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Superfund Research Publication Reaches 5000

By Melissa Fabiano
September 2008

research brief header

The Superfund Basic Research Program (SBRP) publication, Research Brief (, grew out of a 1997 conversation involving Sam Wilson, M.D., now NIEHS acting director, Beth Anderson, SBRP program analyst, and NIEHS Acting Deputy Director William Suk, Ph.D., about ways to communicate scientific breakthroughs and new events related to SBRP-funded research. This summer, 164 issues later, the publication marked an important milestone as its e-mail distribution list grew to include more than 5,000 unique e-mail addresses.

The Research Brief highlights accomplishments of diverse research projects funded by the SBRP. Maureen Avakian, an SBRP contractor, maintains consistent contact with SBRP grantees and proactively works with the NIEHS library staff to stay informed about soon-to-be published papers. Due to this steady communication between the program and its grantees, news regarding environmental health breakthroughs and SBRP-related events are reported in a timely manner.

Every month, the Research Brief performs the important service of providing relevant information in an easy-to-read format. As a result, the publication continues to be very well received, as its distribution keeps growing. Since 2000, the Research Brief list-serv has grown by 4,100 addresses, and the number of subscribers surpassed the 5000 mark on July 16.

The mission of each Research Brief is three-fold - to translate science into a language and format appropriate for diverse audiences, to highlight research related to human and environmental health and to provide complete contact information so that readers can reach SBRP grantees if they have specific questions. The publication is targeted primarily to EPA and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry risk assessors and hazardous waste site managers, but is also sent to representatives of state and local environmental agencies, public health agencies, industry, engineering firms, academics and not-for-profit organizations.

Past Research Briefs reported on the development of nanomaterials to prevent exposures to mercury in compact fluorescent light bulbs, community outreach efforts resulting in changes in state legislation regarding lead exposures, and the development of a recently approved Environmental Protection Agency method for analysis of dioxin-like halogenated aromatic hydrocarbons in environmental matrices.

Subscriptions are free through a link at the SBRP Research Brief home page (

(Melissa Fabiano is a communications specialist for MDB, Inc., a contractor for the SBRP and the Worker Education and Training Program. She is a regular contributor to the Environmental Factor.)

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