NIEHS Superfund Research Program

"The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Superfund Hazardous Substance Research and Training Program (SRP) is a critical player in the national effort to protect human health and the environment from hazardous substances. The university-based research program was created under the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) of 1986 to meet the need for innovative strategies and technologies to provide solutions to the magnitude and complexity of Superfund assessment and remediation. The SARA legislation calls for a basic research and training program with four targeted mandate areas: human health effects, assessment of risks, detection technologies, and remediation approaches relevant to hazardous substances. The SRP was created by the same legislative framework that created the Environmental Protections Agency’s (EPA) Superfund hazardous waste remediation program and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR). The SRP’s role is to support science-based decision-making by elucidating the basic principles underlying hazardous substance toxicity, risk assessment, measurement, and remediation. Accordingly SRP, EPA, and ATSDR constitute a shared partnership to improve human health and the environment through reducing or eliminating the negative impacts of hazardous waste sites.

In order to fulfill its mandates, the SRP has developed a research framework that integrates the many different disciplines required to address the complex, interdependent, yet fundamental issues related to hazardous substances. These disciplines include toxicology, molecular biology, engineering, geosciences, epidemiology, ecology, etc. SRP research achieves a fundamental understanding of biological, environmental and engineering processes (i.e., basic science) and exploits this knowledge to contribute to solving hazardous waste-related issues (i.e., applied science). In addition, the SRP seeks to train the next generation of researchers and professionals tasked with protecting human health and the environment from the risks of hazardous substances."