11/17/2022 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/17/2022 13:40
November 17, 2022
DALLAS, TEXAS (November 17th, 2022) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced $749,926 in research grant funding to the University of Houston to develop and evaluate innovative methods and approaches to inform our understanding of the human health risks that may result from exposure to chemical mixtures in the environment.
"Protecting public health is an essential part of EPA's mission," said Chris Frey, Assistant Administrator of EPA's Office of Research and Development. "The research announced today will advance the science for evaluating mixtures of chemicals and their toxicity so we can better understand the human health impacts, and ultimately, better protect public health."
"The work being conducted by these university researchers is critical for the protection of public health and the advancement of science," said Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance. "By understanding the nature of these chemicals, we can identify future health risks to the public. We thank the University of Houston for their hard work on this matter and look forward to the results of the program."
The focus of this study will be the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) mixtures. PAHs are a group of chemicals that occur naturally in fossil fuels such as oil or gasoline. Human exposure to these chemicals in large dosages have caused blood and liver problems. The research team will study the ability to biodegrade PAHs mixtures in the intestinal cells of humans. The results of this experiment are expected to identify toxicological markers and pathways of PAH mixtures in humans.
Toxicology studies have traditionally focused on the effects of single chemicals on human health. However, chemicals in the environment are often present as mixtures in the air, water, soil, food, and products in commerce. These chemical mixtures include PFAS, phthalates, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), disinfection by-products (DBPs) and other well-characterized mixtures. There is a need to assess the toxicity of chemical mixtures to understand how their combined effects on our health and the environment differ from what we know about individual chemicals. Due to their lower cost and higher throughput, new approach methods (NAMs) and use of alternative animal models have emerged as potential approaches to advance the risk assessment of mixtures.
To help address this research need, the institutions receiving these grants will conduct research focused on the development and improvement, evaluation, and integration of predictive toxicology methods to evaluate environmental chemical mixtures.
Below is the full list of grantees and their project titles:
Learn more about the grant recipients.
Learn more about EPA Research Grants.