Perspectives on Public Health Nursing

Brown University Superfund Research Program Community Engagement Core Co-Leader Dr. Marcella Thompson presented a seminar entitled Perspectives on Public Health Nursing at Rhode Island College. She spoke about her role as a knowledge broker and her work with community organizations and Native American tribes. This seminar was attended by graduate students in the Masters’ Public Health Nursing program.

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Fracking Webinar Series with Society for Risk Analysis

Brown University, through its SRP RTC and the RI Society of Environmental Professionals, is serving as the Rhode Island host location for the Society for Risk Assessment webinar series “Scientific Studies on Impacts of Natural Gas Extraction from Marcellus Shale on Water Resources.” The third webinar was held on 3/13/14. Trevor Penning (University of Pennsylvania) presented on “Public Health Impacts of Hydrofracturing and Research Recommendations.” The monthly series will continue through June 2014. Slides are available by clicking HERE.

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Fish Counters Needed!

It has been a COLD winter and the herring are not running yet but we want to be ready when they are. We will start counting them as they return on April 1.

This year our counts will take place at our fish ladders at both Rising Sun Mills AND Riverside Park.

Thursday, March 27, Rising Sun Mills Fish Ladder, 166 Valley Street, Providence, RI – Come by any time between 11AM and 1PM. Sign up and training takes only about 15 minutes.

If you would like to count but cannot attend the training, contact Alicia Lehrer at or 401-861-9046.
For more information, email or call 401-861-9046.

The WRWC and the fish thank you!

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Communicating Risk to the Public

Brown’s SRP RTC is co-sponsoring/organizing a workshop with the Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association on March 27 and 28, 2014 on “Communicating Risk to the Public”. Speakers include James Rice (Brown SRP), Kim Boekelheide (Brown SRP), Laurie Rardin (Dartmouth SRP), Robert Vanderslice (Brown SRP), Madeleine Scammell (Boston SRP), Sunshine Menezes (Metcalf Institute), and Lenny Siegel (Center for Public Env. Oversight). The audience of over 100 registrants consists of state and EPA regulators and consultants typically involved in waste site cleanups.

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Vapor Intrusion Report Available

A DOD report that summarizes a meeting that Eric Suuberg and Kelly Pennell attended in December has been published. Although not explicitly referenced, a recent Brown SRP publication on Sewer Gas and Vapor Intrusion was discussed during the meeting and the DOD summary of sewer gas was at least in some part a result of that discussion. The report can be downloaded HERE. Sharing this site with colleagues will ultimately help DOD and ITRC in its tech transfer efforts.

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Marcella Thompson addresses global health class at University of Rhode Island

Community Engagement Core Co-Leader and State Agencies/Community Liaison Marcella Thompson spoke with University of Rhode Island undergraduate students about communicable diseases and their impact on global public health. Dr. Thompson spoke about the important roles of environment, exposure, and adaptation, and the impact of climate change on incidence of communicable diseases and pandemics. Students were very engaged in discussion with Dr. Thompson and Professor Schwartz-Barcott following the presentation.

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Kane and Hurt, SRP Project Leaders, at Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conf

Agnes Kane, Brown University pathology professor, spoke at the Metcalf seminar about whether nanoparticles might be an alternative to dispersants. She and Brown engineering professors Robert Hurt and Huajian Gao want to know if nano-sorbents, which can capture and sequester oil, are safer and more effective than dispersants in combating spills. COREXIT prevents slicks from forming on the ocean by suspending oil in the water as tiny particles, Kane noted. But larvae feed on those particles, larger organisms eat the larvae and toxins in the oil including benzene, benzopyrene and naphthalene move up the food chain and bio-accumulate. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has exposure limits for benzene, benzopyrene and naphthalene, which are known carcinogens. Kane said nanoparticles might be effective as sponges that sop up those toxins. Her interdisciplinary research is funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, and she is co-director of a training grant on nanotechnology from the U.S. Dept. of Education. Her dispersant-related research is also funded by the National Science Foundation, GoMRI and Brown University.”

Read the full story in the recent issue (March 4, 2014) of the Huffington Post.

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Speaking to High School Students about Vapor Intrusion

Dr. Eric Suuberg, leader of the Research Translation Core and Research Project 7, spoke with students at Alvarez High School in Providence, RI, about vapor intrusion. Alvarez High School is located on a vapor intrusion-impacted site, and a complex mitigation system is in place to prevent transport of subsurface contaminant vapors into the high school’s indoor air. Dr. Suuberg spoke about the history of the site, basics of vapor intrusion, and current research at the Brown Superfund Research Program. Students were very engaged in discussion with Dr. Suuberg and State Agencies Liaison, James Rice, after the presentation. See @Brown_SRP on Twitter for a picture from the seminar.

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A New Environmental Profession: the Knowledge Broker

Scientists and policy makers operate under very different time frames and professional priorities. Environmental research organizations should consider hiring knowledge brokers to ensure timely translation of scientific discoveries into regulations. At the Brown SRC, the State Agency Liaison (SAL) put knowledge broker skills to work at key times during the regulatory process. Read the full article in Yale Environmental Review.

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CALL FOR ABSTRACTS: Transport of Environmental Contaminants Related to Energy Processes

2014 AIChE Annual Meeting, Atlanta, Georgia

November 16-21, 2014
Abstract Deadline: May 12, 2014

The environment is contaminated by an array of pollutants stemming from energy-related activities such as the acquisition, refinement, combustion/utilization, and accidental release of fuels. This session emphasizes the understanding of contaminant transport in environmental media (e.g., air, groundwater, oceans, soil, etc.) and industrial operations. Papers are invited on topics including the physical, chemical and biological processes that pollutants undergo upon release; the effects of interacting mixtures and complex systems on contaminant fate and transport; remediation methods; release prevention; and other issues, challenges, and solutions on which laboratory, pilot, or field-scale studies shed light.

Please submit your abstracts using the “AIChE Abstract Submission System”. Any other inquiries should be directed to the symposium organizers:

James W Rice, Ph.D.
State Agencies Liaison
Postdoctoral Research Associate
Superfund Research Program
School of Engineering, Brown University

Megan A Creighton
Doctoral Candidate
Superfund Research Program
School of Engineering, Brown University

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