Our Work

Lead exposure in Minnesota

Dr. Zeke McKinney of the Region 5 PEHSU recently published an article on lead exposure in children that appeared in the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder.

COVID and air pollution

air pollution

The Chicago area has several active environmental groups located in communities that suffer disproportionately from environmental contamination, particularly poor outdoor air quality due to concentrated industry in their neighborhoods. There are also active worker centers that provide support to vulnerable workers in precarious employment situations. Several of these environmental and workers support groups have reached out to Region 5 PEHSU members and affiliated faculty with requests for information related to COVID-19.  Dr. Buchanan was interviewed by South Side Weekly air pollution and COVID.

Ethylene oxide

June 2020- Dr. Susan Buchanan was interviewed about the health risks of ethylene oxide emitted from facilities that are reopening and operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

January 2020- Dr. Susan Buchanan led a community meeting on January 12 at the Warren Newport Public Library in Gurnee, Ill., to present the results of recent bloodwork of Lake County residents testing for exposure to ethylene oxide.

The non-randomized study examined ethylene oxide hemoglobin adduct levels in blood of people living near Medline Industries Inc., a manufacturer of medical equipment using ethylene oxide to sterilize surgical supplies and Vantage, Inc., a chemical production plant. The convenience sample indicated residents living closer to the Medline facility had higher blood levels of the carcinogen than those living further away.

October 2018- Dr. Susan Buchanan actively assisted the Region 5 ATSDR, Illinois Attorney General’s Office, and residents involved with the ethylene oxide (EtO) case in Willowbrook, Illinois. Dr. Buchanan testified in front of the Illinois General Assembly panel and spoke at numerous community meetings. Concerns about exposure to EtO arose after an ATSDR report was published stating that Sterigenics, a commercial sterilizer that uses EtO to sterilize medical equipment and other products, has been emitting levels of EtO that could be harmful to public health.

Concerns on indoor soccer field turf

screenshot turf

Dr. Buchanan gave a statement to CBS News regarding indoor turf fields in the suburbs.

Link To Dr. Buchanan Statement Video

Lead in Chicago's Water Supply

pbs lead in water screenshot

Dr. Buchanan was featured in the news discussing lead in Chicago’s water supply.

Link To Dr. Buchanan On PBS Video

Soil Contamination

he Great Lakes Center for Reproductive and Children’s Environmental Health/Region 5 PEHSU has been assisting the city of East Chicago, US EPA, and Region 5 ATSDR with the public health response to soil contamination with lead and arsenic.

See Dr. Susan Buchanan’s presentation on the health effects of lead and arsenic, given at a community meeting in East Chicago on September 24, 2016. Click this link to view the presentation (PowerPoint)