Online Program

Children's Health and Arsenic Exposure- Communicating Science to Key Stakeholders

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 8:50 a.m. - 9:10 a.m.

Carolyn Murray, MD, MPH, Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Center at Dartmouth, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Lebanon, NH
Ardis Olson, MD, Dartmouth CO-OP Practice Based Research Network, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, NH
Arsenic is a colorless, odorless metalloid found naturally in our environment that has known cancer and non-cancer health effects. Much like the case of lead, arsenic was put into a range of products such as pharmaceuticals, pesticides and wood preservatives before the compound’s human health toxicity and environmental persistence were fully appreciated. Human health studies have raised concern that children may have increased vulnerability to non-cancer health effects from early life exposure to arsenic such as impact on growth, immune function and neurological development. Current human exposure to arsenic comes primarily via two sources: drinking water from private wells and food, in particular, rice.

At the Dartmouth Children’s Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Center we are focused on identifying the health effects of early life exposure to arsenic. This is an issue of particular regional relevance where arsenic contamination from natural geological sources is widely present in the groundwater and 30- 50% of residents obtain their drinking water from private unregulated wells. In our ongoing birth cohort study we are studying the amount of arsenic exposure from both water and food and association with a range of child health measures over time. Concurrently, our Community Outreach and Translation Core (COTC) is engaging key stakeholders to raise awareness of sources of arsenic, provide science based approaches to decreasing this exposure, and engaging policy makers about regulatory gaps that can differentially impact children’s health. Actions include: 1) an intervention project to promote well water testing and awareness of arsenic with rural pediatric care providers, 2)development of risk communication strategies to educate parents and pediatric care providers about dietary sources of arsenic and evidence based actions to take, 3) engagement with regulators and policymakers regarding regulatory gaps in rice contaminants.

Learning Areas:

Environmental health sciences
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe why groundwater arsenic contamination is of particular concern in rural areas of the Northeastern United States Identify effective strategies to engage rural pediatric care providers in promoting well water testing for arsenic and other contaminants as part of routine pediatric preventive care Discuss challenges in communicating about potential child health risks of arsenic exposure in food and water to parents, pediatric health care providers and policy makers

Keyword(s): Child Health, Environmental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am involved in community research to address childhood environmental exposures and determine ways to involve primary care clinicians in addressing arsenic and other issues.
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.