Monday, May 3, 2010

From Interest to Passion

As a kid, I was always vocal about my concern for the impact of pollution on the environment. Back in March, I wrote a more detailed post about my interests, but here is a recap:

I wrote a letter to President Clinton when I was eleven, on U.S. international environmental policy. In seventh grade, we were required to conduct a science fair project, and clearly my project focused on an environmental problem. I investigated the effects of chemicals in products we use, like antifreeze or detergent, on plant growth. As I expected, my research findings showed that nearly all the plants were less healthy than the unpolluted plants (I've included a photo of one of the posters as proof). Looking back, I now like to think of this project as foreshadowing.

Shortly after, I became interested in the clear connection of environmental pollution and human health. I studied chemistry to gain an understanding of how chemicals interact with our environment and our bodies. While my doctoral research was not directly environmental, I took every liberty I had to learn about current environmental problems. My graduation requirements included designing a research project outside of my field. I used that opportunity to learn about bioremediation, or using nature as a tool to remove contaminants from the environment. Specifically, I was looking to solve the problem of the estrogen from our birth control getting in the water, since research was showing it was causing developmental problems for male fish.

Here at Research!America, my policy project continued the theme and had an environmental focus. I examined the intersection of Chemical Exposures and Public Health, which is becoming a defining concern of the century. Environmental health research is on of the most direct ways the U.S. can use research and prevention to save both lives and treatment costs.

Over the next 9 posts, I will share with you my research results, tell you about the things I believe we need to be concerned about, and finally what actions we can take to make a positive change.

This is Part 1 of 10 in our Chemical Exposures and Public Health series.
Part 1 - From Interest to Passion
Part 2 - An Environmental Health Risk
Part 3 - Lead: A Regulatory Success Story
Part 4 - Something My Body Needs Anyway?
Part 5 - Obesity's Elephant: Environmental Chemicals
Part 6 - Why Our Approach to Toxicology Must Change
Part 7 - Failures of U.S. Chemical Regulation
Part 8 - Cleaning Up Our Act
Part 9 - Environmental Health Research Saves Lives and Money
Part 10 - Call to Action

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