Global Horizon Scanning Project will help scientists address pressing environment and health issues in the United States, Canada and Mexico
WACO, Texas (July 30, 2019) – As density in cities increase along with other global megatrends, researchers are working to address environment and health challenges in collaborative ways.
Using a recently pioneered process, a multidisciplinary team of North American researchers, government agencies and businesses leaders identified priority research questions for the United States, Canada and Mexico in an effort to tackle pressing environmental quality issues.
In an article published today in the journal of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, Bryan W. Brooks, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Environmental Science and Biomedical Studies and director of the environmental health science program at Baylor University, led the Global Horizon Scanning Project (GHSP), which focuses on identifying environmental and health issues internationally. Brooks also facilitated GHSP workshops in Africa, Australia, Central and Southeastern Asia, Europe and Latin America.
“We face palpable global environment and health challenges, which require innovative understanding, tools, products and systems to prevent, diagnose and manage adverse outcomes to public health and the environment,” Brooks said. “The GHSP was initiated as part of a larger effort to identify important international research needs. It is essentially a research roadmap towards achieving more sustainable environmental quality, which is necessary to protect human health, biodiversity and ecosystem services.”
As part of the study, members of the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry’s (SETAC) and the American Chemical Society’s (ACS) Environmental Chemistry and Agrochemcials Divisions submitted questions that were then synthesized during a workshop by scientists and engineers from the academic, government and business sectors.
“This project is intentionally inclusive, bottom-up, multidisciplinary, multisector and transparent,” Brooks said. “Answering these priority research questions will not be easy, but strategically doing so promises to accelerate progress to address grand challenges that matter to everyone.”
“This report provides a comprehensive global perspective covering some of the world’s most critical environmental challenges that will impact society for decades to come,” said Sherine Obare, Ph.D.,
dean and professor of the Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering at UNC Greensboro and chair elect of the American Chemical Society’s Environmental Chemistry Division. “SETAC’s ability to engage scientists from around the globe has led to forums that identify urgent challenges including, next generation 21st century analytical chemistry methods, strategies to predict chemical exposure, understanding multiple stressors and new approaches in chemical risk assessment. This project will define the scientific directions needed to transform environmental science and engineering, globally.”
“The GHSP reflected in this paper has harnessed the insights of scientists not only across North America but around the world,” said Charles Menzie, Ph.D., Global Executive Director of SETAC. “Each brings tremendous experience and a strong sense of what is needed for future research. However, the distillation of these many into a set of consensus questions provides a much needed foundation for charting our direction for research to inform environmental policy. SETAC is proud to have supported this through our global meetings and now through our journal.”
A related GHSP manuscript identifying priority environmental quality questions for the Australasia region of Oceania was also recently published in Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management. GHSP efforts from Africa and Asia are ongoing with plans to report priority research questions from these global regions in the next year.