The year 1982 is known for the release of the Commodore 64 computer, the first CD player by Sony and the movie, ET. It was also the year that Battelle was awarded its first task order contract to provide statistical and technical support to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Toxic Substances. Since then, personal computers have become small enough to fit in your pocket, CD players have been replaced by music streaming services and the cast of ET are all grown up. One thing that hasn’t changed? Battelle continues to do work for the EPA, with several employees supporting the organization for over 25 years. In fact, the team recently won a contract worth $16.9 million over the next five years, the most recent rebid of the task order contract that Battelle has held, with no interruptions, since 1982.
The EPA’s Office of Toxic Substances is now the Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (OPPT). Battelle Health Analytics scientists and researchers from the Health & Consumer Solutions business unit continue to provide statistical and technical support to OPPT, primarily to fulfill a key mission of characterizing the risks of existing chemicals to human health and the environment as required by the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
Since the initial contract, Battelle has held approximately 60 task order contracts with EPA. “In the last three decades, Battelle has established a very strong relationship with the EPA,” said Bruce Buxton, Research Leader and Project Manager. “Over the years, we have consistently delivered high quality research, demonstrated the breadth and depth of our capabilities and built a reputation for success. All of which contributed to winning this contract and opportunity to work with the agency for another five years.”
Throughout the life of the contract with the OPPT, the Battelle team has conducted research across a number of different areas including lead poisoning protection, high priority chemicals and water contamination, among others.
After Congress enacted major amendments to the Lead-Based Paint Poisoning Prevention Act in 1987, Battelle began conducting research to assess the impact of exposure by young children to lead-based paint hazards, how lead moves around the environment, and the adverse health impacts of lead exposure to those under a certain age. Battelle’s findings provided the OPPT with the scientific basis needed to develop regulation on lead levels in paint, dust, and soil, as well as guidance on minimizing lead-based paint hazards when performing renovation, remodeling, and painting activities. Since then, the team has conducted community outreach and education for the general public, contractors and home buyers, and continued to conduct studies that inform updated policies and procedures.
In addition to the work done in the lead poisoning prevention space, the team has also focused on exposures and health effects associated with high priority chemicals, including formaldehyde that is released from some composite wood products. They have worked to reach the manufacturers and distributors of these wood products and to educate them on the dangers associated with exposure.
Currently, they are focused on conducting statistical trend analysis on water quality measures in the New York/New Jersey Harbor System to assess the environmental impact of Superstorm Sandy that hit the East Coast in 2012.
Keeping a contract with the same government agency for over three decades does not happen by accident. It is the direct result of the importance of nurturing relationships, providing outstanding service and quality work, time and time again.
“It has been extremely rewarding to work alongside this team on such a wide variety of projects for that have the potential to do so much good for society,” said Bruce. “We are all excited to see what we can accomplish with another five years.”