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Environmental Factor, February 2013

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PEPH launches new podcast series

By Rayna Rowell

Liam O'Fallon

“With this podcast series, PEPH complements its PEPH eNews and webinar series, as tools for reaching and engaging a diverse audience,” O’Fallon said. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Researchers, working in partnership with community groups, are featured in a new podcast series by the NIEHS Partnerships for Environmental Public Health (PEPH) program. PEPH launched its new podcast series, Environmental Health Chat, Jan. 14.

“The goals of the Environmental Health Chat series are to highlight NIEHS-funded community-engaged research projects and to spread the word about important and emerging environmental public health issues to a wide audience,” said Liam O’Fallon, PEPH program coordinator.

Straight to the point

The short podcasts focus on one or two key messages of a featured topic. To supplement each podcast, the page has links to relevant resources and references. The first four podcasts are now available, with plans to release a new podcast every month starting in February.

Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) was the subject of one podcast featuring Roxana Witter, M.D., of the Colorado School of Public Health. Witter provided background information about fracking and offered health impact assessment as a useful tool for evaluating the potential effects of a drilling operation on a community.

Another podcast, featuring Brown University Superfund Research Program (SRP) grantee Phil Brown, Ph.D., and Environmental Justice League of Rhode Island Director Amelia Rose, highlighted a new school siting law. They discussed issues with schools being built in or near areas with known contamination. In addition to outlining the potential health effects of this practice, they also examined the environmental justice implications.

R. William Field, Ph.D., a professor at the University of Iowa, discussed radon and its health effects in a third podcast. Field emphasized that radon is the leading environmental cause of cancer death in the United States. This podcast gave an overview of radon and provided steps to take to reduce exposure.

The last podcast featured Celia Chen, Ph.D., a Dartmouth Toxic Metals SRP grantee, discussing mercury in seafood. Chen explained how mercury gets into the food chain and what types of fish are safe to eat to reduce exposure.

Feedback and ideas 

PEPH invites scientists, community-based participatory researchers, and the general public to visit the Environmental Health Chat page and provide feedback, as well as ideas for future podcasts. Next month, there will be a podcast on urban gardening that will highlight research from Cornell University.

(Rayna Rowell is a communication specialist with MDB, Inc., a contractor for the NIEHS Division of Extramural Research and Training.)

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