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Your Environment. Your Health.

PEPH E-News April 2017

Volume 8, Issue 4: April 2017

PEPH E-News Header

Training in the Spokane Indian Community Ensures a Safe and Healthful Workplace

PEPH is pleased to highlight the efforts of the International Union of Operating Engineers National Training Fund (IUOE NTF) in honor of Workers' Memorial Day on April 28. IUOE NTF is training members of the Spokane Indian Tribe to protect themselves and their community from exposure to hazardous materials during cleanup activities at the Midnite Mine Superfund site in Washington State, located within the Spokane Indian Reservation. These training efforts protect worker health and safety, create jobs, and build training capacity in the community.

After 30 years of uranium mining activities, 2.4 million tons of stockpiled ore and 33 million tons of waste rock are at the site, just outside the Spokane Indian Reservation boundary. The site poses a potential threat to people's health and the environment because of the presence of heavy metals and elevated levels of radioactivity. Locals face risk of exposure through residential land use; ingestion of groundwater; and subsistence hunting, gathering, and fishing. Cleanup of the Midnite Mine site began in 2015 and is estimated to take 10 years or more.

"Since 2013, IUOE NTF and IUOE Local Union 370 have trained the workers so their health and safety are not compromised during the mine cleanup. With our training, tribal members will know how to do the work safely and how to protect their health in the manner all workers deserve," said Barbara McCabe, Principal Investigator of the IUOE NTF.

Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) training is required to get on the mine site. In the HAZWOPER courses, workers learn different skills to protect themselves from the hazardous exposures they will encounter during cleanup. These skills include putting on appropriate personal protective gear and properly using heavy equipment to remove, contain, and transport waste rock. In addition to ensuring a safe and healthful work environment, these courses enable members of the Spokane Tribe to obtain employment at the Midnite Mine cleanup project. According to Clyde McCoy, Director of the Tribal Employment Rights Office, more than 20 tribal members working on the Midnite Mine cleanup received their HAZWOPER training through the IUOE NTF - Spokane Tribe partnership.

Through a train-the-trainer model, which teaches workers to become course instructors, IUOE NTF is also building capacity within the community. For example, one Spokane Tribe member became a Peer Trainer in 2015 after attending the 80-hour HAZWOPER train-the-trainer course and now leads HAZWOPER courses in the community. The IUOE NTF's support for Peer Trainers ensures members of the Spokane Tribe receive timely instruction and are prepared to work for the cleanup.

IUOE NTF's trainings for the Midnite Mine site cleanup are funded by both the NIEHS Hazardous Waste Worker Training Program – as a consortium member of NIEHS grantee Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) – and the NIEHS - Department of Energy Nuclear Worker Training Program.

Workers' Memorial Day takes place every year on April 28. It is an opportunity to honor workers and to reflect on the importance of safe and healthful workplaces for all and to highlight the preventable nature of most work-related accidents and health problems.

Video Promotes Firefighter Health and Safety

Researchers from the NIEHS-funded Environmental Health Sciences Core Center at the University of Cincinnati collaborated with the Cincinnati Fire Department to conduct exposure research and develop intervention strategies to reduce workplace exposures. One result of this collaboration was an awareness video to communicate the health hazards of firefighting. Because of occupational exposure to asbestos, particulate matter, and other chemicals, firefighters have an increased risk of cancer compared to the general population. The video promotes awareness of these health risks and provides three key messages – wear your air, wear your gear, and wash yourself – to help firefighters reduce their exposure. The video was distributed to the Ohio Association of Professional Firefighters, as well as on various social media platforms.

This was just one of nearly 20 videos shown at the Environmental Health Science (EHS) FEST Film Festival in December. You can find links to all of the videos from the film festival on the EHS FEST meeting webpage.

Video Series on the NIH Grant Review Process

The NIH Center for Scientific Review (CSR) video series gives an inside look at how scientists from across the country review NIH grant applications for scientific and technical merit. CSR is the portal for receipt and referral of NIH grant applications and carries out the peer review process for assessing scientific and technical merit for most applications. The videos provide insights and understanding that can help both new and established applicants improve their applications and increase their chances of receiving a more positive review. Check out the videos listed below.

NIH Peer Review Briefing for Basic Research Applicants and Reviewers: The NIH Director and other NIH/CSR officials reaffirm NIH's commitment to basic research and help applicants and reviewers do their part in proposing and reviewing basic research.

8 Ways to Successfully Navigate NIH Peer Review and Get an R01 Grant: This briefing covers the key things applicants need to know about the submission and review of their R01 applications.

8 Ways to Successfully Navigate NIH Peer Review and Get a Fellowship Grant: This briefing covers the key things applicants need to know about the submission and review of their fellowship applications.

Learn the Principles of Toxicology with NLM's ToxTutor

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has updated its web-based and self-paced toxicology tutorial, ToxTutor. For almost 20 years, students and others have used ToxTutor to explore the fundamental principles of toxicology. It is written in plain language and includes helpful illustrations to provide users with a basic understanding of the subject. ToxTutor introduces toxicology by covering dose and dose response, toxic effects, interactions, toxicity testing methods, risk assessment, and exposure standards and guidelines. Additional topics will be included in future updates. A certificate of completion option has recently been added.

FDA and EPA Issue Final Fish Consumption Advice

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently issued final advice regarding fish consumption. This advice is geared toward helping women who are pregnant or may become pregnant – as well as breastfeeding mothers and parents of young children – make informed choices when it comes to fish that is healthy and safe to eat. All fish contain at least trace amounts of mercury, which can be harmful to the brain and nervous system if one is exposed to too much of it over time. However, because the nutritional benefits of eating fish are important for growth and development during pregnancy and early childhood, the agencies are advising and promoting a minimum level of fish consumption for these groups.

The advice recommends 2 to 3 servings of lower-mercury fish per week, or 8 to 12 ounces. To help consumers more easily understand the types of fish to select, the agencies have created an easy-to-use reference chart that sorts 62 types of fish into three categories: "Best Choices" (eat two to three servings per week), "Good Choices" (eat one serving per week), and "Choices to Avoid." For fish caught recreationally, consumers are urged to check for local and state advisories and to gauge their fish consumption based on those advisories.

PEPH Environmental Health Chat Podcast Series

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In our latest podcast, Wood Burning Stoves and Human Health, hear how researchers at the University of Montana are working in their communities to understand how burning wood for home heating contributes to indoor air pollution and its related health impacts. The researchers are also identifying promising interventions to improve indoor air quality and health in households that use wood burning stoves.

You can find more podcasts on the Environmental Health Chat webpage or subscribe to the series on iTunes. We want your feedback! Send comments and ideas for future podcasts to

PEPH in the March NIEHS Environmental Factor

Innovative technology provides safe drinking water in California. New technology developed with NIEHS funding will provide safe drinking water in California, at lower cost and without secondary waste.

Rethinking STEM education during Black History Month. Sherick Hughes, Ph.D., discussed the implicit and explicit bias facing black students in science, technology, engineering, and math fields.

ECHO – solution-oriented research for health at all stages of life. Matthew Gillman, M.D., wants Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) research to seek solutions that consider all life stages.

Metals symposium draws researchers, students, and community members. Toxic metals were the focus of the North Carolina State University Center for Human Health and the Environment's first annual symposium.

Upcoming PEPH-Related Events

April 5 - 7, 2017: Children's Environmental Health Translational Research Conference in Arlington, Virginia. Hosted by the Children's Environmental Health Network (CEHN), this event will highlight cutting-edge research on some of the biggest emerging threats to children's environmental health.

May 17 - 20, 2017: Citizen Science Association (CSA) Conference in Twin Cities, Minnesota. Join CSA for CitSci2017 and be part of conversations to create a field of citizen science.

June 14 - 15, 2017: Highly Fluorinated Compounds - Social and Scientific Discovery in Boston, Massachusetts. This conference will address the social, scientific, political, economic, and environmental health issues raised by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). To be notified when registration opens, please send your email address to Stephanie Knutson (

July 10 - 13, 2017: NEHA Annual Educational Conference (AEC) and Exhibition in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The National Environmental Health Association's (NEHA) AEC is the nexus for environmental health training, education, networking, and advancement. Attendees can also earn Continuing Education credits.

August 14 - 18, 2017: NIMHD Health Disparities Research Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. Hosted by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), this program supports the development of promising minority health / health disparities research scientists early in their careers. Applications are due May 12.

September 18 - 20, 2017: 2017 PEPH Meeting at NIEHS's main campus in Durham, North Carolina. Save the date for the 2017 PEPH Network meeting! This year, we will have in-depth conversations about different engagement approaches and the audiences with whom we work. We are also working with the Disaster Research Response network to discuss the different partnerships required to have an effective response in the aftermath of a disaster.

October 15 - 19, 2017: International Society of Exposure Science (ISES) Annual Meeting in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Mark your calendars for the 27th annual ISES meeting! Registration will open in early April.

October 22 - 25, 2017: American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, and Soil Science Society of America Annual Meeting in Tampa, Florida. This year's theme is "Managing Global Resources for a Secure Future." NIEHS grantee Monica Ramirez-Andreotta is co-organizing and moderating a session titled "Community Engagement and Public Participation in Environmental Research." If you are working in this area, please consider submitting an abstract by May 23.

November 4 - 8, 2017: APHA Annual Meeting & Expo in Atlanta, Georgia. The American Public Health Association (APHA) is now accepting abstracts for the APHA 2017 Annual Meeting & Expo. This year's theme is "Creating the Healthiest Nation: Climate Changes Health."

Funding Opportunities

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

Public Participation in STEM Research. The National Science Foundation (NSF) encourages proposals for (a) Research Coordination Networks to build Public Participation in STEM Research (PPSR) capacity and community; (b) conference proposals to bring together specific communities and to envision future directions for PPSR activities; and (c) PPSR-focused supplements to existing NSF-funded awards that enhance existing research activities through the introduction of PPSR components. Deadline: April 11, 2017.

National Academies' Gulf Research Program Research-Practice Grants. This funding opportunity is designed to support research and practice projects on one of two topics: (1) integration of monitoring and evaluation into environmental restoration projects to improve outcomes in the Gulf of Mexico or (2) improving risk-based evaluations to support a public health response to the next oil spill. A webinar will be held April 6, 2017 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. EDT to answer questions from potential applicants (register). Deadlines: May 3, 2017 (letter of intent); June 28 (application).

Interventions for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention in Native American Populations (R01). The purpose of this FOA is to develop, adapt, and test the effectiveness of health promotion and disease prevention interventions in Native American populations. Deadlines: May 12, 2017 (application); a letter of intent is due 30 days before the application due date.

Addressing Health Disparities through Effective Interventions among Immigrant Populations (R01). Supports innovative research to develop and implement effective interventions to address health disparities among U.S. immigrant populations. Deadline: June 5, 2017.

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, 2017.

Environmental Exposures and Health: Exploration of Non-Traditional Settings (R01, R21). Encourages interdisciplinary research aimed at promoting health, preventing and limiting symptoms and disease, and reducing health disparities across the lifespan for those living or spending time in non-traditional settings (i.e., playgrounds and nursing homes). Deadlines: June 5, 2017 (R01); June 16, 2017 (R21).

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. Deadline: June 5, 2017.

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 will 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, 2017 (R01); June 16, 2017 (R03, R21).

Health Disparities and Alzheimer's Disease (R01). Supports research to study health disparities in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related disorders. Health-disparities research related to AD should include the study of biological, behavioral, sociocultural, and environmental factors that influence population-level health differences. Deadline: June 5, 2017.

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