LSU Professor awarded grant to support a Superfund Research Center

LSU Professor and Patrick F. Taylor Chair of Chemistry Barry Dellinger was recently awarded a grant of $3.6 million by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, or NIEHS, to support a Superfund Research Center focusing on hazardous waste disposal and its impact on public health. It is the only center ever awarded by this program that is not located at a medical school or school of public health.

"This grant is the result of a highly competitive process," said Dellinger, who serves as director of the center. "It forges a research partnership with LSU and its Health Sciences Centers in both New Orleans and Shreveport."

LSU's Superfund Research Center, supported with NIEHS dollars generated from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, will look into the health effects of toxic combustion products. Combustion, or burning, was once the primary means of disposal for hazardous waste.

"The problem is that burning something doesn't completely get rid of it," said Dellinger. "It leaves behind lots of small particles, many of which are nanoscale in size."

Because of this fact, Dellinger, who in the past assisted the Environmental Protection Agency with developing its toxic waste disposal guidelines, said that the group's sub-focus will look at the role of combustion-related nanoparticles to determine if they have special and perhaps more harmful properties because of their size.

The group will also study environmentally-persistent free radicals, or EPFRs, which are a specialty of Dellinger's and a potentially revolutionary concept for scientists.

"Environmentally-persistent free radicals are essentially incomplete molecules that we believe are actually how many pollutants truly exist within the environment when they are attached to fine particles," said Dellinger. "Other researchers assume that the pollutants exist as molecules rather than radicals."

If the research group can prove this theory, it will essentially wipe the scientific slate clean and clear the path for a completely new avenue of research.

"We're hoping that we can convey the importance of these radicals and encourage epidemiological studies on the subject," said Dellinger.

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  1. john john United States says:

    Live in vicinity of oil refinery in Chalmette La. Quite often, one cannot be outside because of the odors being emitted into the atmosphere. I have noticed on numerous occasions bees falling out the air. Cannot fly and perish. Not the only one. Someone living in the easternly part of the parish in the 5th month of 2009 complained there was a large number of bees dead to the Deq. They in turn contacted the refinery and asked if there was a release of some type. Answer "no" of course. Also stated mosq. spraying taking place. If the bees are dying from this what is it doing to other forms of life? Never noticed this before. The Deq seldomly goes to the field to investigate. Always calls the fox in charge of guarding the hen house. Could it be from whats being emitted during their operations? People are complaining of foul odors, burning eyes, throat and nasil passages. Had someone tell a resident when so2 released they would be contacted so they could shut down their ac unit. This individual has a resporitory problem. What a way to live. Bad enough can't be outside on ones property when they chose, they also have to be locked up in their own home with no ac because of the air quality. I do have samples of the dead bees. Hopefully if someone reads this they could offer some assistance. Plus there seems to be a big time problem with particulate matter. All the sand pits, concrete removals,crushing of concrete, sandblasting of storage tanks [without adequate covering], etc.      HELP WANTED

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