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Global Environmental & Occupational Health

RUSSIA: Ufa Dioxin Research Program

The city of Ufa in the Republic of Bashkortostan is one of the most heavily-contaminated dioxin sites in the Russian Federation. The principal source of this contamination are industrial discharges from the Khimprom chemical plant that produced trichlorophenol from 1961 to 1987 and the herbicide 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxy acetic acid from 1965-1967. During this time the plant experienced reactor accidents that resulted in significant dioxin exposures to workers and the general population. Two research institutes in Ufa, the Scientific Institute for Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health and the Environmental Research and Protection Center, have been engaged in dioxin exposure assessment and health studies for the past several years. We are developing the following collaborative long-term research program with these institutes: 1) integrated exposure assessment of population exposure (especially pregnant women and children) to dioxin; 2) historical cohort study of reproductive outcomes (particularly sex ratio) among Khimprom workers; and 3) a prospective study of reproductive outcomes and childhood development among 1,600 Ufa pregnant women with varying degrees of dioxin exposure. Our Fogarty ITREOH grant will be used for research training of Ufa scientists who will participate in this research. We are in the process of applying for funding for the individual research studies to USEPA, NIOSH, and NIEHS.

The prospective maternal cohort study will follow the design of the Family and Children of Ukraine research program. We are planning to recruit 1,600 pregnant women from 3 Ufa raions with varying degrees of dioxin contamination (2 exposed, 1 control), ascertain their reproductive outcomes, and follow the health and development of their offspring. The study will collect data on the mother, the father beginning in pregnancy and follow the children through age 7. The lead Ukrainian scientists from the Family and Children of Ukraine program, who are Fogarty Visiting Scientists, will assist us in providing technical support and consultation to the Ufa institutes who will be carrying out this study. In addition, staff from our Louise Hamilton Data Management Center in Kyiv will help establish a data management center in Ufa in support of this study.