Dust Storms

Monsoon storms send huge walls of dust across parts of Arizona, sometimes snarling traffic on roadways and knocking out power. There could be hidden health impacts for millions of people living in the state's dust zone as well. These dust storms carry a noxious mix of fungi, heavy metals from pollutants, chemicals and bacteria that could lead to cardiovascular and eye disease, and other illnesses.  These large dust storms are often called haboobs and in the local Native American communities they are called jegos (joo-goes).


Steps 2 STEM

The Steps 2 STEM Summer Research Internship is a 4-week research experience for students participating in the Pima County JTED's Bioscience and Health Science programs.

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KEYS Program

​The KEYS internship provides hands-on research opportunities to talented students from diverse backgrounds. The program concludes with the KEYS Research Showcase, where students present their results to their families, UA scientists, and program sponsors.

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IHSFC Emerging Contaminants Analytical Resource

The IHSFC Emerging Contaminants Analytical Resource (ECAR) leverages ALEC, an existing core analytical facility at UA, which is dedicated to providing the analytical capabilities and technical expertise required to detect and quantify small contaminant molecules (organic and inorganic) in complex matrices including biological fluids, tissue, water, air, soil, sediment, and biomass.

To learn more about the IHFC ECAR click here


Gold King Mine

In August 2015, an estimated 3 million gallons of acid water and heavy metals spilled from the Gold King Mine into Colorado's Animas River, eventually flowing into the San Juan River, the primary source of irrigation for Navajo Nation farmers. The spill was accidentally caused by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency while trying to prevent leakage of toxic materials.

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UV Exposure

SWEHSC researchers have discovered some rather special properties in annatto, the natural food additive with properties that can block the development of certain skin cancer cells in mice.

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Dietary Arsenic

Arsenic may be found in many foods due to absorption through the soil and water. 

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Environmental Impact on Reproductive Health

The adverse effects of environmental exposures on the reproductive system have been recognized as significant threat to human health.   The center now counts with expertise in descriptive and mechanistic reproductive toxicology (Craig) and the reproductive and gynecological health epidemiology (Farland).

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A Student's Journey

A Student's Journey is a year long program with a 5 week on campus experience at the University of Arizona for participating Tohono O'odham Community College (TOCC) students.

"Ñia, Oya G T-Ttacui Am Hab E-Ju:" "Our Dream Fulfilled"


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Contaminated Water

Scientists test for arsenic and other heavy metals in water collected from the Gold King Mine spill. 

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Smoke Exposure

Cancer is a leading cause of death among firefighters, who are exposed to cancer-causing chemicals through both inhalation and skin absorption. Measuring these exposures and determining the mechanisms by which they cause cancer are essential steps in learning how to reduce cancer risk in firefighters. 

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UV Exposure

Arizona has one of the highest incidence rates of skin cancer, the most prevalent cancer, in the United States.

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Asthma

Asthma and related allergic diseases are two conditions that plague many Americans across the Southwest. Native Americans across the desert landscape have suffered from these ailments in disproportionate amounts. Understanding how particular environments can either contribute to, or offer protection from asthma offer the promise of improving treatment for asthma and allergy patients.


Tree Ring Analysis

Did you know tree rings can be used to reconstruct past environmental conditions?

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Mine Tailings

Tailings are the mounds of crushed rock, mixed with trace amounts of chemicals, that remain after ore is processed. Mine tailings are composed of fine particles that can easily be blown around in dust storms and can lead to contaminated well water.


Tribal Communities

Native American reservation land comprises more than 25% of the state of Arizona, which is home to 22 distinct tribes and one of the largest percentages of Native Americans in the United States.

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  • AZ HEROES is a collaborative project between the AZ HEROS (Arizona Healthcare, Emergency Response, and Other Essental workers Surveillance) Study at the University of Arizona and Tribal Communities that are concerned for the wellbeing of their essential worker's health related to getting or re-getting COVID-19. Visit our webpage here
  • The Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center (SWEHSC) is a collaborative and interdisciplinary research center, which is actively investigating the health effects of environmental agents and serving as a resource for the community. Welcome message from our Center Director.
  • The SWEHSC offers Pilot Project grants twice per year. To get more information go to the Pilot Projects page. Contact Dean Billheimer, Deputy Director for more information.