PSR-LA Science & Policy Update: October 2014

Our Science & Policy Updates aim to to two things: first, provide our wonderful supporters with an update into the world of PSR-LA; and second, these updates are our way of offering our take on the most recent and compelling studies making their way up the pipeline. We know that sifting through mountains of available research for those which are reliable and methodologically sound is an often daunting and time-consuming task. We hope that our Science & Policy Updates can shoulder some of that burden for you.

Science is on our side, and with these updates delivered monthly to your e-mail inbox, we are able to share with you how groundbreaking and seminal research backs up the work we do here at PSR-LA and the tough positions we take to protect the health of all communities. Enjoy!

Martha Dina Argüello, Executive DirectorToxics: Reproductive Health

Every year, for the last three years, PSR-LA has worked alongside Black Women for Wellness, the Iris Cantor-UCLA’s Women’s Health Center, and other women’s health and reproductive justice groups in order to set a research, policy, and health education agenda that speeds the transfer of academic research into community driven solutions and policy efforts. Through this convening of community advocates, researchers, and health professionals, we seek to promote policies that are upstream and precautionary, that act on early warnings and prevent exposures, reducing the health disparities associated with environmental health hazards.

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By Angela Meszaros Johnson, General Counsel
By Angela Johnson Meszaros, General Counsel
Regional Air Quality

Air pollution is a leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. In October 2013, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer announced that “after thoroughly reviewing the latest available scientific literature,” it had decided to classify outdoor air pollution as carcinogenic to humans. They also noted a positive association between exposure to outdoor air pollution and increased risk for bladder cancer. This was the first time that “outdoor air pollution” as a whole had been classified as a cause of cancer. In addition to the usual approach – identifying specific chemicals or mixtures as carcinogenic – the IARC had examined particulate matter, and also classified it as carcinogenic to humans.

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By: Monika Shankar, Health and Environment Associate
By: Monika Shankar, Health and Environment Associate
The Built Environment

Many years back, I lived in a small one-bedroom apartment at the intersection of a moderately traveled residential street, and a more frequently traveled commercial street. The intersection was not very well built, and at its center rose a small ridge of cement that interrupted the relatively smooth surface of the rest of the road. Intermittently, a commercial truck would speed down the corridor and hit the ridge at about 40 mph, producing a deep rumbling noise that traveled through my window and into my bedroom. I eventually became accustomed to the rumblings that occurred every 15 to 30 minutes, night and day. Apart from being an annoyance, I never regarded the situation as something that could impact my health.

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