The Disaster Research Response (DR2) Core serves as a dedicated service core for the Center’s disaster response activities. DR2’s overall objective is to (i) provide the Center with a centralized resource for environmental sampling before, during, and after disasters that involve re-distribution of hazardous substances in the environment that may impact human health; and (ii) contribute to national and international DR2 efforts by sharing best practices in disaster research on exposure and health effects. The DR2 Core will be critical for interactions among the Center’s projects and other cores by facilitating assessment of exposures from real-life environmental contaminants in disasters and increasing translation of basic science into decision-making and community engagement. The central hypothesis of the DR2 Core is that the rigor and reproducibility of DR2 activities will be ensured and the Center’s ability to respond to future disasters with translational research will be improved by creating a centralized resource and infrastructure to support disaster research response encompassing environmental assessment capabilities that can be rapidly deployed anywhere. The DR2 Core responds to Superfund mandate (3), the development of methods and technologies to detect hazardous substances in the environment.
The Texas A&M University Superfund Research Center is engaged in a number of disaster research response (DR2) activities and deployed personnel to a number of disasters to collect samples and respond to concerns from community partners, non-governmental organizations, and local and state agencies. Activities included sampling of water, sediment, and soils in response to Hurricane Harvey (2017), Hurricane Florence (2018), and the large-scale industrial fire at the Intercontinental Terminals Company (ITC) facility (2019). Therefore, this new DR2 Core will support the Center, and the rigor and reproducibility of its DR2 activities, by ensuring the Center’s ability to respond to disasters through creation of a centralized resource to support DR2 infrastructure, methods, supplies, and training.
- Maintain sampling supplies, field and laboratory equipment, and instrumentation required for collection of environmental samples during and after disasters.
- Coordinate collection, processing, and storage of environmental samples.
- Facilitate DR2 activities by the projects and cores and integrate with NIH DR2 programs
- Ensure that Center personnel can conduct fieldwork safely and properly for baseline sampling and in response to disasters.