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CHE Partners on why they value our work

CHE Fertility and Reproductive Health call: Superfund Contaminants and Reproduction

Feb 7, 2013

CHE presents the first in a series of calls featuring
the Superfund Research Program

From Love Canal to the Eighteen Mile Creek, more than 1,300 locations have been federally designated as Superfund cleanup sites since the program’s inception in 1980. In 2012, the NIEHS Superfund Research Program celebrated its 25th anniversary of research to protect human health and the environment in communities surrounding Superfund sites.

Among the many health concerns for people exposed to contaminants commonly found at Superfund sites, reduced reproductive capacity, birth defects, and impaired neurodevelopment following prenatal exposures have been identified. This call will explore some of the recent findings from researchers at 3 Superfund Research Programs.

Dr. Susan Korrick from the Harvard School of Public Health and Brigham and Women's Hospital discussed recent findings on PCBs' and other toxicants' effects on child neurobehavioral development. Dr. Ann Aschengrau from the Boston University School of Public Health presented data on PCE exposure, birth defects, and neuropsychological effects. Dr. Bill Lasley from the University of California discussed on-going work at the Center for Health & the Environment on the antimicrobial triclocarban as an endocrine disruptor.

This call was moderated by Karin Russ, National Coordinator, CHE Fertility and Reproductive Health Working Group, with special guest discussion leader Dr. Madeleine Scammell, Director of the Research Translation and Community Engagement Cores of the Boston University Superfund Research Program.

Featured speakers included:

Dr. Susan Korrick is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and an Assistant Professor in Environmental Health at Harvard School of Public Health. She also practices environmental and occupational medicine as an Associate Physician in the Department of Medicine, Channing Division of Network Medicine, at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Korrick's current research is focused in two areas: (1) developmental and reproductive toxicities of organochlorine compounds and metals; and (2) chronic lead toxicities in middle-aged and elderly adults. For the past 20 years, Dr. Korrick has been the Principal Investigator of a longitudinal study of the impact of low-level intrauterine exposure to PCBs, pesticides, and metals on infant and child development. Dr. Korrick has also served on several national advisory panels, including a National Academy of Sciences panel assessing an ATSDR report on contaminants in the Great Lakes, the EPA Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee Lead Review Panel, the EPA Drinking Water Committee Scientific Advisory Board (SAB), and as an ad hoc member of the EPA Environmental Engineering Committee SAB that advised EPA on its draft Hydraulic Fracturing Research Study Plan.

Dr. Ann Aschengrau is a Professor of Epidemiology at the Boston University School of Public Health, and has conducted epidemiologic research on environmental pollution and the risk of disease for more than 25 years. In particular, she has led investigations on the relationship between drinking water contaminants and abnormal pregnancy outcomes, neurological disorders, and cancer, and on the impact of lead hazard reduction measures among inner-city children. She is currently the principal investigator of a case-control study examining the risk of birth defects among women with prenatal exposure to tetrachloroethylene-contaminated drinking water during. In 2003, Dr. Aschengrau published her textbook, Essentials of Epidemiology in Public Health, with coauthor George R. Seage III, Professor of Epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health. The best-selling book whose third edition will be released in the coming year has been used in more than 100 schools across the United States. Dr. Aschengrau has served as a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Gulf War and Health, as a consultant to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry, and as a jury member for the annual John Heinz Memorial Award honoring an individual whose work has made a significant impact on the environment.

Dr. Bill Lasley is Professor Emeritus and Project Leader at the Center for Health & the Environment at the University of California’sSuperfund Research Program.Dr. Lasley’s research is focused on gaining a deeper understanding of the role of hormones in women’s health. Dr. Lasley leads studies on reproductive toxicology and is a collaborator in studies relating to embryonic determinants of adult health. He is the Animal Core Leader in John Morrison’s Program Project, using a nonhuman primate animal model to investigate the role of estrogen action on the preserving brain structure function in the aging female primate. Heholds several leadership roles in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN), including Chairperson of the Laboratory Liaison Committee, and member of the SWAN Repository Organization, Executive and Steering Committees. Dr. Lasley is the author of several dozen reports that deal with women’s reproductive health over the past three decades and previously provided the core laboratory for one of the larger population-based studies on women’s reproductive health (the Semi-Conductor Industry Study of Early Pregnancy Failure) in the 1980s.  Dr. Lasley is a reviewer for 12 respected journals and an ad-hoc reviewer for NIH, NIA, NCI, EPA, NSF and other federal or private funding agencies.

Dr. Madeleine Scammell is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Health at BostonUniversity School of Public Health. She directs the Research Translation and Community Engagement Cores of the Boston University Superfund Research Program (funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH), and the Partnerships and Collaborations Core for the Partners in Health and Housing Prevention Research Center at Boston University (funded by the CDC). Her research is focused primarily on analytic methods for examining the combined effects of social and environmental stressors in epidemiologic studies. Madeleine serves of the Board of Health in the City of Chelsea, Massachusetts, and is also a member of the board of directors of the Science & Environmental Health Network.



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