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Leading in climate and sustainability efforts

By Ken Bikoff
IUPUI students tend to a garden on campus near downtown Indianapolis.

Shaw co-authors update to The Lancet Planetary Health Report

Joseph Shaw, the associate dean for research and an associate professor at the O’Neill School, contributed to The Lancet Planetary Health Report that showed that pollution was responsible for more than 9 million deaths in 2019—equivalent to 1-in-6 deaths worldwide.

The report—an update to The Lancet Commission on pollution and health report published in 2017—states that although researchers have seen decreases in the number of deaths from pollution sources associated with extreme poverty, such as indoor air pollution and water pollution, these reductions are offset by increased deaths attributable to industrial pollution, such as ambient air pollution and chemical pollution. The result is a number virtually unchanged since the last analysis. This atrocity is compounded by the fact that more than 90% of pollution’s impact is felt in low- and middle-income countries.

Shaw is an expert on toxic chemical pollution and is helping develop precision toxicology approaches as part of a consortium of U.S. and European organizations called PrecisionTox. Those approaches can help reduce deaths from modern pollution by improving methods for identifying and mapping toxic chemicals in
the environment.

Our update makes it clear that the world desperately needs solutions.