Lifestyles and Cultural Practices of Tribal Populations And Risks from Toxic Substances in the Environment

EPA Grant Number: R831046
Title: Lifestyles and Cultural Practices of Tribal Populations And Risks from Toxic Substances in the Environment
Investigators: Harper, Barbara L. , Harris, Stuart G. , Harding, Anna K. , Waterhous, Therese S.
Institution: Oregon State University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: August 1, 2003 through July 31, 2006
Project Amount: $449,970
RFA: Lifestyle and Cultural Practices of Tribal Populations and Risks from Toxic Substances in the Environment (2002) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Environmental Justice , Global Climate Change , Tribal Environmental Health Research , Health , Safer Chemicals


The overall goal is to prepare a set of regional traditional tribal subsistence exposure scenarios that are based on the major ecological zones across the ‘lower 48’ states (excluding Alaska and Hawaii). Specific objectives include: (1) establish an Advisory Board of tribal members and members from the university community to provide expertise in tribal cultural lifestyles, nutrition, ecology, and activity patterns. The Board will actively guide the project, will validate scenarios for cultural and numerical accuracy, and ensure that they meet tribal needs; (2) develop regional traditional tribal subsistence multi-pathway exposure scenarios based on eco-cultural zone delineations, major exposure factors, regional food patterns, and unique exposure pathways; and, (3) develop a draft Tribal Exposure Scenario Guidance Manual for use by tribes to modify, refine, and adapt these regional scenarios for their site-specific and/or individual tribal situations.


Exposure scenarios for these regional eco-cultural zones will be derived from existing literature (toxicological, anthropological, nutritional, and ecological), and validated by the Advisory Board of tribal and university members who have expertise with typical regional traditional subsistence diets and typical cultural practices. Tasks include identifying ecological zones and cultural groupings to define eco-cultural zones, developing direct exposure factors that are applicable to all regions, describing regional subsistence food patterns and typical subsistence and cultural activity patterns, and developing numerical exposure factors for regional scenarios. Scenarios will be completed region by region over 2 years. During year 3, a draft Guidance Manual for scenario development and refinement will be prepared for review by EPA, tribes, and intertribal groups.

Expected Results:

This partnership between university and tribal staff will allow us to produce regional generic tribal exposure scenarios with national coverage. They will be formatted so that they can be used early in the CERCLA process and progressively modified as site-specific information becomes available. The guidance manual will describe how to modify the scenarios for site-specific and/or individual tribal use. These scenarios will aid EPA and ATSDR in evaluating and reducing tribal risks, and will also benefit tribes and regulators who are developing regulatory standards, setting up environmental monitoring programs, evaluating risks from global contaminants in their subsistence foods, or examining disproportionate exposures and disparate health risk rates.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 16 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 2 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Native American, exposure, food, subsistence food patterns, cultural activity patterns, community assessment., RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, PHYSICAL ASPECTS, ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, HUMAN HEALTH, cultural diversity, Health Risk Assessment, Exposure, Risk Assessments, Susceptibility/Sensitive Population/Genetic Susceptibility, Biochemistry, Physical Processes, genetic susceptability, Immunology, Risk Assessment, ecological risk assessment, hazardous environmental exposures, health risks, environmental genetics, behavioral characteristics, cultrural practices, genetic predisposition, Human Health Risk Assessment, human exposure, nutritional information, environmental health literacy, environmental toxicants, environmentally caused disease, human susceptibility, native americans, cultural practices, tribal population, dietary exposure, environmental health education, human health risk, Native American, genetic susceptibility

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2004 Progress Report
  • 2005
  • Final Report