EPA Awards Almost $2.3 Million to Advance Chemical Safety Research

ATLANTA, September 14 – Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced nearly $2.3 million in grants was awarded to three universities in the Southeast through EPA’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program.  Nearly $11 million dollars was awarded to eight universities in all. These grants will help the universities develop fast and effective methods to test chemicals to determine if they are harmful to people’s health and the environment. The methods will be used to predict a chemical’s potential to interact with biological processes that could lead to reproductive and developmental toxicity, and disruption of the endocrine system.

The grantees will focus on developing methods and models to predict how exposure to environmental and synthetic (man-made) chemicals and chemical mixtures may harm the public. Some synthetic chemicals are known endocrine disruptors, which interfere with or even mimic natural hormones and cause damage to the development and function of vital organs, particularly in young children and developing fetuses. There are currently thousands of chemicals in use and hundreds more introduced every year.

“These projects highlight EPA’s commitment to protecting peoples health and the environment by developing innovative methods that are on the cutting edge of chemical toxicity research,” said Lek Kadeli, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development.

The grantees are:

  • North Carolina State University – developing assays to understand how chemicals influence the regulation of development, reproduction, and metabolism
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill – developing chemical effect testing for in vitro systems and developing computational toxicology solutions to measure risk in populations, and creating models based on the resulting data
  • University of South Carolina – developing a targeted in vivo imaging assay to screen and identify chemicals that exhibit aberrant development in the cardiovascular and nervous system that lead to indirect adverse effects on muscle development within zebrafish larvae

EPA’s STAR grant program supports human health, ecology, economics and engineering sciences through grants, centers, and fellowships.