KPCC documents community monitoring work on “invisible problem” of traffic pollution

A KPCC story today documents the work of health advocates and collaborations to implement community air monitoring of traffic pollution.  Center faculty and staff provided information for this ongoing series by Deepa Fernandes, which raises awareness about the health effects of going to school near busy roads and freeways.  The Community Outreach program partners with organizations who are interested in knowing what they are breathing at the neighborhood level.  The monitors are a valuable tool to understand more about air pollution and research.  Working with youth is also a strategy to encourage interest in science, health, and environmental issues. Continue reading “KPCC documents community monitoring work on “invisible problem” of traffic pollution”

Establishing a GEOHealth Hub for East Africa

L-R: Ratnam, Howland and Tefera on the roof of USC’s Soto Street Building as they disassemble an air pollution monitor.

Worku Tefera is a researcher visiting USC Environmental Health this week to learn about the types of air pollution monitoring conducted as part of the Children’s Health Study. The training will kick-start a similar air pollution monitoring network that will be set up in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia. “Pollution is boundary-less,” said Tefera, who is also studying for a PhD at USC under the direction of Dr. Frank Gilliland.

Training is being provided by USC staff Suresh Ratnam and Steve Howland and faculty members Kiros Berhane, Frank Gilliland and Scott Fruin. “It’s been a busy week” training Worku and documenting all the equipment procedures, says Ratnam.

Tefera will be bringing exposure monitoring equipment back to Ethiopia with him to begin a study, as part of the Global Environmental Health initiative of the SCEHSC and part of the global health activities of the Institute for Global Health.

Tefera is co-investigator of a planning grant from the National Institutes of Health’s Fogarty International Center designed to establish a “GEOHealth Hub for East Africa.” GEOHealth stands for “Global Environmental and Occupational Health,” with the Hub covering Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. He is also a co-investigator on a proposal with Environmental Health faculty on “Effects of Clean Cookstoves on Child Survival in Ethiopia.”

by Kiros Berhane and Carla Truax

Guest Lecture at Cal State L.A. Spurs Discussion and Dialogue


On April 23, 2014 I had the pleasure of being a guest lecturer at a Health and Wellness class at California State University, Los Angeles. I shared information on air pollution, its health effects, research that is being done by our scientists at the Southern CA Environmental Health Sciences Center and Children’s Environmental Health Center, as well as about career paths in environmental health.  Students were particularly interested in the new Environmental Health Track in the USC Master of Public Health program and the Environmental Health minor for undergraduate students at USC.

USC postdoctoral fellow Davida Becker teaches the class. After my presentation, I asked students to read a short editorial article by Outreach Director Andrea Hricko about the effects of goods movement on environmental health. Students were struck by the article’s description of the path a doll takes after being made in China to get into the hands of a girl in the U.S. –  and all the pollution and ill health effects created by the transportation of goods.

Students then engaged in small group discussions and made observations about impacts from the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles, sharing some of the things they themselves can do toward making their environment a better place. Topics they raised included:

 

  • What are the effects of water pollution at the Ports in addition to air pollution?
  • Are the neighborhoods in Long Beach and Wilmington near the Ports considered “environmental justice communities” because they are predominantly minority?  [Yes, because these communities are disproportionately impacted by pollution from ships, trucks and rail.]   
  • Aren’t workers at even a higher risk than residents from air pollution at the Ports? [Yes, because they work in close proximity to the exhaust emitted by ships and idling trucks]

Some students shared what they are doing to create sustainable lifestyle choices, such as home gardening, using public transportation and biking, and other ways to reduce the carbon footprint.

Presentations such as this provide a platform for the USC Environmental Health Outreach Program to educate students about impacts of global trade on the environment and spur discussion on how students can make a difference in the world.        

by Carla Truax