand the state-of-the-science. Read Advancing EPA’s Understanding of the Next Generation of Pesticides.
Win-Win: Using Green Infrastructure to Maximize Ecosystem Benefits
May 9, 2022 - EPA researchers are working together to advance green infrastructure techniques in communities around the country. Learn about their efforts - including work with partners in St. Louis to improve stormwater management and more equitably address a range of other community needs through environmental improvement projects. Read Win-Win: Using Green Infrastructure to Maximize Ecosystem Benefits.
EPA’s Reactive Fish Sculpture Turns Water Quality Data into Art
April 26, 2022- EPA’s Village Blue Lake Pontchartrain project is showcasing science through art in New Orleans. EPA scientists engineered Gil, a reactive fish sculpture, using electronics and LED lights to show changes in water quality data from two different USGS sensor sites – one on Lake Pontchartrain and the other on the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Read EPA’s Reactive Fish Sculpture Turns Water Quality Data into Art.
In the Field with EPA: Monitoring the Impact of Wildfires and Woodsmoke on Indoor Air Quality
April 12, 2022 - EPA researchers are working with Tribal and community partners on a multi-faceted study to develop new solutions and approaches for reducing wildfire smoke exposures. During the pandemic, the team has sometimes had to get creative to keep their research going. Learn about how they worked together to keep making progress over the last year. Read In the Field with EPA: Monitoring the Impact of Wildfires and Woodsmoke on Indoor Air Quality.
Restoring a Unique Area in Northwest Indiana
April 12, 2022 - The Grand Calumet River, flowing mainly through northwestern Indiana, is in one of the most heavily industrialized areas in the United States. The river has been recognized as an Area of Concern since the 1980s largely due to legacy pollutants. EPA scientists are providing technical assistance to several projects associated with restoring the Grand Calumet River. Read Restoring a Unique Area in Northwest Indiana.
Mini Superstars for Aquatic Research: Stable Isotopes
March 29, 2022 - Monitoring the nation’s water quality is a fundamental part of EPA’s work. To conduct part of this monitoring, EPA scientists get help from some very small assistants – stable isotopes. Stable isotopes measured within water samples help researchers determine many things about water quality and the surrounding environment. Read Mini Superstars for Aquatic Research: Stable Isotopes.
Meet Acting Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development, Maureen Gwinn, Ph.D., DABT
March 29, 2022 - Maureen Gwinn is Acting Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development, the scientific research arm of EPA. Maureen also serves as EPA's Chief Scientist. Read more about her work in Meet Acting Assistant Administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development, Maureen Gwinn, Ph.D., DABT.
EPA Researchers Share Approaches to Identify Lead Service Lines
March 15, 2022 - One of the most common sources of lead in drinking water is old lead service lines. Given the public health risks, there is a need to identify lead service lines on both public and private property so that they can be removed. EPA researchers published a paper discussing several promising approaches that utilities can use for identifying lead service lines. Read EPA Researchers Share Approaches to Identify Lead Service Lines.
EPA Researchers Exploring Innovative Treatment for Lead in Soil
March 15, 2022 - EPA researchers are working to reduce childhood lead exposure by exploring new ways to clean up lead in contaminated sites. One approach is using soil additives which interact with lead in soil and reduce it's bioavailability if ingested. Their latest study looks at how a specific soil treatment affects lead interactions in the body, providing new insights into its potential as a soil amendment. Read EPA Researchers Exploring Innovative Treatment for Lead in Soil.
Study Shows Some Household Materials Burned in Wildfires Can be More Toxic Than Others
March 1, 2022 - When wildfires reach urban areas, the materials burned may contain more toxic chemicals than those from wildfires that consume wood and other natural materials. EPA researchers developed a unique combustion system to obtain near real-world results on the health effects of smoke from wildfires and prescribed fires. This research will provide important safety information for future wildfires. Read Study Shows Some Household Materials Burned in Wildfires Can be More Toxic Than Others.
How Climate Change May Impact Ozone Pollution and Public Health through the 21st Century
February 15, 2022 - Warmer temperatures, caused by climate change, are expected to increase the amount of ozone and particulate matter in the air. EPA researchers conducted an extensive modeling study of the impacts of climate change on air quality in the United States and the implications for public health. Read How Climate Change May Impact Ozone Pollution and Public Health through the 21st Century.
EPA Researchers Develop Tool That Helps Water Quality Managers Meet Nutrient Load Targets
February 15, 2022 - Nutrient pollution is one of America’s most widespread, costly, and challenging environmental problems. To help water quality managers reduce nutrient pollution, EPA researchers developed the River Basin Export Reduction Optimization Support Tool, a regional online tool currently available for the Upper Connecticut River Basin that provides low-cost solutions to meet nutrient load targets. Read EPA Researchers Develop Tool That Helps Water Quality Managers Meet Nutrient Load Targets.
EPA Scientists Study the Carbon-Storing Power of Seagrass to Fight Climate Change
February 1, 2022- Seagrass meadows make up a powerful carbon storage system—one that, if properly managed, could help rein in global carbon dioxide emissions responsible for climate change. To get a better picture of how much carbon is stored in seagrass meadows, EPA researchers in New England sampled seagrass and sediments from 11 meadows in the region. Read EPA Scientists Study the Carbon-Storing Power of Seagrass to Fight Climate Change.
Advancing the Potential for Stormwater Reuse: Investigation of Water Quality and Treatment
February 1, 2022- Managing stormwater runoff is a complex environmental challenge for communities across the country. One potential option? Reuse. EPA researchers collaborated with partners on a project to evaluate samples from stormwater collection systems that could potentially be harvested for landscaping and agricultural irrigation near Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Minneapolis. Read Advancing the Potential for Stormwater Reuse: Investigation of Water Quality and Treatment.
UV-LED Showerhead Invention Reduces Risk of Legionella Contamination
February 1, 2022- It's difficult to prevent Legionella in premise plumbing systems due to its persistence in biofilm, resistance to disinfection, and complex microbial ecology in pipe wall surface area. EPA researcher Hodon Ryu invented a showerhead that uses low power ultraviolet (UV) light emitting diodes to significantly reduce the risk of contamination. Read UV-LED Showerhead Invention Reduces Risk of Legionella Contamination.
EPA Researchers Evaluate Potential Aerosol Treatment Technologies to Reduce Virus in the Air
January 19, 2022 - Increasing ventilation, upgrading air filtration, and wearing well-fitting masks are all effective ways to reduce the concentration of virus in the air. However, there are certain situations where these strategies and social distancing can be difficult to implement. To help with this, EPA researchers are evaluating different types of aerosol treatment technologies that could potentially be used to reduce the amount of virus and pathogens in the air in occupied spaces, such as in schools or offices. Read EPA Researchers Evaluate Potential Aerosol Treatment Technologies to Reduce Virus in the Air.
EPA Researchers Explore Technology to Destroy PFAS
January 19, 2022 - Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances, otherwise known as PFAS, are a large group of human-made organic compounds with properties that make many of them persistent in the environment. EPA researchers may have found an effective method to destroy PFAS in a way that has potential for larger scale—called Supercritical Water Oxidation. Read EPA Researchers Explore Technology to Destroy PFAS.
From Challenge & Prize Competition to Test Prototype: The Nitrogen Sensor That Could Change Residential Onsite Wastewater Treatment
January 19, 2022 - The winner of the Advanced Septic System Nitrogen Sensor Challenge has developed a nitrogen sensor that could change residential onsite wastewater treatment. Read about the winning prototype, called the Stony Brook Nitrogen Sensor, which provides real-time nitrogen concentration and performance data on innovative and alternative systems, eliminating the need for expensive manual sample collection. Read From Challenge & Prize Competition to Test Prototype: The Nitrogen Sensor That Could Change Residential Onsite Wastewater Treatment.
EPA Releases Updated New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) Work Plan
January 19, 2022 - Last month, EPA released an updated New Approach Methods (NAMs) Work Plan to reduce the use of animals and revolutionize chemical testing. The plan describes EPA’s near and long-term strategies it will deploy through 2024 for continuing to establish scientific confidence in NAMs and to show how NAMs can be applied to regulatory decisions. Read EPA Releases Updated New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) Work Plan.