Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

From COVID-19 to Lead Poisoning, Health Crises Expose Racist Policies and Practices

Workplace disparities contribute to rates of both COVID-19 and lead exposure

Newswise — TROY, N.Y. — The manner in which the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare racist and systemic inequalities in the United States has parallels in other environmental health threats, such as lead exposure, according to an essay written for the online magazine Toxic News by two researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

In the essay, Abby Kinchy, a professor, and Dan Walls, a postdoctoral research associate, both in the Department of Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer, specifically compare the American government response to lead-contaminated environments with its reaction to the novel coronavirus crisis.

The authors present startling similarities between uneven access to tests for both lead poisoning and COVID-19, both of which have a disproportionate impact on people of color. They also observed disparities in the workplace environments where people are likely to be exposed to lead or COVID-19 and then spread either in their home environment.

“Throughout this unsettling experience, we have reflected on how this pandemic, and the United States government’s response to it, creates a new lens through which we see the dangerous exposures that are more familiar to us, such as toxic pollution,” Kinchy said.

Kinchy, a sociologist, has long studied the relationship between science and democracy. Her recent research focuses on the politics of public participation in scientific research. Kinchy is currently working on a project supported by the National Science Foundation that explores how citizen science could help urban communities to identify heavy metal contamination in soil and advocate for solutions.

She is the author of Science by the People: Participation, Power, and the Politics of Environmental Knowledge, co-authored with Aya H. Kimura. Kinchy is also a co-organizer of STS Underground, a research network that advances social science research on the technoscientific dimensions of mining, burial, and other forms of subterranean exploration.

About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, 32 research centers, more than 145 academic programs, and a dynamic community made up of more than 7,900 students and over 100,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include more than 145 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration. To learn more, please visit www.rpi.edu.



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Newswise: 17d548cf-cfe0-4673
Released: 5-Aug-2021 1:10 PM EDT
Heads Reveal How ‘Overwhelming’ Government Guidance Held Schools Back as COVID Hit
University of Cambridge

Headteachers and school leaders have described how an ‘avalanche’ of confused and shifting Government guidance severely impeded schools during the critical first months of COVID lockdown in a new study.

Released: 5-Aug-2021 10:55 AM EDT
AMSSM Partners with White House and 11 Organizations to Encourage Vaccine Conversations During Sports Physicals
American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM)

AMSSM and 11 other leading sports and medical organizations signed on to a consensus statement to encourage healthcare providers to include conversations about COVID-19 vaccinations as part of the pre-participation physical.

Newswise: August Issue of Issue of The American Journal of Gastroenterology Includes Diet-Associated NAFLD Risk and Increased Risk of Mortality from COVID-19 Among PPI Users
Released: 5-Aug-2021 9:25 AM EDT
August Issue of Issue of The American Journal of Gastroenterology Includes Diet-Associated NAFLD Risk and Increased Risk of Mortality from COVID-19 Among PPI Users
American College of Gastroenterology (ACG)

The August issue of The American Journal of Gastroenterology includes clinical discussions of diet-associated NAFLD risk and increased risk of mortality from COVID-19 among PPI users. In addition, this issue features clinical research and reviews on IBS, gender barriers for CRC screening, hepatitis C, eosinophilic esophagitis, and more.

Released: 5-Aug-2021 8:45 AM EDT
Research Reveals that Flu Shot Protects Against Severe Effects of COVID-19
University of Miami Health System, Miller School of Medicine

In a newly published study, physician-scientists at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine have shown that the flu vaccine may provide vital protection against COVID-19.

Released: 5-Aug-2021 8:45 AM EDT
Persistent COVID-19 Infections in Immunocompromised People May Give Rise to Variants of Concern
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

In an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, scientists from Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Medicine, the U.S. Military HIV Research Program and the Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases at the University of North Carolina urged increased attention to persistent COVID-19 infections in immunocompromised people.

Newswise: Novel Model Predicts COVID-19 Outbreak Two Weeks Ahead of Time
Released: 5-Aug-2021 8:30 AM EDT
Novel Model Predicts COVID-19 Outbreak Two Weeks Ahead of Time
Florida Atlantic University

People’s social behavior, reflected in their mobility data, is providing scientists with a way to forecast the spread of COVID-19 nationwide at the county level. Researchers have developed the first data-driven deep learning model with the potential to predict an outbreak in COVID-19 cases two weeks in advance. Feeding the mobility data to epidemiological forecasting models helps to estimate COVID-19 growth as well as evaluating the effects of government policies such as mandating masks on the spread of COVID-19.

Released: 4-Aug-2021 5:05 PM EDT
Canadian-Led International Study: Full-Dose Blood Thinners Benefit Moderately Ill COVID-19 Patients
University of Manitoba

The investigators discovered that in moderately ill patients full-dose heparin reduced the need for organ support compared to those who received lower-dose heparin.

Released: 4-Aug-2021 4:00 PM EDT
CDC withdrawing its request for emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 PCR diagnostic test does not mean the test failed
Newswise

Social media is now rife with claims about why the CDC is withdrawing its request for emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 PCR diagnostic test after December 2021.

Newswise: Public
Released: 4-Aug-2021 2:05 PM EDT
A Study Reveals What Triggers Lung Damage During COVID-19
The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST)

A KAIST immunology research team found that a specific subtype of macrophages that originated from blood monocytes plays a key role in the hyper-inflammatory response in SARS-CoV-2 infected lungs, by performing single-cell RNA sequencing of bronchoalveolar lavage fluid cells.

Released: 4-Aug-2021 1:00 PM EDT
American Society of Anesthesiologists and Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation Say Preoperative Testing for COVID-19 is Essential, Regardless of Vaccination
American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA)

All patients undergoing non-emergency surgeries or procedures should continue to have preoperative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for SARS-CoV-2, irrespective of vaccination status, according to an updated guidance from the American Society of Anesthesiologists and Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation.


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