The Role of Safety, Health, and Communities in Mining and Metals

EnvS_1The College of Health Sciences and Acopian Center for the Environment organized a Seminar on Lessons Learned from Hazardous Waste Sites from Around the World (May 3) and a Panel Discussion on the Role of Safety, Health, and Communities in Mining and Metals (May 4).

On May 3, Dr. Margrit von Braun presented case studies from waste sites in the US, Russia, Nigeria, Dominican Republic and other locations around the world.  The sites – focused on mining and metals recycling – were used to describe the frequent intersections of human rights abuses, pollution and poverty and the importance of understanding environmental pathways as well as the key roles of environmental scientists, community leaders, non-governmental organizations, governmental officials, policy makers and others in resolving environmental problems. EnvS_3

On May 4, Dr. von Braun briefly presented the main environmental regulations of the US and covered the history of their development. Ronald Dobbin continued the presentation covering health problems of those who work in mining and metal recycling industries (reproductive problems related to lead exposure, cancer and other lung problems related to exposure to diesel emissions, asbestos, and crystalline silica dust). Susan Spalinger concluded the panel discussion presenting the role of communities in environmental clean-ups and importance of proper risk communication.

AUA students, researchers, and faculty, representatives of health and environmental NGOs and environmental activists attended the two meetings and had active discussions with the experts.
EnvS_2Dr. von Braun is Dean/Professor Emerita of the College of Graduate Studies at the University of Idaho and a founder of TerraGraphics International Foundation, a non-profit corporation that assists community leaders, local governments, universities, and other NGOs to apply accepted environmental health intervention and remediation methodologies in low and middle income countries. She is the Founder and Vice President of TerraGraphics Environmental Engineering, Inc., an Idaho-based U.S. consulting engineering company with more than 100 employees and offices in four States. Ronald Dobbin is an Occupational Hygienist who worked in the U.S. federal public health agencies for over 30 years and is the President of the Society for Occupational and Environmental Health in the U.S. Susan Spalinger is the Principal Environmental Scientist and Human Health Risk Assessor at TerraGraphics Environmental Engineering Inc., U.S.