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POPS study to assist with implementation of national policies for public health

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Contact: Shannon Lebourne

Monday, November 23, 2009 – The Ministry of Health has given approval for a Persistent Organic Pollutants Study (POPS) to be conducted here in Saint Lucia.

The study, which will be undertaken by a network of health experts, environmentalists, researchers and public and private sector partners, will assess to what extent organic pollutants like mercury and lead are impacting on human health and the environment.

Coordinator of the Persistent Organic Pollutants Study Lyndon Robertson, says the results of the study will guide the development and implementation of national policies for public health and environmental protection. “We express gratitude and sincere thanks to the Ministry of Health for their willingness to participate in this study, and for providing the necessary support in ensuring that everything is in place for conducting the study here in Saint Lucia,” Robertson remarked.

Maternal blood samples will be used as part of the study. The findings of the study will be used to deal with medical and health concerns which may arise from the use of persistent organic pollutants.

Senior Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Merlene Frederick, says the Persistent Organic Pollutants Study will be of tremendous benefit to the health sector. She also underscored the importance of conducting such research exercises. “Many times we come across various health complaints from patients who have cancers and other diseases and sometimes we ask ourselves why is this happening. Research is definitely the way to go as it will give us the answers that we need and in cases where it cannot give all the answers, it may probe further research and questioning which may lead to the answers,” Frederick said.

The Persistent Organic Pollutants Study is being supported by the Pan American Health Organisation, the Caribbean Environmental Health Institute and other partners.

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