UNC Superfund Research Program

A recent paper from Dr. Rebecca Fry's lab was named Article of the Month by The Children’s Environmental Health Network. The study, Maternal Arsenic Exposure, Arsenic Methylation Efficiency, & Birth Outcomes in the Biomarkers of Exposure to Arsenic (BEAR) Pregnancy Cohort in Mexico examined the association of inorganic arsenic exposure during pregnancy and corresponding birth outcomes in a pregnancy cohort in Mexico.
Message from the Director
"We conduct cutting-edge research to advance methods for detecting toxic chemicals in the environment, cleaning up contaminated sites, and minimizing human and environmental risks due to exposure."
Rebecca Fry, PhD

The UNC Superfund Research Program (UNC SRP)/NC Center for Environmental Risk Analysis (NC-CERA) seeks to understand the human health and environmental risks associated with exposure to toxic chemicals found at hazardous waste sites. Learn more.

Our research interests include:

  • Improving our ability to evaluate risk from low-dose exposures;
  • Developing biological markers that indicate when a person has been exposed to a chemical;
  • Using a systems biology framework to understand the pathways of environmental disease and how chemicals can cause changes to our DNA;
  • Understanding how individuals differ in their susceptibility and risk, and how our genes play a role in the development of disease
  • Improving methods to measure chronic exposure and bioavailability of toxic chemicals in the environment
  • Evaluating factors that influence toxicity of soil during and after bioremediation

Laine awarded KC Donnelly Externship

SRP Trainee Jessica Laine was awarded a 2016 K.C. Donnelly Externship Award Supplement to enrich her research in environmental health science. Laine is a doctoral student in epidemiology at the University of North Carolina under the direction of Rebecca Fry, Ph.D., and David Richardson, Ph.D. For her externship, Laine will work with Mary Gamble, Ph.D., at the Columbia University SRP Center.

Laine’s research focuses on understanding the biological mechanisms of health effects from exposure to environmental toxicants. Through this externship, she will investigate the impact of nutrients involved in one carbon metabolism and the effects on maternal metabolism of iAs and adverse birth outcomes.

New Resource

New bioavailability resource available

Working collaboratively, UNC SRP and University of Arizona SRP have developed a set of innovative educational materials on the bioavailability of arsenic and lead in soils at NPL sites.

The two SRPs developed a fact sheet, slide set and hands-on activity designed to help residents of impacted communities understand the concept of bioavailability and how the bioavailable concentration of a contaminant can influence cleanup levels at hazardous waste sites. The fact sheet is now available for use.

Download the Bioavailablity Fact Sheet

This fact sheet was developed as part of a pilot project of the US EPA Partners in Technical Assistance Program.

Resource Highlight

Eat Fish, Choose Wisely

Check out the new family guide to eating locally caught fish in the Triangle, created by UNC SRP with partners Sound Rivers and Lake Crabtree County Park. At the website, www.eatfishwisely.org, you can find info on local fish consumption advisories, learn about harmful chemicals that may be in your catch, and find out how to reduce your risk.

Creation of the guide began in 2014 in response to community members’ concerns about people eating fish from local waters with fish consumption advisories. UNC SRP partnered with Sound Rivers and the Upper Neuse Riverkeeper, Lake Crabtree County Park and River Guardians to develop and distribute the guide.