How Contaminants Alter the Ecosystem and our Health
The numbers of new chemicals that are being synthesized and marketed are increasing exponentially. The number of organic and inorganic substances has doubled in the last three years to reach 61 million. However, this growth has not been accompanied with information about their potential hazards and environmental impacts. Dr. Laurie Chan, Canada Research Chair in Toxicology and Environmental Health, is measuring trace substances in areas such as the Arctic to improve understanding of how contaminants alter the environment and human health. Chan is also using ecosystem analysis and is applying traditional ecological knowledge to contribute towards improving environmental health. In addition, Chan is seeking to better understand the relationship between the health of Aboriginal peoples and the health of their environments. He is working on health promotion and is sharing the results of his research with local communities and national Aboriginal organizations. Chan is developing innovative approaches to define the factors that determine health not only in individuals, but also in communities, wider populations and the biosphere. Chan’s research on environmental health will have broad application for ecosystems and population health in Canada and around the world.