What a Wonderful Year! Of course it begins and ends with a great group of people, they are what makes the program, and below is just a brief update from some of them on a few of the projects on-going in the Food Safety and Environmental Stewardship program. As I reflect on some of the comings and goings of the last year it is both exciting and exhausting. We have active projects from Western Africa to Peru, in North American projects in New York with pregnant women and urban exposures, to Ohio with hydraulic fracking to the Gulf of Mexico and back to the Pacific Northwest, too many to detail. We also launched one of our newer passives samplers, a wristband, in several studies, a few examples includes an occupational exposure study with roofers looking at volatile chemicals, Oregon children looking at flame retardant exposures, and integrating with mobile –GPS-devices in Eugene looking at health and environmental exposures. We of course have continued our efforts in Portland Harbor Superfund as well as other Superfund sites in the Northwest. All in all it keeps us very busy. Please take moment to read about some wonderful updates from our team. Finally, wishing you all a joyful holiday season!
-Kim A Anderson and the FSES program
Message from Alan Bergmann, PhD Student
Season’s greetings! Dr. Anderson provides her staff and students with many excellent opportunities. She recently sent seven of us to the North American SETAC meeting, three with platform presentations and three with posters. I received lots of good feedback on my poster, “Fractionation of passive sampling device extracts explores contribution of PAHs to zebrafish toxicity.” My presentation highlighted key findings of HPLC separation of samples from Portland Harbor. Briefly, we collected a sample using low-density polyethylene passive samplers from the water column above a sediment cap at the former McCormick and Baxter creosoting company in Portland Harbor. These samples were extracted in the laboratory and tested in the embryonic zebrafish toxicity developmental model at the Sinnhuber Aquatic Research Laboratory. Results suggest that PAHs from the remediated site are not contributing to the low levels of malformations observed in embryonic zebrafish. The next step is to repeat the process with samples from sites with different chemical profiles. Recent field work in Portland Harbor has provided those samples and we are very interested in the outcome of forthcoming experiments.
In August 2013, I traveled to the Alto Mayo region of Northeastern Peru with past FSES graduate, Dr. Sarah Allan. Sarah and I performed passive sampling near agriculture activities with the help of local collaborators. This project is part of a multi-institutional effort between OSU and The Medical College of Wisconsin, to develop a Health Hub in the Alto Mayo. Our contribution begins to address legacy pesticide use and health disparities in the region. I look forward to discussing the results of this investigation the next time I see you!
Message from Carey Donald, PhD Student
My first project in the FSES lab is focused on the Deepwater Horizon incident in the Gulf of Mexico. Our program monitored air and water quality in four Gulf States prior to, during and post shoreline oiling associated with the incident and continued monitoring for one year after the incident. Our passive samplers detected the presence of an emerging class of chemicals, called oxygenated-PAHs. I am investigating what role these chemicals play in toxicity of site specific mixtures from waters affected by the 2010 oil spill. I am also using the embryonic zebrafish model to assess toxicity—both in the whole complex mixture that represents oil-affected water, and in laboratory-made surrogate mixtures. This research will further our knowledge about the presence and toxic effects of oxy-PAHs in real environmental settings. I presented a poster on this research at the SETAC National Meeting in Nashville. I look forward to updating you on my progress when I see you next!
Message from Marc R. Elie, Post Doctoral Fellow
Greetings friends of the Food Safety & Environmental Stewardship Program! It has been a busy year in the laboratory. My current research efforts are focused on the integration of passive sampling technology with ultraviolet (UV) irradiation and bioassays. The purpose of this is to devise an analytical approach to identify the effects of environmental or remediation transformational processes, such as UV radiation, on bioavailable PAH fractions. Passive sampling devices (PSDs) have been established as ideal measuring tools for bioavailable (Cfree) fraction of organic chemicals in water, and their coupling with laboratory-based UV irradiation experiments may provide further insights on the photo-modification and phototoxicity of PAHs in environmentally relevant mixtures. The objectives are to: 1) assess if real-world mixtures of bioavailable PAHs can be photo-degraded; 2) further demonstrate that OPAHs are formed from PSD mixtures after UVB exposure; and 3) assess the toxicity from UV-exposed bioavailable mixtures in in-vivo zebrafish bioassays. The results of this project may provide a framework for assessing the risk of weathered or remediated PAHs in the environment. I look forward to sharing the results of this exciting research in 2014!
Marc R. Elie, PhD.
Message from Steven G. O’Connell, PhD Candidate
Season’s Greetings! Although my doctoral work in the FSES laboratory is drawing to a close, it is a very exciting time to be working with a variety of projects. In the past four and half years, I’ve had the pleasure of learning about an emerging compound class, oxygenated PAHs (OPAHs) both in the laboratory by developing methods using liquid and gas chromatography, and through field work with passive samplers (both LDPE and silicone) in the Deepwater Horizon Oil spill, and in two Superfund sites here in the Northwest. OPAHs are found at many of our research sites, such Portland Harbor and Gulf of Mexico and in many environmental compartments like air, water and sediment. We found that in water OPAHs may be as abundant as PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) some of which are carcinogenic. I’ve also been the project lead on several projects utilizing silicone in traditional sampling (Superfund aquatic and pore water sampling), and through new applications in personal monitoring by developing silicone wristbands as well as in vivo applications. It has been quite a challenge to keep multiple projects moving forward concurrently, but I’m happy that several of these projects will be published or submitted in the coming year.
Steven G. O’Connell
Message from L. Blair Paulik, PhD Student
Season’s greetings! My research focuses on using passive samplers to predict contaminant levels in resident aquatic organisms. To do this we directly pair deploying passive samplers with collecting resident aquatic organisms. Then we can compare contaminants in organisms to contaminants in samplers, and try to predict contamination in organisms from contamination in samplers. This way we can use passive samplers, instead of organisms themselves, to find out how contaminated the organisms are. The goal is that regulators could use passive samplers instead of collecting organisms to generate consumption advisories.
I have been moving forward on two such projects. One project takes place in the Portland Harbor Superfund site in the Willamette River in Portland. I am comparing crayfish to passive samplers deployed in the water column. During multiple sampling trips this fall, I collected crayfish and deployed samplers at five sites in the Willamette River in Portland. I am currently moving forward with analyzing these samples. The other project is part of a collaborative effort with the Swinomish and Samish tribes of Washington. I will be comparing butter clams to passive samplers deployed in the sediment. Last summer I worked on planning these studies with members of both tribes. This fall I attended the Community Engagement Core Advisory Committee Meeting for the collaboration between OSU’s Superfund Research Center and the tribes. There I gave a presentation about my upcoming research, and received helpful feedback. I look forward to sharing more results with you in 2014.
Message from Lane Tidwell, PhD Student
As a PhD student in the Food Safety & Environmental Stewardship Program my primary research focus is to explore the utility of low density polyethylene passive sampling devices (PSDs) in ambient air to investigate compounds of concern in the environment. This work has provided me the opportunity to collaborate with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR) and the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community (SITC). The collaboration with CTUIR employed atmospheric PSDs to assess air quality within traditional smoking structures, and the potential to use PSDs as a surrogate for traditionally smoked food stuffs. My work with atmospheric PSDs has also allowed me to travel to the Gulf of Mexico in order to assess changes in air chemistry during and after the Deepwater Horizon incident. The work in the Gulf of Mexico investigated air quality and the dynamic transport of chemicals across the air-water boundary. I recently returned from the SETAC national meeting in Nashville where I presented these results and I look forward to sharing them with you in 2014!
Message from Kevin Hobbie, Laboratory Manager
Season’s Greetings to all! 2013 was a busy and exciting year for the FSES program. We would not have managed to be as productive or successful without the tireless efforts of effective staff like Glenn Wilson, Ricky Scott, and Melissa McCartney. We also could not have kept up without the assistance of our current and past undergraduate staff members, particularly: Jorge Padilla, Faye Jones, Gary Points, Madeline Wilson, Rachel Wold, and Kevin Johnson (aka “KJ”). Not only did 2013 continue my exhausting path into parenthood but Melissa McCartney welcomed her daughter Hazel Mae to the FSES family back in October. We look forward to having Melissa back in the laboratory starting in 2014.
My research objectives have shifted toward human environment interactions and the burden of chronic disease. Of particular interest is the assessment of unconventional natural gas exploration, commonly known as hydraulic fracturing, which is seeing a boom in many areas of the United States, yet little is known currently about the potential health impacts from wide spread application of this new practice. I am collaborating with researchers in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at OSU and researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory on projects that incorporate silicone wristband passive sampling devices (PSDs) with a cell phone application that can monitor a subject’s location and transmit data from biometric equipment while capturing high quality information on chemical exposures via the PSD. This sampling nexus, we call the Mobile Exposure Device (MED), has the potential to open up new research avenues and has lead us to develop a new online network to support volunteer citizen science efforts in our research. This new website, citizen.science.oregonstate.edu
, will incorporate project recruitment, training certification, sample request and chain of custody management to enable more traceable and reliable citizen contributions to science. I am very excited with the potential impact these projects, and could not have put together this website without the efforts of our program’s software developers, Mike Barton and Josh Willmarth. I recently presented a platform presentation on citizen science at the SETAC national meeting in Nashville and received a very positive response from other researchers interested in promoting citizen science.
Meanwhile in the laboratory, we are continuing to research how to implement more automation, not only in data analysis, but in the wet chemistry operations. We have brought back, OSU alum and past FSES undergraduate lab assistant, Nathan Rooney to help map out a path for bringing in more off the shelf and custom robotics to increase laboratory throughput and reproducibility. We look forward to sharing more of our plans for implementation of new automation in 2014.
Have a Happy Holiday!