JPB Fellow Marccus Hendrix is paving the way to equitable infrastructure reform

Locals can tell you exactly which streets need repaving, which sidewalks require fixing, which spots pool with rainwater after a storm. And they know all too well that such things tend to be neglected in poor neighborhoods of color, degrading their well-being and leaving them more vulnerable to weather-related damage. As a grad student, Marccus Hendricks calculated the disparities in infrastructure investment in Houston, which endures increasingly bad flooding.  Read…

Toxic Metals in Nail Polishes, But Not on the Labels

A new School of Public Health study is the first to evaluate metals in the new generation of metallic nail polish finishes, as well as on nail salon surfaces and in the bodies of nail salon workers. Published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, the study identified toxic metals including antimony and aluminum in many of the sampled polishes, even though these polishes did not disclose them as…

Black, Hispanic families hit hardest by dementia

It can begin with the occasional missed bill payment. An inability to remember names. Telling the same story repeatedly. There may be personality changes or mood swings. Confusion. Over time, it’s as if the person who once was slowly disappears. Dementia. As the population ages, a growing number of families face this debilitating condition, which can be both emotionally and financially exhausting, and require near-constant supervision from spouses or adult…

Texas’ blackouts may come at a steep cost

As the lights begin to turn back on after nearly a week of outages across Texas, residents who already struggled to pay their utility bills might find it harder to recover. Costs are piling up that could continue to limit some people’s access to heating and electricity even after blackouts end. “The ‘heat or eat dilemma’ is a really, really significant issue,” says Emily Grubert, an assistant professor of civil…

Issues Of The Environment: Commemorating 30 Years Of The Environmental Justice Movement

The concept of environmental justice can traced back to the 1970’s. But, it wasn’t until the 1990’s when the movement really began to take shape, thanks to the works of such scholars as Dr. Bunyan Bryant and Dr. Paul Mohai. Dr. Mohai looks back at the work he and his colleagues have done over the last three decades in a conversation with WEMU’s David Fair. Read more.

Out in the cold: Pandemic leaves more people in need of energy assistance, but also harder to reach.

Many undocumented households are ineligible for federal-funded state program and need to seek out locally run efforts. Unemployment levels remain high due to the coronavirus pandemic, and temperatures have plunged below zero from a February polar vortex blast. But state officials say they have received fewer requests than normal for a program to help low-income families cover heating bills. The pandemic also is disrupting typical outreach efforts into communities of…

Dr. Reames named to Five-member Michigan Climate Justice Brain Trust

Climate justice leaders will develop equity-based framework to guide Michigan Healthy Climate Plan JPB Fellow Dr. Reames joins a panel of climate and environmental justice experts named to develop a justice and equity-based framework for the development and implementation of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s MI Healthy Climate Plan, which calls for a transition to a carbon-neutral Michigan by 2050 that includes communities disproportionately affected by climate change. The five-member Climate Justice…

New Article: Associations of Residential Brownness and Greenness with Fasting Glucose in Young Healthy Adults Living in the Desert

Evolutionary psychology theories propose that contact with green, natural environments may benefit physical health, but little comparable evidence exists for brown, natural environments, such as the desert. In this study, we examined the association between “brownness” and “greenness” with fasting glucose among young residents of El Paso, Texas. We defined brownness as the surface not covered by vegetation or impervious land within Euclidian buffers around participants’ homes. Fasting glucose along…

New Publication: Exposures in nail salons to trace elements in nail polish from impurities or pigment ingredients – A pilot study

Nail polishes have evolved considerably. Toxic elements, such as lead, have been found in nail polish, and it is unclear if new finishes using metallic effect pigments may be contributing to metals exposure in nail technicians. We characterized concentrations of trace elements in 40 nail polishes, 9 technicians’ urine, and 20 technicians’ toenail clippings from 8 nail salons in the Boston area in 2017. We also collected 24 salon surface…