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Contact Info

615 N. Wolfe Street, Room E6624

Research Interests

  • Industrial Hygiene Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
  • Environmental Health Sciences Exposure Assessment
  • Retrospective Exposure Assessment Surface Contamination
  • Dermal Exposure Synthetic Vitreous Fibers Chromium
Experiences & Accomplishments
Johns Hopkins University

My research focuses on occupational and environmental exposure assessment methodology and its application to epidemiologic studies of the relationship between chemical exposure and disease. In this context, my research has (and will) involved many different chemical substances including mineral fibers, chromium, lead, and PCB's in occupational, residential, and outdoor environments. Methodological questions of interest include the development of exposure assessment techniques and strategies useful for the retrospective reconstruction of exposures and the design of studies for characterization of current and future exposures necessary to the evaluation of potential health outcomes. Since the relationship between exposure and dose is not known for the vast majority of environmental chemicals, exposure assessment research is essential to development of generalized models useful for epidemiologic analysis and determination of quantitative exposure-response relationships needed for risk assessment. As such, my research is often collaborative.

An example of the above is my interest in surface contamination as a source of percutaneous or hand-to-mouth routes of exposure. My involvement in an ongoing study of lead paint dust in inner city homes is illustrative of the importance of accurate exposure assessment to complex collaborative health effects studies. The initial phases of this study involved the development and validation of a reproducible means of environmental lead paint dust surface sampling useful to the estimation of exposure of children. This exposure surrogate is now being used in a long-term study of the relationship between environmental contamination and blood lead concentrations. In addition, these exposure methods are being used to evaluate the efficacy and cost effectiveness of various interventions designed to reduce exposure.

My future research will continue in this vein, utilizing the results of specific studies to further investigate the relationship between exposure and disease. For example I have recently collected pilot data evaluating the relationship between wood smoke exposure and the severity of respiratory illness in Navajo children. Other areas of anticipated future research include further man-made vitreous fiber studies, delineation of the effect of chronic environmental exposure on various neurologic functions in Poland, and refinement of Cr+3/Cr+6 carcinogenicity models based on a study of chromate production workers.

Select Publications
  • McDevitt JJ, PSJ Lees, WG Merz and KJ Schwab. Use of Green Fluorescent Protein-Expressing Aspergillus fumigatus Spores to Validate Quantitative PCR Analysis of Air Samples Collected on Filters. J Occ Environ Hyg. Submitted. (2004) Farfel M, PSJ Lees, A Orlova, P Ashley and C Rohde. An Evaluation of Maryland's Lead Risk Reduction in Housing Law Based on Dust Lead Outcomes Following Mandatory Treatments. Public Health Reports. In Press. (2004)

  • Farfel MR, A Orlova, PSJ Lees, P Ashley and Rohde. A Study of Urban Housing Demolitions as a Source of Lead on Streets, Sidewalks and Alleys. Environmental Research. In Press. (2004) Manson J, MJ Brabec, J Buelke-Sam, GP Carlson, RE Chapin, JB Favor, LJ Fischer, D Hattis, PSJ Lees, S Perrault-Darney, J Rutledge, TJ Smith, RR Tice and P Working: NTP-CERHR Expert Panel Report on the Reproductive and Developmental Toxicity of Acrylamide. Birth Defects Research (Part B) 74(4):17-113. (2005)

  • Farfel MR, R Chaney, A Orlova, PSJ Lees, C Rohde and P Ashley. Biosolids Compost Amendment for Reducing Soil Lead Hazards: A Pilot Study of Orgro Amendment and Grass Seeding in Urban Yards. Sci Tot Environment 340/1-3:81-95. (2005) McDevitt JJ, PSJ Lees, WG Merz and KJ Schwab. Real-Time Quantitative PCR Method Incorporating an Internal Standard Control Suitable for the Enumeration of Aspergillus fumigatus in Environmental Air Samples. Mycopathalogica 158:325-335. (2004)

  • Park RM, JF Bena, LT Stayner, RJ Smith, HJ Gibb and PSJ Lees: Hexavalent Chromium and Lung Cancer in the Chromate Industry: A Quantitative Risk Assessment. Submitted. Risk Analysis 24(5):1099-1108. (2004) Jackson LW, A Correa-Villaseñor, PSJ Lees, F Dominici, PA Stewart, PN Breysse and GM Matanoski: Parental Lead Exposure and Total Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return. Birth Defects Research Part A: Clinical and Molecular Teratology 70(4):185-193. (2004)

  • Davis EG, EJ MacKenzie, WJ Sacco, JW Jameson, LW Bain, RF Buckman and PSJ Lees: Pooled Survival Data For AIS-90 Codes and Identification of "Outlier” Codes. J Trauma: Injury, Infection, and Critical Care. ,Accepted (2002)