The long-term objectives of research project 2 are to bring affected communities and susceptible/sensitive members in those communities into the risk analysis process, improve community members'perception, prioritization, and management of environmental health risks, and improve the efforts of scientific and regulatory stakeholders in the risk assessment and management process following disaster events.
The aims of the project are 1) to determine demographics, DWH knowledge, and knowledge of local health risks experienced or perceived by women of reproductive age in two unique and culturally distinct communities in southeast Louisiana, 2) to determine pre- and post-DWH disaster attitudes towards environmental conditions and determine patterns of seafood consumption behavior as a function of the DWH disaster, 3) to determine levels of petroleum-related hydrocarbons in paired indoor/outdoor air samples as well as petro- and pyrogenic hydrocarbons in locally harvested seafood and estimate exposures using a Monte Carlo approach and population-specific parameters in the assessment models, and 4) to assess and characterize risks posed by hydrocarbons including any crude oil hydrocarbons and characterize the influence of tailored, community-specific analyses of risk on perceptions of risk that are objective or subjective. For all participants, surveys and questionnaires will be used to gather population data, knowledge of the DWH event, environmental health concerns, seafood consumption and dietary behaviors, and knowledge of risks (real and perceived) pre- and post-DWH. For all participants, PAHDNA adducts will be determined by an ELISA method. For 50% of the participants, analytical chemical methods will be used to quantify airborne hydrocarbons sampled using passive samplers and pyro- and petrogenic hydrocarbons in locally harvested seafood. Air and seafood hydrocarbon data will be used to model and assess potential health risks. Air and seafood hydrocarbons and PAH-DNA adducts will be used to examine effects on birth outcomes (Project 1). Predictive relationships between survey data, risk assessment results, and risk perception will be examined.
Following disasters such as the DWH, health risk analyses are conducted to identify environmental risks and mitigate such risks with the goal of protecting public health. Current approaches are often perceived to be inadequate by individuals in vulnerable, affected communities. This project seeks to improve on current approaches by directly involving susceptible members in such communities in the environmental health risk assessment process.
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