The NCEH/ATSDR “Meet the Scientist” series provides insight into the work of NCEH/ATSDR scientists. The series also aims to give you a sense of the talented people who are working to keep you safe and secure from things in the environment that threaten our nation’s health.
Meet Xiaoyun “Sherry” Ye, winner of NCEH/ATSDR Excellence in Applied Research and Excellence in Public Health Protection awards. Sherry’s an NCEH/ATSDR Division of Laboratory Sciences (DLS) scientist who helps keep you and your family safe from BPAs. Ever wondered what’s behind that “BPA Free” label on your plastic bottle? Read on to find out.
Sherry’s originally from China. She received her B.S. degree (1987) and M.S. degree (1990), both in Analytical Chemistry, from Xiamen University in China. She came to the United States in 1992 and received her second M.S. degree in Inorganic Chemistry/Analytical Chemistry from the University of Alabama in 1995.
Path to Public Health and Working at CDC
Before joining the CDC, Sherry worked as a research chemist in the private sector for seven years. In 2002, through a friend who was a DLS scientist, she got to know more about the biomonitoring program. “The program, which assesses human exposure to environmental chemicals and the impact of interventions on public health, is interesting to me,” said Sherry. In 2003, she joined the personal care product laboratory in DLS as a service fellow.
Sherry’s Work With BPA
BPA stands for bisphenol A, a chemical found in certain plastics and used in a wide variety of consumer products. BPA is also one of the chemicals assessed in the biomonitoring program Sherry works on.
Did You Know?
Since 2004, the DLS Biomonitoring Program has released three updates on national exposure to BPA (NHANES 2005-06, 07-08, and 09-10).
She explained that due to its extensive use, human exposure to BPA is widespread. “There is concern human exposure because BPA is an endocrine disruptor. This means it interferes with the body’s endocrine system.
At CDC, we use state-of-the-art analytical techniques to measure BPA in urine samples collected from National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). This allows us to assess BPA exposure in the U.S. general population. Our biomonitoring program provided the first assessment of national exposure to BPA. The Journal of Environmental Health Perspectives in 2008 published our findings on BPA exposure in the U.S. general population (NHANES 2003-2004). Our findings indicated that BPA was detected in over 90% of people, suggesting the U.S. general population had widespread exposure to BPA.”
What’s Most Rewarding about Her Work?
According to Sherry, “Seeing the impact of our work on public health is the most rewarding thing. Because of our research and that of many other researchers who use CDC’s BPA biomonitoring data, the public is more aware of BPA exposure.” So how does CDC’s work relate to that “BPA Free” label? “As a result our findings, the regulatory agencies have responded with tighter regulations on BPA application in certain consumer products. Now, if you walk into any store looking for a water or baby bottle, you will most likely find a ‘BPA free’ label on these bottles. This makes me feel very proud to be a scientist working at CDC.”
Activities Outside Work
In her spare time, Sherry likes to listen to music and enjoy family time. “I’m deeply involved in my daughter’s activities and enjoy teaching in the church’s youth program.”
Hope you enjoyed reading about Xiaoyun “Sherry” Ye. Interested in other Meet the Scientist conversations and NCEH/ATSDR accomplishments? Visit the NCEH/ATSDR Your Health, Your Environment blog!