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Julia G. Brody

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Brown University School of Medicine
Executive Director, Silent Spring Institute

About Julia

Brody is a leader in research on breast cancer and the environment and in community-based research and public engagement in science. Her current research focuses on methods for reporting to people on their own exposures to hormone disruptors and other emerging contaminants when the health effects are uncertain. She also recently led a project connecting breast cancer advocacy and environmental justice in a study of household exposures to endocrine disruptors and air pollutants through a collaboration of Silent Spring Institute, Communities for a Better Environment (a California-based environmental justice organization), and researchers at Brown University and the University of California, Berkeley. Since 1996, Brody has been the principal investigator of the Cape Cod Breast Cancer and Environment Study, a case-control study of 2,100 women that includes testing for 89 endocrine disruptors in homes and historical exposure mapping. Brody’s research is supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the New York Community Trust, and the Avon Foundation, among others.


In the News

"Breast Cancer and Environmental Research," Julia G. Brody (with Margaret L. Kripke, Marion H. Kavanaugh-Lynch, Jeanne Rizzo, and and Michele R. Forman), Letters, Science, May 9, 2014.
"True Breast Cancer Prevention Requires Looking at Environmental Chemicals," Julia G. Brody, Cure Magazine, March 13, 2012.
"News Stories Miss Important Points of Breast Cancer Report," Julia G. Brody, Environmental Health News, December 13, 2011.
Interview on her work (part 1) Julia G. Brody, Silent Spring Institute, April 28, 2007.
Interview on her work (part 2) Julia G. Brody, Silent Spring Institute, April 28, 2007.


"New Exposure Biomarkers as Tools for Breast Cancer Epidemiology, Biomonitoring, and Prevention: A Systematic Approach Based on Animal Evidence" (with Ruthann A. Rudel, Janet M. Ackerman, and Kathleen R. Attfield). Environmental Health Perspectives (online-first article, May 2014).
Facilitates measurement of biomarkers of exposure to potential breast carcinogens in breast cancer studies and biomonitoring by comparing human and animal evidence for agents identified as plausibly linked to breast cancer in major reviews.
"Pharmaceuticals, Perfluorosurfactants, and Other Organic Wastewater Compounds in Public Drinking Water Wells in a Shallow Sand and Gravel Aquifer" (with Laurel A. Schaider, Ruthann A. Rudel, Janet M. Ackerman, and Sarah C. Dunagen). Science of the Total Environment 468 (2014): 384-393.
Characterized concentrations of pharmaceuticals, perfluorosurfactants, and other organic wastewater compounds (OWCs) in the unconfined sand and gravel aquifer of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where septic systems are prevalent to show that drinking water supplies in unconfined aquifers where septic systems are prevalent may be among the most vulnerable to these potentially health-threatening compounds.
"Measuring the Success of Community Science: The Northern California Household Exposure Study" (with Phil Brown, Rachel Morello-Frosch, Jessica Tovar, Ami R. Zota, and Ruthann A. Rudel). Environmental Health Perspectives 120, no. 3 (2012): 326-331.
Reviewed a project involving environmental sampling in California homes to show how appropriate evaluation strategy can demonstrate how community-based participatory research projects can advance science, support community empowerment, increase environmental health literacy, and generate individual and policy action to protect health.
"Pollution Comes Home and Gets Personal: Women's Experience of Household Chemical Exposure" (with Rebecca Gasior Altman, Rachel Morello-Frosch, Ruthann Rudel, Phil Brown, and Mara Averick). Journal of Health and Social Behavior 49, no. 4 (2009): 417-435.
Reports on interviews conducted with participants in a novel study about environmental chemicals in body fluids and household air and dust; results raise the importance of reporting even uncertain science and underscore the value of a community-based reporting strategy.
"Environmental Pollutants and Breast Cancer" (with Kirsten P. Moysich, Olivier Humblet, Kathleen R. Attfield, Gregory B. Beehler, and Ruthann A. Rudel). Cancer 109 (2007): 2667-2711.
Studies the relevant literature and systematic critical reviews of epidemiological research on environmental pollutants though to be linked to breast cancer to guide future research and exposure reduction aimed at prevention.
"Breast Cancer Risk and Drinking Water Contaminated by Wastewater: A Case Control Study" (with Ann Aschengrau, Wendy McKelvey, Christopher H. Swartz, Theresa Kennedy, and Ruth A. Rudel). Environmental Health: A Global Access Science Source 5, no. 28 (2006).
Presents a case-control study to investigate whether exposure to drinking water contaminated by wastewater increases the risk of breast cancer, focusing on Cape Cod, Massachusetts – an area with a history of wastewater contamination in its public water supplies and a higher incidence of breast cancer among residents.