PRHE’s systematic review method takes world stage at ISEE 2022

To improve how scientists evaluate chemical risks globally and strengthen evidence-based decision making, many members of PRHE’s team will present at the 34th annual conference of the International Society of Environmental Epidemiology, taking place September 18-21 in Athens, Greece (where both in-person and virtual attendance is possible).

PRHE’s sessions include a training on best practices for systematic reviews, sharing PRHE’s Navigation Guide, which is one of the methods the National Academies of Sciences has encouraged EPA to adopt to strengthen its own risk evaluations.

The agenda for our sessions follows.

How to Conduct Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses to Improve Environmental Health Policy and Decision-Making

Workshop #PCW 04
Sunday, September 18
10:30am-1:30pm & 2:30-5:30pm EEST
Location: MC 3.4 Hall

Over the past 25 years, decision-making in the clinical arena has relied on systematic reviews (SR) as a source of trusted, evidence-based advice for patients and to inform billions of dollars of healthcare spending. To bridge between SR in environmental health (EH) and the clinical sciences, authoritative bodies, U.S. agencies, and academic scientists developed and implemented validated, peer-reviewed SR methods including the UCSF-PRHE Navigation Guide and the U.S. National Toxicology Program’s OHAT.

The first presentation will discuss the evolution of SR in EH and how they have evolved from the clinical sciences. Next, participants will learn the key steps to conducting best practice SRs, including problem identification, protocol development, study search strategy, risk of bias assessment and evidence synthesis. The final two presentations will be practical training sessions. Participants will learn how to conduct ROB assessments, including a discussion on the important biases to consider in environmental epidemiological studies; and they will learn to synthesize epidemiological studies, including the use of meta-analysis when appropriate, into a bottom-line and actionable summary of the evidence.


Reproductive outcomes and various environmental exposures

Oral Presentations Session #2
Monday, September 19
10:45am-12:15pm EEST
Location: MC 3.2 Hall

As part of this session, PRHE’s Dr. Dana Goin will present evidence suggesting fluoride exposure may affect fetal growth. Dr. Goin’s study explored the effects of hypothetical interventions reducing fluoride levels to 0.5 ppm and 0.7 ppm. Counter to what was expected of study outcomes, the results suggest these interventions may reduce fetal growth, especially among fetuses that are large-for-gestational age. 


Dr. Dana Goin
O-OP-012 Water fluoridation and birth outcomes in California


  • Mr. Maximilien Génard-Walton, Inserm
    O-OP-007 Heavy metals and diminished ovarian reserve: single-exposure and mixture analyses amongst women consulting in French fertility centres
  • Ms. Veronica Wang, Harvard TH Chan School Of Public Health
    O-OP-008 Association of solar and geomagnetic activity with fetal growth
  • Dr. Kristen Upson, Michigan State University
    O-OP-009 A prospective study of cadmium concentrations and uterine fibroid incidence
  • Mr. Nicolas Jovanovic, Institute for Advanced Bioscience
    O-OP-010 Associations between phenols and phthalates and placental weight in a mother-child cohort with improved exposure assessment
  • Dr. Nathan Cohen, Icahn School Of Medicine At Mount Sinai
    O-OP-011 Exposure to perfluoroalkyl substances at preconception in association with fertility outcomes in women from Singapore

Challenges in health studies of chemicals: from methods to policy

Oral Presentations Session #5
Monday, September 19
1:15-2:45pm EEST
Location: MC2 Hall

PFAS chemical contamination has become a global health concern. Produced since the 1940s, PFAS (perfluoroalkyl substances) toxicity was not publicly established until the late 1990s. Dr. Woodruff will discuss methods to evaluate the role of the chemical industry in delaying public information on PFAS toxicity using previously undisclosed industry documents. Lack of transparency in industry-driven research on industrial chemicals has significant legal, political and public health consequences. Illuminating industry strategies to suppress scientific research findings or early warnings about the hazards of industrial chemicals help guide future prevention. 


Dr. Tracey Woodruff
O-OP-026 The Devil they knew: chemical documents analysis of industry influence on PFAS Science


  • Dr. Tony Fletcher, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
    O-OP-024 The relative importance of faecal and urinary excretion of PFAS and implications for epidemiological studies
  • Mr. Erich Batzella, University Of Padua
    O-OP-025 Associations between perfluoroalkyl substances and lipid profile in a highly exposed adult community in the Veneto Region: a comparison of mixture-based statistical approaches
  • Mr. Juwel Rana, North South University, Bangladesh
    O-OP-027 Associations between organochlorine pesticide mixtures and sex steroid hormones modified by age, gender and body mass index in the US 2011-2016: a quantile-based g-computation approach
  • Dr. Elizabeth Gibson, Harvard School Of Public Health
    O-OP-028 Prenatal endocrine disrupting chemical exposure and child IQ: accounting for uncertainty in pattern identification in a two-stage health analysis
  • Dr. Leora Vegosen, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    O-OP-029 Data quality evaluation criteria for systematic review of epidemiology studies under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA): refinement through practical application in risk evaluation

Undermeasured and undervalued: examining social-structural factors in women’s and children’s global environmental health

Symposium #05
Monday, September 19
1:15-2:45pm EEST
Location: Trianti Hall

Many of the root causes of environmentally associated disease and health span (in)equities of race/ethnicity, gender, and class, among other social and structural factors. Such disparities may be particularly impactful for women and children, given that they experience greater inequities, and that early life (i.e., reproductive, pregnancy, infancy, and childhood) are susceptible and critical time periods for environmental exposures. While environmental epidemiologists have increasingly focused on social determinants of health, several areas of structural determinants are largely understudied.

The presenters will discuss how to measure and incorporate social-structural factors, such as federal policies and systemic inequities, in environmental epidemiological studies. Presentations will cover a broad and inclusive range of environmental epidemiological concepts, including intersectionality, gaps in exposome research, integration of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum integrity into environmental epidemiology, environmental hazards and social inequality, the built environment and housing policy, and susceptible populations for climate change, and identify modifiable risk factors for women and children to prevent disease and promote health.


Dr. Dana Goin
O-SY-024 Environmental hazards, social inequality, and fetal loss: implications of live-birth bias for estimation of disparities in birth outcomes

  • Dr. Jessica Laine Carmeli, University of Bern
    O-SY-021 Perinatal and children’s environmental epidemiology: what about birth integrity?
  • Dr. Ami Zota, Columbia University
    O-SY-022 Adverse childhood events and health-related quality of life among women undergoing hysterectomy for uterine leiomyoma
  • Dr. Nathalie Roos, Karolinska Institutet
    O-SY-023 Maternal and newborn health risks of climate change: a call for awareness and global action
  • Dr. MyDzung Chu, Tufts Medical Center
    O-SY-025 Federally-assisted housing and blood lead levels in the United States, 1999-2016

Global perspectives on harmonizing chemical risk assessments: Current status and future needs

Symposium #25
Wednesday, September 21
4:30-6:00pm EEST
Location: Trianti Hall

Chemical assessment serves a fundamental role in the translation of science to policy. In recent years, there has been increasing attention to the need for more holistic and harmonized approaches to assessment that consider exposures across multiple frameworks and statutes (i.e., aggregate exposures), rather than the existing approach to assess one chemical in one context at a time. Harmonized risk assessment approaches can have numerous benefits, including decreasing the potential for duplication across government agencies, establishing standardized data submission requirements for industry, and reducing confusion to the public.

This symposium will discuss the current state of risk assessment in the European Union (EU) and United States (US) as well as goals and challenges in adopting a more integrated system (such as the “one substance, one assessment” approach). The symposium will begin with a brief introduction to current risk assessment approaches in the EU and the US as well as discussions about why a more integrated assessment approach is recommended. Then, we will focus on challenges related to the transparency, reliability, relevance, and accessibility of ecotoxicological and toxicological data within EU regulatory frameworks, and perspectives on this topic in the context of current efforts to advance harmonized control of chemicals and waste at the global level.


Dr. Tracey Woodruff
O-SY-124 Evaluating chemical hazard on a global scale



  • Ms. Joanke Van Dijk, Utrecht University
    O-SY-121 Towards ‘one substance-one assessment’: an analysis of European chemical registration and environmental risk assessment frameworks
  • Dr. Rachel Shaffer, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    O-SY-122 Environmental health assessment in the United States
  • Dr. Kristina Thayer, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
    O-SY-123 Advancing coordination of systematic review

Poster presentations

Dr. Jessica Trowbridge


Monday, September 19 
P-1221 Extending non-targeted exposure discovery of environmental chemical exposures during pregnancy and their association with pregnancy complications 

Tuesday, September 20
P-0397 Association between prenatal exposure to organophosphate flame retardants and thyroid hormone levels in diverse pregnancy cohorts

All poster viewing and discussions will take place in the Exhibition & Poster Area.