EPA Science Matters: PFAS support, air sensors, and organs-on-a-chip

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EPA Science Matters

June 19, 2018

EPA's Science Matters newsletter delivers the latest from EPA's Office of Research and Development straight to your inbox. Keep scrolling to read about recent news and upcoming events.

It’s National Pollinator Week!
It’s National Pollinator Week! Pictured: One of the first Monarch butterflies of the year visiting showy milkweed flowers in the EPA Pollinator Garden in Corvallis, Oregon. Photo by EPA's Bonnie Smith.

EPA Research Updates

EPA researchers are using their expertise to help states, tribes, and local governments with per- and poly-fluoralkyl substances. These chemicals, known as PFAS, do not break down easily in the environment and can have implications to human and environmental health. EPA researchers are helping communities identify and reduce PFAS chemicals at sites around the country.

For communities living close to industry, air pollution emissions may be a concern to health and well-being. EPA researchers are working with industry, states, and communities to develop low-cost and portable technologies that can be deployed next to an industrial complex for emissions testing. The goal is to modernize how emissions sources are managed so EPA can better protect the environment and save companies money.

EPA is working with grantees to develop predictive toxicology tools. These virtual tissue models, sometime referred to as “Organs on-a-chip,” provide a pathway for the development of new prediction techniques. They also have the potential to reduce dependence on animal study data and contribute to faster chemical risk assessments.

Burning oil spills has been a fast and relatively safe way to reduce the impact on water quality and marine life. However, burning oil can impact air quality and the oily residues left behind in the water can cause environmental damage. EPA and the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement are investigating ways to improve oil burn procedures that can lead to more efficient burning and less emissions and residue.  

Since the Nation’s primary chemical management law, the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), was amended in 2016, EPA researchers have been providing support for several important TSCA activities. EPA has met several key milestones and continues to move the state-of-the science forward. With the translation of this information for policy-makers and other stakeholders, a new era of chemical safety is becoming a reality.

Meet Our Researchers

Jeff Szabo

Meet EPA Scientist Jeff Szabo, Ph.D.

Jeff Szabo recently won an Arthur S. Flemming Award for his contributions to water infrastructure decontamination. He was instrumental in the design and construction of the Water Security Test Bed at the Idaho National Laboratory, a platform for performing drinking water security experiments in a setting that resembles real water pipes in the ground without any public health risk. His research also helped water systems respond to chemical spills in West Virginia in 2015 and Texas in 2016, and several oil spill incidents across the nation. Learn more about his work.


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