The EPA's National Center for Environmental Research is seeking research proposals by Sept. 17 from U.S. academic and nonprofit institutions and state and local governments for $6 million in grants earmarked for four areas of research on chemical and microbial drinking water contaminants. The two chemical topics, each of which could get up to $175,000 annually for two to three years, include a study of the susceptibility of sensitive populations to the acute effects methemoglobin formation from contaminants such as nitrobenzene and dinitrotoluenes and another on the neurotoxicity of aluminum. For the microbial studies, NCER is looking specifically for innovative approaches for estimating microbial in drinking water. Up to $400,000 a year for two to three years is set aside for the other microbial project which would entail epidemiological studies that would "indicate attributable risk from drinking water and/or the relative contributions of risk from distribution systems versus treatment deficiencies" in groundwater or surface water systems.