Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions

Pb Seminar: Emmanuel Obeng-Gyasi

Date and Time
Tuesday, March 30, 2021 - 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.


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Dr. Emmanuel Obeng-Gyasi will present recent work that characterizes potential soil lead (Pb) exposure risk at the household scale in Greensboro, North Carolina, using an innovative combination of field sampling, statistical analysis, and machine-learning techniques. Soil samples were collected at the dripline, yard, and street-side at 462 households (total sample size=2,310) and then analyzed for Pb. These data were then combined with publicly available data on potential historic Pb sources, soil properties, and household and neighborhood demographic characteristics. The resulting curated data set was then analyzed to identify the drivers of potential soil Pb exposure risks and to build predictive models. Dr. Obeng-Gyasi will share the results of this research, including findings of significant racial disparities in potential soil Pb exposure risk. He will further discuss how these findings underscore the need for targeted outreach programs to prevent Pb exposure in residential areas and demonstrate an approach for prioritizing outreach locations.

This talk is occurring as part of a new project on “Understanding and Controlling Urban Soil Lead Contamination and Its Impact on Public Health” supported by the Nicholas Institute’s Catalyst Program. The Catalyst Program aims to build on the Nicholas Institute’s mission by increasing engagement with Duke faculty to incubate and advance new partnerships, enhance policy-relevant knowledge, and create innovative policy solutions based on new creative synergies.


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Dr. Emmanuel Obeng-Gyasi is an assistant professor in the Department of Built Environment at North Carolina A&T University. He uses biostatistics, epidemiology, molecular biology, and analytical chemistry techniques to investigate the effects of environmental toxicants on the environment and populations. His research interests include: heavy metals and their effects on environmental and human health; environmental epidemiology; ecotoxicology; environmental and urban geochemistry; prevention and control of vector-borne diseases; and global health.