Recently in EPA Research: Children’s Health, Wildfire Smoke Guide, Ice Pigging, and More!

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July 2016
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Recently in EPA Research
truck that makes ice

Ice Pigging: Decontamination Method

EPA researchers at the Water Security Test Bed did an experiment to see if a method called „ice pigging“ could effectively remove anthrax from drinking water systems. Ice pigging is a physical method that scours the insides of the water pipe with an icy mixture called a „slurry,“ similar in texture to a frozen margarita. Learn more about the experiment in the blog Water Security Test Bed Experiments: Combating Contamination with Frozen Drinks?

Illustration of wildfire smoke

Wildfire Smoke Guide for Public Health Officials

When wildfires threaten, where can public officials, communities, and individuals turn for the most up-to-date public health guidance? The 2016 Wildfire Smoke: Guide for Public Health Officials. The guide’s recommendations are founded on scientific evidence, and EPA researchers have contributed much to the understanding of the adverse health effects of wildfire smoke. Read more about this updated guide in the blog We’re at Our Best When We Work Together: The 2016 Wildfire Smoke Guide for Public Health Officials.

Children playing outside

Children’s Environmental Health Research

This week EPA announced almost $28 million in joint funding with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to five Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers to promote health and well-being in communities where children live, learn, and play. Learn more about these research centers in the press release.

Oceans have a critical role in protecting the earth but are threatened by greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide. Some of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere eventually mixes with seawater and forms acid, causing ocean acidification. EPA is collecting data to better understand this problem. Learn more about ocean acidification from some of our researchers in this

dry, cracked earth Drought Resilience and Water Conservation

In many areas of the United States, the frequency, intensity, and duration of drought events are increasing. EPA is conducting research and working with stakeholders to better understand the impact of drought on water quality and availability, and to provide solutions to help communities conserve water. Learn more about Drought Resilience and Water Conservation.

Katherine Bartels

Summer in the Research Lab (external link)

Missouri University of Science and Technology student Katherine Bartels is spending the summer studying the Tillamook Bay salt marsh in Oregon through EPA’s Greater Research Opportunities Fellowship program. Learn more about her research project in the article Bartels travel west on ‚Grand Challenge‘ topic with EPA (external link).

storm drain

Water Research Grants (external link)

Last month, EPA announced two grants to the Water Environment and Reuse Foundation (WE&RF) for water research projects. The grants will help the foundation develop tools to assist communities with stormwater management and improve water reuse and water conservation. Researchers will also be examining the impact of emerging contaminants on public and ecological health. Read more about the research projects in the WE&RF press release (external link).

Administrator planting a tree

Why EPA is the Gold Standard for Environmental Protection around the World

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy recently wrote about why EPA is the gold standard for environmental protection around the world. One of her reasons: our cutting-edge research! Check out the whole list here.

Participants in the transform tox testing workshop

Transforming How We Measure Chemical Toxicity

The Transform Tox Testing Challenge was recently featured on the Health and Human Services Idea Lab blog. Read more about the challenge in the blog How EPA + NIH + Open Innovation Are Transforming How We Measure Chemical Toxicity. And earlier this month, the semi-finalists for the challenge participated in a workshop at EPA’s Research Triangle Park facility. See a photo of this in our July 15 Weekly Recap on our blog.


Goats Help EPA Protect Pollinators

EPA’s research facility in Narragansett, Rhode Island recently enlisted the help of a highly skilled landscaping team to create a more pollinator-friendly habitat on the premises: a herd of goats! Learn more about ‚goatscaping‘ in the blog It’s a Lawn Mower! It’s a Weed Whacker! No… it’s a Herd of Goats!

TSCA signing with President Obama

Toxic Substances Control Act

On Wednesday, June 22, President Obama signed a bill to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the first major update to any environmental statute in 20 years. Read EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy’s blog and the President’s remarks at the signing, during which he mentioned research being done on zebrafish.

Technology across the world

White House Impact Report on Science, Technology, and Innovation

Last month, the White House issued a list of 100 examples of leadership in building U.S. capacity in science, technology, and innovation. Some of EPA’s work was highlighted – our use of challenges and incentives, citizen science and crowdsourcing efforts, the Wildfire Science and Technology Task Force Final Report, and the Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Comprehensive Research Plan.

mushroom packaging Shout Out to EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research Program (external link)

Before Ecovative became a leading biomaterials company, they were just two recent college graduates with a big idea – to use mushrooms to grow an environmentally-friendly and sustainable replacement for Styrofoam. Early in their business, they were awarded with one of EPA’s Small Business Innovation Research Program contracts. Gavin McIntyre, co-founder and Chief Scientist at Ecovative Design, recently wrote a letter thanking all their supporters along the way. Read the letter: Investing in the Growth of our Collective Future (external link).


Green Infrastructure Research in Philadelphia

EPA has been helping the city of Philadelphia advance innovative urban stormwater control. Researchers with EPA’s Science to Achieve Results program are working with the Philadelphia Water Department to place sensors in the city’s rain gardens, tree trenches, and other green infrastructure sites to monitor and measure soil and water changes. The Philadelphia Inquirer recently highlighted the research in the article Philadelphia Keeps Stormwater out of Sewers to Protect Rivers (external link).


Intermittent River Ecology

Half of the world’s river networks are at least partially intermittent, meaning they have channels that are periodically dry. Due to human activities, perennial rivers (i.e., rivers with year-round continuous flow) are increasingly becoming intermittent – making intermittent river ecology a more popular research focus. Read more about this research in Dr. Ken Fritz’s blog Intermittent River Ecology: It’s Not a Dry Topic.

Larry Bock

Remembering Larry Bock

EPA’s Jim Johnson wrote a tribute to Lawrence (Larry) Bock, founder of the USA Science and Engineering Festival. Read about Larry’s passion for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education in the blog Remembrance of Lawrence A. Bock.

Meet the Researcher!

Learn more about what it’s like to be a scientist at EPA in our Researchers at Work profiles.

Angela Batt Research Chemist Angela Batt, Ph.D.

EPA research chemist, Angela Batt, Ph.D., works in EPA’s National Exposure Research Laboratory where she identifies contaminants of emerging concern in source and drinking water. When she is not researching how to keep our waters clean, Angela loves cooking – especially gluten-free foods! Read more.

Justin Conley Researcher Justin Conley

EPA’s Justin Conley is a postdoctoral researcher investigating the toxicity of endocrine disrupting chemicals and new approaches for water quality monitoring. When he is not in the lab, he is busy brewing beer and exploring the outdoors. Read more.

Tony Olsen Mathematical Statistician Tony Olsen

Wonder what an environmental mathematical statistician does? There is a one hundred percent chance you can find out from EPA’s Tony Olsen. Read more.

Upcoming Events: Get Involved and Learn More!

Interested in getting involved or learning more? Try to catch one of the following webinars or events going on in August.

Check out our Events page for even more!

Air monitor NACAA National Ambient Air Monitoring Conference

Monday, August 8 – Thursday, August 11, in St. Louis, MO

EPA in conjunction with the National Association of Clean Air Agencies (NACAA) is holding the National Ambient Air Monitoring Conference in St. Louis, Missouri on August 8th – 11th. The conference is intended to provide people with air monitoring experience with training, tools, and information to help prepare for the future of air monitoring. State, local, tribal, and international air quality staff as well as health researchers, dispersion modelers, data analysts, and air quality policy staff are encouraged to attend to gain additional perspectives on how air monitoring data are collected and utilized. For more information on the conference go here. To register, click here (external link). There is no fee to attend this conference.

Learn more about air monitoring research in last year’s special issue of Science Matters.

graphic of a molecule TSCA Public Meetings: Risk Evaluations and Chemical Prioritizations

Tuesday, August 9, and Wednesday, August 10 in Washington, DC

EPA will hold two public meetings to obtain input on the processes that will be used to prioritize and evaluate chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act as amended by the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. The input obtained during these meetings will be considered as EPA develops its proposed procedural regulations for risk evaluation and chemical prioritization.

The public meeting on August 9th will inform EPA’s proposed rule on conducting risk evaluations to determine whether a chemical presents an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment.

The meeting on August 10th will inform EPA’s proposed rule to establish a risk-based process for chemical prioritization.

Learn more.

Photo of a finger touching a computer chip

EPA Tools and Resources Webinar Series

Wednesday, August 17, 3:00-4:00PM ET

EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) hosts a Tools and Resources webinar the third Wednesday of each month to share our research, demonstrate tools, and seek input from our partners. These webinars are geared for representatives of state environment and health agencies, tribes, local governments, communities, and others interested in learning about EPA tools and resources available to help inform decision making. Learn more.

drinking glass full of water

13th Annual U.S. EPA Drinking Water Workshop

Tuesday, August 23 – Thursday, August 25 in Cincinnati, OH

EPA, in cooperation with the Association of State Drinking Water Administrators (ASDWA), has conducted an annual workshop for the past 12 years to provide timely information on a variety of drinking water topics relevant to small systems, including treatment technologies, drinking water regulations, compliance issues, and emerging contaminants. Past workshops have attracted up to 259 participants with as many as 100 state personnel representing over 40 state drinking water programs.

The 13th annual workshop will provide in-depth training and information on various solutions and strategies for handling small system problems and compliance challenges. Learn more.


RETIGO Training Webinar

Wednesday, August 31, 1:00-2:00PM ET

RETIGO (Real-Time Geospatial Data Viewer) is an interactive web-based tool that allows users to upload field data they have collected while in motion (walking, biking, or on a vehicle) and explore it visually by plotting the data on a map and/or graph to observe air quality trends. Their local data can be integrated with air quality data available on AirNow, a multi-agency online resource provided by EPA and others that offers air quality data and the Air Quality Index. This webinar will provide an introduction to RETIGO. Learn more here. Read more about RETIGO in this Science Matters article.


Water Research Webinar Series: Nutrient Management

Wednesday, August 31, 2:00-3:00PM ET

Every other month, EPA hosts a webinar covering innovative research and sustainable solutions for complex, 21st century water issues. These solutions will help ensure that clean and adequate supplies of water are available to support human health and resilient aquatic ecosystems, now and into the future. August’s topic is Systems View of Nutrient Management: Nutrient Modeling.

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Science Matters is produced by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development. All content is copyright free and can be reprinted without permission.

Comments, feedback, and suggestions for future Science Matters articles are welcome. Please contact Samantha Linkins (linkins.samantha).



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