Our research initiatives

Work conducted by the Group aims to understand the sources, determinants and human health impact of exposure to environmental pollutants. 

The Environmental Epidemiology Research Group is an interdisciplinary team with complementary expertise in field research, exposure assessment, toxicology, endocrinology, child development, oncology, chronic diseases, epidemiological methods, biostatistics and global health.  Our group studies a wide number of exposures, including outdoor and household air pollution, pesticides, flame retardants, plastic additives and persistent organic chemicals and their effect on health over the life course from the fetal stage into late adulthood.  We study impacts on child growth and development, endocrine function, cancer and chronic disease such as asthma and heart disease.  We also aim to identify and evaluate technical and policy-related interventions to reduce exposure to pollution in Canada and globally.


Dr. Baumgartner's research focuses on understanding what factors influence people's exposure to environmental pollutants, their impact on health, and interventions to address them.  We design studies that involve measurement of pollution exposures and provide unique data sets to address grand challenges in global environmental health.  These projects involve interdisciplinary collaborations to answer questions like:

  • What is the impact of improved energy technology and housing and transportation policies on health?
  • Are certain pollutants from different sources (e.g., wood combustion, traffic, industry) more harmful to health?
  • How does exposure to environmental pollutants during a person's lifetime impact disease development later in life?


Dr. Chevrier's research program focuses on determining the impact of exposure to environmental chemicals on child health and development and other vulnerable populations.  He conducts studies on the impact of exposure to several contaminants including pesticides, flame retardants (PBDEs), plastic components (bisphenol A) and persistent organic compounds on various health outcomes including child growth, endocrine function and neurodevelopment in Canada and globally.  He is involved in projects taking place in Canada, the United States, China and South Africa.   Examples of his research include: the impact of exposure to insecticides used to control malaria as part of Indoor Residual Spaying programs on the health and development of South African children, the effect of exposure to flame retardants on fertility and the reproductive system in Canada, the emergence and health effects of new chemicals replacing banned substances in Canada and developing countries, and the health impact of chemical exposure among Montreal firefighters.  He is also keenly interested in addressing methodological challenges that are common in environmental epidemiology by developing and applying toxicologically- and statistical model-based solutions.


Dr. Goldberg's research program concerns mostly identifying environmental and occupational causes of cancer as well as determining the adverse heath effects of ambient air pollution. Recent projects include: 1) a case-control study of gene-environment interactions in postmenopausal breast cancer; 2) a longitudinal study of the acute effects of air pollution on health among persons potentially susceptible to urban air pollution; 3) a panel study in congestive heart failure to determine whether air pollution affects essential indicators of health status; 4) a cohort study of persons with implanted cardioverter defibrillators to identify triggers for interventions for ventricular tachycardia; 5) a population-based cohort study in Ontario  (Paul Villeneuve, PI) and a nationwide study based on the 1991 Canadian Census (Rick Burnett, PI) both used to investigate the long-term effects of air pollution on health; 6) studies of traffic-related air pollution and the incidence of cancer; 7) a panel in childhood asthma to determine whether air pollution from refineries affects respiratory health; and 8) a panel study of bicyclists in Montreal investigating cardiovascular effects of traffic-related air pollution. 


Dr. Weichenthal's research program is dedicated to identifying and evaluating environmental risk factors for cancer and cardiovascular disease. To support this objective, he develops new approaches to population-based exposure assessment and examines how the urban built environment influences air pollution exposures at both the individual and population-level. His recent studies have examined the health effects of air pollution from biomass burning as well as the oxidative potential of particulate air pollution.


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