Former SSEHRI post-doctoral fellow Dr. Dvera Saxton has been selected as a Global Brain Health Institute Atlantic Fellow for the University of California-San Francisco. This competitive program recruits applicants from all over the world to spend a fully funded year studying brain health from interdisciplinary angles, networking with scholars and health care practitioners, observing brain health care, studies, and interventions, receiving mentorship from senior researchers, and developing a proposal for a project that the fellow takes back to implement in their home community. She will develop an ethnographic and environmental epidemiological study of immigrant farmworkers living with Parkinson’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Her fellowship year begins in August 2019. Since 2014, Dr. Saxton has worked as an assistant professor in the Anthropology Department at California State University, Fresno.
Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute
We are proud to congratulate SSEHRI researcher, Vanessa De La Rosa, who recently received an award for her poster at the 2018 BCERP (Breast Cancer and the Environment Research program) Annual Meeting held at Georgetown University this month. The title of her poster is, “Mining high-throughput in vitro testing data to inform in vivo BCERP studies.” The main goal of this study was to use publicly available data and tools to learn more about the biology and toxicity of endocrine disrupting chemicals and use this information to inform breast cancer studies in rodents. Through her research, Vanessa found that many of these chemicals alter the synthesis of steroid hormones and also activate nuclear receptors, both of which are relevant to breast cancer.
We are excited to announce that SSEHRI researchers have recently received two new grants from NIEHS and NSF. These grants build on the success of SSEHRI’s PFAS Project lab and its partners in other research centers and community-based organizations, and of the 180-person international conference on PFAS chemicals that SSEHRI held at Northeastern in June 2017.
NSF PFAS Activism Grant
Co-Leads: Prof. Phil Brown and Alissa Cordner of Whitman College
Community Partners: TAC and TFP
Grant Title: The New Chemical Class Activism: Mobilization Around Per- and Polyfluoralkyl Substances
Grant Award: NSF STS Program, $499,901 ( 9/1/18-8/31/21)
The proposed project will examine the rapid formation of a national, networked social movement across the United States in response to industrial and military uses of per- and polyfluorinated compounds (PFASs), a class of over 3,000 chemical compounds with a broad range of adverse health outcomes. In the last three years, PFAS activism has rapidly expanded and led to a national coalition of dozens of community-based social movement organizations (SMOs), academic-community research partnerships, increased biomonitoring and water testing of impacted communities, a bipartisan bill for a national PFAS health study, and shifts in state drinking water standards. However, SMO development and cleanup outcomes have been uneven across contaminated sites. The aims of this grant are to analyze the characteristics of local organizing using our Contamination Site Database; analyze the origins, influences, priorities, and outcomes of a new form of chemical class SMO activism; and understand how community groups use and interpret emerging science by collaborating on water sampling with a PFAS SMO.
NIEHS Research to Action Grant
Co-Leads: Dr. Lauren Schaider of Silent Spring Institute, Prof. Courtney Carignan of Michigan State University, and Prof. Phil Brown
Community Partners: TAC, TFP, and MBCC
Grant Title: Assessment of Pediatric Immunotoxicity, Public Education, and Capacity-Building in Communities Impacted by PFAS-Contaminated Drinking Water
Grant Award: NIEHS R01 from the Research to Action Program, $2,596,884 (9/7/18-6/30/23)
Across the U.S., a growing number of communities are discovering drinking water supplies contaminated with per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs, often called PFCs). As we recently reported, over six million Americans in 22 states receive drinking water from sources that exceeded EPA’s 2016 guideline for PFOS and PFOA, and drinking water for an additional 100 million Americans has not yet been tested. We need a better understanding of the composition and health impacts of these exposures, particularly in children, who are at greatest risk of clinically impaired vaccine response and other effects on the immune system. The objectives of this grant are to work with the Portsmouth (Pease Tradeport) and Hyannis communities to: quantify associations of PFAS serum concentrations in children with immune response and metabolomics profiles, develop an online network with resources for community education and engagement, and interview community members to analyze the experiences of residents in impacted communities. In addition, the research tools and community resources developed by this project will support and connect other communities that face similar challenges in responding to PFAS-contaminated drinking water.
The Urban Water Innovation Network lab group led by SSEHRI faculty member, Sharon Harlan, has released its report, Environmental Justice and Sustainable Urban Water Systems: Community Voices from Selected Cities in the United States. The researchers interviewed 45 leaders of community organizations in 2017-2018 about their perspectives on social inequities and environmental injustices related to local water resources in nine cities, the social origins of inequities, perceived structural barriers to sustainability, and their visions for sustainable urban water systems. Lauren Contorno, Sociology PhD candidate, is the principal report author. Lab members are working on related articles for journal publications. At the end of the report, readers are invited to join our online, open-access Slack platform to begin a conversation about urban water systems, equity, and sustainability.
Congratulations to SSEHRI researcher, Mia Renauld, who successfully defended her doctoral dissertation, “Shaped by Chevron: Race, Responsibility, and Resistance in Richmond, California,” on September 13, 2018. Mia received her bachelor’s degrees in Political Ecology...
Congratulations to Dr. Sara Wylie, for receiving the 2018 Diana Forsythe Prize for her groundbreaking book, Fractivism: Corporate Bodies and Chemical Bonds. Dr. Wylie, an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Health Sciences and the Associate...
Environmental Data and Governance Initiative Publishes on EPA Regulatory Capture in “The Conversation”
“EPA staff say the Trump administration is changing their mission from protecting human health and the environment to protecting industry” has been published on The Conversation. Here’s the link: http://theconversation.com/epa-staff-say-the-trump-administration-is-changing-their-mission-from-protecting-human-health-and-the-environment-to-protecting-industry-96256