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2016 Conference

Abstract Number: ETH-05 | ID: 4817

Air pollution biomarkers: Ethical discussions

Wael Al-Delaimy*, University of California, San Diego, United States, waldelaimy@ucsd.edu;
Air pollution is a well-known environmental risk factor for cardiovascular, respiratory and cancer risk. The association between air pollution and specific biomarkers of disease and ill health would objectively demonstrate the health impacts of air pollution. Although we are aware that air pollution is harmful, the threshold of such harm and risk is regularly refined according to new research and evidence. The ethical implications of establishing a threshold can vary between heavy air pollution societies compared to much cleaner low air pollution societies. Air pollution exposure according to geographical areas and residential address is faced by issues of confidentiality and privacy of the study participants or individuals who are part of large public datasets. What are the risk-benefits of obtaining an accurate address? In the case of new biomarkers, such as telomere, how confident are researchers about these results and can it cause more harm than good if these results were reported to participants? Would it be justified to report such results to a pregnant mother? Is a shorter telomere sensitive and specific enough for air pollution exposures? These topics will be discussed at the session to generate ideas about how research ethics guidelines can assist researchers to produce community-relevant science.