I just returned from a reunion of sorts–the twenty-fifthanniversary of the Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute (EOHSI.rutgers.edu)–a joint vision of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, where I earned my PhD ….. hmm …. several years ago.
Not only was it wonderful to reconnect with my old colleagues, there were many excellent speakers–big players in the fields of public health, toxicology and the like. I was so happy to be back there, listening to a litany of the progress made in the field over the past twenty five years. When guest speaker, pediatrician Dr. Phil Landrigan of Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City, discussed lead (Pb) toxicity and the long fight to remove it from gasoline in cars, I realized how much we all benefited by the hard work of other scientists, many who are not remembered, but who worked with skill and precision, and a dedication to truth, for decades.
During the morning session, the topic of environmental health impacts of natural gas drilling and ‘fracking’ was raised by emeritus professor Dr. Bernard Goldstein of the University of Pittsburgh-School of Public Health. Nothing specific was mentioned in his short lecture, but he indicated that there is work to be done. Though still on the outskirts of research myself, I hope soon to present some material my colleagues have produced … but scientific work is slow and unglamorous. One must be precise in designing experiments, in carrying them to fruition, and then in analyzing the data. It is challenging to take that much care, but it must be done. I only hope we obtain some valid answers before the 50th reunion roles around!