Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Life Imprints: Living in a Contaminated World

Life Imprints: Living in a Contaminated World
Citation: Crews D, Gore AC 2011. Life Imprints: Living in a Contaminated World. Environ Health Perspect :-. doi:10.1289/ehp.1103451

Background: The links between nature and nurture need to be redefined to accommodate anthropogenic chemical contamination. Although some local remediation of contamination has occurred, at the global level this is simply not possible. Contaminants are spread by population migration, introduction via the food chain, and through air and water currents, even to regions that were never exposed to these environmental insults. In recognizing and accepting this worldwide change, we must move on and consider the types of adaptations that could occur as a consequence.
Objectives: To recognize that contamination is widespread and cannot be remedied at the global level. Therefore we propose a paradigm shift in the field that integrates various disciplines involved in the study of environmental contamination.
Discussion: Greater effort must be placed on integrative and interdisciplinary studies that explicitly illuminate how the causal mechanisms and functional outcomes of related processes operate at each level of biological organization while, at the same time, revealing the relations among the levels.
Conclusions: To anticipate and understand the future, we must devote more study to what is likely to happen, and less to what has happened. Only when this is done will we begin to understand how ancestral environmental exposures act both at the level of the individual and their descendants to influence all aspects of life history.

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