Current Projects

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Current CHEEC research and data management projects:

  • Project Period: 2018 to 2019

    Preliminary Assessment of Waterborne Neonicotinoid Insecticide, and Other Water Contaminants, Exposure and Urinary Neonicotinoid Insecticide Concentrations in a Sample of the Agricultural Health Study Cohort

    Collaborating Institution(s)
    Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination
    University of Iowa College of Public Health (Department of Epidemiology and Department of Occupational and Environmental Health),
    U.S. Geological Survey
    IIHR Hydroscience and Engineering
    Iowa Geological and Water Survey
    National Cancer Institute
    State Hygienic Laboratory at University of Iowa
    Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination
    National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
    Funding Agency
    Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination
    U.S. Geological Survey
    National Cancer Institute
    Project Investigator(s)
    Darrin Thompson, University of Iowa College of Public Health/CHEEC
    Bill Field, Hans-Joachim Lehmler, Charles Lynch, University of Iowa College of Public Health
    Susie Dai, John Vargo, State Hygienic Laboratory
    David Cwiertny, College of Engineering/CHEEC
    Rena Jones, Mary Ward, John Hofmann, Laura Beane-Freeman, National Cancer Institute
    Dana Kolpin, Michelle Hladik, US Geological Survey
    Cynthia Hines, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
    Abstract:

    Neonicotinoids are a relatively new class of insecticide, but have quickly become the most widely used class of agricultural insecticides in the world. Historically, neonicotinoid insecticides have been viewed as ideal replacements for more toxic compounds, like organophosphates, due in part to their perceived limited potential to impact the environment and human health. The use of neonicotinoids has become particularly intense in Iowa and neighboring states as a corn and soybean seed treatment. Few studies have been conducted to characterize human exposure to neonicotinoids or the insecticides potential health risks.

    Based on the increased intensity and geographic use of the more commonly used neonicotinoid insecticides in the U.S., pesticide applicators in Iowa have high potential for exposure from using corn and soybean seeds coated with neonicotinoids (see example of imidacloprid use Figure 1). Although the Agricultural Health Study (AHS) has been collecting information on pesticide usage and estimating exposures since 1993, AHS-based studies assessing neonicotinoid exposure and potential adverse health outcomes have not been performed. In fact, there have been no analytic epidemiologic studies performed nationwide that have assessed neonicotinoid-related adverse health outcomes using individual level exposure data.

    The long-term goal of the proposed research is to assess the health risk posed by chronic exposure to neonicotinoid insecticides and their metabolites. In addition, the study will assess exposure risks of other environmental contaminants such as nitrate, arsenic, lead, broad spectrum pesticides and their degradates, perfluorinated alkylated substances, antibiotics and pharmaceuticals, and selected microbes.

  • Project Period: 2018

    Investigation of prenatal and postnatal exposures in the etiology of breast and thyroid cancers in young adult Iowa women

    Collaborating Institution(s)
    Iowa Registry for Congenital and Inherited Disorders
    Wake Forest School of Medicine, Breast Cancer Program
    Iowa SEER Cancer Registry
    University of Iowa, Center for Public Health Statistics
    University of Maryland College of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Center for Geospatial Information Science
    University of Iowa, Reproductive Molecular Epidemiology Research and Education Program
    Funding Agency
    Iowa Center for Birth Defects Research and Prevention
    Population Health Seed Funds
    Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination
    Project Investigator(s)
    Paul Romitti, Charles Lynch, Jacob Oleson, Kristin Conway, University of Iowa College of Public Health
    Alexandra Thomas, Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
    Kathleen Stewart, University of Maryland
    Abstract:

    Breast and thyroid cancers pose an increasing health threat to young adult women ages 20-39 years in the United States (U.S.). Analysis of cancer surveillance data for the years 1992-2011 from 13 U.S. Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Cancer Registries identified that the annual incidence of Stage I-III hormone receptor-positive breast cancer among women ages 20-29 years and 30-39 years in Iowa, ranked second and fourth, respectively among the 13 registries. A recent review of Iowa SEER Cancer Registry data identified that the incidence of thyroid cancer has increased markedly from 1974-1983 to 2004-2013 among Iowa women ages 25-39 years. Even with this changing epidemiology, risk factors that contribute to these premenopausal malignancies are not well studied. Moreover, factors examined for postmenopausal breast and thyroid cancers do not seem to explain their increased incidence among premenopausal women. Because premenopausal breast and thyroid cancers are often hormonally mediated, their onset may be influenced by exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), and such exposure could begin prenatally. To date, investigation of prenatal exposures and premenopausal breast and thyroid cancers is limited, and investigation of both prenatal and postnatal exposures is largely unexplored. As such, we propose to take full advantage of the high-quality, population-based cancer surveillance data collected by the Iowa SEER Cancer Registry and the multi-decade repository of population-based birth and death data maintained by the Iowa Registry for Congenital and Inherited Disorders to examine prenatal and postnatal exposures in the etiology of breast and thyroid cancers among a cohort of young adult Iowa women. We hypothesize that breast cancer and thyroid cancer in young adult Iowa women have geospatial predilections, suggesting estrogenic environmental risks from birth to diagnosis. For breast cancer, we also hypothesize that differences in endogenous hormone exposure are positively associated with increased incidence and worse outcomes for young adult women with hormone receptor-positive than those with hormone receptor-negative disease. To test these hypotheses, we aim to: 1) link cancer surveillance data with birth and death data to establish and describe a cohort of young adult Iowa women with breast or thyroid cancer; 2) conduct individual-level geospatial surveillance for young adult Iowa women with breast or thyroid cancer; and 3) examine associations between selected environmental exposures at birth and at diagnosis and development of breast or thyroid cancer in young adult Iowa women. In conducting these aims, we will eschew more traditional study designs, and instead, implement a population-based, life course, household-level design. Our proposed design also will allow us to easily incorporate annual updates of cancer surveillance and birth and death data to monitor future patterns of cancer occurrence and emerging exposures in this cohort. Elucidating etiologies of breast and thyroid cancers in young adult women is critical due to the prevalence of these diseases, as well as the marked personal and societal impacts of cancer diagnosis at a young age. Our study can help provide insights into these etiologies, an important step to developing interventions to reduce the incidence of these malignancies in young adult women.