Since World War II, over 80,000 chemical compounds have been developed in the U.S. About 3,000 of these chemicals are produced at rate of one million pounds per year. Do these chemicals have potential public health risks? Can exposure to these chemicals be linked to childhood development disorders, such as autism? What challenges do environmental health programs face in trying to identify toxic chemicals? Could stem cell science help assess the toxicity of these chemicals? A panel of speakers addressed these questions at the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine on September 30, 2009.
Tracy Woodruff, PhD, MPH, explained the need for increased testing of chemicals in order to protect public health and she pointed to stem cell research as an exciting technology that promises to revolutionize environmental health programs.
Woodruff is an associate professor in the department of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at the University of California, San Francisco. She is also director of the UCSF program on reproductive health and the environment.