Airborne Mineral Dust Contaminants: Impacts on Human Health and the Environment

“Airborne Mineral Dust Contaminants: Impacts on Human Health and the Environment” was hosted by the University of Arizona Superfund Research Program May 20-21, 2013 in Tucson, AZ, the workshop was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), with support from the UA Water Sustainability Program and Institute for Mineral Resources.

Goal

The main goal of this scientific workshop is to stimulate interaction among different research communities interested in dust and to promote better integration of research on airborne mineral dust from emissions to environmental exposure.

Highlights of the event

“Airborne Mineral Dust Contaminants: Impacts on Human Health and the Environment” was recently hosted by the University of Arizona Superfund Research Program (UA SRP). Held May 20-21 at the Westin La Paloma Resort in Tucson, AZ, the workshop was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), with support from the UA Water Sustainability Program and Institute for Mineral Resources.

The goal of the workshop was to stimulate interaction among different research communities interested in dust and to promote better integration of research on airborne mineral dust from emissions to environmental exposure. Nearly 60 scientists came together from the academic, regulatory, and industrial sectors, with some international participants traveling from as far away as Australia, Mongolia, and China. The topics covered ranged from identifying sources and measuring characteristics of dust to understanding health and environmental impacts. Importantly, workshop participants identified knowledge gaps in the field. Participants will be able to continue the discussion on the conference webpage blog, and will be contributing papers to a special edition of the journal Aeolian Research.

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Group photo of trainees
Trainees participated in an oral data blitz and poster session

Among the participants were sixteen students from the United States and Mexico. The student poster session began with an oral data blitz, in which students had 1-2 minutes to provide an “elevator pitch” and invite participants to view their posters. “The students were a lot of fun, and the audience enjoyed it,” says UA SRP investigator Dr. Eric Betterton, one of the conference organizers. Other workshop activities and networking opportunities included lunches and a dinner on the patio overlooking the Santa Catalina Mountains, authentic Mexican food, and of course, the sunny Tucson weather.

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Organizer Dr. Eric Betterton and former UA SRP trainee Dr. Janae Csavina
Organizer Dr. Eric Betterton and former UA SRP trainee Dr. Janae Csavina

Dr. Betterton described the scientific presentations as “superlative” and says he learned something from every talk. The participants enjoyed themselves, the discussions were fruitful, and the workshop was considered to be a great success by the UA SRP organizers. Dr. Tom Gill, from the University of Texas, El Paso, said it was a “first-class workshop.  I hope there will be another one and I can come back.”

Outcome

A special issue of the journal Aeolian Research has been published which features papers from the conference. Guest Editors are Jeffrey J. Whicker (Los Alamos National Lab), and David D. Breshears, Avelino Eduardo Sáez and Jason P. Field (UA).

A survey of workshop participants was conducted (click here for summary of results).

Learn more

Agenda

Summary report of the event

Related Projects

Prediction and Properties of Airborne Dust Arising from Mining Operations

Funding

The workshop was funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), The University of Arizona Lowell Institute for Mineral Resources (IMR), Water Sustainability Program (WSP), The Institute of the Environment, and Renewable Energy Network (REN)

When

All Day May 20, 2013

Where

Tucson, AZ