Environmental Health Study for Western New York

Published September 13, 2018

The Environmental Health Study for Western New York is a study of 10 years or more that investigates how emissions from the Tonawanda Coke plant and other sources may have affected — and may continue to affect — the health of surrounding communities.

The results will provide residents of the City of Tonawanda, the Town of Tonawanda and Grand Island with important new knowledge about their collective health. Such information can inform decision-making within these communities, helping residents and local leaders decide how to focus public health policies, as well as community-driven initiatives aimed at improving community health through education, awareness and clinical care. In the future, insights from the study could help to prevent disease in these and other communities.

Leading the study are researchers from the University at Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions and Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. Community advisory committees consisting of residents and community leaders will inform the project, and a scientific advisory committee consisting of national experts with experience in epidemiology and environmental health will provide guidance on scientific matters, including the study methodologies used.

Independent expert opinion on health study methodologies:

The research team has established a scientific advisory committee consisting of national experts with experience in epidemiology and environmental health. This outside group of experts will provide guidance on scientific matters, offering feedback on the study’s design and analysis.

“As reviewed by the scientific advisory committee, the study team at the University at Buffalo is applying a rigorous, objective approach to address potential environmental health effects in the affected community,” says David Savitz, PhD, professor of epidemiology in the Brown University School of Public Health and chair of the health study’s scientific advisory committee.

“The study seeks to address longstanding questions posed by the community as well as advance knowledge more generally regarding the health effects of the pollutants under investigation, and promises to make significant scientific and public health contributions," Savitz says.

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