New Waves April 2010

Breaking news about water resources research and education in Texas

Baylor researchers receive grant to study fish contaminated by San Jacinto waste pits

Baylor University researchers have received a $250,000 grant from the Texas Environmental Health Institute to study water pollution from the San Jacinto River waste pits near the Houston Ship Channel. The Baylor researchers will study how the pollution, including cancer-causing compounds known as dioxins and furans, spread from the soil into the fish and ecosystem.

"We want to understand how much of the dioxins and furans are accumulating in fish and trace how much of these substances move from one species to the next up the food chain," said Dr. Bryan Brooks, associate professor of environmental sciences and biomedical studies at Baylor and director of the environmental health sciences program. "Dioxins are very fat soluble and we want to know how much is getting into the edible fish and shellfish species around that area because the concentrations become higher as they move up the food chain."

The study will measure polychlorinated dioxin and furan concentrations in fish, invertebrates and sediment samples taken from the site and will calculate site-specific biota sediment accumulation factor values for certain edible fish and shellfish. The Baylor researchers will then use stable isotope analysis to understand the food web and trophic modeling to examine accumulation of polychlorinated dioxin and furan concentrations in edible fish and shellfish that inhabit the surrounding area.

Read the entire Baylor News article here.

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