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Carnegie Mellon scientists reveal ways of studying, resolving PCB contamination in US rivers

PHILADELPHIAThe distribution and movement of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) in the environment has threatened scarce water supplies, ecosystems, tourism and the world's fragile fishing industry. In the three decades since PCB production and use were banned, sediments of many lakes and waterways continue to provide a source of these deadly toxins to the water and ultimately to fish and people.

Now, in a series of integrated studies, a multidisciplinary team of biologists and engineers from Carnegie Mellon University has discovered key aspects of processes that govern PCB fate in sediment and developed methods to monitor, measure, track and contain these synthetic compounds. These scientific sleuths are deploying everything from DNA fingerprinting to a fine mesh of carbon particles to augment the traditional sand caps that trap dangerous PCBs in sediments.

Organized by Carnegie Mellon faculty, the American Chemical Society (ACS) symposium, "PCBs in Freshwater and Marine Sediments: Transport, Transformation and Treatment," will feature five presentations on Carnegie Mellon findings from work in PCB-contaminated rivers, including the Hudson and Grasse Rivers in upstate New York and the Anacostia River in Washington, D.C.

Much of the research is supported by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation Interdisciplinary Science Program (ENVR 12, 203, 37, 38). The capping research (ENVR 68) is supported by a U.S. E.P.A.-Funded Hazardous Substance Research Center at Louisiana State University and supplemented by Alcoa.

The symposium will be held from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET on Sunday, Aug. 22, and from 8 to 11:30 a.m. ET on Monday, August 23, at the 228th annual ACS meeting in Philadelphia (Loews, Commonwealth B) and will also include presentations on PCB research by 22 different institutions from across the United States.

The following findings will be presented:
Please see individual embargo days and times.

ENVR 12. Micro
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Contact: Lauren Ward
wardle@andrew.cmu.edu
412-268-7761
Carnegie Mellon University
23-Aug-2004


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