Environments and Health Signature Initiative Webinar: Agri-Food, the Food-Water Nexus and Health | April 5, 2023 | 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. (ET)

A changing climate will affect food through a range of effects on agriculture, livestock, water systems, and wildlife, which have implications for food security, foodborne disease, and malnutrition. For example, population growth, loss of environmental services and climate change are forcing communities to explore opportunities that treat municipal wastewater to allow its safe return for community uses or harvest rain/stormwater for various non-drinking water uses (all referred to here as wastewater reuse). As part of our everyday lives we are exposed to a wide variety of chemicals derived from consumer products, such as foam, electronic equipment and plastics, that enter our food and drinking water. Most of these chemicals are present at very low concentrations. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research funded three projects to consider the impact of the environment on agri-food, the food-water nexus and health. In this webinar, learn what the researchers discovered and what they plan to do next.

About the Projects

Developing a Framework for Wastewater Reuse in Canada: Using Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment, Risk Communication, and Community Engagement for Evaluating Water Fit-For-Purpose Reuse

Drinking water treatment and sanitary waste management are considered the most important environmental public health achievements for infectious disease prevention. This project develops a participatory water reuse framework to engender trust in government and utilities to provide safe reuse water that communities seek to have in an equitable way to address Canada’s $90 billion water service infrastructure deficit.

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: Towards Responsible Replacements

This research focuses on determining the extent to which our food, drinking water and breast milk contain the chemicals that have emerged as replacements for polybrominated diphenyl ether flame retardants, phthalates and bisphenol A. We will then determine if these new alternatives are safer than the substances that they have replaced.

Climate Change and Indigenous Food System, Food Security, and Food Safety (Climate Change IFS3)

The Climate Change and Indigenous Food System, Food Security, & Food Safety (Climate Change IFS3) has created a multinational intersectoral team to characterize the vulnerability and resilience of Indigenous food systems to climate change to inform, enhance, and expand climate change adaptation interventions and adaptation planning.

About the Speakers

Developing a Framework for Wastewater Reuse in Canada: Using Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment, Risk Communication, and Community Engagement for Evaluating Water Fit-For-Purpose Reuse

Norman Neumann is a Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. His research program focuses on development of novel approaches and tools for detecting, tracking and assessing human health risks associated with biological hazards in the environment (viruses, bacteria, protozoans, prions).

Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: Towards Responsible Replacements

Barbara Hales is a James McGill Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at McGill University. Her research is focused on understanding how chemical exposures adversely affect reproduction and development. Projects in her lab, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, include the effects of house dust mixtures of flame retardants on reproduction and development, the impact of exposure to phthalates and « green » plasticizers on progeny outcome, and approaches towards the responsible replacement of endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Climate Change and Indigenous Food System, Food Security, and Food Safety (Climate Change IFS3)

Sherilee Harper is a Canada Research Chair in Climate Change and Health and an Associate Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. Her research investigates associations between weather, environment, and public health in the context of climate change, and she collaborates with partners across sectors to prioritise climate-related health actions, planning, interventions, and research.