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University gets $1.7 million for U.S.-Mexico border

Release Date: 03/21/2006
Contact Information: Wendy L. Chavez, (415) 947-4248, En español, Francisco Arcaute, (213) 244-1815,

(San Francisco, Calif. - March 21, 2006) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded the University of Arizona a $1,750,815 grant to fund a U.S.-Mexico Binational Center for Environmental Science and Toxicology. The state of Arizona is also funding the project with an additional $449,185 grant.

Photo of mine drainage The center is designed to build Mexico’s academic capacity to address environmental and human health risks, particularly those associated with arsenic and other metals resulting from mining activities.

The first research project will investigate the relationship of arsenic and diabetes and breast cancer incidences along the U.S.-Mexico border, long-term effects of heavy metals on children's health, landfill leachate plumes, and mine tailings.

The center will also provide training fellowships for Mexican doctoral students of environmental science, engineering, and toxicology. It will also develop Spanish-language textbooks and information sheets addressing environmental legislation, environmental engineering and science, and environmental toxicology.

“Border communities, particularly children, have a higher incidence of health problems,” said Wayne Nastri, the EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest region. “This program will increase U.S.-Mexico collaboration so that each nation is better prepared to solve environmental and human health risks in the border region.”

    Photo of mining waste The results of the U.S.-Mexico Binational Center for Environmental Science and Toxicology’s program are below:

    – work directly with 10 Mexican universities to establish six Ph.D.s and three post-doctoral fellowships at the University of Arizona,

    – write nine or more peer-reviewed journal articles demonstrating advances in public health knowledge about arsenic and mining remediatio,

    – conduct 10 training workshops on health risk and remediation practices related to mining, and

    – produce two or more comprehensive Spanish language educational campaigns on risk assessment and cleanup guidance, and best practices on how to comply with regulatory requirements.
The university has also agreed to coordinate with the EPA and Mexico’s environmental agency, SEMARNAT, to ensure that the center’s workshops and educational materials meet Border 2012 cleanup goals.

The U.S.-Mexico Border 2012 Program is a binational 10-year cooperative plan aimed at protecting public health and the environment along the 2,000-mile border region, where almost 12 million citizens of both countries live. The program focuses on decreasing air, water, waste and soil pollution, and lowering the risks of exposure to pesticides and other chemicals.

To learn more about the EPA's U.S. - Mexico Border 2012 Program, please visit: