Accomplishments of Environmental Medicine
Since its establishment in 1966, the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences has sponsored successful programs to:
Describe 11 important categories of diseases and other health consequences of global climate change.
Identify liver enzymes that decrease drug metabolism.
Collaborate with other agencies to use state-of-the art technology to evaluate possible chemical and environmental toxins.
Study how the environment and genes together affect the chance that a woman will get breast cancer by studying women and their sisters.
Develop small, wearable electronic sensor technologies ("electronic noses") to detect high exposures to toxic chemicals that pose serious health risks in the workplace or through accidental exposure.
Show a statistical link between the level of methylmercury exposure in mothers during pregnancy and their children's performance on neurological tests.
Show that calorie-restricted diets may slow the development of bladder cancer.
Show that children who are exposed to relatively small amounts of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) before birth have higher rates of low-normal IQ scores, poor reading comprehension, and memory problems.
Show that boys with relatively high levels of lead in their bones are more likely to engage in aggressive acts and delinquent behavior.
Show that phenolphthalein, a widely used laxative, causes ovarian and other cancers in laboratory rats and mice.
Show that intercourse during the six days leading up to a woman's ovulation is most likely to result in conception of a child.
Show there is a depletion in the earth's ozone shield.
Isolate the tumor-suppressor gene, BRCA1, that is thought to play a critical role in the development of hereditary breast and ovarian cancer.
Show an association between exposure to fine particles, sulfur dioxide, and acid aerosols, and an increase in respiratory symptoms, reduced lung capacity, and risk of early death.
Show that reducing the organic contaminants in chlorinated drinking water may enhance the benefits of this water treatment method.
Show that asbestos and other fibrous materials stimulate the release of a highly reactive form of oxygen that has been shown to damage lung tissue.