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Tribal-University Evaluation of Chemical Exposures
to Improve Community Health
2 Tribal—University Partnership Current Projects
The investigation of the Shell Puget
Sound Refinery found that...
OSU SRP Investigator Dr. Staci Simonich
studies a...
The Training Core and the CEC helped bring 20 Native American
high schools students from the Confederated Tribes of the Um...
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Tribal-University Evaluation of Chemical Exposures to Improve Community Health


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Tribal-University Evaluation of Chemical Exposures to Improve Community Health

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Tribal-University Evaluation of Chemical Exposures to Improve Community Health

  1. 1. SUPERFUND RESEARCH PROGRAM Tribal-University Evaluation of Chemical Exposures to Improve Community Health 2016 Collaborating with the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community The Community Engagement Core is part of Oregon State University’s (OSU) Superfund Research Program (SRP). We work with Native American Tribes to investigate their concerns about environmental pollution. In 2014, we were told about the Swinomish Indian Tribal Community’s (SITC) concerns about pollution from oil refineries located adjacent to their shellfish harvesting areas and are 10 miles upwind of the SITC reservation. Our collaboration initially focused on seafood contaminants. However, it expanded in 2015 to include air monitoring. This is the result of a bad air pollution event that occurred in February 2015 when people living and working on the SITC reservation started smelling an odor like “burning tires”. By the time the event was over, there were over 100 written complaints of people experiencing nausea, headaches and burning in the throat and lungs and 12 people sought medical treatment for breathing problems. At the time, Shell Puget Sound Refinery publically stated they were doing routine maintenance of a flare system, which is a safety device that burns of waste gases, and that their monitoring did not find any harmful chemicals in the air. However, after a 6 months investigation, Washington State found that the refinery did not properly decontaminate equipment in the flare system which led to the uncontrolled release of pollutants and fined the company. As a result of this event, SITC expressed a desire to learn more about air quality and people’s exposure to chemical on the Reservation. This has led to two new studies which are described in this newsletter. 2 Personal Exposure to PAHs 3 Co-locating Air Monitors on Swinomish Reservation 4 Training the next generation In this issue Timeline of Events
  2. 2. 2 Tribal—University Partnership Current Projects Background The investigation of the Shell Puget Sound Refinery found that several different types of chemicals including PAHs were released into the air. As a result, Swinomish Senate prioritized community air toxics monitoring (see Timeline). To begin to address SITC’s concerns, we began a personal monitoring study. Our approach took advantage of Dr. Kim Anderson’s recent invention of the silicone wristband monitoring device (Figure 1). Personal monitoring is useful because it collects data on exposures that different people have in common, as well as, exposures that are unique. This is because a person’s exposure to chemicals may change based on where they spend their time, where they work, and where they live. The Project In March 2016, ten people wore a wristband for one week. They also completed an activity diary where they recorded how much time they spent near possible sources of PAHs. Dr. Anderson’s lab analyzed the wristbands looking for 62 different types of PAHs. Reporting Results In the 10 wristbands, we found 25 different kinds of PAHs. Each person in the study was exposed to different types and amounts of these PAHs (Figure 2). Overall, the total amount of PAH’s absorbed in the wristbands ranged from 404—2379 nanograms. The amount of time a person spent near a known source of PAHs influenced their total PAH exposure. PAHs are present in air pollution. In addition to being present in gasoline and oil, they are also produced when wood, grass, or other organic material is burned. All wristbands contained 6 types of PAHs that are commonly found in petroleum products and wood smoke. This information helps to establish Measuring Personal Exposure to PAHs SITC members wear silicon wristbands to learn about their chemical exposures background exposure levels and learn about people’s exposure to PAHs who live on the Swinomish reservation. It also provides a more accurate assessment of the risks potentially posed by PAHs to this community. SITC wants to collect chemical exposure data during an atmospheric inversion. Therefore, we will repeat this study in the Winter 2017 when atmospheric conditions are different. This will help us evaluate seasonal changes that could affect people’s exposures to PAHs. Figure 1. When exposed to air, the silicone wristband absorbs thousands of different types of chemicals. They will also absorb chemicals from any substance that they come in contact with such as dirt, water, or even your skin. Figure 2. This chart shows the different types of PAHs measured in the 10 wristbands. Each column represents one wristband. Each person had a different exposure profile to PAHs because people had different activity patterns which led to some people having more contact with PAHs than others. The unit of measurement is expressed in nanograms of Total PAHs detected in the wristband. To put this in perspective, it takes one billion nanograms to make a gram. 0 1000 2000 3000 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 NanogramsofPAHsin eachwristband Each bar represents one individual in the study
  3. 3. 3EVALUATION OF CHEMICAL EXPOSURES TO IMPROVE COMMUNITY HEALTH Background OSU SRP Investigator Dr. Staci Simonich studies air pollution events. Specifically, she can identify the source of pollution and determine whether the source is local or from far away. She does this by measuring particles in the air and looking at the chemicals that are attached to these particles. There are two oil refineries located in close proximity to the Swinomish reservation (Figure 3). Working with Dr. Donatuto and Dr. Basabe of the Community Environmental Health Program and the SITC Air Program, Dr. Simonich’s team added two new high volume air samplers on the Swinomish reservation. These new high volume air samplers are co-located near existing air monitors operated conducted by SITC’s Air Program—one is located at the NW Indian College and the other is near the Casino (Figure 4). The new monitors use filters placed between metal plates to trap fine and coarse particulate matter. The filters can then be analyzed for PAHs and their breakdown products. Additionally, the toxicity of the pollutants trapped by the filters can be tested in the Ames assay. This assay uses bacteria and determines whether the chemicals can cause mutations in DNA. This is a first step in determining if the chemicals in the air can potentially cause cancer. The Project In April 2016, Dr. Simonich and three SRP trainees (Amber Kramer, Cleo Davie-Martin, Courtney Roper) traveled to Swinomish to install the high volume samplers. At this time Swinomish technicians were trained to deploy and collect filters. Additionally, CEC staff produced a short training video that shows how to operate the air samplers. The goal for this study is to collect samples at both sites on the same day each week for one year. This will collect paired 24 hour samples that will be analyzed for PAHs and their degradation products (nitrated and oxygenated PAHs). This information will be combined with the meteorological data that is collected by the Swinomish Air Program. Using computer models that take into consideration wind direction, wind speed, and the time it takes to degrade PAHs in the atmosphere, Dr. Simonich’s team will be able to determine if the air pollution collected on the Swinomish reservation is coming from the local refineries. New co-located air pollution measurements Additional air pollution monitoring on the Swinomish Reservation Figure 3. The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community is located about 10 miles from the oil refineries on March Point. Oil refineries Swinomish Figure 4. (left) Amber Kramer (SRP Trainee) sets up a high volume air sampler at the NW Indian College. (right) Dr. Simonich watches as SRP trainees Amber Kramer and Cleo Davie-Martin set up a sampler atop a shed at the Casino site.
  4. 4. The Training Core and the CEC helped bring 20 Native American high schools students from the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and Warm Springs to Oregon State University. The event was organized by Sydelle Harrison (CEC trainee) who scheduled the campus tours to coincide with Oregon State University’s Research Day and the Native American Longhouse Eena Haws’ annual salmon bake and pow wow. In addition to participating in these research and cultural activities, Sydelle arranged for the high school students to tour several Superfund Research laboratories and meet with SRP faculty and trainees. If you have any questions, please contact Molly Kile, Associate Professor Oregon State University College of Public Health and Human Sciences 15 Milam Hall, Corvallis, OR 97331 Telephone: (541) 737-1443 Email: Visit our website to learn about projects supported by OSU’s Superfund Community Engagement Core: This project is funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Superfund Research Program Grant P42 ESO16465 Campus Tours Reaching out to the next generation 4 Core Personnel Molly Kile, Sc.D., Core Leader Oregon State University Barbara Harper, Ph.D., Co-Leader Oregon State University Anna Harding, Ph.D., Co-Leader Oregon State University Sydelle Harrison, B.S., SRP Trainee Oregon State University Jamie Donatuto, Ph.D., Community Liaison Swinomish Indian Tribal Community Diana Rohlman, Ph.D., Program Coordinator Oregon State University Stuart Harris, B.S., Consultant Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation Interning at the Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center Understanding community health assessments Sydelle Harrison was awarded an SRP Externship to work with the Yellowhawk Tribal Health Center at the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (CTUIR). Sydelle worked on various special projects to support the Center’s public health accreditation process. Her duties included outreach related to the community health assessment and collecting feedback regarding the community health improvement plan. The Yellowhawk Tribal Health Clinic celebrated 20 years of self-governance this year and will be moving into a new state-of-the art facility in 2017. As a Tribal member and SRP trainee, Sydelle also worked on the Clinic’s new strategic plan and promoted integration of environmental health into the organization’s expanded services. Between her externship and her role as an SRP trainee, Sydelle is also working on developing material that can improve cultural competency within University science training programs who wish to work with Native American Tribes. Sydelle Harrison is currently working on her MPH degree at OSU. Here she is sharing community health assessment data with CTUIR .