March report for Environment, Climate and Health

3 March 2021

New grants/funding

Aparna Lal and the COVID-19 sewage surveillance team were awarded seed funding from ACT Health to continue the project with a focus on quarantine hotels.

Keynote and invited presentations

Aparna Lal was an invited speaker at the ANU Annual Climate Update 2021, where she spoke about the impacts of climate extremes on water quality and the potential health impacts.

Jo Lane was an invited speaker for the Public Health in Action – Multiple Sclerosis lecture for the ANU Medical School 16th February 2021

Sotiris Vardoulakis co-organised and presented at the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) roundtable on Climate Change and Primary Health Care on 9th February 2021.

Outreach and engagement

Aparna Lal talked about Antarctica and climate change to a group of Armed Forces veterans in India.

Meeting and discussions with ACT Health regarding the facemask fit testing programme for respiratory / COVID-19 protection of healthcare staff at Canberra Hospital (Sotiris Vardoulakis, Celeste Marsh, Ben O’Neil) 

Papers accepted/published:

C Lowe *, J Kurscheid, A Lal, R Sadler, M Kelly, D Stewart, B Laksono, S Amaral, D Gray. Health risk assessment for exposure to nitrate in drinking water in Central Java, Indonesia. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. (accepted 19th February 2021).

Banwell C, Housen T, Smurthwaite K, Trevenar S, Walker L, Todd K, Rosas M, Kirk M. Health and social concerns about living in three communities affected by per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS): A qualitative study in Australia. PLoS One. 2021 Jan 14;16(1):e0245141. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0245141. PMID: 33444329; PMCID: PMC7808650.

Vardoulakis S., 2021. Policy reflection on climate change and health. Australian Health Review.

Mueller W., Vardoulakis S., Steinle S., Loh M., Johnston H.J., Precha N., Kliengchuay W., Sahanavin N., Nakhapakorn K5. Sillaparassamee R., Tantrakarnapa K., Cherrie J.W. 2021. A health impact assessment of long-term exposure to particulate air pollution in Thailand. Environmental Research Letters (in press)

Fenech S., Doherty R.M., O’Connor F., Heaviside C., Macintyre H.L., Vardoulakis S., Agnew P., Neal L., 2021. Future air pollution related health burdens associated with RCP emission changes in the UK. Science of the Total Environment 773, 145635.

Mueller W., Wilkinson P., Milner J., Vardoulakis S., Steinle S., Pärkkä J., Parmes E., Cluitmans L., Kuijpers E., Pronk A., Sarigiannis D., Karakitsios S., Chapizanis D., Maggos T., Stamatelopoulou A., Loh M., 2021. Neighbourhood and path-based greenspace in three European countries: Associations with objective physical activity. BMC Public Health 21:282.

Progress on research projects

The PFAS Health Study –Analysis for the cross-sectional survey study, blood serum study and data linkage study (including linked perinatal data for NSW, Qld and NT, and national mortality, cancer and early childhood development data) is ongoing.

Climate Change and Health Policy and 5-Year Action plan for the Marshall Islands – in discussion with RMI Ministry of Health regarding final steps of the project, consultation and launch of the policy/action plan (Sotiris Vardoulakis, Amelia Joshy, Aparna Lal, Robyn Lucas) 

Cross-college bushfire smoke children's book project – Interviews with schools completed; literature review ongoing. 

(RSPH involvement: Sotiris Vardoulakis, Erin Walsh, Ginny Sargent, and Liz Drummond)

COVID-19 airborne transmission systematic review – 2nd round of bibliographic searches and title and abstract screening completed. Full-text screening and data extraction ongoing (Sotiris Vardoulakis, Daniela Espinoza, and Amelia Joshy). 

Washroom infections systematic review – full-text screening and data extraction completed. Synthesis of findings and analysis ongoing. (Sotiris Vardoulakis, Daniela Espinoza, and Amelia Joshy).

Contribution to the MC2020 study and submission to MRFF led by ANUMS (Chris Nolan):  

NHMRC Special Initiative in Human Health and Environmental Change – multi-centre network proposal in preparation, led by ANU/CHM (Sotiris Vardoulakis)