September 10, 2012

Recent advances in exposure science offer the federal government an "unprecedented opportunity to develop more rapid, cost-effective and relevant" assessments of exposures to chemicals and other environmental contaminants, according to a new report by the National Academies of Science released on Friday, Sept. 7, 2012 "Exposure Science in the 21st Century: A Vision and a Strategy." Dr. Sacoby Wilson, assistant professor in the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health, is a member of the Committee on Human and Environmental Exposure Science in the 21st Century that authored the report. Dr. Wilson's research focuses on environmental justice, environmental health, health disparities, built environment, and air pollution monitoring. Exposure Science in the 21st Century presents a 20-year road map of how technology innovations and strategic collaborations can advance the field of exposure science, which examines the intensity and duration of contact that humans and other organisms have with chemical, physical, or biologic stressors.

The report explores exposure assessment guidelines and practices used by EPA and other federal agencies along with ways to incorporate more exposure science into risk assessment, risk management, and other applications. From the report summary: "We are exposed every day to agents that have the potential to affect our health--through the personal products we use, the water we drink, the food we eat, the soil and surfaces we touch, and the air we breathe. Exposure science addresses the intensity and duration of contact of humans or other organisms with those agents (defined as chemical, physical, or biologic stressors)1 and their fate in living systems. Exposure assessment, an application of this field of science, has been instrumental in helping to forecast, prevent, and mitigate exposures that lead to adverse human health or ecologic outcomes; to identify populations that have high exposures; to assess and manage human health and ecosystem risks; and to protect vulnerable and susceptible populations." Download a copy of the report Exposure Science in the 21st Century from the National Academies Press website. Photo: Dr. Sacoby Wilson, assistant professor in the Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health, and member of the Committee on Human and Environmental Exposure Science in the 21st Century

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Sacoby Wilson