New online tool to increase awareness around environmental threats to children’s health and policy solutions
Ann Arbor, MI: Protecting children from environmental health hazards is the goal of new a “wiki,” or database of research, authoritative reports, and relevant policy activity and recommendations recently launched by the Michigan Network for Children’s Environmental Health and the Ecology Center.
“This crowd-sourced approach has proven its worth in many other contexts, and we believe it will allow us to compile the best information from scientists, interested citizens and policy makers on protecting Michigan’s children from environmental health threats,” according to Tracey Easthope, director of the Ecology Center’s environmental health project and coordinator of the site.
Easthope has a master’s degree in public health and many years of experience in research and advocacy on environmental health issues. She and others with expertise will moderate the site to assure that the information presented will be based on solid scientific evidence.
The wiki is organized around three critical health issues for children including neurodevelopmental disorders, respiratory health and asthma, and cancer. As a starting point, the wiki has been populated with material highlighting research where credible links have been shown between those health issues and environmental exposures.
“But because children's environmental health is an active area of research, and the landscape is changing regularly, a wiki will allow the most up-to-date input from the broad array of people working on advancing children’s environmental health in Michigan,” Easthope says.
“As far as we know, this is the first effort nationally to create a children’s environmental health wiki, and we believe this innovative approach can work in Michigan and also serve as a model for other states,” according to Rebecca Meuninck, environmental health campaign director for the Ecology Center and Michigan Network for Children’s Environmental Health.
“We’re working to enlist the research community, parents, health and environmental advocates and others to help us develop the site into the go-to resource for people working on children's environmental health issues in Michigan.”
“In addition to research on the links between environmental exposures and children's health, we have identified best practices in policy initiatives in states across the country, and made recommendations for best practices in Michigan,” Meuninck said. “Policy develops very rapidly, so we’re also looking for contributions from policy makers, researchers and policy advocates.”
To sign up for the wiki and contribute to its resources, go to: http://wiki.mnceh.org/index.php/Introduction
Published on April 24, 2014