Blocked Shots: Webinar Examining the Basis, Nature and Public Health Impact of Vaccine Exemption Laws

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Most states in the U.S. currently permit non-medical exemptions for childhood vaccinations based on philosophical, personal and religious beliefs. Proponents of non-medical exemptions maintain that disease prevention is an individual responsibility, and that vaccinations are not completely safe or effective. Exemption opponents counter that mandating vaccinations protects the public’s health by decreasing the incidence of preventable disease, hospitalizations and deaths. This webinar will examine the legal and ethical basis for vaccination requirements, review a recent assessment of how non-medical vaccination exemption laws impact the annual incidence rates of vaccine-targeted diseases, and explore how states are changing their vaccine exemption laws. The webinar will be held Wednesday, February 19, 2014 at 1 p.m. (ET).

Public Health Law Research Opens 6th Funding Round

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Public Health Law Research (PHLR) has released its sixth call for proposals on studies that focus on the effects of laws and policies on public health.

The new call for proposals is available online:

The deadline for submitting proposals is April 15, 2014 at 3 p.m. ET.

As much as $1.25 million is available in this round of funding for short-term studies. Studies up to 18 months long will be funded at up to $150,000 each.

Webinar: Exploring and Understanding the Role of Public Health Law Research

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Join PHLR Associate Director Jennifer Ibrahim, PhD, MPH as she hosts a webinar on January 31 at 1:30 p.m. ET. Dr. Ibrahim will discuss how public health law research fits in with other areas of public health research, public health law research methods and theory, and resources available to address challenges in the field.

PHLR Funds Nine New Studies

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The public health effects of laws on issues such as prescription drug abuse, occupational health and safety, and distracted driving will be investigated through nine new research projects. The grants announced today total nearly $1.1 million and will support short-term and time-sensitive studies on specific laws or regulations and the development of legal datasets.

Exposure to Lead-Contaminated Drinking Water Associated with Reduced Birth Rates and Increased Fetal Death, New Study Finds

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Increased exposure to lead-contaminated drinking water in Washington, DC, is a possible cause for a sharp increase in fetal deaths and somewhat lower birth rates in the region in 2000 to 2003 and again from 2007 to 2009, according to a new study published online by the journal Environmental Science and Technology.

The study attributes the spike in fetal deaths from 2001-2003 to a switch in drinking water disinfectant from chlorine to chloramine, which caused an unintended release of lead from plumbing material into drinking water.  

Strengthening the Criteria for Non-Medical Exemptions for Vaccines Could Decrease Cases of Whooping Cough, New Study Finds

Thursday, December 12, 2013

State laws that set strict standards for children to be exempted from vaccines on religious or philosophical grounds could reduce the number of whooping cough cases, but not measles, mumps, haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) or Hepatitis B, according to a new study published today in the American Journal of Public Health.

Maps outlining water quality regulations related to oil and gas development now available

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A new interactive map detailing laws and regulations governing water quality issues associated with increased shale oil and gas activities in 11 states was released today on The map includes laws and regulations from Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wyoming. 

These states overlay major shale regions, such as the Bakken, Eagle Ford, Greater Green River, Marcellus, Niobrara, Piceance, San Juan, Permian, Powder River, Mancos, and Uinta.

State Child Car Seat Laws Are Leaving Many Children Unprotected, Study Finds

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Many state laws on car seats and seat belts may leave children unprotected and vulnerable to injuries caused in vehicle crashes, according to a new study published this week in Social Science and Medicine.

In the US, nearly 250,000 children are injured every year in car crashes, and approximately 2,000 die from their injuries, according to federal data. Most of these fatalities and injuries are preventable.

Map Outlining Laws Governing the Release and Use of Personally Identifiable Information Now Available

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

An interactive map examining laws that govern the release and use of communicable disease-related patient information is now available on, the Public Health Law Research (PHLR) website dedicated to legal and policy surveillance. The newly released map examines laws across all 50 states and the District of Columbia and clarifies the varied national lands