Partnership for Environmental Research and Community Health (PERCH)
Partnership for Environmental Research and Community Health (PERCH) Escambia Santa Rosa county
Escambia and Santa Rosa counties (with a combined population of 412,000) are the two most western counties in the State of Florida. A special Grand Jury on Air and Water Quality impaneled by the First Judicial Court of the State of Florida (Grand Jury Report, 1999) addressed the deterioration of environmental health in Northwest Florida due to pollution from point sources (industrial, military, and Superfund sites) and non-point sources (storm water runoff, septic tanks, lead contaminated homes, contaminated aquifers, and other diffused sources of pollution). In recent years, as part of a National Relocation Pilot Effort, the U.S. EPA has relocated 361 households from around the Escambia Wood Treating Company (ETC) Superfund site in Pensacola. In response to the continued health concerns of the affected residents, emerging evidence of groundwater contamination from some of the Superfund sites, and the community's general concerns about regional environmental pollution and potential impacts on human health, the U.S. Congress provided directed source funding to the University of West Florida (UWF) to conduct environmental health studies in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
UWF formed an alliance, Partnership for Environmental Research and Community Health (PERCH), with the regional public health departments--Escambia County Health Department and Santa Rosa County Health Department--and developed collaborative relationships with other academic institutions (e.g., Georgia Institute of Technology, University of South Florida, and Florida State University) to undertake comprehensive assessments of environmental health in Northwest Florida. The earmarked funding was administered by two agencies: U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The funding provided by these agencies supported the following projects:
|Assessment of Environmental Pollution and Community Health in Northwest Florida|
|EPA Cooperative Agreement X-97455002. July 1, 2002 to June 30, 2009|
|Project Director: Dr. K. Ranga Rao|
This project includes the following tasks:
• Construction of an environmental bibliography for Northwest Florida.
• Health outcomes in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
• Air quality studies.
• Profiles of selected pollutants in Bayou Texar, Pensacola, FL.
• Profiles of selected pollutants in Bayou Chico, Pensacola, FL.
• Atmospheric deposition of mercury and trace metals to the Pensacola Bay System.
• Bioaccumulation of chemical contaminants in seafood in the Pensacola Bay System, focusing on most commonly caught and consumed fish from the area bays and bayous.
• Pollution of surface soils in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties.
• Profiles of selected pollutants in Bayou Grande, Pensacola, FL.
• Preliminary screening of PCB and dioxins/furans contamination in sediments of Escambia Bay.
|Environmental Health Studies in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties|
|CDC Grant R04/CCR421909. September 29, 2002 to September 29, 2004|
|Principal Investigator: Dr. K. Ranga Rao|
This project includes the following tasks: (Available Reports)
• Assessing fisheries as vectors for toxic materials from the environment to humans, including: analysis of contaminants in blue crabs and oysters, limited analysis in fish, and conducting a fish consumption survey.
• Environmental follow-up assessments for children with elevated blood lead levels.
• Clinical toxicology and public health evaluation of communities near Superfund sites in the Palafox Redevelopment Area.
|PERCH Project: Environmental Health Studies in Northwest Florida|
|CDC Grant R01 EH000096-1; August 17, 2005 to August 17, 2007|
|Principal Investigator: Dr. K. Ranga Rao|
This project includes the following tasks: (Project Summary)
• Survey of contaminants in freshwater fish from lakes and ponds in Escambia and Santa Rosa Counties.
• Evaluation of mercury levels in hair samples from women of child-bearing age in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
• Clinical evaluations and biomonitoring of residents in the Clarinda Triangle area near the Escambia Wood Treating Company (ETC) Superfund site.