UW News

Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences


October 5, 2020

Video: Using ‘Street View’ to track pandemic in Seattle over time

A 360 camera is mounted on top of a sedan

As the city of Seattle shut down in March 2020 to try to slow the spread of COVID-19, a group of University of Washington researchers decided to track how the city would react.


Women, workers of color filling most ‘high-hazard/low-reward’ jobs in Washington

When exploring data on Washington workers during the pandemic — demographics, working conditions, wages and benefits, and risks of exposure to disease — the authors of a new report found that women hold two-thirds of the jobs in the harshest category of work. “The big takeaway from our research,” said David West, a co-author of…


September 30, 2020

UW researchers driving around Seattle to track COVID-19 response over time

A panoramic view of a street corner. Cars and a pedestrian are labeled

UW researchers developed a project that scans the streets every few weeks to document how Seattle has reacted to the pandemic and what recovery looks like.


September 17, 2020

Environmental health professor emeritus Sverre Vedal serves on committee studying respiratory effects of Southwest Asia military service

Dr. Sverre Vedal, University of Washington professor emeritus of environmental and health sciences, served on an expert committee for the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine studying the long-term respiratory health impacts of military service in Southeast Asia. Vedal is a pulmonary physician.

Dr. Sverre Vedal, UW professor emeritus of environmental and health sciences, served on an expert committee for the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine studying the long-term respiratory health impacts of military service in Southeast Asia.


August 18, 2020

Data omission in key EPA insecticide study shows need for review of industry analysis

For nearly 50 years, a statistical omission tantamount to data falsification sat undiscovered in a critical study at the heart of regulating one of the most controversial and widely used pesticides in America. Chlorpyrifos, an insecticide created in the late 1960s by the Dow Chemical Co., has been linked to serious health problems, especially in children….


June 24, 2020

Study asks Washington state residents to describe food security and access during pandemic, economic downturn

a plate, knife and fork

A new online survey for Washington state residents has launched to gather data on how the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downturn have affected food access and economic security. The Washington State Food Security Survey, which went live June 18 and runs through July 31, is open to all Washington state residents aged 18 or over.


Videos: If you fish the Duwamish in Seattle, better eat the salmon — Comer el salmón, Ăn cá hồi, បរិភោគត្រីសាម៉ុង — and here’s how

It could take another generation before resident fish in the heavily polluted Lower Duwamish Waterway in Seattle will be safe to eat. Yet many fishers from a wide range of cultural backgrounds continue to fish the 5-mile stretch of river for fun, cultural connections and food even as cleanup of this designated Superfund site continues….


June 23, 2020

75% of US workers can’t work exclusively from home, face greater risks during pandemic

Barista making latte

About three-quarters of U.S. workers, or 108 million people, are in jobs that cannot be done from home during a pandemic, putting these workers at increased risk of exposure to disease. This majority of workers are also at higher risk for other job disruptions such as layoffs, furloughs or hours reductions, a University of Washington…


May 27, 2020

UW experts on challenges to worker safety in meat processing industry

Meat processing plants face challenges in keeping workers safe during the pandemic. Carrie Freshour, a UW assistant professor of geography, and Marissa Baker, an assistant professor in the UW Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences and an expert on worker safety related to infectious diseases, provides comments on what the industry can do to protect workers.


May 22, 2020

Video: How cloth face masks protect people during the pandemic

The dean of the UW School of Public Health shares information about using face coverings, including what kinds of masks are appropriate to wear and how they protect people.


May 18, 2020

Soundbites: UW dean of public health gives advice on where and how (and how not) to wear masks 

Beginning May 18, King County is directing people to wear face coverings in most public settings. Expert Hilary Godwin answers questions about the directive and shares information about using face coverings.


May 11, 2020

EarthLab announces Innovation Grant recipients for 2020

Research projects funded for 2020 by EarthLab’s Innovation Grants Program will study how vegetation might reduce pollution, help an Alaskan village achieve safety and resilience amid climate change, organize a California river’s restoration with tribal involvement, compare practices in self-managed indigenous immigrant communities and more.


May 6, 2020

UW experts on understanding ‘quarantine fatigue’ and protecting workers

painted close sign

As the push to relax social and economic restrictions for combating the pandemic gain traction, we need to understand personal motives behind what many experts consider a dangerous rush to “reopen” and how to protect workers most at risk when communities do “go back to work.” Three UW experts weigh in.


April 28, 2020

Agricultural pickers in US to see unsafely hot workdays double by 2050

pickers in field

A new study looks at temperature increases in counties across the United States where crops are grown. It also looks at different strategies the industry could adopt to protect workers’ health.


March 26, 2020

UW researcher identifies workers most harmed by economic disruption due to COVID-19

A closed sign

Only about 25% of the U.S. workforce — some 35.6 million people — are in jobs that can easily be done at home, a University of Washington researcher has determined, as these are the positions in which using a computer is important but interacting with the public is not. These jobs are typically in highly-paid…


March 24, 2020

UW researchers to study resilience, well-being among King County residents during pandemic

An artistic rendering of a coronavirus

University of Washington researchers have launched the King County COVID-19 Community Study — or KC3S — to gather data through April 19 on how individuals and communities throughout King County are coping with the measures put in place to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus.


March 19, 2020

‘Sushi parasites’ have increased 283-fold in past 40 years

anisakis in salmon filet

A new study led by the University of Washington finds dramatic increases in the abundance of a worm that can be transmitted to humans who eat raw or undercooked seafood. Its 283-fold increase in abundance since the 1970s could have implications for the health of humans and marine mammals, which both can inadvertently eat the worm.


March 6, 2020

Millions of US workers at risk of infections on the job, UW researchers calculate, emphasizing need to protect against COVID-19

Artwork of security agent and passenger

A University of Washington researcher calculates that 14.4 million workers face exposure to infection once a week and 26.7 million at least once a month in the workplace, pointing to an important population needing protection as the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, continues to break out across the U.S. Marissa Baker, an assistant professor in the…


February 13, 2020

Effectiveness of travel bans – readily used during infectious disease outbreaks – mostly unknown, study finds

While travel bans are frequently used to stop the spread of an emerging infectious disease, a new University of Washington and Johns Hopkins University study of published research found that the effectiveness of travel bans is mostly unknown.


February 10, 2020

Increases in minimum wage may not have anticipated positive health effects, study shows

Coins spilled from jar

  In the decade-long absence of federal action, many states, counties and cities have increased minimum wages to help improve the lives of workers. While political debate over these efforts has long been contentious, scientific research on the health effects of raising the minimum wage is relatively new. Some studies have found higher minimum wages…


December 16, 2019

Faculty/staff honors: Distinguished teaching honor, new editor for environmental health journal, overseeing education in Uganda, Allen School honors

statue of George Washington on UW campus

Recent honors to UW faculty and staff include the new editorship of a major journal, a post with the Republic of Uganda and honors from the American College of Physicians, the Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.


December 3, 2019

Communities around Sea-Tac Airport exposed to a unique mix of air pollution associated with aircraft

Communities underneath and downwind of jets landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport are exposed to a type of ultrafine particle pollution that is distinctly associated with aircraft, according to a new University of Washington study, the first to identify the unique signature of aircraft emissions in the state of Washington. The finding comes from the two-year…


October 7, 2019

Pop-up galleries and data: Visualizing the lives of homeless people and their animals

Thumbnail

Sparked by a grant from the UW Population Health Initiative, the UW’s Center for One Health Research has created a series of pop-up galleries featuring autobiographical photographs made by people experiencing homelessness with their animal companions. The first gallery was Oct. 4 in UW’s Red Square. Other pop-up gallery events are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday,…


September 26, 2019

Pay, flexibility, advancement: They all matter for workers’ health and safety, study shows

Food delivery cyclist

The terms and conditions of your employment — including your pay, hours, schedule flexibility and job security — influence your overall health as well as your risk of being injured on the job, according to new research from the University of Washington. The analysis takes a comprehensive approach to show that the overall pattern of…


August 13, 2019

Air pollution can accelerate lung disease as much as a pack a day of cigarettes

Air pollution over Los Angeles.

Air pollution—especially ozone air pollution which is increasing with climate change—accelerates the progression of emphysema of the lung, according to a new study led by the University of Washington, Columbia University and the University at Buffalo.


July 19, 2019

Offspring of pregnant women exposed to high level of pollutants may have lower IQs

pregnant woman holding belly

A new study found that pregnant women exposed to higher levels of air pollutants had children with lower IQs, compared to the children of women exposed to lower levels. 


July 16, 2019

8 UW professors elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences in 2019

Suzzallo Library at night

Eight scientists and engineers from the University of Washington have been elected this year to the Washington State Academy of Sciences.


June 5, 2019

Urgent action on climate change will prevent heat-related deaths in major U.S. cities

The planet will warm by about 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century if the U.S. and other nations meet only their current commitments under the Paris climate agreement to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases. According to a paper by U.S. and U.K. scientists published in Science Advances today, accelerating ambition to reduce global warming emissions to meet the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius could prevent thousands of extreme heat-related deaths in cities across the U.S.


March 19, 2019

Managed retreat due to rising seas is a public health issue

building

Sea-level rise associated with climate change is a concern for many island and coastal communities. While the dangers may seem far off for large coastal cities like Miami or New Orleans, the advancing oceans are already displacing some small indigenous communities, and many others are at risk around the world.


February 13, 2019

UW study: Exposure to chemical in Roundup increases risk for cancer

Exposure to glyphosate — the world’s most widely used, broad-spectrum herbicide and the primary ingredient in the weedkiller Roundup — increases the risk of some cancers by more than 40 percent, according to new research from the University of Washington.


December 18, 2018

Salmon may lose the ability to smell danger as carbon emissions rise

adult coho salmon

New research shows that the powerful sense of smell Pacific salmon rely on for migration, finding food and avoiding predators might be in trouble as carbon emissions continue to be absorbed by our ocean.


November 30, 2018

UW professors Terrance Kavanagh, Jay Shendure elected as fellows of the AAAS

Two University of Washington researchers, Terrance Kavanagh and Jay Shendure, are among the 416 new fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, announced in November.


January 10, 2017

Two UW professors win Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

Emily Fox and Catherine Karr

Two University of Washington professors have received the 2017 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor given by the U.S. government to early career scientists and engineers.


April 29, 2014

Health Digest: Infant immunization, worker memorial, malaria and AirCare

Health Digest is a selection of recent news and features from the UW Health Sciences/UW Medicine.


May 29, 2013

Traffic air pollution turns good cholesterol bad

diesel truck spouting exhaust

Exposure to diesel exhaust undermines one of the body’s protections against heart and blood vessel disease.


April 23, 2013

Workers Memorial Day event takes place April 24 at HUB Lyceum

The 65 workers who died from job-related injuries or illnesses in Washington state this past year will be remembered at a UW event promoting safer workplaces.


February 27, 2013

Contaminated diet contributes to phthalate and bisphenol A exposure

The 3D chemical structure of bisphenol A.

People are exposed to these endocrine-disrupting chemicals even if they eat an organic diet and do not store, prepare or cook in plastic containers.