Researchers from Brno’s Masaryk University are engaged in an extensive study mapping the effects of toxic substances in the environment on the health of the population. An EU grant for a modern biobank will enable them to take further a pan-European project that Brno scientists joined in 1991. The aim is to study the impact of the environment from embryo stage through life, on three generations of people. Jana Klánová, head of the Brno-based Research Centre for Toxic Compounds in the Environment, explains what kind of research this involves, Radio Praha writes.
...in this study do you compare people living in big cities and those living in a clean environment who live a simple life and do not encounter so many household toxins?
“The question is what you can call a clean environment. We have studies comparing outdoor environment and sometimes you would be surprised because the big cities sometimes have a lower concentration of certain chemicals in the air than the rural areas. That is due to heating, in small villages most people burn fossil fuels, as well as all kinds of junk and waste. So during the winter the quality of the air in small villages can be much worse than in the big cities that rely more on central heating. As regards indoor environment, we did a study in Brno and the vicinity where we focussed on different kinds of buildings, because we suspected that the building materials would have a big impact on the quality of the environment and we found there was a huge difference in buildings built in the 1920s, 1950s and 1990s. It was a big study on family and apartment houses built in the last century, taking into account whether they had been reconstructed and remodelled later with new building materials and isolation materials and we could see pretty big differences. And we also noticed that indoor contamination is much more dependent on what kind of consumer products you bring into the house. So you were right that there is a difference between the people who have a lot of electronics, a lot of carpeting, a lot of new materials in the house and those who have an old-fashioned, very simple household.”
So the situation is getting worse rather than better?
“It is different. For example, as regards air quality that is definitely improving. It has improved a lot in the last twenty years with the decline of the industry and government policies. So the quality of the air is better, but we are using much more chemicals and we do not really have enough information about them.”
Read full interview by Radio Praha.
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