On July 02, 2018, Drs. Manish Arora and Paul Curtin were featured in NYT Article “In Baby Teeth, Links Between Chemical Exposure in Pregnancy and Autism” to discuss the association of past environmental exposures and autism. Dr. Arora and a team of researchers developed an innovative technique using baby teeth, which start to develop toward the end of the first trimester, and form a new layer each day, growing in what he called an “incremental archival manner.” The layers can capture traces of chemicals, so that they serve as “biologic hard drives,” records of what exposures occurred during fetal development, and when they occurred, in a manner similar to the rings on trees. Using the teeth that children have shed between the ages of 6 and 12, Dr. Arora said, it’s possible to look back at exposures during fetal development, and at other aspects of early metabolism to see whether children who later go on to develop autism are biologically different early on. In a study published in Science Advances in May, scientists used this technique to compare early zinc and copper metabolism in children with autism with their siblings without autism.Dr. Arora said this could lead to a biomarker for autism, a diagnostic test which could be administered before a child shows behavioral differences. To read more click here.
Levels of air pollution well below what is considered safe by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the World Health Organization are causing an increased risk of diabetes worldwide, according to a study published in the journal Lancet Planetary Health. “Ten or 15 years ago, we thought that air pollution caused pneumonia, asthma and bronchitis and not much more than that,” said Philip Landrigan, MD, MSc, professor of environmental medicine and public health and dean for global health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who was not involved in the study. “We now know that air pollution is a very important cause of heart disease and stroke and contributes to chronic lung disease, lung cancer and chronic kidney disease.” While obesity, lack of exercise and genetic risk are major drivers for diabetes, studies have shown a link between the disease and pollution. Air pollution is thought to trigger inflammation and reduce the ability of the pancreas to manage insulin production. “This is a very well-done report, very believable, and fits well with this emerging knowledge about the impacts of air pollution on a series of chronic diseases,” Dr. Landrigan concluded. Click here to learn more.
On July 01, 2018, Dr. Landrigan commented on the health risks of lead in NYT Article “820 Children Under 6 in Public Housing Tested High for Lead”. The New York City Housing Authority didn’t disclose the exact number of children residing in public housing poisoned by lead and over the weekend, the city department of health offered a number. The city department of health said that 820 children younger than 6 were found to have elevated levels of lead in their blood between 2012 and 2016. The children tested positive for lead levels of 5 to 9 micrograms per deciliter, the minimum amount for which the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that localities intervene. Dr. Philip Landrigan, said new research has shown that lead is toxic even at low levels. “The city is responding to new information,” Dr. Landrigan said. “I think the city is trying to do the right thing here.” To read the full article click here.
On March 1, Metropolis’s director of design innovation, Susan S. Szenasy, led a talk at CookFox’s New York office that gathered experts in the seemingly disparate fields of public health, commercial real estate, and sustainable architecture to discuss how architects can help make the built environment healthier. Dr. Maida Galvez, CEC Co-Director, was part of the panel and she emphasized that “chronic health conditions are rooted in built spaces.” Dr. Galvez suggested that practical design solutions can be found to address problems such as low-level lead exposure and toxic stress. These health hazards are often detected only when it’s too late, and for that reason, preventive strategies should be the shared aim of architects and their collaborators in health-related fields. To read the full Metropolis article click here.
Dr. Sarah Evans
Dr. Sarah Evans weighs in on a recent study that showed higher levels of phthalates in people who dined out more often. In the Health Daily article, Dr. Evans emphasized that eating more home-cooked meals could help limit phthalate exposure– but people need to be mindful of the foods they choose.That’s because phthalates can lurk in the processed, packaged foods sold at grocery stores, too. “The best way to reduce exposure is to eat whole, fresh foods at home as often as possible,” said Evans, who was not involved in the study. “Phthalates have been shown to accumulate in high-fat foods, so limiting consumption of those items may be effective at reducing exposure.” To read the full Health Daily article click here.
In this NIEHS podcast, Drs. Robert Wright and Homera Harari discuss the health risks of crumb rubber in playgrounds, and what you can do to reduce children’s exposure to potentially harmful contaminants. To listen to the podcast click here.
On March 12th, Dr. Landrigan was featured on CNN Article “US Deaths from Lead Exposure 10 times Higher than that, study suggests.” Dr. Landrigan added “The literature has been showing for many years that lead causes hypertension, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. “This study now shows that the cardiovascular toxicity of lead extends down to lower levels than were previously examined.” To read the full CNN article click here.
In this interview with Living on Earth host Steve Curwood, Pediatrician Philip J. Landrigan MD connects the dots between exposure to environmental toxins and disease and shares strategies parents and child advocates can use to keep kids safe in a world filled with pollution and thousands of chemicals. Dr. Landrigan warns the vast majority of toxic chemicals have not been appropriately tested for impacts to children’s health. To read the full interview click here.
Dr. Allan Just
On February 6th, Dr. Allan Just, presented on “Using Molecular Epidemiology to Understand Chemical Threats to Early-Life Children’s Health” as part of the 20 Pioneers Under 40 in Environmental Public Health Webinar Series. Dr. Just discussed why DNA methylation may be a useful biomarker to reconstruct complex environmental exposures and link these to subsequent health outcomes. He also discussed the many challenges of measuring, analyzing, and interpreting this new type of big data for environmental studies. To watch the webinar click here.
Dr. Luz Claudio
On January 17th, Dr. Luz Claudio weighed in on whether indoor plants can help with indoor air quality in Time Magazine. “There are no definitive studies to show that having indoor plants can significantly increase the air quality in the home to improve health in a measurable way,” says Luz Claudio, a professor of environmental medicine and public health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Claudio has reviewed the research on the air-quality benefits of indoor plants. She says there’s no question that plants are capable of removing volatile chemical toxins from the air “under laboratory conditions.” But in the real world—in your home, say, or in your office space—the notion that incorporating a few plants can purify your air doesn’t have much hard science to back it up. To read the full Time article click here.