News & Events


Coming up

Environmental Research Seminar: “Global change, air pollution & environmental health” with Shiliang Wu, PhD

Environmental Law and Policy Program (ELPP) Panel: EPA General Counsels

The Environmental Law and Policy Program will conclude its 2016-17 Lecture Series with another first-ever event: a panel discussion featuring the EPA General Counsels from the Clinton, Bush, and Obama Administrations.

Please join us as we welcome Jonathan Cannon (Clinton), Roger Martella (Bush), and Avi Garbow (Obama) to talk about their tenures as the top attorney at EPA—and what we can expect over the next four years from the Trump Administration. Moderated by Professor David M. Uhlmann.


Environmental Research Seminar: “Health Equity at Industrial Scale: the Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act under the Trump Administration” with Dr. Tracey Woodruff, Dr. Gina Solomon, Nick Schroeck, Dr. Tala Henry

Please join us for Health Equity at Industrial Scale: the Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act under the Trump Administration on Tuesday, March 28 from 12:00-2:00 p.m. at Palmer Commons in Forum Hall, with reception to follow.

The Trump Administration will be setting precedents for the new Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act (amended Toxic Substances Control Act). This law was the first major environmental statute to be updated in over 20 years and passed with bipartisan support. The new law promises to change how chemicals are evaluated for environmental health hazards. Chemicals from consumer products and industrial processes find their way into our bodies as well as our water, soil, and air. National leaders will discuss implications for research, children’s health, equity and policy.

Speakers include Dr. Gina Solomon, Deputy Secretary Cal EPA and Dr. Tracey Woodruff, UCSF Program for Reproductive Health and the Environment. You may have heard Dr. Woodruff on NPR or To the Point or read her piece in the BNA. US EPA’s Dr. Tala Henry is the division director responsible for risk assessment for the Lautenberg TSCA implementation. Nick Schroeck, J.D., from Wayne State’s Transnational Environmental Law Clinic will provide an overview of the new law.

The free event is open to the public and it will be live-streamed and recorded for future viewing. Please Register for this free event to help us plan for the refreshments.

We hope to see you there!

2017 Michigan Law Environmental Law & Policy Program Conference: “Environmental Criminal Enforcement”
  • Dates: Thursday March 30 + Friday March 31, 2017
  • Location: South Hall, Room 1225, 701 S. State Street
  • Co-sponsored by: the Environmental Law Society and the Michigan Journal of Environmental and Administrative Law


Environmental Research Seminar: “Air pollution exposure in air pollution epidemiological studies: modeling approaches & challenges” with Veronica Berrocal, PhD (Associate Professor of Biostatistics) with Veronica Beroccal

Environmental Research Seminar: “Air Pollution and Autism: Causal or Confounded?” with Marc Weisskopf

Abstract: In the last decade, several studies have examined the association between perinatal exposure to ambient air pollution and risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Associations have been seen with different aspects of air pollution, including hazardous air toxics, ozone, particulate and traffic-related pollution. As with any epidemiological study, confounding can be a concern; in the case of air pollution, socioeconomic status and place of residence are of particular concern as these can be related to ASD case ascertainment and other potential causal risk factors for ASD. I will discuss our work within the Nurses’ Health Study II cohort in this context. We find an increased risk of ASD with increasing maternal exposure to particulate matter air pollution ≤2.5 microns in diameter (PM2.5) during pregnancy, and specifically the 3rd trimester. I will discuss the implications of time window specific associations for confounding and the epidemiological methods concept of negative controls as well as other methodological concepts related to this work.

Environmental Research Seminar: “Challenges in Modeling Associations Between Environmental Exposures and Pregnancy Outcomes” with Amy Herring, ScD

A growing number of studies have linked exposure to air pollutants to pregnancy outcomes, including gestational age at delivery and birth weight. These studies face numerous challenges of both a practical and statistical nature. We consider statistical models for evaluating associations between exposures, including pollutants and behavioral factors, and birth outcomes and discuss challenges including study design and expense, multipollutant exposures, susceptible windows in pregnancy, mobility, and variability in exposure over space and time.

Environmental Research Seminar: “MI-Environment: Promoting Climate-Related Health within Michigan’s Vulnerable Communities” with Trish Koman, PhD, MPP

Climate change poses significant challenges to local decision-makers tasked with identifying, preparing for, and responding to climate-related human health impacts such as heat stress. To support diverse stakeholders, we created the MI-Environment platform, including a heat stress vulnerability assessment. Our goal was to identify the relative vulnerability of census tracts within Michigan. We used a Geographic Information System (GIS) to combine future ensemble climate model projections with other data. The maps display the location and relative magnitude of climate vulnerability on three metrics: built environment (Place), population susceptibility (People) and future temperature. Working in partnership with community-based organizations and health practitioners, we conducted feasibility testing at a Science Café in Detroit.

Environmental Research Seminar: “From Detroit to Flint: priorities & engagement strategies” with Amy Schulz, PhD and Carol Gray, MPH

Environmental Research Seminar: “(Epi)genomic effects of dietary exposure to cadmium” with Laura Rozek, PhD

Environmental Research Seminar: “Health effects of the 2008 northern California wildfires: a spatiotemporal approach” with Colleen Reid, PhD


Environmental Research Seminar: “1,4-Dioxane in Cape Fear River Basin, North Carolina” with Detlef Knappe, PhD

Detlef Knappe is a Professor of Civil, Construction, and Environmental Engineering at NC State University. He received his BS, MS, and PhD degrees from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and he joined the NC State faculty in 1996.

His research interests encompass (1) developing and evaluating physical-chemical treatment processes for the control of disinfection byproduct precursors and trace organic contaminants (taste and odor causing substances, carcinogenic volatile organic contaminants, 1,4-dioxane (see his NSF Science Nation video), perfluoroalkyl substances, endocrine disrupting chemicals, antibiotics, and other pharmaceutically active compounds), and (2) overcoming gaps between the Clean Water Act and the Safe Drinking Water Act by developing information about the effects of reactive and unregulated wastewater contaminants on drinking water quality and treatment.

He is a member of the Drinking Water Committee of US EPA’s Science Advisory Board, a Trustee of the American Water Works Association’s (AWWA’s) Water Science and Research Division, a Topical Editor for the Open Access Journal Drinking Water Engineering and Science, and a member of the AWWA’s Organic Contaminants Research Committee and the Standards Committee for Activated Carbon.

Detlef Knappe and his students have been the recipients of numerous best paper, best poster, and best thesis awards. He is a recipient of the NCSU Outstanding Teacher Award, the Bill Horn Kimley-Horn Faculty Award for excellence in graduate and undergraduate teaching and other accomplishments at NC State University, and the Young Civil Engineer Achievement Award from the University of Illinois.

Abstract: 1,4-Dioxane is a known liver and kidney toxicant and is classified as likely carcinogenic to humans. 1,4-Dioxane is a water soluble solvent recognized by the US EPA as an emerging drinking water contaminant of concern. Communities in North Carolina, Michigan, and elsewhere share significant concern over 1,4-D-contaminated drinking water. This contaminant has been detected in municipal drinking water in Pittsboro, NC, at some of the highest levels in the US due to contamination in the Cape Fear River basin. In Washtenaw County, MI, a migrating 1,4-D groundwater contamination plume at concentrations above benchmarks has contaminated numerous drinking water wells including a former municipal supply well.

Environmental Research Seminar: Epidemiologic insights into autoimmunity, lupus, & the environment with Emily Somers, PhD, ScM
Environmental Research Seminar: Metal homeostasis & neurotoxicity with Young Ah Seo, PhD

The Seo lab aims to understand the role of metals in human health and disease. Many metals such as iron, manganese, zinc, and copper are essential nutrients required for a number of biological and physiological processes. Despite their importance for human health, they can be toxic when accumulated at high levels. Thus, metal homeostasis must be tightly regulated to guard against the toxic effects of excess metal while providing sufficient nutrient for proper growth and development. Perturbations in metal homeostasis can result from nutritional imbalances, environmental exposures, or genetic mutations. My current research investigates metal transport and neurotoxicity in the context of environmental exposure and pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases. In particular, we are interested in genetic variation in metal transporters and metal management proteins and its influence on metal neurotoxicity and Parkinsonism. To explore these areas, we combine the use of both cell and animal models along with investigations in human subjects. These studies will address a significant gap in our understanding of health risks posed by metal exposure and genetic vulnerability to neurodegenerative disease.

Environmental Research Seminar: Pragmatic methods for projecting climate-associated health effects in Michigan with Carina Gronlund, PhD

Extreme heat (EH) and extreme precipitation (EP) events are expected to increase in Michigan. Spatially characterizing the future morbidity and mortality burden of EH and EP will identify areas for public health intervention and inform climate change adaptation strategies. Quantitative and qualitative estimates of the future burden of disease related to climate change in Michigan were estimated as part of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services CDC-funded project Building Resilience Against Climate Effects. The sources and magnitude of uncertainty, as well as other climate-associated health risks, will be discussed.

The 2016 Walter J. Weber, Jr. Distinguished Lecture in Environmental and Energy Sustainability: Drinking Water Lead Crises: How Scientists and Engineers Betrayed the Public Trust

The 2001-2004 Washington D.C. lead in drinking water crisis (and its aftermath to the present day) is a unique case study in the history of engineering and scientific misconduct. The multi-year exposure of an unsuspecting population to very high levels of the best-known neurotoxin was perpetrated by multiple government agencies whose mission was to protect the public health. These agencies published falsified research reports, covering up evidence of harm and justifying ill-conceived interventions wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and which created even more harm. Aspiring to uphold the duty of scientists and engineers to hold paramount the public good and welfare, Marc Edwards worked alongside collaborators in the public, press and in Congress for over a decade to expose scientific misconduct. Those experiences raise concerns about the veracity of “research” conducted and funded by government agencies, especially in crisis situations when public harm has occurred, as well as the lack of checks and balances on agency power. Moreover, due to our inability to learn from the DC disaster, a similar crisis such as that occurring in Flint MI was inevitable, but in that case after outsiders exposed the problem harm to Flint residents was acknowledged–over $400 million in relief money has since gone to assist in the disaster recovery and several agency employees have been criminally indicted. Flint reminds us that academics have an important role to play in confronting misconduct and environmental injustice-if we do not do so, public trust in science will never be restored.

Click here for more information about this event..

Public Policy and the Ongoing Flint Water Crisis: Community Perspectives
  • Speakers: Mrs. E. Hill De Loney, Executive Director, Flint Odyssey House, Health Awareness Center; Kent Key, PhD, Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research, Michigan State School of Medicine; Nayyirah Shariff, Flint Democracy Defense League; Chris Kolb, President, Michigan Environmental Council; Donald Vereen, MD, MPH, Community Academic Engagement, PRC, School of Public Health (Moderator); Paula Lantz, PhD, Associate Dean, Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy (Host)
  • Date: Monday, October 24, 2016
  • Time: 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm
  • Location: Weill Hall, Annenberg Auditorium, 735 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

There are many discussions regarding the water crisis affecting our neighbors in Flint. The Ford School is putting together this panel discussion to help the local public engage in policy-focused dialogue from the perspectives of key Flint community members.

This event will be live webstreamed. Click here for more information about this event..

Environmental Research Seminar: Racial Residential Isolation, Air Pollution Exposure, and Type II Diabetes: A Tale of Two Studies

Researchers and policymakers are increasingly focused on combined exposures to social and environmental stressors, especially given how often such stressors co-locate. I present two different studies that utilize a local, spatial index of racial isolation (RI), a measure of the extent to which minority racial/ethnic group members in a given spatial unit (neighborhood) are exposed to only one another. In one study, we estimate relationships between racial isolation (RI), and long-term particulate matter with an aerodynamic diameter of <2.5µ (PM2.5) and ozone (O3) levels in urban and non-urban areas of the eastern two-thirds of the US. In the second study, we use spatial models to examine how RI relates to geographic heterogeneity in Type 2 diabetes mellitus and estimate associations of Type 2 diabetes with RI.

Environmental Research Seminar: Statistical & Algorithmic Tools to Aid Recovery in Flint, Michigan

Recovery from the Flint Water Crisis has been hindered by uncertainty in both the water testing process and the causes of contamination. On the other hand, city, state, and federal officials have been collecting and organizing a significant amount of data, including many thousands of water samples, information on pipe materials, and city records. Combining all of this information, and utilizing state-of-the-art algorithmic and statistical tools, we have be able to develop a clearer picture as to the source of the problems, to accurately estimate the greatest risks, and to more efficiently direct resources towards recovery.

Jacob Abernethy is an Assistant Professor in the EECS Department at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He finished his PhD in Computer Science at the UC Berkeley, and was a Simons postdoctoral fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. Jake’s primary interest is in Machine Learning, and he likes discovering connections between Optimization, Statistics, and Economics.

Sponsored by the Michigan Center on Lifestage Environmental Exposures and Disease (M-LEEaD) a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Core Center

Seminar: SWAN Multi-Pollutant Projects with Sung Kyun Park, ScD, MPH; part of the Environmental Research Seminar series”

Sponsored by the Michigan Center on Lifestage Environmental Exposures and Disease (M-LEEaD) A National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Core Center