Online Program

Real and Perceived Environmental Health Risks in Southeast Louisiana: Air/Seafood Quality and the CBPR Research Behind It

Monday, November 2, 2015

Jessi Howard, MPH, Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences, Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA
Jeffrey Wickliffe, PhD, Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA
Mark Wilson, MSPH, PhD, Department of Global Environmental Health Sciences, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA
Ed Overton, PhD, Department of Environmental Sciences, Louisiana State University School of the Coast and Environment, Baton Rouge, LA
Thomas Stock, PhD, MPH, Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences, University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, TX
Daniel Nguyen, Mary Queen of Vietnam CDC, New Orleans, LA
David Gauthe, BS, Bayou Interfaith Shared Community Organizing, Thibodaux, LA
During and following the Deepwater Horizon accident in 2010, concerns regarding negative impacts on air and seafood quality were paramount. Though individual perceptions varied, many people in coastal communities in southeast Louisiana felt that they experienced increased exposure to oil- and dispersant-related compounds. To better inform individuals as to what chemicals are in their indoor and outdoor air, we have been conducting home assessments involving participants in risk analyses. We are also analyzing seafood or fish samples of most interest to participants for the presence and levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) including many that are specific to crude oil.

Preliminary results indicate that levels of the selected volatile organic compounds are generally higher in indoor air samples when compared to paired-outdoor air samples. Seafood and fish analyses do not support the presence of PAHs at any levels that would represent a consumption health risk.

However, the scientific results of these samples compared to participant’s perceptions about their exposures are often incongruent. As our follow-up survey data collection progresses we are finding that involving individuals in the risk analysis/assessment process alters these perceptions, aids in informed decision-making, and ultimately modifies behaviors.

Additionally, we are engaged in a developing dialogue with other institutions and community partners in an effort to improve CBPR methodology in high-risk, vulnerable subpopulations based on our practical field research experience. We will discuss strategies for communication that improve recruitment, quality of data collection, and retention through the CPBR process and ultimately benefit the health of the public

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Environmental health sciences
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health biology

Learning Objectives:
Discuss VOC results from air samples and PAH results from seafood samples taken in SE Louisiana over the last 3 years Compare real scientific health risk data with perceived health risk exposure Evaluate the impact of being involved in the risk assessment/analysis process on participants' perceptions and behaviors Discuss practices of disseminating health info to the public in a meaningful way Discuss methods to improve CBPR research in the future based on real field experience; obstacles and lessons learned

Keyword(s): Community-Based Research (CBPR), Air Pollution & Respiratory Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the primary researcher on this federally funded research project for three years focusing air quality, seafood safety, and CBPR study design. My dissertation, to be completed within the next two years will focus on these topics, specializing in the vulnerable sub-populations of Southeast Louisiana.
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.