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Public Health Impacts

Because environmental exposures contribute to the development of many human illnesses, NIEHS is in a unique position to support a wide range of initiatives that will have the greatest impact on human health. Discoveries by NIEHS-funded scientists have led to the development of prevention strategies, health and safety guidelines, and potential treatments for asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other environmentally-related diseases:

Warning of Hazardous Material Aflatoxin & Liver Cancer

The discovery of the genetic changes that result from aflatoxin exposure has led to a better understanding of the link between aflatoxin exposure and liver cancer risk in humans.

Air Pollution & Cardiovascular Disease

This research has yielded numerous studies on indoor pollution and respiratory health, and led to the development of air sampling techniques used in research settings worldwide.

Air Pollution Air Pollution & Respiratory Disease

NIEHS-supported research on ozone, fine particles and other airborne toxins has led to the development of air quality standards that protect the health of children, the elderly, and other vulnerable populations.


Two-year toxicity tests conducted by the National Toxicology Program have raised serious concerns about the safety of anthraquinone.

Anthrax & Immune Response

Research on lethal factor, the toxin that makes anthrax a deadly pathogen in humans, may lead to the development of an antidote that would enable the immune system to detect the infection and fight it.

Children's Environmental Health Children's Environmental Health

Research on the annual costs of environmentally-related diseases in American children will be useful in developing new strategies and guidelines for the detection and prevention of childhood illnesses.

Endocrine Disrupting Compounds

The finding that prenatal exposure to polybrominated biphenyls can affect pubertal development may be useful in predicting the health risks of similar endocrine-disrupting compounds.

Lead Poisoning

Research on the long-term effects of lead exposure has led to the removal of lead from paint and gasoline, along with a corresponding decrease in blood lead levels in the general population.

Manganese & Brain Damage

Studies linking long-term manganese exposure with irreversible brain damage have resulted in new approaches for the prevention and treatment of neurological damage caused by manganese.

Mercury & Neurodevelopment

Recent evidence of developmental delays in methylmercury-exposed children has led to the lowering of permissible emissions of mercury into the environment.

Pesticides & Neurodevelopment Pesticides & Neurodevelopment

The discovery of an enzyme that provides protection against the toxicity of pesticide compounds has led to the development of new treatments for nerve agent exposures.

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Last Reviewed: November 09, 2007