5161.0 Emerging Environmental Health Challenges

Wednesday, November 7, 2007: 2:30 PM
The field of environmental health is continually confronted with new problems, whether through the emergence of new or previously unrecognized hazards, new manifestations of old problems, or the increased occurrence of perennial problems. These pose a variety of challenges—recognizing or detecting the hazard in the first place, characterizing human health risk, identifying feasible responses or interventions, and communicating well founded messages to the public—usually in the face of limited information. This session will examine five emerging environmental health problems, to shed light on the hazards or situations themselves, and to illustrate the broader challenges associated with such problems. The first two presentations describe two emerging hazards, perfluorochemicals and nanomaterials. The first explores the challenges of risk communication, and the latter considers the potential complexities of secondary prevention, in the face of uncertainty. The second three presentations describe "old" hazards: lead, red tide toxins, and asbestos. The described investigation of a lead poisoning epidemic demonstrates the complexities of addressing a problem that crosses national borders. The need to remain open to exposure pathways that may be counter-intuitive is illustrated by a reported study of red tide toxin, where people with asthma were found to experience respiratory effects from aerosolized toxin during offshore wind conditions, in contrast to the belief that conditions are relatively safe if winds blow offshore. The final presentation describes situations involving environmental exposures to asbestos through naturally occurring and anthropogenic sources, and the challenges posed by gaps in knowledge.
Session Objectives: 1. Describe the major potential health concerns related to two emerging hazards, perfluorochemicals and nanomaterials. 2. Describe factors that influence the emergence or re-emergence of environmental health threats. 3. Discuss strategies for investigation, precautionary actions, and risk communication in situations involving emerging hazards and scientific uncertainty.
Robin Lee, MPH

2:30 PM
Risk communication and policy for emerging contaminants: The challenge of perfluorochemicals
Tannie Eshenaur, MPH, Rita B. Messing, PhD, James Kelly, MS, Virginia Yingling, MS and Jill Korinek, BA
2:45 PM
Medical Surveillance for Nanomaterials
Michael Kosnett, MD, MPH and Lee S. Newman, MD, MA
3:00 PM
Transnational Public Health - Investigating and Responding to a Lead Epidemic in Seaside, CA and Oaxaca, Mexico
Margaret Handley, PhD MPH, Mario Villalobos Peñalosa, PhD, Celeste Hall, RN, Claudia Merino, Eric Sanford, MD and James Grieshop, PhD
3:15 PM
Asthma, Aerosolized Florida Red Tide Toxins (Brevetoxins), and Off-shore Winds
Lora E. Fleming, MD, PhD, Barbara Kirkpatrick, EdD, RRT, Lorraine C. Backer, PhD, MPH, Andrew Reich, MS, MSPH, Judy Bean, PhD, Adam Wanner, MD, Kate Nierenberg, MS, Julie Zaias, DVM PhD, Yung Sung Cheng, PhD, Richard Pierce, PhD, Jerome Naar, PhD, William M. Abraham, PhD, Yue Zhou, PhD, Michael Henry, MS, Gary Kirkpatrick, PhD, Janet Benson, PhD, Andrea Bourdelais, PhD, Sharon M. Watkins, PhD, Mark Harrington, MS and Daniel Baden, PhD

See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.

Organized by: Environment
Endorsed by: Statistics, Maternal and Child Health, Epidemiology

CE Credits: CME, Health Education (CHES), Nursing

See more of: Environment