EOH Department News

Contaminants in Pittsburgh's drinking water worry D.C. environmental group, but not local experts

WESA 90.5 - Lead isn't the only potential water contaminant Pittsburgh residents should worry about, according to researchers at the nonprofit Environmental Working Group. Of potential concern are chemicals called trihalomethanes, though they don't worry Pitt researchers including EOH's AARON BARCHOWSKY, “It’s a weak association that comes from rodent studies but … linking to human cancers has been controversial or weak at best.”  

On health effects, blame the trucks, not the fracking?

WESA 90.5 - WVU’s Mike McCawley studies the spike in diesel truck traffic as a potential contributor to health impacts associated fracking. EOH’s JIM FABISIAK isn’t surprised, as diesel exhaust is a known carcinogen, adding “We also know that it contributes probably significantly to many of the other health endpoints we attributed to air pollution, such as aggravating asthma and premature deaths from cardiovascular or lung disease.” 

Herbert Needleman, who saw lead’s wider harm to children, dies at 89

NEW YORK TIMES - Herbert Needleman, whose studies of children exposed to low levels of lead prompted regulations that limited or banned the metal in a range of common products, like gasoline and paint, and set a standard for the modern study of environmental toxins, died on July 18 in Pittsburgh. “[His] was the insight that changed everything,” said BERNARD GOLDSTEIN, former dean of Pitt Public Health. 

Goldstein comments on Paradise cost: coal, natural gas, and the true price of power

WV PUBLIC RADIO - Professor and dean emeritus BERNARD GOLDSTEIN said he thinks the gas industry, which is highly fragmented, has missed opportunities to clearly address concerns about its own environmental effects. Those include air and water pollution near drilling sites, disposal concerns related to drilling waste, and the greenhouse gas emissions that result from methane leakage. As a result, any health effects remain to be clearly understood.... 

EOH’s Di exploring alternative for antibiotic-resistant infections

NIH RESEARCH PORTFOLIO - In the face of antibiotic-resistant infections, the National Institutes of Health have awarded EOH’s Y. PETER DI a five year R01 support grant to research a new class of antibiotics, testing the efficacy of a set of novel antimicrobial peptides with potent bactericidal activity against most drug-resistant bacteria. 

Goldstein on the clarion call for scientists and the EPA

E&E NEWS - The debate has gone on for some time over whether scientists should simply lay out their information and let politicians decide how to use it or advocate for a specific policies. Emeritus EOH professor and emeritus dean BERNARD GOLDSTEIN, who also served as assistant administrator for research in the Reagan administration says, “I find it very situational,” Goldstein said. He added that recent political attacks on science and particula... 

Goldstein addresses Congressional roundtable on climate change (video)

U.S. CONGRESS - On June 20, 2017, emeritus dean and professor BERNARD GOLDSTEIN called on lawmakers to support a research agenda to mitigate global climate change during special D.C. hearing. As an expert environmental toxicologist, he emphasized the need to address conservatives’ reasons for not trusting climate science in order to get bipartisan support for research. He concluded that fighting over the issue is potentially disastrous to societ... 

Fabisiak and Brink: Air pollution increases regional health risks

PITTSBURGH TODAY - “PM2.5 is probably the chief concern for the region, mainly because of its contribution from a source as big as the Clairton plant has an effect over a fairly large area,” said EOH associate prof JAMES FABISIAK.... “Everything that’s a risk factor for bad health is showing up high in that area,” said LUANN BRINK, Allegheny County Health Department deputy director and chief epidemiologist (as well as EPI alum and assistant prof)... 

Mixed wisdom on the first use of purpose-built crematory on U.S. soil

POST-GAZETTE - An early  motive for promoting cremation — to prevent contamination — appears overstated. Poorly buried corpses of people who died of infectious diseases in the 1800s could contaminate a nearby water supply, but there would have been no general risk of contamination from those who die of trauma or non-contagious diseases, commented EOH's JAMES FABISIAK.  

Allegheny County names EOH's Goldstein to serve on lead task force, chaired by HPM's Hacker

PITTSBURGH BUSINESS TIMES - County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has named EOH's BERNARD GOLDSTEIN to a nine-member task force to study and recommend action steps to reduce the childhood lead exposure in the region. The task force, to be chaired by HPM's KAREN HACKER, Allegheny County's health director, has six months to make its recommendations. 

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