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Your Environment. Your Health.

PEPH E-News June 2016

Volume 7, Issue 6: June 2016

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UNC Superfund Research Program's Research Translation Core Launches New "Eat Fish, Choose Wisely" Resources

The Research Translation Core (RTC) within the University of North Carolina (UNC) Superfund Research Program (SRP) is informing local residents and fishermen about fish consumption advisories using a new website and brochure that are organized around a map of local fishing sites. While fish are an important part of a healthy diet, some contain chemicals that may be harmful to human health if eaten in large amounts. These new resources help people learn about harmful chemicals that may be in fish in the lakes and streams of the Research Triangle region of North Carolina (Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill) and how to reduce their risk of exposure.

Mercury and PCBs are two chemicals found in Triangle-area lakes and streams that accumulate in fish. Drawing on their research, the RTC worked with community partners to create a brochure that includes a map of Triangle-area waters and the corresponding fish advisories to help families limit or avoid certain fish species and bodies of water with high levels of pollution. Printed guides are also available at Lake Crabtree County Park, a popular outdoor recreation and fishing spot in the area, and are being distributed by nonprofit partners who work with fishermen.

"Two of our long-time community partners—Neuse RiverKeeper Matthew Starr and Lake Crabtree County Park Manager Drew Cade—expressed concerns that fishermen, especially Spanish speakers, were eating fish caught from local waterways that were contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from a nearby Superfund site," explained Kathleen Gray, who is the RTC leader for the UNC SRP. "We started with qualitative research, engaging 58 fishermen around Lake Crabtree and in Raleigh, some of whom were native Spanish speakers. We learned what kinds of information people wanted and how they wanted to receive it and then worked with our partners to create these resources with a map as a central focus."

While the resources focus on water contamination and fish advisories specific to the Triangle area, they also contain general information and helpful tips for families to safely enjoy the health benefits of eating fish. For example, they explain how children and women of reproductive age are particularly vulnerable to PCBs and mercury, so they recommend that children eat smaller servings than adults. Other tips offered to reduce exposure while continuing to enjoy the benefits of eating fish include eating a variety of fish and eating only the skinless fillet, which is the least-contaminated part.

"We found that signs on the waterways didn't communicate the information fishermen wanted to know—such as the sources of contaminants or where else they could fish—so they weren't able to make informed decisions about consuming fish from local waterways," said Gray. "Together with our partners, we aimed to help people better understand the fish consumption advisories, enabling them to eat fish while also protecting their health and their family members' health."

Check out the Eat Fish, Choose Wisely website to read more. The brochure is available in English and Spanish.

The June PEPH webinar will feature three researchers who are exploring the challenge of communicating risk about eating fish from waters known to contain high levels of pollutants while simultaneously conveying the benefits of fish consumption for human health. The webinar will take place on June 16 from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. EDT. Registration is required.

Introducing NIEHS's New "Kids Environment, Kids Health" Website

NIEHS recently launched a new and improved Kids Environment, Kids Health website for kids, parents, and teachers to find fun and educational materials related to health, science, and the environment. The website features a fresh new look and improved format that is designed especially for viewing on cell phones, tablets, and other mobile devices. Check out the new website, where you'll find games, activities, and lessons to explore with your family or students!

Students Help Researchers Test New Air Pollution Sensor

NIEHS-funded researchers are partnering with students, teachers, and parents at a school in Fort Collins, Colorado to pilot test a new wearable air pollution sensor. The students will voluntarily wear the sensors and report their experiences back to the researchers. The low-cost, portable sensor was developed by a team of researchers from Colorado State University (CSU), led by NIEHS grantee John Volckens, Ph.D. The researchers' goal is to determine the air quality in personal environments, such as at home or school, to help asthma sufferers and other vulnerable populations get more information on what they're breathing (to prevent attacks). Read the CSU news article to learn more.

New Publication: The Legal Implications of Household Exposure Studies

A new review article examines the laws and regulations that might trigger legal duties for study participants after receiving study results and the ethical and legal consequences for researchers. Participants receiving results from studies examining in-home exposures may have a legal duty to disclose the presence of certain chemicals when selling or renting their homes or to frequent visitors. Issues for researchers include whether the legal consequences for participants should affect the decision to report back results, how researchers should disclose the legal risks to participants during the informed consent process, and whether researchers would be liable to study participants for legal or economic harm arising from reporting study results to them. The review provides recommendations for language the researchers could use in the informed consent process to disclose the legal risks. The review was funded by NIEHS and published in Environmental Health Perspectives.

FDA Report on Arsenic in Rice and Rice Products Cites SRP Researchers

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is taking steps to reduce inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal, a leading source of arsenic exposure in infants. Relative to body weight, rice intake for infants, primarily through infant rice cereal, is about three times that for adults. Through a draft guidance to industry, the FDA is proposing a limit or "action level" of 100 parts per billion (ppb) for inorganic arsenic in infant rice cereal.

The FDA Report on Arsenic in Rice and Rice Products, released in March for public comment, cited publications by SRP researchers at Columbia University; the University of North Carolina (UNC); the University of California, Berkeley; Dartmouth College; and the University of Arizona. The SRP studies focus on both exposure to arsenic and on the health effects of exposure. See the FDA report and press release for more information.

Learn how arsenic enters our food supply by exploring an interactive Web page created by the Community Outreach and Translation Core of the Dartmouth Children's Environmental Health Center.

PEPH Environmental Health Chat Podcast Series

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Arsenic poisoning is a recognized health threat worldwide. Although contaminated drinking water is a primary culprit, people also can be exposed to arsenic through foods. In this podcast, learn why rice and other foods sometimes contain arsenic and get tips on how to reduce your exposure.

You can find more podcasts on the Environmental Health Chat Web page or subscribe to the series on iTunes. We want your feedback! Send comments and ideas for future podcasts to podcast@niehs.nih.gov.

PEPH Webinar: Climate Change and Health

Besides our upcoming webinar on risk communication and fish consumption (see the main story above), we also are working on a webinar regarding Climate Change and Health. It is scheduled for June 30, from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. EDT. Stay tuned for more information. Registration is required.

PEPH Grantee Highlight: Elizabeth Yeampierre

In our latest Grantee Highlight, we feature Elizabeth Yeampierre, executive director of UPROSE, a community organization that promotes sustainability and resiliency in Brooklyn, New York. UPROSE focuses on issues of environmental, social, and climate justice and encourages youth to serve as community leaders and advocates around these issues.

PEPH in the Environmental Factor

The latest issue of the NIEHS Environmental Factor featured several stories highlighting topics and activities of interest to the PEPH community:

NIEHS helps write landmark report on climate change and human health. NIEHS played a vital role in developing a scientific assessment of the impacts of climate change on human health in the United States.

Who lives and dies in a hotter world, challenges for researchers. Joel Schwartz, Ph.D., discussed the challenges of studying the direct effects of temperature and impacts on different populations.

Connecting oceans, lakes, and human health. The NIEHS Oceans and Human Health research program's grantees shared findings on algal blooms in oceans and the Great Lakes, as well as on marine pollutants.

International environmental health conference crosses borders and disciplines. The Superfund Research Program co-sponsored a conference in Prague to highlight promising approaches for reducing exposures in the region.

Geneticists highlight communication, outreach, and careers. The Genetics and Environmental Mutagenesis Society's spring meeting took a new approach, focusing on outreach and communicating science.

New Report on Sharing Data from Environmental Health Research

On March 19, 2014, the Roundtable on Environmental Health Sciences, Research, and Medicine in conjunction with the Committee on Science, Technology, and the Law – both of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine – held a workshop on the topic of sharing data from environmental health research. Experts in the field of environmental health agree that there are benefits to sharing research data, but questions remain regarding how best to make these data available. The sharing of data derived from human subjects – making the data both transparent and accessible to others – raises a host of ethical, scientific, and process questions that are not always present in other areas of science. The workshop participants explored key concerns, principles, and obstacles to the responsible sharing of data used in support of environmental health research and policy making while focusing on protecting the privacy of human subjects and addressing the concerns of the research community. Read the report.

EPA's Newest Environmental Justice Strategy Available for Public Review

The EPA's EJ 2020 Action Agenda strategy for environmental justice for 2016-2020 is now available for public comment. Building on Plan EJ 2014, this strategy draws upon input from governmental partners and external stakeholders to address the real environmental challenges that are facing American communities today. EPA's EJ 2020 Action Agenda will help to integrate environmental justice in all EPA programs, cultivate strong partnerships to improve on-the-ground results, and chart a path forward for achieving better environmental outcomes and reducing disparities in the nation's most overburdened communities. The public comment period is open until July 7, 2016. Visit the EJ 2020 Action Agenda Web page for more information and to submit comments.

Webinar Series on Climate Change and Health

The American Public Health Association and ecoAmerica are proud to co-sponsor a four-part webinar series investigating the health impacts of climate change. The series explores the connection between climate change and key areas of our health, such as allergies and asthma, health risks in children, mental health, and transportation and healthy community design as a mitigation approach. The first two webinars in the series have occurred already, but webinar recordings are available on the APHA Web page. The remaining webinars in the series are:

Part III - Making the Connection: Changing Climate through Healthy Community Design and Transportation (June 7, 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. EDT). Discover how transportation and healthy community design can ease the clinical impacts of climate change. Register.

Part IV - Making the Connection: Climate Changes Mental Health (June 29, 1:30 - 2:30 p.m. EDT). Learn how the conditions of climate change can impact mental health and how this presents itself in our communities. Register.

Upcoming PEPH-Related Events

June 1 - 3, 2016: URISA's 2016 GIS and Health Symposium. The Urban and Regional Information Systems Association (URISA), in partnership with the American Public Health Association, will host the 2016 GIS and Health Symposium. This year's theme is "Mapping the Way to Healthy Communities."

June 12 - 17, 2016: Emory Exposome Summer Course on the campus of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. This weeklong course is designed to provide a comprehensive and intensive overview of the emerging science of the exposome.

June 13 - 16, 2016: NEHA 2016 AEC and HUD Healthy Homes Conference in San Antonio, Texas. This year, the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) Annual Education Conference (AEC) and the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Healthy Homes Conference will be held jointly. The conference is the nexus for environmental health training, education, networking, and advancement.

June 19 - 23, 2016: Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists 2016 Annual Conference in Anchorage, Alaska. Attendees from across the country will meet to share expertise in surveillance and epidemiology, as well as best practices in a broad range of areas, including informatics, infectious diseases, immunizations, environmental health, occupational health, chronic disease, injury control, and maternal and child health.

August 25 - 26, 2016: Advancing the Science of Community Engaged Research Conference Series, in Washington, D.C. This year's conference theme is "Innovative and Effective Methods of Engagement."

September 8, 2016: Disaster Health Education Symposium in Bethesda, Maryland. Registration is now open for the National Center for Disaster Medicine and Public Health "Disaster Health Education Symposium: Innovations for Tomorrow." Breakout session topics are scheduled to include: Innovations in Practice; Disaster Health Education and Training that Saves Lives; Innovations in Teaching Our Students; and Emerging Infectious Diseases. Submit a poster abstract by June 27, 2016. There is no cost to attend this workshop, but registration is required.

September 12-14, 2016: Conference on Geospatial Approaches to Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the NIH Campus in Bethesda, Maryland. Hosted by the National Cancer Institute's Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS), this conference will bring together researchers across the cancer control continuum using geospatial tools, models and approaches to address cancer prevention and control. Submit an abstract for an oral or poster presentation by June 17, 2016. Register by August 31, 2016.

October 29 - November 2, 2016: American Public Health Association (APHA) 2016 Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado. This year's conference theme is "Creating the Healthiest Nation: Ensuring the Right to Health.

December 5 - 8, 2016: NIEHS Environmental Health Science FEST (EHS Fest) in Durham, North Carolina. As part of its 50th Anniversary celebrations, NIEHS is organizing the EHS FEST to bring together researchers, community engagement teams, trainees, and young investigators, all supported by NIEHS, for several days of scientific dialog. Please hold these dates on your calendar and RSVP online.

Funding Opportunities

Visit the PEPH Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA) page for more PEPH-related funding opportunities.

Research to Action: Assessing and Addressing Community Exposures to Environmental Contaminants (R01). Encourages applications using community-engaged research methods to investigate the potential health risks of environmental exposures of concern to the community and to implement an environmental public health action plan based on research findings. Open Date: May 5, 2016. Deadline: Standard receipt dates apply (February 5, June 5, October 5).

Spatial Uncertainty: Data, Modeling, and Communication (R01) Supports innovative research that identifies sources of spatial uncertainty in public health data, incorporates the inaccuracy or instability into statistical methods, and develops novel tools to visualize the nature and consequences of spatial uncertainty. Deadline: June 5, 2016.

Education and Health: New Frontiers (R01, R03, R21). Supports research that will further elucidate the pathways involved in the relationship between education and health outcomes and in doing so to carefully identify the specific aspects and qualities of education that are responsible for this relationship and what the mediating factors are that affect the nature of the causal relationship. Deadlines: June 5, 2016 (R01); June 16, 2016 (R03, R21).

Health Promotion Among Racial and Ethnic Minority Males (R21). Specifically, this initiative is intended to (1) enhance our understanding of the numerous factors influencing the health promoting behaviors of racial and ethnic minority males and their subpopulations across the life cycle and (2) encourage applications focusing on the development and testing of culturally and linguistically appropriate health-promoting interventions designed to reduce health disparities among racially and ethnically diverse males and their subpopulations age 21 and older. Deadline: June 16, 2016.

Immunity in Neonates and Infants (U01). The purpose of this FOA is to advance current knowledge of the developing immune system during the first year of life and to encourage innovative approaches to understand more fully the distinct characteristics of neonatal/infant immune responses. Deadlines: June 29, 2016 (letter of intent); July 29, 2016 (application).

Long-term Exposure to Air Pollution and Development of Cardiovascular Disease. As part of its Science to Achieve Results (STAR) program, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is seeking applications that propose to expand and inform the understanding of the mechanism(s) by which air pollution contributes to the development of cardiovascular disease. Deadline: August 2, 2016.

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