This multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary Center addresses critical issues relating to the public health impacts of ambient air pollution. The overarching theme of the Center is a focus on characterizing ambient air pollution mixtures and elucidating their role in human health risks associated with air pollution. Novel measurements and modeling approaches are applied in the context of a tiered multi-scale assessment of the health risks of mixtures characterized based on: 1) biological considerations (oxidants); 2) environmental management (sources); 3) evidence-based considerations (traffic emissions); 4) empirical assessment (data-based approach).
Approach. Four Research Projects are supported by three Cores: an Administrative Core, an Air Quality Core and a Biostatistics Core. Project 1 develops and deploys instrumentation to measure oxidants (including aerosol reactive oxygen species) and other species of interest to better understand their origins and atmospheric transformation and for use in characterizing mixtures for the three health studies. Project 2 makes direct use of these measurements to confirm associations with markers of oxidative stress in commuters. Projects 3 and 4 use a combination of measurements and modeled air quality estimates in large population studies, with Project 3 investigating questions regarding risks of in utero and early life exposures to air pollutant mixtures in two major new birth cohorts and Project 4 assessing underlying consistencies in morbidity associations across selected cities that have comprehensive daily air pollution characterization. The health projects include assessment of potentially sensitive and vulnerable subpopulations.
Expected Results. The Center brings together a productive group of researchers with depth in the relevant disciplines and access to rich air quality and health outcome databases to conduct an integrated and innovative research program. The research program will contribute important new insights regarding health effects of air pollution mixtures.