142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

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Why Neighborhood Matters in Assessing Environmental Health Risks

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014: 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Human health risk assessment is a process used to estimate the nature and probability of adverse health effects in humans who may be exposed to contaminants in the environment. Traditionally, this has involved looking at the potential health effects of environmental contaminants on a chemical-by-chemical basis. Occasionally, it has involved looking at groups or mixtures of contaminants and their potential human health effects. In recent years, there has been increasing concern, especially among stakeholder groups (such as communities affected by environmental exposures) that this approach does not adequately capture the risks that many face on a daily basis, such as exposure to multiple chemicals and non-chemical stressors. Studies have shown that socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods experience poorer health outcomes than more affluent communities. Evidence suggests these poorer health outcomes may result, in part, from exposure to multiple environmental stressors, with environment being defined broadly to include such factors as poor nutrition, indoor and outdoor pollution, poverty, and other inducers of stress. Additionally, research suggests that a lifetime of chronic psychosocial stress may leave imprinted epigenetic changes in one’s DNA that modify translation and transcription patterns and ultimately contribute to increased susceptibility to disease. This session will examine the most recent science of the complex interactions between genes, the environment and chronic disease through the lens of epigenetics. It will provide an overview of human health risk assessment and why new research on epigenetics could be important for assessing risk. Presenters will also describe recent research findings in the area of epigenetics and discuss the implications for human health risk assessment.
Session Objectives: 1. Describe what “epigenetics” is. 2. Explain why neighborhood is an important factor in epigenetics. 3. Explain why this may be important for environmental health risk assessment.

Implications for human health risk assessment
Elaine M. Faustman, PhD DABT

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

Organized by: Environment
Endorsed by: Socialist Caucus

CE Credits: Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH)

See more of: Environment