Toward identifying the next generation of superfund and hazardous waste site contaminants

Wendell P. Ela, David L. Sedlak, Morton A. Barlaz, Heather F. Henry, Derek C G Muir, Deborah L. Swackhamer, Eric J. Weber, Robert G. Arnold, P. Lee Ferguson, Jennifer A. Field, Edward T. Furlong, John P. Giesy, Rolf Halden, Tala Henry, Ronald A. Hites, Keri C. Hornbuckle, Philip H. Howard, Richard G. Luthy, Anita K. Meyer, A. Eduardo SáezFrederick S. vom Saal, Chris D. Vulpe, Mark R. Wiesner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Background: This commentary evolved from a workshop sponsored by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences titled "Superfund Contaminants: The Next Generation" held in Tucson, Arizona, in August 2009. All the authors were workshop participants. obBjectives: Our aim was to initiate a dynamic, adaptable process for identifying contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) that are likely to be found in future hazardous waste sites, and to identify the gaps in primary research that cause uncertainty in determining future hazardous waste site contaminants. Superfund-relevant CECs can be characterized by specifc attributes: Tey are persistent, bioaccumulative, toxic, occur in large quantities, and have localized accumulation with a likelihood of exposure. Although still under development and incompletely applied, methods to quantify these attributes can assist in winnowing down the list of candidates from the universe of potential CECs. Unfortunately, signifcant research gaps exist in detection and quantifcation, environ mental fate and transport, health and risk assessment, and site exploration and remediation for CECs. Addressing these gaps is prerequisite to a preventive approach to generating and managing hazardous waste sites. A need exists for a carefully considered and orchestrated expansion of programmatic and research eforts to identify, evaluate, and manage CECs of hazardous waste site relevance, including developing an evolving list of priority CECs, intensifying the identifcation and monitoring of likely sites of present or future accumulation of CECs, and implementing eforts that focus on a holistic approach to prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6-10
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental health perspectives
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • Contaminants of emerging concern
  • Emerging contaminant
  • Hazardous waste site
  • Superfund

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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