BAR HARBOR, MAINE – The topic of the MDI Science Café Online for Monday, June 22, 2020 will be “Arsenic Exposure and Cardiovascular Disease: What is the Evidence in U.S. Populations?” presented live online lecture by guest lecturer Dr. Ana Navas-Acien, a professor at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, and director of the Columbia University Superfund Research Program (a university-based research program that addresses a wide variety of scientific concerns, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences).
The connection between arsenic exposure and heart health is of particular interest in the state of Maine because of a high prevalence of elevated arsenic levels in ground water, especially in areas that sit on coastal Maine’s “arsenic belt”, and a heavy reliance of many Maine residents on well water for household supply.
In a scientific literacy program run in 12 Maine and six New Hampshire schools, and led by MDI Biological Laboratory, well water samples showed that 15% of tested homes had arsenic counts above the Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum safety level of ten parts per billion. Long term arsenic exposure, even at low levels, can lead to numerous severe health problems, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and reproductive, developmental and cognitive problems.
Dr. Navas-Acien, physician-epidemiologist with a specialty in preventive medicine and public health, has spent her career contributing to the reduction of environmental health disparities in underserved and disproportionately exposed populations. Her research also investigates the health effects of other environmental exposures, such as tobacco smoke, e-cigarettes, air pollution and other metals; their interactions with human health; and effective interventions for reducing involuntary exposures.
The free, online event will be held at 5 p.m. and participant registration is necessary to gain the access link for the presentation. You can register for the event here or at mdibl.org/events.