In large mother-baby cohorts (> 400,000 population with over 6500 births/yr), we have launched a new study called IMMENSE (IMpact of Maternal ENvironmental and Socio Economic factors in child health and development) utilizing CGHAD partner sites. This has been made possible with funding from the UN Foundation. With the wide spread increase in mining activities in Odisha state, new industries, use of pesticides, and fertilizers, indoor and ambient pollution and many other exposures, and concomitant increase in cancer rates, change in the epidemiology, onset age etc. it is impossible not to put these variables into the equation of public health in transitional economies such as India.
Systematic data collection is ongoing in India including examination of air and water quality and collection and banking of vital biological samples from mothers and babies. These cohorts are being followed over the longer term to examine short and long term impacts of these exposures. Planned analyses include range from epigenetic to phenotypic changes in this population.
Environmental Health Impact of House-hold Energy Choices in India:
The disease burden from household air pollution (HAP) is a consequence of exposure to the extremely toxic pollutants produced by solid fuels burned in open fires or stoves in the home for cooking or heating. Nearly two million people a year die prematurely from illness attributable to HAP as a result of solid fuel use (WHO 2009). There is emerging evidence that HAP increases the risk of other child and adult health problems, including low birth-weight, perinatal mortality, asthma, tuberculosis, nasopharyngeal cancer, cataracts, blindness, and cardiovascular disease. Despite the high burden of disease from HAP, it has not received the same attention as other diseases in India. This collaborative research project utilizes two large mother-child cohorts in two districts to follow infants and adults prospectively for quantification of exposure and establishment of any relationship with morbidity and mortality.
A Study on Assessment of Health Effects Due To Agricultural Exposure
Global pesticide exposures are reported to be responsible for over 3 million acute poisonings each year, with the majority in developing countries.
There have been significant collaborative efforts to estimate risks associated with pesticides, with strategies ranging from:
- desktop evaluations (of properties of chemicals, the quantities used, and the likely pathways for uptake)
- to environmental sampling
- quantitation of potential absorption
- to personal monitoring and sampling to establish individual dose.
Exposure Assessment of Microbial Components in Indoor Environment
Each day we are exposed to a complex mixture of microbial agents and components in indoor environments. However, the sources of the microbial communities and the processes that affect them are not well understood. Exposure to bio-aerosols, including fungal ones, has been linked to a range of detrimental health effects. Understanding the source populations and processes that suspend and disseminate microbes and microbial products in indoor air remains a central focus of our research. The impact between those microbial agents in the home environment in relation to respiratory health is still a major issue in research.
A STEP on Health (A Study of Traffic and Environmental Pollution on Health)
Air pollution from road traffic has been linked to a variety of negative health effects. Studies have shown that people who live/ work, near major traffic sources have an increased incidence and severity of health problems that may be related to air pollution from roadway traffic. Health effects linked to traffic pollution exposures include reduced lung function and impaired lung development in children, asthma, cardiovascular disease, low birth weight, pre-term newborns, and premature death. Additional research is needed to learn more about pollutants near roadways, how and to what extent people are exposed to them, and the type and severity of associated health effects in Indian context. CoPH students and collaborating faculty at AIPH, India have completed a pilot study and plan to continue the work over the longer term.
The current research objectives are to:
- Identify and define different sources of emissions through direct measurements
- Assess the health effects from traffic pollution exposures
- Development of suitable biomarkers for human exposure assessments