Announcements & Opportunities

New Study: Racial disparities in traffic fatalities much wider than previously known (June 2022)

When accounting for miles traveled during biking, walking, or driving, Black and Hispanic Americans experience higher motor vehicle-related death rates than White Americans or Asian Americans, according to a new study by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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Joe Allen Pens Op-Ed in Washington Post: 'No school should have to close due to extreme heat' (June 2022)

Associate Professor and Director of the Healthy Buildings program Joseph G. Allen discusses the imperative to improve ventilation in schools, not just to prevent the spread of diseases like COVID-19 but also because of the rising threat of extreme heat, which too many schools are not prepared for. In recent weeks, thousands of students were sent home early from schools in Baltimore, Philadelphia and Detroit because the buildings don’t have air conditioning. This happened in May, not in the summer months when heat waves usually arrive.

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New Study: Childhood Asthma Incidence, Early and Persistent Wheeze, and Neighborhood Socioeconomic Factors in the ECHO/CREW Consortium (May 2022)

This study, published in JAMA Pediatrics, found that neighborhood socioeconomic disparities were associated with childhood asthma and wheeze. Black and Hispanic children in all neighborhoods had higher asthma risk compared with White children.
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Solar lighting intervention reduces indoor air pollution in Uganda (May 2022)

This trial, funded initially by a flash funding grant awarded at our 2016 Center retreat, has produced two papers – one of which has been highlighted in the May NIEHS Environmental Factor Newsletter as a paper of the month. The study found that a solar lighting intervention reduced exposure to fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and black carbon in rural Uganda. This is the first randomized study to examine whether solar lighting displaces fuel-based options and reduces exposure to harmful substances.
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Earth Day 2022 at Franklin Park Zoo (Apr 2022)

 The Superfund Research Center Community Engagement Core in Boston attended Franklin Park Zoo’s annual Party for the Planet where Harvard Chan School students, post-docs and NIEHS Center staff provided an interactive booth about water safety and filtration.
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Bernardo Lemos Gives NIEHS Keystone Science Lecture (Mar 2022)

During his Mar. 30 NIEHS Keystone Science Lecture, Lemos discussed how environmental epigenetics has transformed the way that scientists look for links between environmental exposures and disease.
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Gary Adamkiewicz Featured in NIEHS Grantee Highlights (Apr 2022)

The NIEHS Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) featured the work our CEC Director Gary Adamkiewicz is doing to understand the health effects of indoor air pollution, with a particular focus on low-income communities and public housing developments. 
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Center Director Marc Weisskopf Speaks About Air Pollution and the Nervous System in France (Apr 2022)

Center Director Marc Weisskopf gave a talk titled “Air Pollution Effects on the Central Nervous System’ at the Collège de France on April 13.
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New Research: A Benchmark Dose Analysis for Maternal Pregnancy Urine-Fluoride and IQ in Children (Apr 2022)

Adjunct Professor of Environmental Health Philippe Grandjean and a team of researchers calculated benchmark dose (BMD) results based on the results from two North American prospective studies of prenatal fluoride exposure and childhood cognition. The manuscript was accepted in June last year, and the print version became available April 18, 2022 in Risk Analysis Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 439-449. The BMD results suggest that water fluoridation exceeds the exposure that causes a decline in IQ of at least 1 point.
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Login5 Foundation Gifts $3 million to Healthy Buildings Program (Apr 2022)

Congratulations to Joe Allen and his team who received a $3 million gift from the Login5 Foundation for their work on the Co-Benefits of Built Environment Research (CoBe).
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Tamarra James-Todd selected as 2022 Estrellita and Yousuf Karsh Visiting Professorship in Women's Health (Apr 2022)

This visiting professorship at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital Division of Women’s Health brings in renowned leaders in women’s health to present to, and discuss with, medical staff the most significant and recent advances in women’s health. Dr. James-Todd gave the lecture entitled “Environmental Justice and Women’s Health: A Novel Lens for Understanding Reproductive Health Disparities Across the Life Course” on April 22, 2022.
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White House Launches Clean Air in Buildings Challenge (Apr 2022)

Guided by Associate Professor of Exposure Assessment Science Joseph Allen, the challenge is part of the Biden Administration’s National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan and calls for leaders and building operators to assess their indoor air quality and make ventilation and air filtration a top priority in protecting the health of their occupants.
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New Paper Published in The Lancet Finds Possible Link Between Air Pollution and Psychiatric Health (Apr 2022)

A new paper titled “Associations of short-term exposure to air pollution and increased ambient temperature with psychiatric hospital admissions in older adults in the USA: a case-crossover study” published in The Lancet Planetary Health found that in the US Medicare population, short-term exposure to elevated concentrations of PM2·5 , NO2 and cold season ambient temperature increase were significantly associated with an increased risk of hospital admissions for psychiatric disorders (including depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorders). Considering the increasing burden of psychiatric disorders in the US population, these findings suggest that intervening on air pollution and ambient temperature levels through stricter environmental regulations or climate mitigation could help ease the psychiatric healthcare burden. The paper was authored by Xinye Qiu, Mahdieh Danesh-Yazdi, Yaguang Wei, Qian Di, Allan Just, Antonella Zanobetti, Marc Weisskopf, Francesca Dominici, and Joel Schwartz.
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Zac Nagel Receives Research Scholar Grant from American Cancer Society (Apr 2022)

Zac Nagel was awarded a Research Scholar Grant from the American Cancer Society for his grant proposal entitled “Role of translesion polymerases in temozolomide resistance in glioblastoma”.

Philippe Grandjean Awarded Honorary Doctoral Degree (Feb 2022)

Philippe Grandjean was given an honorary doctoral degree at Ku Leuven, Belgium’s oldest and largest university established in 1425.
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Living near or downwind of unconventional oil and gas development linked with increased risk of early death (Jan 2022)

Elderly people living near or downwind of unconventional oil and gas development (UOGD)—which involves extraction methods including directional (non-vertical) drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking—are at higher risk of early death compared with elderly individuals who don’t live near such operations, according to a large new study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
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Francesca Dominici named 2022 Mosteller Statistician of the Year (Jan 2022)

The award is the highest honor given by the Boston Chapter of the American Statistical Association. It honors the legacy of Fred Mosteller, and is given to a distinguished statistician who has made both exceptional contributions to the field of statistics and outstanding service to the statistical community.
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Racial, ethnic minorities and low-income groups in U.S. exposed to higher levels of air pollution (Jan 2022)

Certain groups in the U.S.—Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Latinos, and low-income populations—are being exposed to higher levels of dangerous fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5) than other groups, according to new research from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
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Center Members Featured in NIEHS 2021 Papers of the Year

Of 3,942 publications by NIEHS researchers and grantees in 2021, institute leaders selected 35 as Papers of the Year.
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Decreased vehicle emissions linked with significant drop in deaths attributable to air pollution (Dec 2021)

As emissions fell over a decade, the number of deaths attributable to air pollution dropped by thousands, yielding billions of dollars in societal benefits
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Center Co-Hosts EJ Boot Camp focused on environmental health disparities (Nov 2021)

Our Center, along with affiliated NIEHS centers at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health and UCSF, hosted a virtual two-day boot camp in August that gathered researchers from across the country to discuss the foundations of environmental justice research, uncover the roots of environmental health disparities, and highlight real-world solutions. This session was co-directed by Dr. Tamarra James-Todd. The Center sponsored 12 students.
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Understanding the Link between Air Pollution and Dementia (Oct 2021)

The Harvard Chan-NIEHS Center for Environmental Health is collaborating with Biogen to investigate the growing body of research that links air pollution and brain health. The Center is conducting a meta-analysis of the scientific literature that has proliferated significantly within the past two years.
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Tamarra James-Todd Promoted to Associate Professor, Environmental Reproductive Epidemiology (Sept 2021)

Tamarra James-Todd has been promoted to Mark and Catherine Winkler Associate Professor of Environmental Reproductive Epidemiology in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
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Joe Allen Pens Op-Ed in the Atlantic about Clean Air in Offices (Oct 2021)

“Americans spend 90 percent of our lives indoors. You take 6,000 breaths in your workplace on an average day.” In an op-ed for The Atlantic Magazine, Harvard Chan School’s Joseph Allen makes the case for clean air in offices.
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Jaime Hart

Jaime Hart receives 2021 ISEE Tony McMichael Mid-Career Award (Sept 2021)

This award recognizes a mid-term career scientist for their scientific contributions to the field of environmental epidemiology as well as their commitment to, and demonstration of, exceptional mentoring.
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Nancy Krieger appointed to UNESCO International Scientific Committee (June 2021)

Nancy Krieger, professor of social epidemiology, was appointed in June as a member of the UNESCO International Scientific Committee for the Slave Route Project: Resistance, Liberty, Heritage, in recognition of her work on the consequences of racism and discrimination. She also was recognized by the American Journal of Epidemiology, which named her article “Cancer Stage at Diagnosis, Historical Redlining, and Current Neighborhood Characteristics: Breast, Cervical, Lung, and Colorectal Cancers, Massachusetts, 2001–2015” one of the 10 best of 2020.
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The Nexus of Climate and Health: Marc Weisskopf Presents on Air Pollution and the Brain (Feb 2021)

Center Director Marc Weisskopf delivered his presentation during a webinar (Feb 23-24, 2021) hosted by the Center for Global Health Delivery, the Belfer Center’s Middle East Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School, and Harvard Global Health Institute. A panel of engineers and epidemiologists invested in planetary health, which focuses on the constitutive nature of human health and the environmental systems on which humans depend, discussed the production of fine airborne particles and pollution, and the epidemiological and health effects that these exposures may produce.

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Peter James Discusses the Role Nature Plays in Improving Our Mental and Physical Health on NPR (Sept 2021)

Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Health Peter James speaks with Martha Bebinger, NPR Weekend Edition Saturday, about how trees could be a mental, physical, and climate change antidote.
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Mary Rice Speaks on Climate and Health Alongside Secretary John Kerry for Harvard Grand Rounds (Sept 2021)

The Harvard Medical Grand Rounds, held Sept. 8, 2021, focused on: “Fossil Fuel Pollution and the Climate Crisis: Patients, Practice, and Policy.” HMD Assistant Professor of Medicine and Center Member Mary Rice, MD, MPH, was one of the speakers, alongside Secretary John Kerry, United States Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.
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Meet Our Members: Chris Golden (Sept 2021)

We’d like you to meet Assistant Professor of Nutritional and Planetary Health Chris Golden, MPH, PhD. Below, we ask Chris about his research working with populations in Madagascar and the South Pacific, how he got started in this field, and what he does when he’s not at work.
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Chemicals in hair products, making rent as a grad student, and more: A conversation with Dr. Tamarra James-Todd (April 2021)

Our Center’s Organic Chemicals Research Core Director Tamarra James-Todd, Mark and Catherine Winkler Assistant Professor of Environmental Reproductive and Perinatal Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, discussed her background and research in an April 1, 2021, Q&A on the Environmental Health Defense Fund Health blog.
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Heat Island Art Project (May 2021)

The Fairmount Greenway Task Force has been awarded a pilot project of $30,000 for the research and development phase of an art project designed to raise awareness in the Boston metropolitan area of the impact of heat on health. The art project – Heat Island Art – will consist of fabricated trees, or groves of trees, with leaves made from nitinol, a heat-sensitive “smart material.” Visitors to Heat Island Art, when installed will be able to appreciate how a tree canopy cools the local space.
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Harvard Chan School study shows negative impacts of burning natural gas and biomass have surpassed coal generation in many states (May 2021)

New inventory of air pollution impacts from stationary sources over past decade shows trend may continue

A new study finds that burning natural gas, biomass, and wood now have more negative health impacts than burning coal in many states, and is a trend that may continue. The study from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health published in Environmental Research Letters is the first to provide an inventory of the health impacts of each type of fuel burned at stationary sources from 2008-2017, based on available data.

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Center’s Mid-Career Principal Investigator Jin-Ah Park helps investigate cellular host factors required for SARS-CoV-2 infection (Nov 2020)

The paper, titled “In well-differentiated primary human bronchial epithelial cells, TGF-β1 and TGF-β2 induce expression of furin,” was recently published by the American Journal of Physiology-Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology.
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Center Member Nancy Krieger Leads Geocoding COVID-19 and Inequities Analyses (2020)

Center Member Nancy Krieger and colleagues are utilizing their Public Health Disparities Geocoding Project to “document inequities in the population distribution of COVID-19.” They make methods, data, & code freely available for analyses.
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Vaping-Induced Acute Lung Injury (Mar 2020)

Read David Christiani’s editorial (+audio interview) in The New England Journal of Medicine on the epidemic of vaping by young people and related severe lung injuries.
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Professional Sports and Health (July 2019)

Center Director Marc Weisskopf led a new research comparing the health of athletes in the National Football League and Major League Baseball. The study looked at 6,000 athletes between the years of 1979 and 2013. During that period, there were 517 deaths among NFL players and 431 deaths among MLB players, translating into a 26% higher mortality rate among football players compared with baseball players. The findings showed that while NFL players died of neurodegenerative diseases at a higher rate than MLB players, both groups of athletes were more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than brain diseases.
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Study finds hair-straightening products contain potentially harmful chemicals

Many of the hair relaxing and straightening products primarily used by black women and children contain hormone-disrupting chemicals associated with early puberty, preterm birth, and reproductive diseases, according to a recent study published in Environmental ResearchTamarra James-Todd, Mark and Catherine Winkler Assistant Professor of Environmental Reproductive and Perinatal Epidemiology at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, who previously studied the potential health risks of chemicals in hair products, shared product information with the researchers.
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Major Harvard Chan studies concur: Air pollution boosts U.S. death rates

Twenty-five years ago, the Harvard Six Cities Study drew a strong link between exposure to fine particulate air pollution and increased risk of early death in six U.S. cities. Last year, another Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health study using new technologies and innovations in statistical analysis drew the same main conclusion.
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