A variety of chemicals are used in everything from textiles to cosmetics and personal care products to food packaging, and exposure to some chemicals could have unintended health consequences, according to University of California (UC) Davis Superfund Research Program (SRP) scientists. In talks at a public seminar Oct. 24, UC Davis SRP trainees described how people are exposed to these harmful chemicals and how to measure exposure. The seminar was part of a regular series hosted by the Tahoe Environmental Research Center, an internationally recognized center that conducts multidisciplinary, collaborative research on lakes and surrounding watersheds.
Candace Bever, Ph.D., Jennifer Brennan, and Amy Rand, Ph.D., discussed how everyday chemicals interact within our bodies to disrupt normal functions. They also explained how UC Davis SRP is developing new tools, such as cells lines to measure hormone specific activity and antibodies to assess exposure to harmful chemicals.
“There often isn’t the chance to talk about science to such a broad audience of interested participants, but this seminar provided the platform for our research to be communicated and widely distributed,” said Rand, a UC Davis SRP postdoctoral fellow investigating how metabolic processes affect biological systems.
About 50 people attended the seminar, ranging from finance managers and business professionals to toxicology professors from the University of Nevada, Reno. Some audience members who came from Reno noted that they made the drive because they were intrigued by the topic and have always enjoyed this seminar series.
“Although the talks were scientifically driven, the questions provoked meaningful discussion about the relevance of environmental contaminants and our exposure to them,” said Rand. “I found the seminar to be a fantastic opportunity to bring current and ongoing environmental research to the public.”