COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT CORE The UNC-SRP Community Engagement Core (CEC) collaborates with two community-serving organizations? Clean Water for North Carolina and the Winyah Rivers Foundation?to understand the needs of well users in four North Carolina counties related to inorganic arsenic (iAs) contamination of well water. The overarching goal of the CEC is to foster environmental health literacy in the context of well water contamination. Drawing on the strengths of all collaborators, we jointly develop prevention and intervention strategies that reduce exposure to toxic metals in drinking water. The CEC accomplishes its goal through three aims. First, we facilitate dialogue among UNC-SRP investigators and key NC stakeholders about SRP research and its implications for reducing exposure to iAs in well water by convening a Public Health Action Committee. This committee stimulates bi-directional communication that will inform the development of responsive environmental health sciences research and community problem-solving strategies. Second, we enhance understanding of iAs exposures in high-risk communities and encourage well testing and filter deployment as local strategies to prevent or reduce harmful exposures. Working with investigators in Project 4, the CEC and community partners will identify high-risk areas as well as the need for additional sampling. We will assist residents in understanding sampling protocols, results, potential risks of exposure, and actions they can take to reduce exposure. Project 5 also supports these efforts, with deployment of novel filters. Third, we inform the development of local and state policies that prevent or reduce iAs exposure in private wells used for drinking water. Working with policy experts, including staff of the Center for Environmental Health, and the UNC-SRP Research Translation Coordinator, we will identify policy options for reducing iAs exposure in well water and convene decision makers to discuss implications of recommended policies. Through these aims, CEC activities are directly relevant to the mission of the UNC-SRP and are responsive to the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) Mandate 4, promoting methods to reduce the amount and toxicity of hazardous substances. The bi-directional communication resulting from active engagement of the UNC-SRP researchers with PHAC members and community partners fosters creative thinking that will inform locally-relevant solutions to the challenges posed by toxic metals contamination of well water in NC.

Public Health Relevance

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT CORE The UNC-SRP Community Engagement Core (CEC) fosters environmental health literacy and works to reduce exposures in North Carolina communities impacted by toxic metals in well water. In partnership with community- serving organizations, we increase understanding of harmful environmental exposures such as inorganic arsenic and develop locally relevant solutions to toxic metals contamination of well water. Strategies for reduction of these contaminants are of interest to the National SRP program, the USEPA and the ATSDR.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Hazardous Substances Basic Research Grants Program (NIEHS) (P42)
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University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill
United States
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