189339 Environmentally-mediated health disparities: Selected case studies related to Asian and Pacific Islander Americans

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 8:45 AM

Lauren Gordon, MPH , ASPH/EPA Environmental Health Fellow, Office of Children's Health Protection, Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, DC
Devon Payne-Sturges, DrPH , Office of Children's Health Protection, Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C., DC
Gilbert C. Gee, PhD , School of Public Health, Community Health Sciences, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Objective: The paucity of research on environmental health among Asian and Pacific Islander Americans (APIAs) is a well-known gap, despite emerging evidence that suggests disparities in exposure among this population. This presentation reviews the factors (environmental exposures, upstream factors, environmentally mediated health outcomes, community stressors and resources) that may contribute to environmental health disparities among APIAs.

Methods: We searched PubMed and other databases to identify relevant research articles and publications (1989-present) from health advocacy groups, government agencies, and social science/environmental health research to understand the variability of exposure among APIAs.

Results: Segregation of APIAs in U.S. Chinatowns and other ethnic enclaves appear to be correlated with higher exposure to ambient air pollution. The promotion of tobacco internationally, the use of traditional herbal medicine products and dietary practices appear to place APIAs at higher risk of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and toxic metals such as methyl mercury and Lead compared to non Hispanic whites. APIA subgroups appear to suffer disproportionately from certain Cancers, chronic diseases and occupational health related problems. Asian and Pacific Islander Americans appear to be heterogeneous with regards to environmental exposures.

Conclusions: Our results suggest great heterogeneity in exposures between subgroups in terms of demographics, exposures, and availability of data. Identifying within group variation can be significant in characterizing elevated exposure and risk. This may enable research linkages to upstream factors which may inform better policy and promote culturally appropriate interventions.

Learning Objectives:
Identify the differences in environmental health among APIAs Examine the socio-cultural factors that may mitigate and or enhance environmental risks Discuss recommendations to ameliorate risks

Keywords: Asian and Pacific Islander, Environmental Exposures

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a Masters in Public Health in environmental health. Currently, I am an ASPH fellow working with Dr. Devon Payne-Sturges on various projects related to environmental health disparities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.