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Environmental Factor, May 2012

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Senator Reed visits SRP at Brown University

By Angela Spivey

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., toures the SRP facilities at Brown

Reed, center, toured the SRP facilities at Brown. Shown above, left to right, are Edward Dere, Ph.D., a research associate in the Brown SRP, Spalding, Reed, and Collman. (Photo courtesy of Brown University)

U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., visited the Brown University Superfund Research Program (SRP) April 9. During a tour of the SRP facilities, Reed learned about the program’s contributions to remediating contaminated sites in Rhode Island and across the country, and learned how the program is connecting with local communities and developing the next generation of environmental leaders. 

“Putting people to work to reduce the negative impacts of abandoned hazardous waste sites is a smart investment to protect public health, the environment, and our economy,” Reed said after the tour. “I am pleased that Brown’s federally funded Superfund Research Program is working through targeted research and community outreach, to address health concerns and design novel techniques to reduce toxic chemicals at Superfund sites in Rhode Island.”

Watch a video about the Brown University SRP


Reed was joined by Curt Spalding, regional administrator for the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency’s New England office, and Gwen Collman, Ph.D., NIEHS Division of Extramural Research and Training director. “Senator Reed was very knowledgeable and supportive of SRP activities at Brown and of the work done by NIEHS. It was a great day,” Collman said.

The Brown University SRP works at three Superfund sites in Rhode Island. Its mission is to track the flow of hazardous gases from the contaminated sites; identify and test chemicals; clean up the contaminated sites in collaboration with community and neighborhood associations, as well as state and federal agencies; and reveal insights into how chemicals can alter human health and reproduction. In addition to working at the contaminated sites in Rhode Island, the Brown SRP connects to other Superfund sites nationwide.

“The Brown program is an outstanding one, and is a real model for integrating biomedical and nonbiomedical research, as well as translating it in a meaningful way to improve the community's health,” said William Suk, Ph.D., director of the NIEHS Superfund Research Program. “Kim Boekelheide, [M.D., Ph.D.], and his group at Brown have kept their efforts focused on the people of Rhode Island, while at the same time their results can be applied to a variety of communities throughout the United States.”

(Angela Spivey is a contract science writer for the NIEHS Superfund Research Program.)

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