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October 2006 Issue

Scott Belcher, PhD, will use a $1.68 million grant to continue researching the effects of environmental estrogens on the developing brain.
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UC Receives $1.68 Million to Study Environmental Estrogen Danger in Packaging Materials

Published October 2006

UC researcher Scott Belcher, PhD, has received a five-year, $1.68 million dollar grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to continue his research into the effects of environmental estrogens on the developing brain.

Last year Belcher and his team published two articles in the journal Endocrinology showing that the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), widely used in products such as food can linings, milk containers, water pipes and even dental sealants, affect developing brain tissue “at surprisingly low doses.”

Belcher, an associate professor in the department of pharmacology and cell biophysics, says the funding will support his group’s continuing research into the effects BPA and other plastic compounds have on the brain.

“Findings from our lab and others already show that the health risk from estrogens in everyday packaging is important and has the potential of being a major human health problem,” says Belcher.

Belcher has also been invited to chair a session at a major NIEHSsponsored workshop that will bring together scientists from different disciplines who have conducted research on BPA.

The workshop, Nov. 28–29 in Raleigh, N.C., will seek a consensus on the adverse effects of BPA that can be used by regulators and other policy makers in their decision making.

“It will give regulators an opportunity to learn what the science has to say and appreciate the concern the scientific community has about this important issue,” Belcher says.

Two other nationally recognized researchers will represent UC at the workshop: Shuk-mei Ho, PhD, chair of the environmental health department, and Karen Knudsen, PhD, assistant professor in cell and cancer biology, as well as Yelena Wetherill, Ph

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