Towards identifying the next generation of superfund and hazardous waste site contaminants

Environmental Health Perspectives
By: , and 



Background This commentary evolved from a workshop sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences titled "Superfund Contaminants: The Next Generation" held in Tucson, Arizona, in August 2009. All the authors were workshop participants.

Objectives Our aim was to initiate a dynamic, adaptable process for identifying contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) that are likely to be found in future hazardous waste sites, and to identify the gaps in primary research that cause uncertainty in determining future hazardous waste site contaminants.

Discussion Superfund-relevant CECs can be characterized by specific attributes: They are persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic, occur in large quantities, and have localized accumulation with a likelihood of exposure. Although still under development and incompletely applied, methods to quantify these attributes can assist in winnowing down the list of candidates from the universe of potential CECs. Unfortunately, significant research gaps exist in detection and quantification, environmental fate and transport, health and risk assessment, and site exploration and remediation for CECs. Addressing these gaps is prerequisite to a preventive approach to generating and managing hazardous waste sites.

Conclusions A need exists for a carefully considered and orchestrated expansion of programmatic and research efforts to identify, evaluate, and manage CECs of hazardous waste site relevance, including developing an evolving list of priority CECs, intensifying the identification and monitoring of likely sites of present or future accumulation of CECs, and implementing efforts that focus on a holistic approach to prevention.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Towards identifying the next generation of superfund and hazardous waste site contaminants
Series title Environmental Health Perspectives
DOI 10.1289/ehp.1002497
Volume 119
Issue 1
Year Published 2011
Language English
Publisher National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Contributing office(s) Branch of Analytical Serv (National Water Quality Laboratory), Colorado Water Science Center, Toxic Substances Hydrology Program
Description 5 p.
First page 6
Last page 10
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