Quantum Physics: A Touchstone for Environmental Health?

Elise Miller, MEd

Before Einstein, Bohr and other scientific luminaries started grappling with questions of quantum physics, traditional Western scientific research was based on a number of assumptions. These included the belief that all particles are fundamentally distinct and that the observer has no influence on the outcome of an experiment. With quantum physics, however, two major new scientific developments came to light that upended these previous assumptions; namely, “entanglement” and “emergence.” Though I am in no way qualified to offer an in-depth explanation of these concepts, I think they (even in general terms) can be used to elucidate how we understand environmental health—and ideally, lead to more cogent ways to address complex issues.

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Advising Parents in the Face of Scientific Uncertainty: An Environmental Health Dilemma

Karin Russ
Coordinator of the CHE Fertility and Reproductive Health Working Group

A new article in Environmental Health Perspectives highlights the work of UCSF’s Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, as they educate patients, providers and decision makers about environmental contaminants affecting reproductive health.  While their worked is focused on pregnant women and families of reproductive age, the challenge of providing advice even when there is scientific uncertainty rings true across populations. Individual education is important, allowing each person to weigh the importance of the information in their own situation, but further action is required on the societal level. Prevention is the most effective way to improve public health. By reducing environmental contamination in air, water, food and consumer products, we can prevent exposures and ensure health is the centerpiece of all our decision making.

Read the article.