Opening Date: June 15, 2001
Closing Date: September 17, 2001

*** NOTICE ***

    Closing Date has been extended::

  • Health Effects of Chemical Contaminants in Drinking Water Open: June 15, 2001 - Closing: September 17, 2001 - Extended to September 24, 2001

Specific Areas of Interest
Standard Instructions for Submitting an Application

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View NCER Research Capsules (https://www.epa.gov
View research awarded under previous solicitations (


One of the high-priority research areas identified by the EPA Office of Research and Development (ORD) is drinking water.  Under the 1996 Amendments to the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) the responsibility for making sure public water systems provides safe drinking water is divided among EPA, states, tribes, water systems, and the public.  Threats to drinking water safety come from the occurrence of chemical contaminants or pathogens in drinking water and research is needed in a variety of areas to improve the ability to assess and thereby reduce the public health risks from America?s public water systems.  EPA currently supports a number of drinking water-related research grants resulting from previous solicitations.  Information regarding current research can be found on ORD?s National Center for Environmental Research (NCER) homepage https://www.epa.gov


The 1996 SDWA Amendments required EPA to publish a list of contaminants which, at the time of publication, are not subject to any proposed or promulgated national primary drinking water regulation, are known or anticipated to occur in public water systems, and may require regulation under the SDWA [section 1412(b)(1)].  This list has become known as the Contaminant Candidate List (CCL) and the first drinking water CCL was published in March 1998 (Federal Register63(40):10274-10287, March 2, 1998).  The list consists of 50 chemical and 10 microbial contaminants/contaminant groups that are known or anticipated to occur in public water systems.  CCL contaminants are grouped according to the need for research in health effects, treatment or analytical methods; occurrence monitoring; and regulatory or guidance development.  The Agency is required to repeat the contaminant identification and selection cycle every five years, thereby regularly revising the CCL.  This RFA solicits research that is responsive to the priorities on the current CCL.


Methemoglobin formation.   Several of the contaminants on the contaminant candidate list (nitrobenzene, dinitrotoluenes) are among those chemicals known to induce methemoglobin formation.  There are a number of sensitive subpopulations that are more susceptible to methemoglobin formation than the general population.  This RFA solicits proposals on the susceptibility of sensitive populations to the acute effects of methemoglobin formation from contaminants in drinking water.

Sensitive subpopulations, as defined in a recent Report to Congress (EPA Studies on Sensitive Subpopulations and Drinking Water Contaminants, EPA 815-R-00-015), are groups of individuals (e.g., infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly, etc.) who respond biologically at lower levels of exposure to a contaminant in drinking water than the general population.  Subpopulations sensitive to methemoglobin formation include those individuals with a glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency, a methemoglobin reductase deficiency, or variant hemoglobins.  Infants also tend to be more susceptible than adults.  This RFA solicits research on the dose-response characteristics of subpopulations susceptible to methemoglobin formation as compared to the normal population, and research on whether the response to mixtures of exogenous methemoglobin inducers is additive or synergistic.  This can be an important consideration since co-exposures to methemoglobin formers such as nitrite and copper or copper and chlorite can occur from drinking water.  Proposals might also consider species differences in metabolism of methemoglobin inducers since species differences in metabolism may contribute to sensitivity.

Neurotoxicity of Aluminum.  In order to better characterize the human health risk from aluminum, research is needed to determine factors that influence the occurrence of various aluminum complexes, the relative influence of such complexes on the distribution of aluminum in the body, and the dose-dependent contribution of such complexes to neurotoxic effects.  Proposals might consider: mechanistic factors such as regulation of ion transport, cytoskeleton effects, neurotransmitter levels, or enzyme activities following oral exposure; differences between the pharmacokinetics of water, food, or inhalation exposures; variations in bioavailability and metabolism; and other factors that affect human susceptibility, such as genetic factors, diet, age, sex, or predisposing health conditions.


Approximately $3.0 million is expected to be available for awards responsive to this solicitation.  However, awards are subject to the availability of funds.  The projected award is for total costs of up to $175,000/year with a duration of 2 or 3 years for proposals responsive to this solicitation.  Do not exceed these budget limits.  The results of this research are intended to benefit researchers in academia and decision makers at the federal, state, and local levels.


Academic and not-for-profit institutions located in the U.S., and state or local governments, are eligible under all existing authorizations.  Profit-making firms are not eligible to receive grants from EPA under this program.  Federal agencies and national laboratories funded by federal agencies (Federally-funded Research and Development Centers, FFRDCs) may not apply.

Federal employees are not eligible to serve in a principal leadership role on a grant.  FFRDC employees may cooperate or collaborate with eligible applicants within the limits imposed by applicable legislation and regulations.  They may participate in planning, conducting, and analyzing the research directed by the principal investigator, but may not direct projects on behalf of the applicant organization or principal investigator.  The principal investigator's institution may provide funds through its grant from EPA to a FFRDC for research personnel, supplies, equipment, and other expenses directly related to the research.  However, salaries for permanent FFRDC employees may not be provided through this mechanism.

Federal employees may not receive salaries or in other ways augment their agency's appropriations through grants made by this program.  However, federal employees may interact with grantees so long as their involvement is not essential to achieving the basic goals of the grant.1  The principal investigator?s institution may also enter into an agreement with a federal agency to purchase or utilize unique supplies or services unavailable in the private sector.  Examples are purchase of satellite data, census data tapes, chemical reference standards, analyses, or use of instrumentation or other facilities not available elsewhere, etc.  A written justification for federal involvement must be included in the application, along with an assurance from the federal agency involved which commits it to supply the specified service.

 1EPA encourages interaction between its own laboratory scientists and grant principal investigators for the purpose of exchanging information in research areas of common interest that may add value to their respective research activities.  However, this interaction must be incidental to achieving the goals of the research under a grant.  Interaction that is ?incidental? is not reflected in a research proposal and involves no resource commitments.

Potential applicants who are uncertain of their eligibility should contact Jack Puzak  in NCER, phone (202) 564-6825, Email:


A set of special instructions on how applicants should apply for an NCER grant is found on the NCER web site,, Standard Instructions for Submitting a STAR Application.  The necessary forms for submitting an application will be found on this web site.

Sorting Codes

The need for a sorting code to be used in the application and for mailing is described in the Standard Instructions for Submitting a STAR Application.  The sorting code for applications submitted in response to this solicitation is 2001-STAR-U1.  The deadline for receipt of the application by NCER is no later than 4:00 p.m. ET, September 17, 2001. DEADLINE EXTENDED TO SEPTEMBER 24, 2001.


Further information, if needed, may be obtained from the EPA official indicated below.
E-mail inquiries are preferred.

 Maggie Breville
 Voicemail: 202-564-6893
 Fax: 202-565-2443