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GLIN==> Grants available for research into effects of air pollution on Great Lakes

Contact:  Kevin Yam, Great Lakes Commission, kyam@glc.org

Submit applications at www.glc.org/glad

Grants support research into effects of air pollution on Great Lakes

Ann Arbor, Mich. – The Great Lakes Commission is seeking proposals for research projects to share in $732,000 in grants to be awarded early next year under the Great Lakes Air Deposition (GLAD) program.

The GLAD program supports research into issues related to the toxic contamination of water bodies in the Great Lakes region by airborne pollutants. These include, but are not limited to, the emission of toxic substances into the atmosphere; the movement of these substances in the environment; and the exposures and impacts of these substances on human health and wildlife. Funding is provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Detailed information on the GLAD program and an online application system are at www.glc.org/glad. The deadline for proposals is Dec. 15, 2004. 

“The Great Lakes are among the most sensitive ecosystems in the world to toxic contaminant deposition and accumulation,” said Dr. Michael J.  Donahue, president/CEO of the Great Lakes Commission. “For many toxic chemicals, including those of greatest concern to the environment, airborne deposition is now the primary route of entry into the waters of the Great Lakes basin. The GLAD program supports the research we need to make scientifically sound decisions to protect human health and the environment.”

The request for proposals identifies four priority focus areas for research: monitoring toxic substances in air and deposition samples; characterization of sources; modeling the movement of toxic substances in the atmosphere and the total environment; and assessing effects on wildlife and human health.  In all, the GLAD Program will support a broad suite of projects to meet the varied challenges of understanding and mitigating these complex problems. 

Currently sponsored projects include investigations of mercury deposition in the region and the entry of mercury into the food chain; monitoring dioxins at several stations around the region; investigating the deposition of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) to Lake Superior; and identifying the sources of toxic deposition to several of the lakes, including a thorough study of the deposition of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) to Presque Isle Bay on Lake Erie.  The Great Lakes Commission is also continuing its work with regional air control agencies to produce a regional inventory of toxic air emissions. 

Despite considerable progress over the past several decades in curbing toxic emissions and remediating contaminated sites, a great number of inland lakes in the region and all of the Great Lakes are subject to fish consumption advisories.  These advisories warn of possible harm from consuming certain types of fish, especially to children and women of child-bearing age, due to contamination by mercury, PCBs, pesticides and other toxic chemicals.

Because most toxic substances entering the region’s waters now come from the atmosphere, eliminating the risks from fish consumption depends on reducing contamination from the atmosphere.  This requires continued research to identify and quantify the sources of toxic substances in the region’s atmosphere and the processes by which these substances enter the region’s lakes and accumulate in aquatic food chains.  Through the GLAD program, the Great Lakes Commission and its partners at the region’s state air control agencies look to meet these challenges.

Sponsored investigators are encouraged to work closely with environmental management efforts at the state, local, regional and federal levels to ensure that scientific findings are efficiently incorporated in policy decisions.  Proposals are due to the Great Lakes Commission by December 15, 2004.  For more information, visit www.glc.org/glad or contact Kevin Yam, kyam@glc.org


The Great Lakes Commission, chaired by the Hon. Thomas Huntley (Minn.), is a nonpartisan, binational compact agency established under state and U.S. federal law and dedicated to promoting a strong economy, healthy environment and high quality of life for the Great LakesSt. Lawrence region and its residents.  The Commission consists of state legislators, agency officials and governors’ appointees from its eight member states.  Associate membership for Ontario and Québec was established through the signing of a “Declaration of Partnership.”  The Commission maintains a formal Observer program involving U.S. and Canadian federal agencies, tribal authorities, binational agencies and other regional interests.  The Commission offices are located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.