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K-12 Risk Communication Larry Johnson Partnership for Environmental Education and Rural Health (PEER) Texas A & M University.

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Presentation on theme: "K-12 Risk Communication Larry Johnson Partnership for Environmental Education and Rural Health (PEER) Texas A & M University."— Presentation transcript:

1 K-12 Risk Communication Larry Johnson Partnership for Environmental Education and Rural Health (PEER) Texas A & M University

2 K-12 Risk Communication Inform of danger (potential, likely, or real risk). Inform of sources and routes of exposure and that exposure is necessary for toxicity to exist. Inform of ways to prevent or reduce exposure. Inform of ways to assess the situation and the risk. Inform that toxicologists and government agencies work to evaluate and reduce risk to the public. Tendency to err on the side of caution.

3 World Adventure Travel and Health Problem 1. Ancient Egypt: Sickness from contaminated water 2. 2.East Asia (China): Air quality and respiratory problems 3. 3.Ukraine: Industrial or nuclear pollutants (cancer, leukemia) 4. South America (Peru): Chagas Disease 5. Subsaharan Africa (Congo): Ebola or AIDS 6. South Asia (India): Infectious Hepatitis

4 Investigator Challenge Learn details of the mysterious illness by carefully reading "Tut's Revenge." Test your comprehension skills by completing the Investigator's Challenge Quiz. Investigator's Challenge Quiz You are now the expert. Have fun solving the mystery!

5 Can You Solve the Case? Brainstorm several hypotheses (guesses) for the cause of the illness. (See the following slides for help.) Remember the three ways in which a body comes in contact with the environment. These are inhaled air, ingested air or water, and skin contact. Support each hypothesis with data. Formulate a conclusion.

6 Who Is Sick? Who got sick and who did not? What are the signs (symptoms) of sickness? Do all affected people show the same signs? What were these people exposed to that might have caused sickness?

7 Investigate A Mystery How many different instances of sickness are there in the story? What clues are provided? What about the environment could be related to the sicknesses? Is there one (or more) likely causes?

8 How Infections Are Spread Microbes live in body fluids. Contacting a body fluid of an infected person may spread an infection. Typical microbe- spreading fluids: blood, saliva, urine, feces (esp. in diarrhea), semen, lung mucus.

9 Knowledge is Power Several patients in Congo Cry are ill and may be infected with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), which causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Understanding how HIV is transmitted from one person to the next is very important if the goal is to prevent spread of the disease. If more people understand how HIV is transmitted, fewer may become infected.

10 BotswanaZambiaZimbabwe Average Age at Time of Death

11 The Sighting: What’s Up With the Frogs? What are possible NATURAL causes of frogs with three hind legs? How would a 3 rd leg affect a frog’s normal movements? What are possible manmade pollutants that could cause a three-hind-legged frog?

12 Manmade Pollutants Many, many, many of the chemicals made today could cause mutations or birth defects in animals. Look at the following list. Which of these were mentioned in some way in the story? 1. Pesticide runoff from nearby farms 2. Drugs thrown into the pond 3. Heavy metal (lead, gold, etc) poisoning from mining sites upriver 4. Radiation from the Chernobyl disaster 5. Air pollution from industries in nearby town of Dnipropetrovs’k

13 Prepare a one page essay that proposes a solution to your town’s environmental challenge. Include persuasive arguments to convince the reader that your solution will work. Review principles of persuasive writing to help build your essay.persuasive writing Closer to Home: Putting It All Together

14 Introduction to Toxicology Larry Johnson Partnership for Environmental Education and Rural health (PEER) Texas A & M University

15 Toxicology What is toxicology? The study of the effects of poisons. Poisonous substances are produced by plants, animals, or bacteria. Phytotoxins Zootoxins Bacteriotoxins Toxicant - the specific poisonous chemical. Xenobiotic - man-made substance and/or produced by but not normally found in the body.

16 Fundamental Rules of Toxicology Exposure must first occur for the chemical to present a risk. The magnitude of risk is proportional to both the potency of the chemical and the extent of exposure. “The dose makes the poison” (amount of chemical at the target site determines toxicity).

17 Routes of Environmental Exposure Ingestion (water and food) Absorption (through skin) Injection (bite, puncture, or cut) Inhalation (air)

18 Exposure Concepts Exposure to chemicals may come from many sources: –Environmental –Occupational –Therapeutic –Dietary –Accidental –Deliberate

19 92% of all poisonings happen at home. The household products implicated in most poisonings are: cleaning solutions, fuels, medicines, and other materials such as glue and cosmetics. Certain animals secrete a xenobiotic poison called venom, usually injected with a bite or a sting, and others harbor infectious bacteria. Some household plants are poisonous to humans and animals. You Know ?

20 What Do Toxicologists Do? Most toxicologists work to develop a mechanistic understanding of how chemicals affect living systems: – –Develop safer chemical products – –Develop safer drugs – –Determine risks for chemical exposures – –Develop treatments for chemical exposures – –Teach ( e.g., other toxicologists, graduate students, and youth)

21 Anthrax in Peace and War Bill Klemm, D.V.M., Ph.D. College of Veterinary Medicine Texas A&M University Personal Web Site:www.cvm.tamu.edu/wklemm

22 Anthrax An 8,000 year-old Weapon of War and Tool of Medical Research Stained bacilli in monkey blood

23 History: Roman Empire (70-19 B.C.) Reports by Virgil Described an anthrax plague Observed that eating meat from dead animals caused human anthrax Observed that wearing hide or wool of infect animals caused human anthrax Concluded that disease was incurable and could affect multiple species

24 A Landmark in Medical Research It was also the first for which a practical vaccine was produced. The anthrax bacillus, Bacillus anthracis, was the first bacterium shown to be the cause of an infectious disease.

25 How Does Anthrax Kill? When growing inside the body, it releases a toxin that kills cells. New discovery: the toxin that clips an important signalling protein (MAP kinase kinase) into two pieces. –See story at l

26 Key Things to Remember To get anthrax, you must be exposed to spores of Bacillus anthracis. Anthrax is not spread from person to person, like a cold. To cause disease, spores have to enter breaks in the skin, be eaten, or inhaled. Early and sustained use of appropriate antibiotics will cure anthrax.

27 Future of Anthrax Medical –It has served its purpose. We don’t need it any more for fundamental research. As a livestock disease. –It will always be with us, usually under control. As a weapon of war. –Difficult to deliver against masses of people.

28 Education’s Role NIEHS and EHSIC program feels the responsibility to help educate the next generation of citizens to better understand the world around them and, especially, to understand how chemicals (man-made or natural) present both risks and benefits to society. Since everything we eat, drink, breathe, touch, or use is made of chemicals, the task is LARGE! We hope to make the science of toxicology ‘less obscure’ to the public.

29 Risk is a part of everyday life, and one’s decisions as to the ‘acceptability’ of a particular risk is influenced by knowledge and experience. While we can’t do much about the ‘experience part’, we can try to increase the public’s knowledge about the risks and benefits of all things chemical. Education’s Role

30 The power of EDUCATION

31 K-12 Risk Communication Inform of danger (potential, likely, or real risk). Inform of sources and routes of exposure and that exposure is necessary for toxicity to exist. Inform of ways to prevent or reduce exposure. Inform of ways to assess the situation and the risk. Inform that toxicologists and government agencies work to evaluate and reduce risk to the public. Tendency to err on the side of caution.

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