Our Blog

Stay up to date with our recent research findings, news features, and publications below! Our blog is a great place to learn more detailed information about the collective nationwide network of Children's Environmental Health researchers and their findings.

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We can't believe how quickly this month flew by! Earlier this month we had the opportunity to attend the Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) conference in North Carolina. The National Institute of Environmental Health Services (NIEHS) established the PEPH conference in 2009 as a means to promote community engagement in the field of environmental public health.

We also had the opportunity to meet with Congressman Peter Welch's office this month. The purpose of our meeting was to discuss our research and the impacts its had since we started enrolling study participants in 2009. We met with Thifeen Deen, a Health Care and Human Services Outreach Representative. Over lunch, we discussed the origins of our interest in studying the effects of naturally occurring arsenic throughout New Hampshire and Vermont bedrock. With Groundwater Awareness Week coming up in March, we stressed the importance of regularly testing well-water to ensure that unsafe amounts of arsenic are not contaminating your water source if you have a private well system.

To learn more about Groundwater Awareness Week visit the Groundwater Association's website here.

Check back in with us in March for helpful tips on how to test your private well!

Scroll through the pics below to see some of our favorite presentations at the conference.

Dr. Maida Galvez, a pediatrician from the Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. Dr. Galvez presented on the importance of environmental health screening during routine pediatric care.

Virginia Guidry PhD, is the Branch Head of Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology at North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. She presented on PFAS water contamination in North Carolina

Claudia Thompson PhD, is the Chief of the Population Health branch at NIEHS. She is seen here giving closing remarks about the future of PEPH.

We were also pleased to be mentioned in a presentation about Community Engagement through Social Media use. Our social media platforms were used an example of great engaging social media practice!

2019 was a great year! We accomplished so many milestones with our study including our 10 year anniversary, the passing of a new bill to lower arsenic in NH public drinking water, a feature in Dartmouth Medicine Magazine, and an interview on CBS! We also had the opportunity to celebrate our 10 year anniversary in-person with our study participants in August at our Montshire Museum. Looking ahead, we hope to ring in the New Year with a resolution: to use our platform within the Children's Environmental Health Research network to address the issue of climate change. We are happy to announce our support of ISCHE (the International Society for Children's Health and the Environment).

Children are uniquely vulnerable to the effects of climate change because their bodies are rapidly developing. Children also have faster heart rates and higher breathing rates than adults, and absorb more pollution due to their body size . The Lancet journal recently reported that failing to limit emissions will lead to health problems caused by infectious diseases, worsening air pollution, rising temperatures, and malnutrition.

“With every degree of warming, a child born today faces a future where their health and well-being will be increasingly impacted by the realities and dangers of a warmer world.” - Dr. Renee N. Salas, a clinical instructor of emergency medicine at Harvard Medical School

In the coming months we will be highlighting some positive changes we can all make to address the mounting concerns of climate change. Following the mission of ISCHE, we hope to protect children and future generations from harmful exposures through the research we produce, the policies we impact, and the services we provide.

Our recent contribution in providing research to back NH's decision to lower the acceptable amount of arsenic in public drinking water is one way we've influenced the policies in our state. Later this month we will be publishing our annual newsletter for participants in our study, which will highlight this and other exciting news from this year, including our recent feature in Dartmouth Medicine Magazine.

With so many accomplishments in 2019, we can't wait to see the possibilities that 2020 will bring us!

Each year, the American Public Health Association hosts a 5-day long meeting for public health professionals to gather and present their work. APHA brings together people and organizations who make a difference from the global level to the local level. This year, Dr. Carolyn Murray attended and presented in a session dedicated to the topic of children's health and translating environmental health sciences for diverse audiences. Dr. Murray explained that early epidemiological research on the health effects of arsenic exposure was derived from studies conducted on populations in Bangladesh and Taiwan. These early studies led the EPA to reduce the permissible amount of arsenic in public drinking water in the US in 2006. Despite this, over 40 million people in the US rely on private wells as their primary water source. In northern New England, this presented a significant public health issue because arsenic is naturally occurring contaminate in this area of the country. Nearly 50% of the population in northern New England relies on private, unregulated wells for drinking water. Concurrently, food sources including apple and rice based products have been identified as being sources of arsenic exposure in pregnancy and early childhood. During pregnancy and early childhood, there is increased vulnerability to adverse health effects because these are periods are rapid growth and development.

Over the years we have enrolled over 800 families in our New Hampshire Birth Cohort Study. Our study seeks to understand the potential health impacts of arsenic exposure at all levels and a growing ambition among our group of scientists is to better communicate our findings. Dr. Murray leads the Community Outreach and Translation core of our study and has been developing methods to improve our communications strategies. Our APHA presentation focused on our communications with key stakeholders, including study participants, private well owners, state legislators, clinicians, and public health partners . This year, New Hampshire lawmakers made the landmark decision to lower the permissible arsenic levels in public drinking water systems from 10 parts per billion to 5 parts per billion. Our research informed this decision, however, we still advocate the need for frequent and consistent private well-water because a huge population of NH relies on these systems to receive their water.

Dr. Carolyn Murray Presenting at APHA 2019 in Philadelphia, PA

Right to Left: Annemarie Charlesworth (UCSF), Brenda Koester (University of Illinois Urbana), Liam O'Fallon, Dr. Carolyn Murray, Haguerenesh Woldeyohannes (Emory)

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