Chemical Toxicants in Water: A GeoHealth Perspective in the Context of Climate Change
June 14–16, 2021, 9 a.m.– noon
MST/PDT (-7 GMT)
Schedule of Events
June 14 Chemicals of Emerging Concern
9–9:10 a.m. Introduction by Catherine Propper, PhD
9:10 a.m. Plotting a Course for GeoHealth in the Century of Water by Gabe Filippelli, Department of Earth Sciences and Center for Urban Health, Indiana University‐Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI), Indianapolis, IN, USA
9:40 a.m. Health Effects of Nitrate in Drinking Water by Mary Ward, PhD, Senior Investigator, Division of Cancer Epidemiology & Genetics, Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch, National Cancer Institute
10:10 a.m. Chronic Exposure to Naturally Occurring Contaminants in Drinking Water by Avner Vengosh, PhD, Professor of Earth and Ocean Studies, Nicholas School of the Environment, Earth & Ocean Sciences Division, Duke University
10:40–10:45 a.m. Break
10:45 a.m. Breakout room discussions
11:15 a.m. Reconvene for summary
11:45 a.m. What are the big questions for next research steps? by Alan Kolok, PhD, Professor and Director, Idaho Water Resources Research Institute
June 15 Arsenic in Water Resources
9–9:10 a.m. Introduction by Alan Kolok, PhD
9:10 a.m Ending toxic exposure from well water in Bangladesh by Alexander (Lex) Van Geen, PhD, Lamont Research Professor, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University
9:40 a.m Geospatial models of arsenic in private wells to assess the impact of drought and support human health studies by Melissa Lombard, PhD, Hydrologist, New England Water Science Center, US Geological Survey
10:10 a.m Dissolved Uranium and Arsenic in Unregulated Groundwater Sources – Western Navajo Nation by Jani Ingram, PhD, Professor, Analytical and Environmental Chemistry; Diversity Fellow; Principal Investigator, The Partnership for Native American Cancer Prevention, Director, Bridges to Baccalaureate, Northern Arizona University
10:40–10:45 a.m. Break
10:45 a.m. Breakout room discussions
11:15 a.m. Reconvene for summary
11:45 a.m. What are the big questions for next research steps? by Catherine Propper, PhD, Professor, Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University
June 16 Intersection between Chemical Pollution and Climate Change
9–9:10 a.m. Introduction by Jesse Bell, PhD
9:10 a.m. The Nexus of Water, Climate, and Our Health by Jesse Bell, PhD, Claire M. Hubbard Professor of Water, Climate, and Health in the Department of Environmental, Agricultural, and Occupational Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the School of Natural Resources within the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is also the director of the Water, Climate and Health Program at UNMC and the director of Water, Climate and Health at the University of Nebraska’s Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute.
9:40 a.m. Uncertainties of Atrazine Leaching and Accumulation below Agricultural Lands under Future Climate Ensembles by Yusong Li, PhD, Acting Associate Dean for Faculty Inclusion and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
10:10 a.m. – 10:15 a.m. Break
10:15 a.m. Breakout rooms
10:45 a.m. Reconvene for summary
11:00 a.m. Big questions and workshop lessons learned by Gabe Felippelli
Dr. Jesse E. Bell is the Claire M. Hubbard Professor of Water, Climate, and Health in the Department of Environmental, Agricultural, and Occupational Health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the School of Natural Resources within the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He is also the director of the Water, Climate and Health Program at UNMC and the director of Water, Climate and Health at the University of Nebraska’s Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute. His expertise and research are focused on understanding the impacts of changes in the environment and climate on natural and human processes. Before coming to UNMC, Dr. Bell developed and served as the first holder of an interagency position between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He was a lead author for the U.S. Global Change Research Program report “The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment” that was released by the White House in 2016. He is also adjunct faculty for the Department of Environmental Health at Emory University. Dr. Bell received his Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma.
Dr. Gabriel Filippelli is a Chancellor’s Professor of Earth Sciences and the Executive Director of the Indiana University Environmental Resilience Institute. Filippelli is a biogeochemist with broad training in climate change, exposure science, and environmental health. Filippelli has published broadly, including publications in Science, Nature and Geology as well as in specialty journals and in popular press. He has personally directed over $9M of research funding over his career. He is the Editor-in-Chief for the journal GeoHealth, published by the American Geophysical Union. Filippelli is a Fellow of the International Association of Geochemistry, a 2022 Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Global Health, and former National Academy of Sciences Jefferson Science Fellow, where he served as a Senior Science Advisor for the U.S. Department of State.
My research focus is the study of environmental contaminants with respect to their impact on health. A major part of my research has focused on characterizing uranium contamination in water and soil as well as some preliminary work in the area of plants and livestock. A critical aspect of my research has been to foster collaborations with the Navajo community and leaders to build trust, obtain access to field samples and gain insights into their health concerns. Recruiting Navajo and other Native American students to work with me as a Navajo principal investigator on the project and building an interdisciplinary, collaborative team of scientists with expertise in analytical chemistry, geoscience, cancer biology, and social sciences are also important to my research. The field work needed for the proposed project is based on collaboration with the Navajo community. I have published 50 peer-reviewed articles and has been or am currently funded by the National Cancer Institute National, the National Institute of General Medicine Sciences, and the National Science Foundation. I am a member of the Navajo Nation (born to the Náneesht’ ézhi clan) and am involved in outreach activities for Native American students in undergraduate and graduate research. I am the director of the Bridging Arizona Native American to Bachelor Degrees (NIH Bridges to Baccalaureate) and Principal Investigator of the Native American Cancer Prevention Program (funded through a NCI U54). Since coming to NAU in 2002, I have mentored over 100 students (high school, undergraduate, and graduate students) who have worked with me on various research projects; over 50 of those students are Native American.
Dr. Alan Kolok is the Director of the Idaho Water Resources Research Institute. A life-long academic scientist, Alan served as the Founding Director of the Nebraska Watershed Network at the University of Nebraska – Omaha and as Director of the Center for Environmental Health and Toxicology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. He moved from Omaha to Moscow for the fall semester, 2017.
Alan received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado, his M.S. from the University of Washington, College of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, and his B.A. from the Miami University.
A dedicated writer, he has published over 80 peer-reviewed scientific articles on a variety of environmentally oriented issues. He has recently authored two books: Modern Poisons, an Introduction to Contemporary Toxicology (2016) and Twist, a science-based novel (2019). His third, Generally Regarded as Safe, will detail the evolution of U.S. food and drug safety legislation over the past century.
Comfortable working on scales from local to international, Kolok is excited about matching the considerable water expertise at the University of Idaho to the wicked water problems that are challenging Idaho, the Northwest region and the nation.
Yusong Li is currently a Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln. She received her B.S. and M.S. degrees from Tsinghua University, China, and her Ph.D. degree from Vanderbilt University. The goal of her research is to protect and restore environment and water resources based on a fundamental investigation of the complex physical, chemical and biological processes that govern flow and transport of contaminants in the environmental systems across multiple scales.
Melissa Lombard is a hydrologist with New England Water Science Center at the U.S. Geological Survey. In the broadest sense, her work is at the intersection of humans and the environment. Her research interests include connecting environmental geochemistry with human and ecosystem health, and using machine learning models to understand, estimate, and predict contaminant occurrence and water use.
Since joining the USGS in 2017, much of her work has focused on building and using models as a tool for understanding and predicting water quality and water use. She recently completed two projects related to arsenic occurrence in private wells across the conterminous US; developing machine learning models in collaboration with epidemiologists to predict arsenic occurrence for the purpose of comparing to human health data, and investigating how drought impacts arsenic and the human population exposed to elevated levels of arsenic. Melissa’s previous research was field and laboratory based and included examining the potential human health effects from exposure to biodiesel and petroleum diesel emissions, the occurrence of mercury in rainwater, and the occurrence of pesticides and herbicides in groundwater. She has also worked with K-12 science educators and taught college level courses in geology and environmental science.
Melissa received a B.A. in geosciences from William Smith College, M.S. in geology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Ph.D. in earth and environmental sciences from the University of New Hampshire.
Dr. Catherine R. Propper has been a Professor of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University (NAU) since 1991. Her research focuses on how environmental contaminants affect development, reproduction and behavior, and she has published more 60 peer-reviewed journal articles. Locally and statewide, she has served on the City of Flagstaff’s Contaminants of Emerging Concern Panel and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality’s Advisory Panel on Emerging Contaminants. Nationally, she has participated in several U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act Scientific Advisory Panels. Internationally, she collaborates with international programs in biodiversity-related aspects of sustainable rice production in SE Asia. At NAU, she is the Program Director for the National Institutes of Health RISE and Minority Health International Research Training programs. Dr. Propper is also co-Lead for the Southwest Health Equities Research Collaborative’s Research Infrastructure Core. She may be contacted at Catherine.Propper@nau.edu or via mail at 617 S. Beaver Street, Box 5640, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, AZ 86011.
Geochemist Lex van Geen is a research professor at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and is a member of the Earth Institute’s faculty at Columbia University. His current research focuses on ways to reduce the impact of the environment on human health. For two decades, he coordinated earth-science and mitigation efforts under Columbia’s Superfund Research Program on the origin and health effects of elevated levels of arsenic in groundwater. A theme that runs through this and other on-going project, e.g. concerning fluoride in groundwater in India, bauxite dust in Guinea, or soil contaminated with lead from mine-tailings in Peru, is that patterns of contamination are spatially very heterogeneous. This complicates prediction but often also points the way to mitigation when the hazard can be mapped. For this reason, van Geen is a firm believer in the more widespread use of field kits by non-specialists to reduce exposure to environmental toxicants, particularly in developing countries. He collaborates with public health and social scientists to evaluate how such kits can be deployed at scale and has published over 180 peer-reviewed papers on this and other environmental topics.
Avner Vengosh is a Duke University Distinguished Professor of Environmental Quality at the Nicholas School of the Environment. Professor Vengosh and his team have studied the energy-water nexus, conducting pioneer research on the impact of hydraulic fracturing and coal ash disposal on the quantity and quality of water resources in the U.S. and China. He has also investigated the sources and mechanisms of water contamination in numerous countries across the globe, including salinity and radioactivity in the Middle East, uranium in India, fluoride in Eastern Africa, arsenic in Vietnam, and hexavalent chromium in North Carolina and China. As part of these studies, his team has developed novel geochemical and isotopic tracers that are used as fingerprints to delineate the sources of water contamination and evaluate potential risks for human health. He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America (GSA) and International Association of Geochemistry (IAGC). In 2019 and 2020, he was recognized as one of the Web of Science Highly Cited Researchers. He serves as an Editor of GeoHealth and on the editorial board of the journal Environmental Science and Technology.
Mary H. Ward, Ph.D., is a Senior Investigator in the Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology Branch in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics (DCEG) at the National Cancer Institute, Rockville, Maryland. Her research focuses on environmental causes of cancer, with special emphasis on nitrate in drinking water and pesticides in relation to the etiology of childhood leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, gastrointestinal cancers, and thyroid cancer. Dr. Ward leads interdisciplinary collaborations to develop new methods of exposure assessment for epidemiologic studies of cancer risk in relation to drinking water contaminants and agricultural pesticides using environmental sampling and Geographic Information Systems. She leads studies of childhood cancer and parental occupational exposures in the International Childhood Cohort Consortium (I4C) and agricultural pesticides and drinking water contaminants in the Danish National Birth Cohort. She has served on numerous review panels and committees including as Epidemiology Committee Chair for the International Agency for Research on Cancer Monograph review of the carcinogenicity of ingested nitrate and nitrite, on the Steering Committee for the International Childhood Cancer Cohort Consortium, and as the NCI liaison to the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Environmental Health. She was co-organizer for two National Academy of Science workshops on nitrogen and health and served on the Steering Committee for the Research Coordination Network on Reactive Nitrogen. Dr. Ward was a Reviewer for several Institute of Medicine reports on Veterans and Agent Orange Biennial Updates and served on the Committee for the Best Use of the Agent Orange Reconstruction Model. She is a Fellow in the American College of Epidemiology and was awarded the NCI Women Scientists Leadership and Mentoring Award. Dr. Ward received an M.S. in Ecology from the University of Tennessee and a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the John Hopkins School of Public Health.