A $10 million grant was given to researchers at the University of Pennsylvania this month to study the effects of asbestos and how its fibers lead to life-threatening diseases.
According to reports, the grant is in response to America’s 10 Superfund sites, the largest areas containing hazardous pollution in the nation. The grant, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), will provide a way for researchers at the school to perform studies on asbestos and the diseases linked to it, including asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma.
The grant also provides a way for the University to create and establish the Penn Superfund Research and Training Program Center. The program will help with concerns regarding Ambler, Pennsylvania’s BiRit Asbestos Superfund site. The Ambler site was once an asbestos factory that operated from the late 1880s until the 1980s. As a result, even though the area went through a cleanup in 1993, resident and citizens who are around the site are still as risk of inhaling asbestos fibers. With the grant, however, experts can now perform in-depth research and studies on how its affecting today’s society.
Recent reports by the Community Outreach and Engagement Core and Pennsylvania’s Health Department show that people in the Ambler zip code have a heightened risk of developing mesothelioma, especially women.
Along with funding for research, the grant has also allowed the establishment of an interdisciplinary training program for doctoral students who want to have a hands-on experiences with the environmental health issues.
Several projects have been set up in order to study asbestos and its dangers, including a study led by Dr. Doug Jerolmack, an assistant professor at the University’s Arts and Sciences department. The study aims to monitor how asbestos fibers maneuver through soil and water by using a mock soil in an aquarium.
Another study, led by Penn Medicine’s Ted Emmett and Fran Barg aims to identify exactly how asbestos exposure occurs and why asbestos-related diseases in Ambler tend to affect women more than men.
In yet another study, the grant’s biomedical branch will research genetics and how it relates to the increased chances of certain people developing mesothelioma.
Other studies include tests on mice to determine how to stop mesothelioma by using flaxseed, and blood tests to see if the subjects have inhaled asbestos fibers and if they are at risk of developing an asbestos-related disease.
Although the studies and research are mostly focused on the Ambler site, experts at the research center feel that the findings will be valuable for all other super sites in the nation.
For more detailed information on asbestos, including asbestos-related illnesses, treatment options, and more, we invite you to fill out our form today for you a free Mesothelioma and Asbestos Guide. In addition, if you’ve been exposed to asbestos due to the negligence of another party, you may be entitled to significant compensation. Contact our leading asbestos law firm today for a no-obligation legal consultation.