The mission of the University of Minnesota Exposure Science and Sustainability Institute (ESSI) is reflected in the Division of Environmental Health's mission to be a world-class community of scientists and educators committed to improving well-being by discovering how environments affect human health.
We investigate the interactions between people and their environments to advance research, practice, policy, and education to improve the health of the populations of the state, the nation, and the world. We believe that improvement of human health is best enabled through an integrated approach to understanding and influencing the linkages among exposures to environmental factors, resulting health effects, and policies to mitigate these effects.
Antineoplastic drugs (AD) used in treatment of cancer present many occupational health hazards to healthcare workers, including adverse reproductive effects and cancer. We are conducting a study with our Canadian research partners at the University of British Columbia to: (1) undertake a hazard assessment of AD exposure in cancer care facilities in Alberta, and in Minnesota; (2) characterize determinants of AD contamination; (3) describe how AD contamination varies over time and space; and (4) use findings from this study to recommend a sampling strategy that supports the requirements of new safe drug handling guidelines.
One of our students, Hannah, conducted an observational study in two cancer clinics to inform our sampling strategy, fulfilling her master’s plan B requirements in the process. Her award winning poster was presented at the 2018 American Industrial Hygiene Conference and Exposition in Philadelphia, PA and the 2018 International Occupational Hygiene Association Conference in Baltimore, MD. Congratulations, Hannah!
An estimated 1.45 million Beauty Salon Professionals (BSP) in the U.S., most of them in hair and nail salons are potentially exposed to a wide range of chemicals while working with professional formulations of personal care products. While these chemicals have been associated with assorted adverse health outcomes such as asthma, dermal sensitization and cancer, exposure and risk profiles for this cohort remain poorly characterized and thus limit the ability of concerned health professionals and BSP to develop effective exposure and risk reduction strategies.
As part of this pilot project, basic characterizations of one hair and one nail salon are being conducted, to facilitate the exposure assessment and risk characterization of BSP exposures to a selection of chemicals found in professional formulations of hair care products.
Three of our students who are currently enrolled in the masters of IH program are gaining practical and experimental experience through their involvement with this project.
This study was initiated to estimate the generation rate for acetic acid evaporating from an all-purpose floor cleaner when used to mop a floor. The chamber environment allowed conditions to be controlled and the critical determinants measured so that a generation rate could be estimated with a reasonable degree of confidence.
To evaluate the portability of this generation rate, that is how representative it is in other, similar but real-world environments, a simulated field study was conducted in a residential setting.
The generation rate predicted exposures that were comparable to the measured exposures.
A senior capstone project was supported by this study.