The following HTML text is provided to enhance online
readability. Many aspects of typography translate only awkwardly to HTML.
Please use the page image
as the authoritative form to ensure accuracy.
Earth Materials and Health: Research Priorities for Earth Science and Public Health
tute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) focuses on basic science, disease-oriented research, global environmental health, and multidisciplinary training for researchers. It both supports and conducts research and training in addition to health information outreach and communication programs. Its internal research programs include the Environmental Diseases and Medicine Program and the Environmental Toxicology Program. The first program focuses on diseases and physiological dysfunctions that have known or suspected environmental components in their etiologies, with an emphasis on cancer, reproductive and developmental dysfunction, and pulmonary diseases; it also plans and conducts epidemiological studies. The latter program supports the National Toxicology Program by providing evaluations of toxic substance of public health concern (e.g., NTP, 2005) and strengthening risk assessment approaches and data. The NIEHS has collaborated with the USGS on the Environmental Mercury Mapping, Modeling, and Analysis program, and with the EPA on the SBRP.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is the federal government’s principal agency for cancer research and training. The NCI both supports and conducts research, training, and health information dissemination relevant to the cause, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of cancer, as well as rehabilitation. Under the premise that most cases of cancer are linked to environmental causes and, in principle, can be prevented, the NCI’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics is working with NIEHS to address the contribution of various agents, including exposure to those in air and water, to the nation’s overall cancer burden.
At the center level, the NIH also contains the John E. Fogarty International Center for Advanced Study in the Health Sciences, the international component of the NIH that addresses global health challenges. The center is the primary NIH partner in the joint NIH-NSF Ecology of Infectious Diseases initiative, an excellent example of an existing earth science and public health collaborative research program (see Box 8.1).
The National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsors basic research encompassing the full range of science and engineering disciplines. Both the Geosciences Directorate and the Biological Sciences Directorate support research relevant to earth science and public health, with the goal of describing both the positive and negative connections between the two areas over the full range of scales. Although NSF’s mission specifically excludes the medical sciences, the foundation does support interdisciplinary research with NIH, including the Ecology of Infectious Diseases initiative and the Oceans and Human Health Research Centers (see Box 8.2).
The United States Geological Survey of the Department of the Interior supports applied earth and natural science research by its own researchers and funds external research activities. The USGS currently con-