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Environmental Factor, January 2015

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This month in EHP

Child filling up water canteen

The January issue of Environmental Health Perspectives (EHP) looks at the challenges of maintaining hygiene to fight waterborne diseases during emergency situations, and extending regulation of dietary arsenic beyond drinking water by setting a limit for arsenic in rice.

The WASH Approach: Fighting Waterborne Diseases in Emergency Situations

Emergency situations are ripe for outbreaks of diseases spread by fecal–oral transmission. In times of scarcity, water tends to go first to drinking and cooking, and hygiene become a lower priority. But health-protective behaviors are critically important for preventing the spread of waterborne diseases.

In Search of “Just Right:” The Challenge of Regulating Arsenic in Rice

Numerous studies have assessed the health impact of consuming arsenic through drinking water, and many countries regulate arsenic in municipal water. Now research and regulatory concerns are broadening to include arsenic in the diet, especially in rice, but settling on an appropriate limit for arsenic in rice is proving difficult.

Featured research and related news articles this month include:

  • ToxCast Wants You: Recommendations for Engaging the Broader Scientific Community — A new commentary discusses two strategies for increasing engagement between ToxCast and researchers in disciplines beyond toxicology.
  • Inner Workings of Arsenic: DNA Methylation Targets Offer Clues to Mechanisms of Toxicity — In a large study of Bangladeshi adults, researchers identify gene-specific DNA methylation targets in white blood cells.
  • “Exported” Deaths and Short-term PM10 Exposure: Factoring Into Mortality Estimates the Impact of Commuting — A new report estimates mortality attributable to short-term PM10 exposure, using sophisticated models to account for two of the chief obstacles to assessing health impact — data uncertainty and mobility of the population.
  • Potential Mitochondrial Toxicants: Tox21 Screen Identifies Structures of Interest — Scientists with the Tox21 consortium assessed the effect of more than 8,300 chemicals on mitochondrial membrane potential and cell viability.



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