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Research will look at exposure of children to chemicals in household dust
SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) awarded $1,350,000 in funding to the University of California, Davis, to develop an innovative method for determining children’s indoor dust ingestion rates. The method uses unique tracer compounds identified in household dusts. This is part of $9,272,545 in funding awarded to seven institutions for research to better estimate children’s chemical exposures from soil and dust ingestion. Accurate, comprehensive measurements of soil and dust ingestion rates are critical for effective risk assessment, reduction, mitigation and prevention measures.
“EPA is deeply committed to protecting children’s health,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Laboratory Services & Applied Science Division Director Duane James. “This research will help us to better understand and address children’s exposure to chemicals through ingestion of indoor dust.”
Young children may ingest significant quantities of soil and dust because they often play on the ground and put their hands and other objects into their mouths that can have dust or soil on them. For children, especially those six months through six years of age, soil and dust ingestion can be a major route of exposure to chemicals such as lead, mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and asbestos. The research awards announced today will focus on improving estimates of children’s ingestion rates of these chemicals. Accurate, comprehensive measurements of soil and dust ingestion rates are critical for effective risk assessment, reduction, mitigation and prevention measures.
EPA’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Program, which funded today’s awards, aims to stimulate and support scientific and engineering research that advances EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment. It is a competitive, peer-reviewed, extramural research program that provides access to the nation’s best scientists and engineers in academic and other nonprofit research institutions. The STAR program funds research on the environmental and public health effects of air quality, climate change, environmental justice, water quality and quantity, hazardous waste, toxic substances and pesticides.
The other six recipients are:
- University of Nevada, Reno, Nev., to develop an integrative approach for estimating children’s soil and dust ingestion rates.
- Emory University, Atlanta, Ga., to conduct community-based research to understand and mitigate chemical contaminant exposure among children in neighborhoods with high lead and heavy metal contamination in soils around West Atlanta.
- Florida International University, Miami, Fla., to estimate soil and dust ingestion rates in children by identifying specific tracers of dust and soil exposure combined with relevant environmental information.
- Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md., to create an integrated and innovative portfolio of tools and approaches to assess dust and soil exposures for children ages six months to six years via activity pattern and tracer studies.
- New York University, New York, N.Y., to evaluate specific home environment factors and practices that lead to elevated levels of individual toxic substances ingestible by infants. It hopes to evaluate mitigation strategies to reduce infants’ exposure to harmful chemicals in household dust.
- North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Greensboro, N.C., to obtain data on dust loading on various objects and surfaces in children’s homes, foods and children’s hands. It will also conduct computer-aided investigations about children’s hand contacts and mouthing patterns.
Learn more about these projects: https://cfpub.epa.gov/ncer_abstracts/index.cfm/fuseaction/recipients.display/rfa_id/666/records_per_page/ALL.
Learn more about EPA’s research grants program: https://www.epa.gov/research-grants.
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