Category archives for Environmental Health
Dr. Jodi Sherman wants to expand the medical profession’s understanding of patient safety far beyond the exam room and hospital bed. For Sherman, the oft-heard medical mantra of “first do no harm” should also push the health care system to do more to reduce its harmful air emissions and their impact on people’s health.
President Obama called out asbestos as the key example of why the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act is needed. He signed it into law today.
The road toward eliminating the threat of asbestos has been long, slow-moving, incredibly frustrating and littered with significant hurdles. Thankfully, advocates like Linda Reinstein, who lost her husband to asbestos-related disease in 2003, refuse to get discouraged.
Many environmental, health and consumer groups are shrugging their shoulders about the TSCA reform bill headed to President Obama’s desk for his signature. Their reaction—the silence—is striking.
“In my darker hours when I’m sleeping at night, that’s where I go.” Those are words from Eric Blank, senior director for public health systems at the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL), talking about the enormous difficulties that public health labs faced in confronting the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic. Now he fears that without emergency federal funds and in the face of new funding cuts, Zika virus will force the nation’s critical public health lab network into that same scenario — or into something even worse.
With near constant news on the threat of Zika virus and a quickly growing evidence base detailing the virus’ devastating impact on fetal brain development, you’d think Congress could get its act together to make sure our public health system is fully prepared and equipped to confront the mosquito-borne disease. Sadly, you’d be wrong.
Lead isn’t the only toxin threatening the safety of community drinking water. A recent study on water located downstream from a West Virginia fracking disposal site uncovered levels of endocrine-disrupting chemicals high enough to adversely impact the aquatic animals living there. And that means human health could be at risk too.
In debates over air pollution control, it’s always a tug-of-war between the cost to business and the cost to public health. Late last month, a study emerged with new data for the public health column: the cost of the nation’s nearly 16,000 annual preterm births linked to air pollution is more than a whopping $5 billion.
During the years that community health researcher Jill Johnston lived and worked in San Antonio, Texas was experiencing an explosion of fracking. She and the community partners she worked with on environmental health issues had a strong hunch that most of the fracking wastewater wells were being located near communities of color. So, they decided to dig a little deeper and quantify the pattern.
In the U.S., just a tiny fraction of the chemicals used in consumer products have been tested for human health effects. And with the current climate in Congress, it feels unlikely that we’ll see any true reform of the nation’s terribly outdated chemical safety rules anytime soon. In the meantime, scientist Thomas Hartung may have created the next best thing.