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Arsenic and health to be focus of Corvallis Science Pub

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College of Public Health and Human Sciences Assistant Professor Molly Kile (left) studies the human health effects of arsenic exposure from drinking contaminated water in Bangladesh. She will discuss her research at the Corvallis Science Pub June 8.

Once touted as a conditioner for the skin, arsenic has a long history as a poison and as an ingredient in paint, pesticides and wood preservatives. On June 8, the Corvallis Science Pub will focus on the modern public health story of this toxic metal.

Molly Kile, an assistant professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University, will describe her work in Bangladesh, the location of what the World Health Organization calls the largest case of mass poisoning. Kile looks at patterns of water contamination and disease to understand the risks of even low levels of arsenic in water.

CPHHS Assistant Professor Molly Kile.

CPHHS Assistant Professor Molly Kile.

The Science Pub presentation is free and open to the public. It begins at 6 p.m. at the Old World Deli, 341 S.W. 2nd St. in Corvallis.

“Contaminants like lead and arsenic have effects on the distribution of health problems across the population,” says Kile. “It’s not as much about the average person as it is about the people who are particularly vulnerable.”

An environmental epidemiologist, Kile has master’s and doctoral degrees from the Harvard School of Public Health.

Sponsors of Science Pub include Terra magazine at OSU, the Downtown Corvallis Association and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.