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EPA Science Matters Newsletter: Protecting Human Health in Everything We Do

Healthy older couple resting after a bicycle ride
Healthy older couple resting after a bicycle ride

Published October 2014

EPA Human Health Research: About this Issue

Protecting human health is at the core of EPA’s mission. Agency efforts to advance cleaner air, take action on climate change, safeguard pure and abundant water resources, help local communities become safer and more sustainable, and reduce risks from environmental exposures to potentially toxic substances are all driven by a commitment to public health.

And that commitment is supported by a rigorous research portfolio providing the sound, scientific foundation needed for policies designed to sustain our well-being wherever we live, work, or play.

This issue of EPA’s Science Matters highlights just a small sample of that effort. It features how EPA scientists are advancing the next generation of exposure science and how they are improving the Agency’s already widely used Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS). Included also are stories about the scientific foundation for national health-based clean air standards and research into the links between air pollution exposure and our cardiovascular systems.

Two stories in particular exemplify how EPA science is having a real impact on improving living and working conditions at the local level, including in traditionally underserved and minority communities. One of these stories is about EPA researchers working with a Native American community in Shiprock, New Mexico, to improve indoor air quality from coal- and wood-burning stoves. The other is about an Agency team working with health officials in San Francisco, California, to develop practices to protect nail salon workers from exposure to harmful chemicals.

Toby Schonfeld, Ph.D., the Agency’s Human Subjects Research Official and the Director of its Program in Human Research Ethics and Oversight, explains how she and others are working across EPA to ensure that all Agency and Agency-supported work involving human subjects continues to set the highest standards for scientific integrity and ethics.

The collective impact of EPA’s human health research is improved health, reduced risks, and the support of policies that protect our air, clean our water, and help communities across the nation take action to lower risks.

Those achievements are possible through the dedication of Agency scientists, their partners, and the many research volunteers who support their work. This issue is dedicated to those whose research is improving our environment and protecting the lives of millions of Americans and to study volunteers everywhere for their generosity and public service.