Nancy Maddox 2016-03-21 12:19:24
Curbing Chemicals’ Harmful Consequences Henderson, Nevada 36.0292° N, 115.0253° W Henderson, NV, was an inauspicious setting for a discussion of a topic of growing importance to the world — biomonitoring. The name isn’t sexy, but biomonitoring — the measurement of environmental toxicants in people — is an urgent need. Potential toxicants are ubiquitous in modern life. In fact, EPA’s list of US-made or US processed industrial chemicals is over 85,000 substances long. In 2014, APHL wrapped up a five-year plan to establish a network of laboratories with biomonitoring capabilities. This year APHL embarked on a second five-year plan to formalize the network, with standardized quality measures, test methods and data reports, and a multidisciplinary oversight committee. In Nevada, APHL’s environmental health director spoke at the annual meeting of the International Society for Exposure Science and met with experts to discuss international biomonitoring efforts. Silverton, Colorado 37.8125° N, 107.6631° W An environmental disaster in August 2015 made clear the need for biomonitoring: more than 3,000,000 gallons of arsenic-laced waste spilled from the tailing pond for the defunct Gold King Mine near Silverton, CO, turning the beautiful Animas River orange. The poisonous release ultimately contaminated waterways in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. In response, APHL convened a call with local and federal health authorities, urging rapid implementation of biomonitoring to gauge health impacts. At least one state, Utah, has already begun. New York City, New York 40.7127° N, 74.0059° W Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo 4.3250° S, 15.3222° E One vital APHL service is connecting stakeholders with laboratories that can meet specific public health needs, including environmental testing. Last year, the association: Provided EPA with a list of laboratories able to test for Legionella, during a deadly Legionnaires’ disease outbreak in the South Bronx. Connected the Coca-Cola Foundation’s Replenish Africa Initiative with the Office Congolais de Contrôle — a public institution with water-testing capability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The foundation aims to provide clean water access to 200 million people in Africa.
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