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Date: August 03, 2000

Research Examines Links Between Environment And Health

The federal government's decision to strengthen ties between the ministries of environment and health in developing policies and research initiatives fits well with the research being conducted at the University of Victoria.

"We applaud the initiatives of the two federal ministries to work together on key issues involving environmental health. UVic is very well placed to address research in this area through its faculties of science and social sciences and its centres for environmental health and earth and ocean research," says Dr. Howard Brunt, associate vice-president of research.

Several of the environmental health research initiatives announced today in Victoria by Health Minister Allan Rock and Environment Minister David Anderson are based at UVic:

Dr. Kevin Telmer (earth and ocean sciences) receives $427,562 through the Toxic Substance Research Initiative (TSRI) to study metal levels, primarily mercury, in aquatic and terrestrial systems. It is hoped this multi-disciplinary study will determine the basis for high levels of mercury in loons in Nova Scotia's Kejimkujik National Park. Telmer has also investigated toxic mercury pollution in gold mining areas along a major tributary of the Amazon River. (Dr. Telmer is currently unavailable)

Dr. Michael Whiticar (earth and ocean sciences) receives $167,900 through TSRI to conduct "forensic fingerprinting" of hazardous atmospheric pollutants and volatile organic compounds to pinpoint the distribution and source of pollution in the Fraser Valley. He'll collect air samples at the 26 sites used by the Greater Vancouver Regional District and analyze the samples at UVic. (250-721-6579)

Dr. Ben Koop (environmental health) receives $354,000 through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research to study the link between a gene-rich but fragile area of a human chromosome and leukemia. His ability to conduct this work is directly linked to the progress made through the Human Genome Project. (250-721-7091)

Dr. Rebecca Warburton (public administration) receives $30,000 through the National Health Research and Development Program to assess whether the B.C. medical services plan's premium assistance program for low-income families is really helping those who need it. (250-721-8066)
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Media contacts:
Dr. Howard Brunt (Associate VP Research) (250) 472-4362
Patty Pitts (UVic Communications) at (250) 721-7656

UVic media releases and other resources for journalists are available on the World Wide Web at http://communications.uvic.ca/media

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