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UA Hosts Community Forum to Address Health Concerns Related to Past Groundwater Contamination on Tucson’s South Side

A “community teach-in” hosted by the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health will share what is known today about the water and the health of the community on Tucson’s south side. Photo: Pixabay

A “community teach-in” hosted by the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health will share what is known today about the water and the health of the community on Tucson’s south side. Photo: Pixabay

Environmental experts from the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health will host a teach-in to discuss community concerns.

On Sunday, Aug. 27, environmental health experts from the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health will host a “community teach-in”—a forum for community members to express health concerns related to past contamination of groundwater on Tucson’s south side, receive education from experts and work collaboratively with agencies to address community needs. Open to the public, the event will be held from 1 to 5 p.m., at the Pima County Herbert K. Abrams Public Health Center, 3950 S. Country Club Road.

“The purpose of the teach-in is to share what we know today about the water and the health of the community on Tucson’s south side. We welcome community members to lead the discussion, share their health concerns and help guide next steps,” said Paloma Beamer, PhD, associate professor and environmental engineer in the UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health.

Since 1982, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized Tucson’s south side as a national Superfund site, a location with pollution that requires long-term remediation of hazardous materials. According to the EPA, between the 1940s and 1980s, the U.S. Air Force and Hughes Missile Systems Co. used products containing the toxic chemicals trichloroethylene (TCE) and 1,4-dioxane as industrial solvents and improperly disposed of the solvents by dumping them into unlined wells.

A panel of experts in environmental health, toxicology, community health research and water safety will be available to answer questions on the following topics:

Panel A: What we know about the water and the community’s health

  • Francisco Garcia, MD, MPH, director, Pima County Health Department
  • Jeff Biggs, Tucson Water
  • Mazda Shirazi, MD, PhD, medical director, Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center, UA College of Pharmacy

Panel B: Investigating community health concerns for the future

  • Paloma Beamer, PhD, MS, UA Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health
  • Kenneth Ramos, MD, PhD, PharmB, associate vice president of precision health sciences, University of Arizona Health Sciences
  • Ben Gerhardstein, MPH, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Contact:
UAHS Office of Public Affairs, 520-626-7301, public@email.arizona.edu
Ryan Taub, Pima County Health Department, 520-724-7912, Ryan.Taub@pima.gov

The University of Arizona