Jenna Forsyth, a PhD student in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in environment and resources, pursues research that aims to characterize and minimize environmental exposures that undermine child health in low-income countries. Working with communities, she hopes to develop and test solutions to reduce exposures; as part of this work, she is also interested in educational and behavioral approaches to community engagement. Forsyth focuses on heavy metal exposure in Bangladesh and mosquito-borne disease in Kenya. She holds a master's degree in environmental engineering and global health from the University of Washington and a bachelor's degree in biology from Carleton College.
During her PhD research in Bangladesh, Forsyth discovered that lead chromate is added to turmeric to enhance its yellow color. The lead concentrations in turmeric are sufficiently high to cause irreversible damage to human cognitive development, particularly in children. The goals of the proposed project are to build on existing findings by assessing the extent of, and incentives for, lead chromate adulteration across Bangladesh; and engaging stakeholders to develop solutions. These results will inform the design of future interventions in Bangladesh and other major turmeric-producing countries in order to protect supply chains globally.