Preventing Silicosis – An ancient disease in modern times: Silicosis caused by artificial stone in the U.S.

Preventing Silicosis

An ancient disease in modern times: Silicosis caused by artificial stone in the United States 

May 16, 2024

UCLA – All Day – Registration opens 7:30am

The purpose of this conference is to bring together affected workers, employers and manufacturers with researchers, unions, community-based organizations and other stakeholders to develop practical and feasible solutions to prevent silicosis caused by artificial stone. 

Free RSVP 

Visit the event page for more details.

Ambient Air Pollution and COVID-19 Health Outcomes: A Statewide Study and A Southern California Study

Research seminar focused on COVID-19 health outcomes and ambient air pollution

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June 30, 2022

Please Join CARB for a Research Seminar

Ambient Air Pollution and COVID-19 Health Outcomes: A Statewide Study and A Southern California Study

CARB will be holding a research seminar on how ambient air pollution is related to COVID-19 illness, including infection, disease progression, and deaths. This seminar will cover results from two studies – one looking statewide and one focused on a Southern California cohort.

The statewide study examined risks of COVID-19 infections and deaths associated with PM2.5 exposure. The study used PM2.5 exposure data at the census block group-level, matched to statewide COVID-19 data. The results indicate that PM2.5 pollution is associated with significant increases in risk for COVID-19 infections and deaths.

The Southern California study used individual level data to estimate whether air pollution exposures led to worse COVID-19 outcomes. The results show significant increases in COVID-19 deaths in relation to PM2.5 and other pollutants. Moreover, PM2.5 exposure was found to have a significant effect on the severity of illness. The Southern California study also evaluated the relationship between PM2.5 and COVID-19 mortality risk by race/ethnicity and found differences in risk among racial/ethnic groups.

These studies provide a deeper understanding of the relationship between air pollution and COVID-19 infections and death. They inform CARB’s future health analyses and provide important information on the critical role of air quality standards in protecting public health.

Date:                 Thursday, July 14, 2022
Time:                 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Location:           Webinar



The COVID-19 pandemic represents one of the largest threats to population health in more than a century. A number of studies in the U.S. and globally have found a link between ambient air pollution and COVID-19 outcomes. The U.S. has the most reported COVID-19 infections and deaths in the world, and California has the most infections and deaths of any state in the U.S. In some areas of California there are counties with the highest levels of air pollution in the U.S. Therefore, it is important for Californians to understand the impact of air pollution on COVID-19 health outcomes. In particular, it is critical to understand the risks and impacts of COVID-19 with air pollution exposure for low-income communities and communities of color who have been disproportionately impacted by air pollution.

CARB contracted two research projects- a statewide study and a Southern California study. The statewide study used an ecological design to examine risks of COVID-19 infections and deaths associated with specific increments of PM2.5 exposure at the census block group-level. The study also reviewed PM2.5 exposure data compared to COVID-19 incidence data to find out whether highly impacted communities were more likely to have higher percentages of COVID-19 infections and deaths.

The Southern California study examined whether air pollution exposures led to worse outcomes in COVID-19 cases using sophisticated exposure estimates for multiple pollutants and more detailed information on individual-level data from the Kaiser Permanente Southern California healthcare system. The study also looked at the effect of PM2.5 on the risk of death from COVID-19 by race/ethnicity and looked at PM2.5 risks on the progression of the illness.

The results of both studies provide a better understanding of the increased risks posed by higher air pollution exposure, PM2.5 in particular, on COVID-19 infections, deaths, and the progression of the illness.


The principal investigator for the statewide study, Peggy Reynolds, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Reynolds is an epidemiologist with research interests focused on environmental risk factors for cancer. Her research program has incorporated geographic information system tools and studies of biomarkers of exposure and effect to assess risk relationships for children and adults. She has a history of community-based participatory research partnerships to examine a number of factors of public concern for cancer and other diseases in women.

The principal investigator for the Sothern California study, Michael Jerrett, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Michael Jerrett is an internationally recognized expert in Geographic Information Science for Exposure Assessment and Spatial Epidemiology. For the past 22 years, Dr. Jerrett has researched how to characterize population exposures to air pollution and built environmental variables, how to understand the social distribution of these exposures among different groups, and how to assess the health effects from environmental exposures. Over the last decade, Dr. Jerrett has also studied the contribution of the built and natural environment to physical activity, obesity, and several health outcomes.

Contact CARB

The Role of Toxicology in FDA-Approved Therapeutics


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EHS & The Molecular Toxicology IDP Present: The Role of Toxicology in FDA-Approved Therapeutics

 Julie Castañeda, PhD, Division of Pharmacology/Toxicology for Immunology and Inflammation, U.S. FDA

From early discovery research to the release of a new drug onto the market, toxicology plays a pivotal role in the drug development process. Toxicology is involved in the milestone of each major step as a drug attempts to gain FDA-approval. Assessing the safety profile of a pharmaceutical product by extrapolating animal data to humans is the primary goal of toxicology review work performed by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). This presentation will delve into the drug development process and highlight the role of toxicology in FDA-approved therapeutics. Case studies will be presented that explain how animal data aids in the prediction of safety and efficacy in humans.

Julie Castañeda obtained her PhD in Molecular Toxicology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2016, where she published various papers on the toxicological effects of marijuana on the human immune system. She later went on to work in the Early Discovery phase of drug development for the Inflammation-Oncology department at Amgen, where she researched COPD and asthma. Julie is currently an acting Pharmacology/Toxicology Team Leader at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in the Division of Pharmacology/Toxicology for Immunology and Inflammation. She reviews investigational new drug (IND) applications and new drug applications (NDA) for various indications, including pulmonology, allergy, critical care, rheumatology, and transplant medicine. In the past year, Julie has also been involved in the process of approving new therapeutics for COVID-19. She is also a very active member of the American College of Toxicology since graduate school.

Supported by the UCLA NIEHS Training Grant in Molecular Toxicology T32ES015457. Questions? Email us at

Air pollution as a contributing factor to intestinal dysbiosis in inflammatory bowel disease


In this seminar, Dr. Jacobs will present his laboratory’s research on pre-disease alterations of the gut microbiome in populations at high risk for IBD and the potential contribution of air pollution to IBD-associated dysbiosis. Unaffected first-degree relatives of IBD patients have been found in two family cohort studies to have microbiome profiles consistent with the dysbiosis seen in IBD patients. Microbiota transfer experiments into gnotobiotic mice demonstrated that dysbiotic microbiota from unaffected relatives can exacerbate murine colitis. Many genetic and environmental factors could contribute to dysbiosis in IBD. Among these, airborne ultrafine particle (UFP) exposure is one possibility that is consistent with epidemiologic data on rapidly rising incidence of IBD in newly industrialized societies. In animal models, Dr. Jacobs and his collaborators have demonstrated that oral and inhaled ultrafine particles can induce alterations in the small intestinal and colonic microbiome. Experiments are ongoing to assess the impact of the UFP-modulated microbiome on IBD susceptibility.

JJacobsDr. Jacobs is a gastroenterologist and scientist studying the role of intestinal microbes in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and other disorders. He graduated magna cum laude with highest honors from Harvard University in 2003 with an AB in biochemistry. He subsequently received his MD from Harvard Medical School in 2008, graduating magna cum laude in a special field. During college and medical school, he performed research on mechanisms of antibody-mediated arthritis in the laboratory of Diane Mathis and Christophe Benoist with funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He completed internal medicine residency at Stanford University in 2010 then joined UCLA to pursue gastroenterology training in the Specialty Training and Advanced Research program. He was awarded a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Pathology in 2015 for his research on the IBD microbiome under the mentorship of Jonathan Braun and afterwards joined the UCLA Division of Digestive Diseases faculty. He co-founded the UCLA Microbiome Center and now directs the UCLA Microbiome Core, which provides a comprehensive suite of microbiome-related services to support microbiome research by the UCLA scientific community.

Supported by the UCLA NIEHS Training Grant in Molecular Toxicology T32ES015457.

Questions? Email us at

Green Books and Red Lines: Transit Patterned by Race and Place


“Carry your Green Book with you…you may need it,” was a phrase printed on the cover of The Negro Motorist Green Book, a well-known guide that helped African American travelers find safe places to eat, sleep, and fuel their vehicles during the highly segregated Jim Crow era.  During this period, the Green Book, first published in 1936, and automobile ownership were  seminal gestures of independence and freedom for the “Negro motorist”.  However redlining, a policy established by the U.S. Federal Housing Administration only two years earlier represented a confinement of wealth and health for African American communities throughout the nation. Structural racism by way of land use policies, like redlining or exclusionary zoning, followed by the surge of suburbanization in the 1950s, and the bulldozing of highways through African American neighborhoods, not only buttressed the economic and racial segregation of American cities, but these practices also perpetuated inequities in transportation opportunities (e.g., transit deserts) and risks (e.g., Biking While Black) that are still observed today. This seminar will delve into historical and contemporary transit inequities stemming from structural racism within the United States through an examination of built and social environments. Disparities related to these environments and as well as health outcomes, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, will also be discussed.  It is anticipated that this seminar initiates an open dialogue of communication so that we can begin working together to achieve transit and environmental justice for everyone.

JRoberts picJennifer D. Roberts is a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Kinesiology, School of Public Health at the University of Maryland College Park (UMD). Dr. Roberts is also the Founder and Director of the Public Health Outcomes and Effects of the Built Environment (PHOEBE) Laboratory as well as the Co-Founder and Co-Director of NatureRx@UMD, an initiative that emphasizes the natural environmental benefits interspersed throughout and around the UMD campus. Her scholarship focuses on the impact of built, social, and natural environments, including the institutional and structural inequities of these environments, on the public health outcomes of marginalized communities. More specifically, much of her research has explored the dynamic relationship between environmental, social, and cultural determinants of physical activity and using empirical evidence of this relationship to infer complex health outcome patterns and disparities as well as instigate a powerful shift that recognizes, breaks, and transforms these conditions and determinants of health.

Questions? Email us at

Multi-level adaptation approaches to climate-related hazards and the prevention of adverse health effects for working populations


Pic of JuneHeat waves are projected to increase in frequency and severity with climate change. Outdoor working populations are at risk of adverse health effects from heat. Comprehensively approaching prevention can be challenging, as risk factors occur at multiple levels, from land use to community, workplace, interpersonal, and individual factors, and on different time scales. In this talk, Dr. Spector will offer a multi-level framework of adaptation to heat for outdoor workers. She will present examples from epidemiologic, field experimental, and modelling studies in the Western United States and Indonesia to stimulate discussion of promising approaches to prevent adverse health effects from heat for working populations.

Dr. Spector is a physician-scientist with a focus on the prevention and management of adverse health outcomes related to heat exposure and other climate-related hazards in working populations. She is actively engaged in interdisciplinary research to evaluate health benefits of conservation interventions to inform progress toward sustainable development and climate goals. She has been a faculty member at the University of Washington since 2012 and holds appointments in the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS) and Medicine (General Internal Medicine). She is the Director of Occupational & Environmental Medicine at the University of Washington and Assistant Chair for Occupational Medicine Partnerships in DEOHS.

Questions? Email us at

Urinary Metabolites of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Derivatives: Finding Novel Exposure Biomarkers Linking Air Pollution Sources to Health Effects


Urinary metabolites of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are widely used in epidemiology studies as exposure biomarkers of air pollution. However, because PAHs are originated from petrogenic (e.g., oil drilling) and generic combustion sources, it is difficult to attribute PAHs-associated health effects to a specific pollution source. Certain PAH derivatives are more source-specific than PAHs. Hence, biomonitoring their metabolites may present a method to assess exposures to specific sources. In this talk, Dr. Lin will summarize findings from human studies linking urinary alkylated- and nitrated-PAHs metabolites to petrogenic processes and diesel exhaust, respectively. He will also present evidence from real-world studies in multiple urban locations associating these urinary biomarkers to human’s pathophysiologic changes.

Photo of Yan Lin

Yan Lin is a postdoctoral associate in Jim Zhang’s laboratory at Duke Global Health Institute. He received his Ph.D. from UCLA EHS department in 2019 under the supervision of Yifang Zhu. Yan’s research primarily aims to illustrate the impact of air pollution on population’s exposure to toxic chemicals (e.g., polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and the subsequent health effects, which has resulted in more than 30 peer-reviewed publications in environmental and medical journals. His current research focused on (1). developing novel exposure biomarkers with increased specificity to pollution sources; and (2). examining biological mechanisms linking air pollution to cardiopulmonary diseases and adverse birth outcomes.

Questions? Email us at

My Internship Experience


Students in the EHS Department will share their summer internship experiences with presentations by:

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Questions? Email us at

The Climate Paradox: Maintaining Well-Being in the Age of Aggressive Policy


Recent years have seen a significant acceleration of efforts to decarbonize the U.S. economy and invest in greater societal resilience. A long-standing justification for such actions has been the protection of human and ecological well-being, particularly those that are most vulnerable to the externalities of energy use. However, the decarbonization agenda is susceptible to goal substitution, in which the protection of well-being is overshadowed by the goal of achieving reductions in carbon emissions. This phenomenon generates a growing number of equity concerns for distributional justice, such as how the costs and benefits of decarbonization are allocated among different actors, as well as procedural justice in terms of who makes decisions regarding decarbonization pathways. Without careful navigation, climate action can act to perpetuate or exacerbate, rather than reverse, social inequities, thereby harming those that policy interventions should be trying to protect. Such pitfalls can be navigated, but some trade-offs between climate action and well-being are likely unavoidable.

photo of B PrestonBenjamin Preston (he/his) is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation where he is also director of the Community Health and Environmental Policy program and a professor in the Pardee RAND Graduate School. His recent research efforts include understanding the role of knowledge in climate risk management, analysis of disaster recovery options and their implementation in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, scenario analysis for a low-carbon future, and the implications shocks such as COVID-19 and climate change for the delivery of infrastructure services. Previously, he held research positions with the Climate Change Science Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the CSIRO’s Division of Marine and Atmospheric Research, and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. Preston has held leadership roles on national and international scientific assessments including the fourth and fifth U.S. National Climate Assessments and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth and Sixth Assessment Reports. He received a B.S. in biology from the College of William & Mary and a Ph.D. in environmental biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Questions? Email us at

Work Stress and Health: Where are We and Where Do We Go?

Dr. Jian Li will deliver the Keynote Presentation at the 2021 International Symposium on Epidemiology in Occupational Health on October 25th 11:00am PST.


Jian Li received his Medical degree in 1997 from the Tongji Medical University, China; Ph.D. degree of Public Health in 2005 from the Seoul National University, Republic of Korea; and Doctoral degree of Safety Sciences in 2012 from the University of Wuppertal, Germany. Now, he is working at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) School of Public Health and School of Nursing as a full professor in the United Sates.


Dr. Li is a well-recognized occupational epidemiologist


in the field of “Work, Stress, and Health” worldwide. His research focuses on work stress questionnaire development and validation; the effects of adverse working conditions on health, well-being, and productivity; health promotion and intervention in the workplaces as well. Dr. Li has published more than 170 scientific papers in peer-reviewed academic journals, and been invited to present his research work at international conferences.

Since 2006, Dr. Li has received three Early Career Awards from the International Society of Behavioral Medicine (ISBM), the American Psychological Association (APA)/National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)/Society for Occupational Health Psychology (SOHP), and the Stress and Anxiety Research Society (STAR), respectively. Currently, he serves on several national and international organizations, such as the U.S. Cancer, Reproductive, Cardiovascular and Other Chronic Disease Prevention (CRC) Cross-Sector Council member, National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA); member of Scientific Committees on Work Organization and Psychosocial Factors, and on Cardiology in Occupational Health, International Commission on Occupational Health (ICOH). For 20 years, Dr. Li has been actively collaborating with an extensive international network across Asia, Europe, and North America.