Occupational and Environmental Medicine Research

For more than 50 years, our cutting-edge research has led a global initiative to prevent, diagnose, and treat occupational illness and injury.

Working under the Division of Occupational Medicine, our research faculty collaborates with experts regionally, through the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health-funded New York/New Jersey Education Research Center; nationally, with academic departments at major universities and health care institutions; and internationally through the Collegium Ramazzini, the International Commission on Occupational Health, the World Health Organization, and the International Labour Office.

Current Projects

Our current and ongoing research projects include:

Diesel Exposure

We are exploring community levels of black carbon, which is associated with cardiovascular disease and cancer. Bus depots have proven to be a significant source of this component of particulate matter, generally emitted by vehicles that use diesel.

Health Promotion in the Workplace

We integrate occupational safety and health protection with workplace policies, programs, and practices in order to advance worker safety, health, and well-being. We work under the guidelines of the Total Worker Health (TWH) Affiliate Program of the Centers for Disease Control, of which the Mount Sinai Health System is a member.

The Selikoff Centers for Occupational Health, in the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, are the first designated TWH Clinical Centers of Excellence in the United States.

Manganese

We are investigating the ramifications of overexposure to manganese, which often occurs through certain industrial and agricultural activities. Manganese can affect parts of the brain that are important for motor coordination and cognitive functions. Evidence also suggests a link between occupational and environmental exposure to manganese and Parkinson’s disease.

Learn more about our upcoming conference covering this topic

Occupational Health Surveillance

Our ongoing collection and analysis of occupational health data has helped in determining the current risk factors, industries affected, and the state of occupational health in New York.

Silicosis

New York City underground workers are at an increased their risk for silicosis with every year of exposure to silica.  In light of the link between silica exposure and multiple lung-related diseases, such as pneumoconiosis, lung cancer, and autoimmune diseases, we are promoting regular physical examinations and screenings so that respirators and fit-testing may be employed to limit physiological damage.

Women and Children

Knowing that certain chemicals can damage cognitive and motor functions in the developing brain, we are researching how maternal stress combined with exposure to certain metals during pregnancy may influence infant development. Women’s health at work is a special research area with a focus on pregnant working women, and specifically in occupations such as construction.

World Trade Center Health Illnesses

We continue to monitor and analyze the health effects on workers and volunteers who assisted in the recovery and cleanup of the World Trade Center site. We know that they are at an increased risk of multiple illnesses, including various cancers. We continue to investigate these health manifestations through multicenter monitoring and data analysis.