EOH Faculty & Research News

Exempt from inspection: States ignore lead-contaminated meat in food banks

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ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH NEWS -  Food banks in the U.S. are on course for a preventable collision between record-setting food insecurity and lead-contaminated meat. Though hunter-donated meat provides crucial protein to U.S. food banks, a lack of oversight could result in potentially hundreds of thousands of lead-contaminated meals this year according to a recent article by MPH student Samantha Totoni (EOH '21).  

Goldstein says EPA should consider COVID-19 for its standards

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE – Dean Emeritus Bernard Goldstein asserts that the agency has ignored a Clean Air Act mandate as well as the congressional specification of what factors should be considered in setting an “adequate margin of safety” for air quality impact. The proposal fails to consider factors affecting sensitive populations in the pandemic, including the elderly and those with pre-existing lung and heart disease.  

EOH's Wenzel named winner of ATS AII Scientific Accomplishment Award

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EOH's Sally Wenzel has won the American Thoracic Society's AII Scientific Accomplishment Award.Dr. Wenzel’s remarkable research contributions over the years have significantly improved our understanding of asthma pathogenesis and directly impacted approach to treatment. Dr. Wenzel has developed an unparalleled translational program to study asthma’s pathobiology and mechanisms and is one of the key scientists who established the concept of asthm... 

University draws on own experts to guide health and safety decisions

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PITTWIRE - The new Healthcare Advisory Group, headed by Anantha Shekhar, new senior vice chancellor for the health sciences and dean of Pitt Med, will monitor the health status of the campus and ensure compliance with legal regulations. Members, including HPM’s Mark Roberts, EPI’s Anne Newman, EOH’s Sally Wenzel, will develop recommendations for the Pitt community.  

Fabisiak/Brink study highlights environmental injustice in Pittsburgh: Poor, minority neighborhoods see higher rates of deaths from air pollution

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ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH NEWS – EOH's James Fabisiak EPI's LuAnn Brink (IDM '98, EPI '96) estimate that 40 percent of the county's air pollution-related heart disease deaths occur where 20 percent or more individuals live in poverty and/or 30 percent or more are a racial minority. Study data will be used to evaluate the impact of environmental justice on the health of our county communities.  

Di, Deslouches, and Montelaro develop promising antibiotic molecule for drug-resistant infections

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CISTIC FIBROSIS NEWS TODAY - With the rising prevalence of superbugs, researchers are turning their attention to antibiotic molecules. Study co-authors Y. Peter Di (EOH), Berthony Deslouches (EOH), and Ronald Montelaro (IDM) have engineered a cationic antimicrobial peptide named WLBU2, licensed by Pitt spin-off Peptilogics, that's now in a clinical trial for preventing infections associated with knee and hip replacements.  

Can air pollution make coronavirus worse? Wenzel says yes.

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ALLEGHENY FRONT - There’s plenty of biological evidence, said Sally Wenzel, EOH chair. Pollution can damage cells that line breathing passageways, which form the lung’s natural defense from foreign agents. “When they’re damaged, they don’t function nearly as well as a barrier. And so things like viruses can get through that barrier and into the body, into the deeper spaces of the body.”  

Wenzel explains how to handle package deliveries

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PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE – EOH Chair Sally Wenzel says, “The easiest way to make sure that you aren’t bringing the virus in with your packages is to treat the package as though a COVID-19 positive person last handled it: Wipe off all items before putting them away, throw out your packaging and wash your hands.” Another tip: Plastic gloves might be hard to come by these days, but sandwich bags can protect in a pinch.  

Wenzel on the burning problem of America’s sugar cane growers

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BLOOMBERG QUINT - Sally Wenzel, EOH professor and director of Pitt Medical Center's Asthma Institute, says that “The only way to answer the question” as to whether sugarcane burning is the direct cause of the respiratory issues that residents experience “is with a better level of granularity—to do a person-based study, as opposed to a population-based study” such as the ones published so far.  

Totoni and Fabisiak examine lead contamination in hunted meat

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ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH NEWS - MPH student Samantha Totoni (EOH '21), associate professor James Fabisiak, and BCHS's Martha Ann Terry look into lead contamination in hunted meat. Despite the mounting concerns over lead exposure from wild game, lead ammunition use continues as hunters and their families remain unaware or deeply mistrustful of the dangers. Who’s warning hunters and their families?  

Bernstein warns EPA making ‘secret science’ rule more restrictive

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THE HILL - “My first reading of it as it came up was they actually made it worse,” said EOH’s Bernard Goldstein, adding that the agency will be limiting the number of studies it considers, weakening the pool of research from which it draws conclusions. “We use consensus in the scientific community to come to a judgment,” he said. “The present EPA is consistently acting in a way that destroys consensus and moves toward confrontation, and this is ... 

Wenzel in Lancet: Intersection of biology and therapeutics: type 2 targeted therapeutics for adult asthma

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In a recent article published in the Lancet, EOH Chair Sally Wenzel found that "the emergence of type 2 biologics for the treatment of severe asthma is a welcomed and much needed advance in the management of patients with asthma. Although a cure for asthma remains elusive, many patients with severe asthma show a robust and sustained response to this new class of medication."   

Goldstein comments on how EPA director Andrew Wheeler is using scientific transparency as a weapon

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SALON - The tobacco industry may have been the first to recognize that requiring transparency in scientific research could serve as a weapon to defend a dangerous product, but it appears that, in the face of opposition from virtually the entire scientific community, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler will soon issue regulation that will make it national policy. "Unless he is stopped, the EPA’s ability to protect t... 

Fabisiak among public health experts that flunk report tying PA air quality improvements to gas drilling

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DESMOG BLOG - “They indicate that the Clean Air Act works,” said EOH's James Fabisiak, director of the Center for Healthy Environments and Communities, referring to the pollution reductions starting in 1990 shown in CEA’s report. “Air improved by setting stricter ambient air quality standards, continuing and enhanced enforcement, and increased control technologies to meet the mandated need to reduce pollution (auto fuel efficiency standards, cle... 

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