June 28th, 2017 marked this year’s first bi-annual meeting of the Environmental Health Sciences Center’s Community Stakeholder’s Advisory Committee (CSTAC). Attendees, which included both CSTAC members and EHSC researchers, traveled from throughout the Central Valley to UC Merced where they spent the day exchanging updates, welcoming new members, and discussing the dimensions of equitable community-university research partnerships.
Members of the Environmental Health Sciences Center’s CSTAC represent a range of community organizations and agencies that work to promote environmental health and justice. Their expertise covers a wide range of environmental issues including air, water, food, and agriculture, and they work with the EHSCC’s Community Engagement Core (CEC) to align the activities of the EHSC to the needs and interests of communities facing high burdens of environmental hazards and social vulnerability. At the June 12th meeting, the CSTAC welcomed four new members: Isabel Arrollo of El Quinto Sol de America; Nayamin Martinez of the Central California Environmental Justice Network; Amrith Gunasekara of the California Department of Food and Agriculture; and Veronica Eady of the California Air Resources Board.
For the last five years, California’s drought has given rise to a host of water policies aiming to ensure that all Californians have access to clean drinking water. Despite these policies, however, injustice in water allocation remains a significant problem.
As of 2016, an estimated 39 million people live in the state of California. The majority of these people live in urban areas (approximately 87% in 2010), and, historically, the urban majority has assumed more rights to water than the rural minority. Many of California’s rural communities are composed of primarily low-income people of color, most of whom speak little to no English. This combination of reasons causes these communities to lack significant representation within the state government, and allows the government to ignore their needs in favor of those policies that benefit the majority.
Ozone and lung remodeling
More than 4 in 10 US people live in areas with unhealthy levels of ozone. The San Joaquin Valley (SJV) is a hot spot of high ozone exposures. Four of the top 7 most ozone polluted cities in the US are in the SJV where ozone affects more than 1 million children. Ozone exposure during childhood alters lung growth â even healthy young adults from high ozone environments have decreased lung function â yet the mechanisms are little understood. Much research hasÂ focused on ozone exacerbation of asthma. Dr.
Behavioral and neuroimaging phenotypes following early life pesticide exposure
Worldwide, organophosphate pesticides are the most commonly used class of pesticides. Epidemiological studies have linkedÂ their use to autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, developmental delay, and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Currently, the impactsÂ of early-life exposure to low doses that are representative ofÂ what people and,Â in particular, pregnant women and children may experience, have not been well-studied. Dr.
Effects of atrazine on the developing ovary
Atrazine,Â a widely used weed killer is a common contaminant found inÂ drinking water. Atrazine is a member of a family of chemicals called the xenoestrogens that mimic the hormone estrogen and thereby disrupt endocrine function. AnotherÂ xenoestrogen, bisphenol-A (BPA), causesÂ problems in female reproduction. BPAÂ leads to a âgrand-maternal effectâ that increases the likelihood of developmental problemsÂ in grandchildren.
Noninvasive imaging of immune responses induced by environmental pollutants
Exposure to air pollutants and particulate matter (PM) contribute to an increased riskÂ for cardiovascular and pulmonary health problems resulting from chronic inflammation. Dr. Chris Vogel is usingÂ a new method for noninvasive imaging of immune responses, Positron Emission Tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The goal of the project is to identify the specific sites of inflammation following exposure to particulate matter and potentially other types of environmental exposures.
Health effects of airborne particulate matter near the Salton Sea: A Community-based exploratory project in the Imperial Valley, CA.
The Salton Sea is a man-made, saline lake, located in southeastern California, in the Imperial and Coachella valleys. As a result of climate change, drought, agricultural practices, rural-urban water transfers, the Salton Sea is a polluted and shrinking lake.
Immune mechanisms of ozone-induced lung inflammation in non-human primates
PersistentÂ exposure to air pollution leads to changes in immune function inÂ the respiratory system. These changesÂ canÂ trigger allergic asthmaÂ and increase susceptibility to respiratory infections. Exposure to high levels of ozone, a major toxic air pollutant, worsens asthma and COPD symptoms. While the exact mechanisms of ozone induced airway diseaseÂ are not understood, Dr.
The first ever UC Davis Environmental Health Sciences (EHS) Academy Day on March 21 brought together multi-disciplinary researchers and community-based organizations to discuss concerns about environmental health impacts, specifically those centered on water safety and contamination issues in the Central Valley. Academy Day provided attendees with opportunities for mutual learning and information sharing. The aim was to get individuals thinking about how scientists and communities can work together to solve environmental problems and translate science into action and policy.