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University of Louisville

Superfund Research Program

Community Engagement Core

Project Leader: Ted Smith
Co-Investigator: Lauren Heberle
Grant Number: P42ES023716
Funding Period: 2022-2027
View this project in the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT)

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Project Summary (2022-2027)

Previous research has shown that toxin exposure can initiate/exacerbate multiple adverse health outcomes, especially cardiometabolic diseases. Kentuckians are disproportionately affected by many chronic diseases, including obesity, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, fatty liver disease, etc., which are all aspects of cardiometabolic syndrome. Certain communities are more highly impacted than others, and it is critical to understand why. The team hypothesizes that exposure to toxics, specifically VOCs, initiates/exacerbates these conditions. It is fundamental to the understanding of the effects of these toxics to engage the communities most deeply affected by exposure to these pollutants and to try to mitigate the effects of these exposures. Thus, determining the influence of pollutant exposures on the development/progression of these chronic conditions is vital. Also vital is examining this influence within the proposed areas within West and Southwest Louisville, Kentucky that face added social environmental health burdens, including an uneven distribution of race and ethnicity, a traumatic introduction into the racial reckoning, historic redlining, and poverty. Bidirectional research in this community supports understanding of the impacts of VOCs on cardiometabolic disease and community empowerment.

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