Although largely unknown, Miller Peninsula State Park is considered by many to be a crown jewel of the state park system, boasting long beaches with spectacular views and almost 2,000 acres of contiguous forest dotted with many wetlands.
Since early 2021, our community partners have been concerned about proposed changes to the plan for the cleanup of the Duwamish River that was finalized in 2014 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in their Record of Decision (ROD). As our partners work to understand the implications of the proposed changes, the UW SRP Community Engagement and Research Translation Cores have been providing technical support to help interpret the science underlying the proposed actions.
The UW Superfund Research Program was honored to be invited to speak to students at Seattle's new Maritime High School, which opened in September. This high school is anchored in the Duwamish Valley and has a focus on serving underrepresented students in the Highline School District and surrounding areas. The Maritime High School focuses on research-driven education and is committed to equitable access for all students.
Lead is famously toxic, especially for children. No amount of lead exposure is safe. It can damage almost every organ and system in the body; it lowers IQ; and it's strongly associated with learning and behavior problems. Many of lead's effects can be irreversible. For all these reasons, reducing exposure to lead, particularly during early childhood, is of enormous public health significance. To this end, public health agencies have an important role to play in designing and implementing effective policies and programs.
Investigators on Project 4 partner with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to sample lake fish for arsenic
When you find that some lake fish have levels of arsenic high enough to pose a hazard to human health you wonder about the arsenic in other fish.
This summer, the UW SRP traveled to Kellogg, Idaho to visit with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and community partners at the Bunker Hill Superfund Site. Community Engagement Manager BJ Cummings was accompanied by toxicologist Dr. Steve Gilbert from the UW Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, and UW Communications Leadership Program intern Sukai Gaye. The team toured the epicenter of the Superfund site and several repositories along the Coeur d’Alene River where wastes from the site are stored.
Back in 2012, Cassie Cohen was working for Groundwork Portland when she noticed two problems with the planning process for cleanup of the Portland Harbor Superfund Site. First, some of the potentially responsible parties (PRPs) were dominating the narratives about the cleanup with intensive media and public relations campaigns. Second, no community group seemed to be taking the lead on organizing the disproportionately impacted communities living in proximity to the polluted river.
BJ Cummings and her 2020 book, The River That Made Seattle: A Human and Environmental History of the Duwamish, were awarded the Virginia Marie Folkins Award for outstanding historical publication by the Association of King County Historical Organizations (AKCHO) in a virtual awards ceremony in May.
When UW SRP researchers found new evidence that environmental contamination from a former smelter may pose a threat to human health, they were careful to inform their agency partners in advance of publication. This advance notice allowed them a chance to coordinate the necessary risk communication before engaging with potentially affected populations.
In December, most of Washington's outer coast was closed to Dungeness crab fishing due to high levels of domoic acid. Domoic acid is a neurotoxin produced by a type of marine algae known as Pseudonitzschia that can accumulate in shellfish and other marine organisms through their diet. In the past, people have died from eating seafood containing domoic acid. Now careful regulation prevents major domoic acid poisoning events in humans.