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Your Environment. Your Health.

Dogs Shed Light on Chemical Exposures and Disease

Partnerships for Environmental Public Education (PEPH)

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Dogs Shed Light on Chemical Exposures and Disease

April 14, 2021

Interviewees: Matthew Breen, Ph.D., and Heather Stapleton, Ph.D.

In this podcast, you’ll hear from two researchers who are using silicone monitoring devices to detect chemical exposures in dogs and their owners to gain insight into the ways our daily exposures may affect our health.

Dogs Shed Light on Chemical Exposures and Disease

People spend a lot of time at home with their dogs. This means that along with shared walks and treats, dog owners and their canine companions also share similar chemical exposures. In addition, dogs develop cancer and other diseases just like humans. However, diseases in humans can take decades to appear while diseases in dog show up in just few years. This shorter timeline may help researchers better understand how chemicals in the home affect human health.

In this podcast, you’ll hear from two researchers who are using silicone monitoring devices to detect chemical exposures in dogs and their owners to gain insight into the ways our daily exposures may affect our health.

Interviewees

Matthew Breen, Ph.D.

Matthew Breen, Ph.D., is a professor of genomics and the Oscar J. Fletcher Distinguished Professor of comparative oncology genetics at the North Carolina State University (NSCU) College of Veterinary Medicine. His research focuses on genomics, genome mapping, and the comparative aspects of canine cancer. He examines changes to genome structure that occur in canine cancers with the goal of improving outcomes for canine cancer patients and better understanding comparable cancers in people. As part of his work with the NIEHS-funded Center for Human Health for the Environment at NCSU, he assesses how environmental exposures affect animal health, as a sentinel for human health.

Breen was recently appointed to serve on a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committee tasked with developing a workshop to address the role of companion animals as sentinels for predicting effects of environmental exposure on aging and cancer susceptibility in humans. This workshop will take place in Washington D.C. in early December 2021.

Heather Stapleton, Ph.D.

Heather Stapleton, Ph.D., is a professor of environmental health in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University. Her research examines sources of exposure to contaminants in the natural and built environment, particularly indoor environments, like at home and work. She primarily focuses on understanding human exposure to flame retardant chemicals and other semi-volatile organic chemicals. Stapleton is director of the NIEHS-funded Duke Superfund Research Program Center, where she leads a project to understand how contaminants commonly found in house dust impact development in human cells and zebrafish.

Additional Resources

Learn more about Breen and Stapleton’s research in a July 2020 NIEHS Environmental Factor article.

Relevant References

Wise CF, Hammel SC, Herkert N, Ma J, Motsinger-Reif A, Stapleton HM, Breen M. 2020. Comparative exposure assessment using silicone passive samplers indicates that domestic dogs are sentinels to support human health research. Environ Sci Technol 54(12):7409-7419. [Abstract Wise CF, Hammel SC, Herkert N, Ma J, Motsinger-Reif A, Stapleton HM, Breen M. 2020. Comparative exposure assessment using silicone passive samplers indicates that domestic dogs are sentinels to support human health research. Environ Sci Technol 54(12):7409-7419.]

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