MIT SRP in the News

By Bevin P. Engelward

MIT Superfund Program Director

MIT Homepage News Spotlight: Work from MIT SRP trainees Hélène Angot and Nicholas Hoffman was featured on the MIT Homepage. The article discussed their research with Prof. Noelle Selin (Project 2), studying the atmospheric transport and transformation of mercury and the impacts of mercury bioaccumulation in fish.

MIT SRP Citizen Science in the News: Abigail Harvey and Tchelet Segev, two Master’s students trained by Dr. Kathy Vandiver and supported by Harry Hemond, John Essigmann and Robert Croy, completed their Citizen Science Project focused on drinking water quality for the Passamaquoddy Tribe located in Maine. This citizen science project was initiated by the MIT Center for Environmental Health Sciences (CEHS) and supported by both the CEHS and the MIT Superfund Research Program. Tribe members expressed concern about their drinking water. Students learned how to design the study, and how to engage effectively with community members. Importantly, with coaching, the students led Community Meetings where the project and results were shared in a bidirectional fashion. Under the guidance of K. Vandiver, the students successfully engaged with ~20% of households (representing three towns and including Passamaquoddy Tribe members from Pleasant Point). Sampling methods were optimized and reported back to individuals and the Maine Environmental Department. The impact from this study included teaching people how to flush their water to reduce lead exposure. In addition, several homes were notified that their arsenic levels exceeded national standards. This opened the doors for those individuals to obtain safer water from other sources. This work served as an excellent pilot study in support of future Citizen Science projects directly related to the toxicants of study by the MIT Superfund Research Program. The study and its impact were described in several publications, including two Quoddy Tides Newspaper articles, and the NIEHS PEPH Newsletter.