Volume 9, Issue 11: November 2018
Testing the Safety of E-Cigarette Flavorings
In a study on the health effects of e-cigarette flavoring, NIEHS-funded researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) found that compounds that are safe to eat may have harmful effects on the lung's defense system when inhaled.
"The biggest reason why teenagers seem to be more drawn to e-cigarettes is the choice of flavors," said principal investigator Ilona Jaspers, Ph.D., who has spent time talking with middle school and high school students to understand how they perceive e-cigarettes and why they are so popular.
Jaspers worked with Philip Clapp, Ph.D., to study the effects of cinnamaldehyde, the compound that gives cinnamon its flavor and odor. They purchased an e-cigarette device and exposed human bronchial cell cultures to cinnamon e-liquids and e-liquid aerosols. They found that a single exposure slowed and even stopped movements of the cilia, which are hair-like structures on the surface of the cells that clear infectious organisms from the lungs. The lungs may be more prone to infection if cilia motion is impaired. Both the liquid and the aerosol slowed cilia movement.
"Our finding that cinnamaldehyde impairs normal airway cilia motility is significant because it demonstrates that a common, food-safe flavoring agent, in the context of e-cigarette use, is capable of dysregulating a critical defense system in the lungs," explained Clapp, in a press release.
Clapp and Jaspers decided to conduct the study because many food additives that are recognized as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for oral consumption have been added to e-cigarettes without further study of their effects when inhaled.
"E-cigarettes are widely believed to be less toxic than tobacco cigarettes, but there's really no data out there that they are or are not – that's just an assumption, a belief," said Jaspers, in a New York Times article. "We need to go back and re-educate people that they may not be without harm."
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Environmental Health Resources for Communities Affected by Disasters
North Carolina Hurricanes
In response to requests from state and local partners, the NIEHS-funded Center for Environmental Health and Susceptibility at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill compiled a list of online environmental health resources to assist communities that are recovering and rebuilding after Hurricanes Florence and Michael. NC Disaster Response and Recovery: Environmental Health Resources is a clearinghouse of materials that residents in impacted communities can use to learn about environmental health issues they may encounter after a hurricane, including moisture and mold cleanup, safe drinking water and food, mosquito and insect control, air quality hazards, and childcare needs.
The NIEHS-funded University of California, Davis (UC Davis) Environmental Health Sciences Center (EHSC) is pleased to announce the upcoming premier of Waking Up to Wildfires, a documentary about the devastating October 2017 wildfires that swept through California. The film profiles UC Davis EHSC researchers who are working to better understand the toxins in urban wildfire smoke and how exposure to smoke may affect health. The film also captures the experiences of survivors and first responders. "Waking Up to Wildfires" is premiering at the Sebastiani Theater in Santa Rosa on November 4. For those unable to make it to Santa Rosa, you can tune in through a Facebook Live event.
General Disaster Information
The National Library of Medicine's Disaster Information Management Research Center has disaster-related health information to help first responders and researchers stay safe when responding to floods, hurricanes, wildfires, infectious disease outbreaks, and other natural and man-made disasters.
New Videos from NIEHS-Funded Research Centers
- A new video from the Maternal and Developmental Risks from Environmental and Social Stressors (MADRES) Center at the University of Southern California shares how MADRES student interns host green cleaning workshops to educate Latina women about the health impacts of toxins found in common household cleaning products.
- Created by the Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors (CURES) at Wayne State University, a new video highlights how CURES researchers are raising awareness of the environmental health issues in Detroit. Read more.
NIEHS-Funded Researcher Highlights Health Impacts of Particulate Matter in New Book
A new book written by NIEHS-funded researcher Doug Brugge, Ph.D., highlights the public health threat posed by particulate matter (PM) air pollution. Published by Springer, Particles in the Air focuses on the three largest sources of PM: indoor solid fuel combustion for cooking in lower income countries, tobacco smoking and second-hand smoke, and outdoor air pollution from vehicles and other sources. The book was written for a non-scientific audience, including high school and college students. Read the Springer press release to learn more.
PEPH Environmental Health Chat Podcast Series
In our latest podcast, A Community Approach to Studying Noise and Health, we learn about the health effects of environmental noise and hear from noise researcher Erica Walker, Sc.D., who launched a citizen science effort to better understand the issue.
PEPH Webinars: (1) E-Waste and Environmental Health and (2) Engaging Health Professionals in Environmental Public Health
November 9, 2018 • noon to 1:00 p.m. EDT. The E-Waste and Environmental Health webinar will highlight NIEHS-funded work at two electronic waste sites, one in China and another in Ghana. Presenters will discuss their work with communities as part of the research process. Registration is required.
December 7, 2018 • 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. EST. The Engaging Health Professionals in Environmental Public Health webinar will focus on importance of working with healthcare professionals to address environmental health issues. Presenters will also discuss strategies they are using to build the environmental health literacy of healthcare professionals. Registration is required.
PEPH Grantee Highlight: Joseph Hoover, Ph.D.
Joseph Hoover, Ph.D., uses geographic information systems (GIS) to translate environmental health information into easily understandable graphics, such as maps. Hoover has found that GIS-based graphics help community members visualize environmental health data in relation to where they live. As co-lead of the Community Engagement Core within the Center for Native American Environmental Health Equity Research at the University of New Mexico, Hoover created a series of maps after the Gold King Mine spill to illustrate how contaminants traveled downstream. "It is so important to understand how the community wants to see information because if it's not given in a way that is digestible to them, it's not effective," he said. Read the PEPH grantee highlight to learn more.
PEPH in the October NIEHS Environmental Factor
- Environmental health literacy empowers people, communities. A new book, "Environmental Health Literacy," examines this emerging field from the perspective of scientists and their community partners.
- PFAS in the spotlight across the globe. From the halls of the U.S. Congress to an international gathering in Zurich, the health effects of PFAS are in the spotlight. NIEHS supports a variety of research about these chemicals.
- Wildfire cleanup crews benefit from worker training. The NIEHS Worker Training Program helps those involved in cleaning up after California's wildfires to safely handle hazardous materials.
HDPulse Provides Easy Access to Health Disparities Data
The HDPulse data portal was created by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities for researchers and others examining how social determinants of health affect communities. The tool was created to help health planners, policy makers, researchers, and public health professionals locate and visualize health disparities data. Interactive graphics and maps provide users with visual support for deciding where to focus public health disparity control efforts.
Explore the NIH Spanish Health Information Portal
The NIH Spanish Health Information Portal offers free, reliable health information in Spanish. Health topics include indoor air pollution, children's health, breast cancer, and more. The portal also features monthly content from NIH News in Health and a Pregunta a Carlacolumn to help the user locate NIH health resources in Spanish.
Job Opportunity: Environmental Justice Director, Massachusetts EEA
The Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) is accepting applications for an Environmental Justice (EJ) Director. The EJ Director will take the lead on strategy and implementation of EJ throughout EEA and will serve as a coordinator/liaison for EJ with each Secretariat. The EJ Director will lead EEA's interagency EJ policy team, chairing meetings and developing program priorities. The EJ Director also will be responsible for compiling, evaluating, and disseminating information regarding EJ activities. Other responsibilities include communication and outreach to EJ communities and working with the Diversity Office for translation needs and services. For more information, see the job posting.
Upcoming PEPH-Related Events
November 4, 2018: Tune in to a Facebook Live event to watch the premiere of Waking Up to Wildfires, a documentary featuring researchers from the NIEHS-funded University of California, Davis (UC Davis) Environmental Health Sciences Center. The film also captures the experiences of survivors and first responders.
November 8 – 9, 2018: Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. The meeting will engage researchers, advocates, and community members in discussions on environmental exposures and breast cancer. It is open to the public at no cost.
November 10 – 14, 2018: American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting & Expo in San Diego, California. This year's theme is: "Creating the Healthiest Nation: Health Equity Now."
December 3 – 5, 2018: Annual Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation in Health in Washington, D.C. Co-hosted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and AcademyHealth, this year's event will focus on strategies for scaling up effective interventions across communities, health systems, networks, and countries, as well as efforts to build capacity for dissemination and implementation science, with an emphasis on low-resource settings.
December 13 – 14, 2018: Partnerships for Environmental Public Health Annual Meeting in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. This year's meeting will focus on reporting research results back to study participants. Submit a poster abstract by November 12, 2018 at 6:00 p.m. EST.
March 13 – 17, 2019 CitSci2019 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Sponsored by the Citizen Science Association, the 2019 meeting focuses on broadening the citizen science community.
Visit the Funding Opportunity Announcements (FOA) page for more PEPH-related funding opportunities.
Collaborative Minority Health and Health Disparities Research with Tribal Epidemiology Centers (R01 Clinical Trial Not Allowed). Supports collaborative research between Tribal Epidemiology Centers and extramural investigators on topics related to minority health and health disparities in American Indian / Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations. Deadline: December 4, 2018.
NIH Support for Conferences and Scientific Meetings (Parent R13). Supports investigator-initiated scientific meetings. NIEHS is interested in supporting meetings that will advance the field of environmental health sciences. Deadline: December 12, 2018 (application). A letter requesting permission (LRP) to submit an application is required and must be received six weeks prior to application receipt date. See the NIEHS Conference Grant webpage for information about the types of conferences and meetings the Institute is interested in supporting, as well as LRP guidelines.
Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM). This program is designed to assist states, U.S. territories, federally recognized tribes, and local communities in implementing a sustained pre-disaster natural hazard mitigation program. The goal is to reduce overall risk to the population and structures from future hazard events while also reducing reliance on federal funding in future disasters. Deadline: January 31, 2019.
Addressing Health Disparities through Effective Interventions Among Immigrant Populations (R01 Clinical Trial Optional). Supports innovative research to develop and implement effective interventions to address health disparities among U.S. immigrant populations. Deadline: February 5, 2019.
Addressing the Etiology of Health Disparities and Health Advantages Among Immigrant Populations (R01). Supports innovative research to understand uniquely associated factors (biological, behavioral, sociocultural, and environmental) that contribute to health disparities or health advantages among U.S. immigrant populations. Deadline: February 5, 2019.
Research to Action: Assessing and Addressing Community Exposures to Environmental Contaminants (R01 Clinical Trial Optional). 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: February 5, 2019. Check out the Research to Action Currently Funded Grantees webpage for a sense of the types of projects supported through this FOA.
Environmental Exposures and Health: Exploration of Non-Traditional Settings (R01 and R21 Clinical Trial Optional). 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: February 5, 2019 (R01); February 16, 2019 (R21).
Mechanism for Time-Sensitive Research Opportunities in Environmental Health Sciences (R21). Supports environmental health research in which an unpredictable event provides a limited window of opportunity to collect human biological samples or environmental exposure data. The program aims to understand the consequences of natural and human-caused disasters or emerging environmental public health threats in the U.S. and abroad. See the Funding Opportunity Announcement for application due dates.
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