253455 Preventing neonatal pollution: Protecting the health of the next generation

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Karin Russ, MS, RN , Fertility & Reproductive Health Working Group, Collaborative on Health and the Environment, Freeland, WA
In our modern industrial society, the public is continually exposed to a wide range of chemicals in food, air, water, and consumer products. Recent evidence has shown that newborn infants are coming into the world with more than 200 industrial chemicals present in their umbilical cord blood at the time of birth. The health risks of these chemicals include cancer, birth defects, disruption of liver, kidney and thyroid function, and neurological effects. In addition, emerging research is pointing toward evidence of epigenetic programming in the womb in response to environmental factors, which may predispose an individual to chronic conditions later in life, such as asthma, obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Environmental exposures in pregnancy can alter development during a crucial period. Interventions that prevent or limit exposures to toxicants during the prenatal period are a valuable public health strategy. Health care providers are dedicated to improving patients' health, including the prevention of disease. Practitioners working with pregnant women need to know how to screen clients for exposures to environmental contaminants, and to counsel patients on ways to avoid toxicants. This session will present the current state of research on environmental contaminants in pregnant women, give screening tools, and provide resources for patient education on risk reduction.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Environmental health sciences
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related nursing

Learning Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to identify 5 sources of harmful substances to which pregnant women may be exposed in the environment. 2. Participants will be able to utilize environmental health screening tools during prenatal visits to assess for potential exposures. 3. Participants will be able to identify 3 resources for patient education on ways to reduce environmental risks.

Keywords: Prenatal Care, Environmental Health Hazards

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As National Coordinator of the Fertility & Reproductive Health working group, I work with women’s health researchers, clinicians, and patient advocacy groups to find the best ways to reduce environmental risks to human reproduction. I have the latest in research findings and clinical best practices to share with health professionals. In addition, I am a registered nurse with extensive OB/GYN experience and have completed a post-MS specialty certificate in Environmental Health Nursing from the University of Maryland. To verify my teaching ability, I will refer you to my work as adjunct faculty in the Public Health Nursing departments of the Johns Hopkins and the University of Maryland Schools of Nursing.
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.