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January 2021 Archives

Towards safe drinking water and clean cooking for all

Isha Ray, writing with and channeling the late Kirk R. Smith, in Lancet Global Health:

In the past 40 decades, there have been many innovations in the development of low-cost and efficacious technologies for WASH and household air pollution, but many of these technologies have been associated with disappointing health outcomes, often because low-income households have either not adopted, or inconsistently adopted, these technologies. In this Viewpoint, we argue that public health researchers (ourselves included) have had an oversimplified understanding of poverty; our work has not focused on insights into the lived experience of poverty, with its uncertainties, stresses from constant scarcity, and attendant fears. Such insights are central to understanding why technologies for safe water or clean cooking are unused by so many households that could benefit from them. We argue that, rather than improved versions of household-scale delivery models, transformative investments in safe water and clean cooking for all require utility-scale service models.

In the months before Kirk passed away, this topic -- the combination of WASH and HAP interventions, the merging of decades of thinking about usage, service delivery, affordability, and quality of interventions -- was a common theme. See also 'Let the "A" in WASH Stand for Air: Integrating Research and Interventions to Improve Household Air Pollution (HAP) and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WaSH) in Low-Income Settings.'

an aside: I think they must have meant "the past 40 years" or "past 4 decades" -- but also Kirk worked on these issues with such mental intensity and productive output it may as well have been 40 decades.

Deregulation in the Trump era - and rolling it back

A lot has been made, rightly so, in recent days of President Biden's rollbacks of the Trump Administration's gleeful dismantling of environmental, health, and other regulatory safeguards. Both the NYT and Brookings have been keeping track of what's happening on the regulatory front, with Brookings doing so since at least 2018 if not earlier.

Brookings breaks down the regulatory changes into 12 discrete categories, spanning topics from COVID to Environment to Telecommunications.

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NYT focuses on >100 Environmental regulations and rules rolled back by the Trump administration.

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Both sources are interesting and useful. I'm looking for an analog for the current administration -- a rollback of rollbacks tracker, if you will.

Fresh Air: Biden's Plan To Enact A Climate Agenda

Terry Gross interviews Juliet Eilperin of the Washington Post, who outlines the Trump administration's big last-minute push to roll back environmental regulations and to open up drilling in ANWR, among other things. A really interesting and succinct overview of what's going on and how the Biden Administration may respond. Recorded the day before Biden's inauguration.


Among many interesting parts:

GROSS: I want to ask you about this. One of Trump's signature campaign promises was to bring back the coal industry. How did that turn out?

EILPERIN: So in fact, what we've seen is, despite President Trump's dogged efforts to bolster the coal industry, what's happened is that roughly 15% of the nation's coal generated capacity has gone out of business under his time in office. And so that's a faster decline in coal capacity in any single presidential term, so even faster than what happened under Barack Obama. And in addition to the plants that have already retired, there's another 73 that had indicated that they will close more coal burning units by the end of the decade.

EH500: Perspectives in Environmental Health

EH 500 is a survey course designed to introduce public health students to basic concepts of environmental sciences, to the methods used to study the interface of health and the environment, to the health impacts of various environmental processes and exposures, and to the public health approach to controlling or eliminating environmental health risks. To address these concepts, basic environmental health principles (exposure assessment, environmental toxicology, environmental epidemiology, risk assessment), as well as specific environmental health issues - including water and air pollution, hazardous chemical/waste exposures, climate change, and environmental drivers of disease ecology - will be covered. Syllabus | Sample Lecture

Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on clean fuel programmes in India and ensuring sustainability for household energy needs

Ravindra K, Kaur-Sidhu M, Mor S, Chakma J, Pillarisetti A. Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on clean fuel programmes in India and ensuring sustainability for household energy needs. Environment International. 2021; 147. doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2020.106335

Boiled or Bottled: Regional and Seasonal Exposures to Drinking Water Contamination and Household Air Pollution in Rural China

Cohen A, Pillarisetti A, Luo Q, Zhang Q, Li H, Zhong G, Zhu G, Colford JM, Smith KR, Ray I, Tao Y. Boiled or Bottled: Regional and Seasonal Exposures to Drinking Water Contamination and Household Air Pollution in Rural China. Env. Health. Perspect. 2020; 128(12). doi.org/10.1289/EHP7124

Incentivizing Elimination of Biomass Cooking Fuels with a Reversible Commitment and a Spare LPG Cylinder

Harrell S, Pillarisetti A, Roy S, Ghorpade M, Patil R, Dhongade A, Smith KR, Levine DI, Juvekar S. Incentivizing Elimination of Biomass Cooking Fuels with a Reversible Commitment and a Spare LPG Cylinder. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2020; 54(23):15313-15319. doi: 10.1021/acs.est.0c01818.

EH590R: R-based quantitative data analysis for environmental health research

This course offers in-person and online training on data access, processing and modeling techniques commonly used in environmental health research. The goal is to prepare first year MPH students for conducting quantitative data analysis in the summer and during their second year. Topics include household/ambient air quality, environmental epidemiology, climate change, metabolomics, and epigenomics. Basic knowledge in each subject area will be provided via reading materials and pre-recorded lectures. Instructors will lead a discussion to the typical datasets in their actual research projects in an hour lecture, then work with the students on these datasets during a two-hour computer lab session. After this course, the students will be able to (1) perform data extraction and preprocessing, (2) conduct common data analysis, and (3) generate preliminary results. All coding will be taught in R. Standard class computer codes will be archived on Github.

Exposure contrasts associated with a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) intervention at potential field sites for the multi-country household air pollution intervention network (HAPIN) trial in India: results from pilot phase activities in rural Tamil Nadu.

Sambandam, S., Mukhopadhyay, K., Sendhil, S. et al. Exposure contrasts associated with a liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) intervention at potential field sites for the multi-country household air pollution intervention network (HAPIN) trial in India: results from pilot phase activities in rural Tamil Nadu. BMC Public Health 20, 1799 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-09865-1

Heat and Humidity for Bioburden Reduction of N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators

Anderegg, L.; Doyle, J.; Gardel, M. L.; Gupta, A.; Hallas, C.; Lensky, Y.; Love, N. G.; Lucas, B. A.; Mazenc, E.; Meisenhelder, C.; Pillarisetti, A.; Ranard, D.; Squires, A. H.; et al. Heat and Humidity for Bioburden Reduction of N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators. Applied Biosafety 2021.

Current Understanding of Ultraviolet-C Decontamination of N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators

Grist, S. M.; Geldert, A.; Gopal, A.; Su, A.; Balch, H. B.; Herr, A. E.; Rampazzi, S.; Smullin, S.; Starr, N.; Rempel, D.; Agarwal, P.; Altemose, N.; Chen, T.; Hu, G.; Tung, M. C.; Pillarisetti, A.; Robinowitz, D.; Shless, J. S., Current Understanding of Ultraviolet-C Decontamination of N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators. Applied Biosafety 2021.