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Heat Advisory: Protecting Health on a Warming Planet
by Dr. Alan Lockwood

Drawing on peer-reviewed scientific and medical research, Dr. Lockwood meticulously details the symptoms of climate change and their medical side effects.

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Boston University Superfund Research Program

Boston University Superfund Research Program2010 marks our 10th year as a member of the Community Outreach Core of the Boston University Superfund Research Program (BUSRP). The Boston University Superfund Research Program, funded by NIEHS, is an interdisciplinary program that conducts and communicates research on the impacts of improperly managed hazardous wastes. Specifically, they study the effects of exposures to substances commonly encountered in hazardous waste disposal on reproduction and development in humans and wildlife. Included in the BUSRP are nine research projects and four cores. For specific information on the projects and cores go to:

The Outreach Core seeks to establish collaborative projects with communities, health care providers, and investigators to address environmental health problems related to community exposure to hazardous waste; and to increase public awareness about environmental health problems and solutions. The Community Outreach Core has two overarching goals: (1) To work with community organizations and health care provides to create a reciprocal understanding of how scientific research is related to their needs and interests, and conversely how those needs and interests relate to goals of scientific research; (2) To increase the awareness and utility of the research done at this and other Superfund Research Programs for the general public, health professionals and community organizations. Other Outreach Core Partners include Alternatives for Community and Environment, Center for Health, Environment and Justice, and Toxics Action Center. The outreach strategy is designed to provide resources in an efficient way to those addressing day-to-day impacts of environmental contamination on health. We have the following Specific Aims:

  • Increase public awareness of environmental health sciences and their applications, particularly with respect to the reproductive and developmental effects of chemicals in the environment.
  • Produce and make accessible tools for our outreach partner organizations and community groups related to environmental health exposures and outcomes.
  • Establish mechanisms for creating short- and long-term community-researcher relationships.

Ask the Researcher

BUSRP Ask the Researcher ForumAsk the Researcher is a valuable, interactive environmental health resource tool developed by the Boston University Superfund Research Program and Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility to help bring "research to real life" by allowing readers to pose questions and have them answered by researchers involved in the BUSRP.

There are currently four researchers to whom you may pose a question:

Dr. Tom Webster is an epidemiologist at BU School of Public Health and the Principal Investigator on Project 2: Analyzing Patterns in Epidemiologic and Toxicologic Data.

Geographic Information Systems now allow the use of analytic techniques in spatial epidemiology previously not feasible. As a result the mapping of routinely collected health data is now common and often provokes concern when patterns of disease rates appear to have "hot spots," although it is well understood by epidemiologists that the results may be biased by failure to collect and control for many known risk factors that are unevenly distributed over the area of the map. Dr. Webster's team is working to develop improved methods for mapping epidemiologic data on reproductive and developmental outcomes while adjusting for known risk factors.

Jennifer Schlezinger, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Health in BU's School of Public Health. She currently investigates how aromatic hydrocarbons (by-products of combustion) and phthalate esters (plasticizers used in manufacturing polyvinyl chloride) cause death in antibody-producing cells within the bone marrow microenvironment.

Dr. Ann Aschengrau is an epidemiologist at the Boston University School of Public Health. Her current research looks at whether prenatal and childhood exposures to drinking water contaminated with tetrachloroethylene (PCE) have caused disease in adults living on Cape Cod.

Mark Hahn is a biologist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. His current research concerns mechanisms of adaptation and evolved resistance to PCBs in fish inhabiting a Superfund site in southeastern Massachusetts.

Please visit the Ask the Researcher web page to see a more complete profile on each of the three researchers, as well as the answers given to questions others have already posed.

If you have a question for any of the scientists, please email it to BUSRP's Outreach Staff

Environmental Health Nursing Education Collaborative

The Environmental Health Nursing Education CollaborativeThe Environmental Health Nursing Education Collaborative is a project organized by the Boston University Superfund Research Program and the Harvard School of Public Health. The goal of this collaboration is to contribute to the education and training of nurses by helping their faculty integrate environmental health into the nursing curriculum. GBPSR has worked with the collaborative to identify educational environmental health resources including case studies and online continuing education opportunities. Lectures by environmental health experts can also be arranged through the collaborative. To browse the many resources visit the website

"Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging" lecture video available

The Environmental Health Nursing Education Collaborative hosted a lecture by Dr. Jill Stein on "Climate Change and Chronic Disease: Common Drivers, Common Solutions" based on Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility's Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging report. View it here as three streaming Flash video modules.

From Research to Real Life

From Research to Real Life is a series of articles that GBPSR presents in conjunction with the Boston University Superfund Research Program (BUSRP). We hope this information encourages you to become more involved in PSR programs or other activities that address preventing toxic exposures that may jeopardize public health.


Make No Bones About It: Environmental Contaminants Impact Bone Formation and the Immune System

by By Amelia Haas, MD/PhD Candidate

Graduate Program in Molecular Medicine
Boston University School of Medicine
  • Biomonitoring: A Public Perspective

    [This article is the fourth in the series]

    Biomonitoring the practice of measuring chemicals in peoples' body fluids or tissues has recently gained increasing attention as the technology has advanced and its use has expanded. Read more »

  • Drinking Water Detective Story: Researching Connections between Water Contamination and Disease

    [This article is the third in the series]

    In the 1980's, an unusually high incidence of cancers was observed in the upper Cape Cod region of Massachusetts. Possible environmental risk factors were identified including proximity to the Massachusetts Military Reservation Read more »

  • Environmental Chemicals and Estrogens

    [This article is the second in the series]

    Today, estrogens are commonly known for their roles in reproduction, hormone replacement therapy, oral contraceptives, and the controversies surrounding breast and other cancers; all focusing on women. Although these "women's issues" have been in the spotlight lately, estrogen has many important roles in the bodies of both women and men. Read more »

  • Environmental Pollutants and the Immune System

    [This article is the first in the series]

    In evolution, surprisingly little is left to chance. Biologic systems, whether composed of millions of liver cells working in concert to detoxify the blood, or white blood cells attempting to defend against foreign microbe invasion, are "designed" with controls, regulators, checks, and balances. Read more »

Community Based Environmental Health Research: Finding Meaning

Boston University School of Public HealthGBPSR is a community partner with Boston University School of Public Health on a multi year project that aims to understand the differing expectations among stakeholders in community health studies. We have been working with BU researchers to identify the stakeholders and conduct focus groups to better understand their knowledge, perception and beliefs of what health studies can and cannot do. Based on this information we are developing a workbook and facilitators? guide on community-based environmental health studies. The workbook and guide are designed to help community groups clarify their goals and environmental health concerns; determine whether or not a health study is an appropriate strategy; and develop a plan to make sure that a health study can produce the information that the community wants and needs.

The Superfund Research Program was established under the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) of 1986 and administered through the National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS). It receives funding from the U.S. EPA.

Visit the BU Superfund Research Program website.

If you would like more information on how to participate in the program, please contact Gregory Patts, 617-638-4126,


Page Updated April 29, 2010

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