Director of CHE Special Projects
Read more about this workshop held September 11 – 13, 2012.
The official workshop report will be published in a few weeks by workshop organizers, but I want to give you a sense right away of the nature and content of discussions.
First, the workshop successfully brought together experts and researchers in toxicology, endocrinology and epidemiology with European risk assessment regulators to discuss the implications of low dose effects and non-monotonic dose response curves for risk/safety assessment—or, endocrinology meets toxicology. If exposures to toxic chemicals at the low levels currently measured in the environment can cause harm through endocrine disruption, then risk assessment may need to change its approaches to toxicity testing.
Members from the chemical industry and the public interest community also participated in the workshop discussions, but the focus of discussion for all was the possibility of integration of the principles of endocrinology into current risk assessment practices and whether such integration requires a major overhaul of standard risk assessment or whether a few tweaks here and there might be sufficient.
interview by Karin Gunther Russ
Coordinator of CHE’s Fertility and Reproductive Health Working Group
Dr. Jeanne Conry of American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Congratulations on receiving the Pacific Southwest EPA’s award for Children’s Environmental Health! What first brought you into environmental health work?
I had been working on preconception health care since 1998 when the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, District IX (California) collaborated with the March of Dimes efforts to create guidelines on preconception health to meet Healthy People 2000 goals. The same group of professionals got together as a preconception health council in mid 2000. Reducing preconceptional exposure to chemicals was not part of the plan at the time.
Dr. Hani Atrash from the CDC was at the preconception health council, and connected me with Dr. Tracey Woodruff at the UCSF Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment (PRHE). Tracey came to the group and started doing her talks, and I knew we had to address environmental exposures and reproductive health.
What is your primary mission in your work?
Currently, physicians are not used to incorporating the results of environmental health studies into their clinical practice. More and more research is showing that chemicals and other environmental factors are negatively impacting fertility, pregnancy and fetal development. Clinicians need to be able to access that information, but in a practical way.
Davis Baltz, MS, and Heather Sarantis, MS
Co-Directors of CHE’s Environmental Health Primary Prevention Training Institute
As we recognize CHE’s tenth anniversary this year, one of CHE’s newer projects to highlight is the training program offered through CHE’s Environmental Health Primary Prevention Training Institute. Launched in 2010, the three-day training program brings CHE’s expertise in science translation to health advocates, policy analysts, educators, and community activists as they work on issues that pertain to specific disease endpoints. Designed primarily for those who have not received advanced scientific training, the goal is to deepen participants’ scientific understanding of environmental links to disease, enabling them better evaluate and articulate the science that underpins their advocacy work so they can be more effective champions for a healthier world.