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Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program

2016-2017 TRI University Challenge Academic Partners

We received outstanding applications from eleven colleges and universities in response to the 2016 TRI University Challenge, and are working with six academic partners for the 2016-2017 academic year.

Descriptions of each of the project proposals are below. Please note that expected project outcomes may change. As the projects continue throughout the school year, we will provide progress updates and post deliverables.

Arizona State University
Center for Environmental Security

Primary Researcher:
Dr. Rolf Halden, Professor of Engineering

Expected Project Outcomes:
  • Demonstrate use of urban metabolism metrology to assess in near real-time the impact of new chemical regulations
  • Create educational tools to increase the general population’s awareness of chemical sustainability and toxic chemical release data
  • Expand and fully leverage an existing archive of nationwide wastewater treatment plant samples to be shared with the scientific community to advance sustainable chemistry in the U.S.

Drexel University
Dornsife School of Public Health

Primary Researcher:
Dr. Longjian Liu, Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Expected Project Outcomes:
  • Use TRI data to identify patterns of environmental hazards and high-risk counties and neighborhoods in Southeastern Pennsylvania
  • Analyze associations between specific TRI chemicals and the prevalence of and mortality from cardiovascular disease and diabetes
  • Understand the combined and interactive effects of physical and social environmental determinants on the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes to identify high-risk populations and offer comments on risk reduction for target populations

Lincoln University
College of Science and Technology

Primary Researcher:
Dr. Monica Gray, Assistant Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Expected Project Outcomes:
  • Develop county-level maps, focusing on counties in Southeastern Pennsylvania, such as Chester County, to increase awareness and use of TRI data
  • Combine data from multiple agencies such as U.S. EPA (TRI), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Cancer Institute, and U.S. Census Bureau to assess specific health outcomes, such as reproductive and developmental effects of toxic releases
  • Produce and share replicable methodologies with both academic and local environmental community organizations to engage community members and local TRI facilities in a productive dialogue

Missouri University of Science and Technology
Department of Economics

Primary Researcher:
Dr. Mahelet G. Fikru, Assistant Professor of Economics

Expected Project Outcomes:
  • Create a method, using TRI data, for rapidly evaluating a company’s performance with regard to toxic releases
  • Establish standardized environmental performance indicators of toxic pollutants at the plant- and firm-level to help stakeholders make socially and environmentally conscious decisions
  • Provide systematic ways of extracting and cleaning TRI datasets, as well as identifying errors in data reporting

University of Arizona
Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science

Primary Researcher:
Dr. Mónica Ramírez-Andreot, Assistant Professor of Soil, Water and Environmental Science

Expected Project Outcomes:
  • Assess the possible fate and transport of pesticides and other contaminants of concern and whether these chemicals are impacting organic farms in Southern Arizona
  • Analyze possible concentrations of contaminants of concern in the identified vulnerable organic farms using field samples
  • Use research findings to educate consumers and certified organic produce farmers who may be impacted by contaminant drift from nearby TRI facilities

University of West Florida
Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Primary Researcher:
Dr. Raid Amin, Professor of Mathematics and Statistics

Expected Project Outcomes:
  • Pinpoint geographic clusters with very high carcinogenic National Air Toxics Assessment (NATA) scores, in addition to geographic clusters with very high Risk-Screening Environmental Indicators (RSEI) carcinogenic scores
  • Identify the process by which data users can incorporate TRI-based data to test for associations between the levels of NATA carcinogenic scores and other variable(s) of interest, such as disease rates
  • Provide the NATA and RSEI programs with information on how to jointly analyze NATA scores and RSEI scores (for the year 2011) in an effective manner