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The Health Effects Institute

What's New?

This is where we will announce the most recent additions to our web site. If you have visited us before and want to know what has changed, take a look here first.
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HEI seeks candidates for Staff Scientist position – July 2014 NEW
The Health Effects Institute seeks highly qualified applicants with expertise in epidemiology and quantitative risk assessment to assist in the conduct and management of a multi-year international project to estimate the burden of disease due to major sources of air pollution. For the full position description and qualifications, click here.

HEI publishes report on a dispersion model for ultrafine particles – June 2014
Research Report 179, Development and Application of an Aerosol Screening Model for Size-Resolved Urban Aerosols, describes a study in which a model to simulate the dispersion of ultrafine particles near roadways was developed and tested. Understanding what happens to ultrafines near roadways – and how that influences exposure – is a key area that HEI’s Perspectives 3 on ultrafines (2013) identified. Dr. Charles Stanier at the University of Iowa– Iowa City, a recipient of HEI’s Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award, used a Lagrangian dispersion framework to predict hourly and 24-hour particle number and size distributions and compared them with measured concentrations from previous studies at 11 sites in Los Angeles and Riverside counties in California. To download HEI Research Report 179, including a Critique by the HEI Health Review Committee, click here.

HEI publishes report on personal exposure to volatile organic compounds – June 2014
Research Report 181, Personal Exposure to Mixtures of Volatile Organic Compounds: Modeling and Further Analysis of the RIOPA Data, describes a study to identify factors that influence exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and VOC mixtures. Dr. Stuart Batterman at the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor and colleagues used the extensive data that HEI posted on the web from the Relationships of Indoor, Outdoor, and Personal Air (RIOPA) study (HEI Research Report 130 Parts I and II), and data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), to characterize exposure distributions for 15 VOCs, with an emphasis on high concentrations. Factors examined included geographic location, weather, characteristics of participants’ homes, and specific activities, such as pumping gas. To download HEI Research Report 181, including a Critique by the HEI Health Review Committee, click here.

HEI Spring Update now available – May 2014
The Spring 2014 Update newsletter is now available. Read about HEI’s recent workshop on assessing diesel epidemiology studies, a new initiative that addresses research on unconventional oil and gas development (see also a related news item on this page), and a recent meeting of HEI sponsors and the HEI Research Committee to discuss strategic planning for the next 5 years. Also, the institute’s Research Committee welcomes a new epidemiologist, and HEI announces the 2013 recipient of its Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award. To download the newsletter, click here.

HEI announces Special Committee on Unconventional Oil and Gas Development – May 2014
There is a growing need to improve understanding of the potential health and environmental impacts of unconventional oil and gas development. In response to this need, and with support from a number of foundations in the Appalachian region, HEI has convened a committee of experts to develop a strategic plan to guide future research. This HEI initiative is designed to summarize, by late 2014, what is known about the potential human health, ecologic, environmental, and social effects of unconventional oil and gas development in the Appalachian Basin. By mid-2015, the committee will also develop a strategic plan to guide research aimed at answering key questions at the regional as well as national level. For more information please read the Press Release. PDF For a summary and presentations from the UOG Development Public Workshop, click here.

HEI releases draft Strategic Plan 2015-2020 – May 2014
HEI presented its draft Strategic Plan PDF for the period 2015 through 2020 at the HEI Annual Conference in Alexandria, VA. We welcome your feedback and ideas for potential research directions. Please send your suggestions to HEIPlan@healtheffects.org by June 15, 2014.

HEI publishes report on ultrafine particles in and around diesel school buses – March 2014
Research Report 180, Characterizing Ultrafine Particles and Other Air Pollutants In and Around School Buses, describes a study that assessed levels of ultrafine particles and other pollutants around diesel engine school buses and identified factors contributing to those levels. Dr. Yifang Zhu at the University of California–Los Angeles, a recipient of HEI’s Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award, measured pollutant levels in and around school buses while driving, while idling, before and after retrofitting with a diesel particle filter and/or oxidation catalyst, and before and after installing an in-cabin filtration system. To download HEI Research Report 180, including a Critique by the HEI Health Review Committee, click here.

HEI Winter Update now available – February 2014
The Winter 2014 Update newsletter is now available. Read about the recently published ACES Phase 2 Study, which shows dramatic reductions in emissions of particulate matter and nitrogen oxides from the newest heavy-duty diesel engines. The upcoming HEI Annual Conference will take place in the DC area and spotlight science to inform the future. You can also read about HEI’s role in making data on air pollution and health accessible and a new funding opportunity for studies on non-tailpipe and tailpipe emissions near urban roads and in tunnels. Also read about HEI’s new Strategic Plan 2015-2020. To download the newsletter, click here.

HEI publishes 2013 Annual Report – January 2014
The 2013 Annual Report describes HEI’s unique ability to work with scientists, government, industry, and the environmental community to produce impartial, relevant science that can be trusted for use in often-controversial public policy decisions. The report outlines HEI’s responses to important, tough questions posed by government and industry on several fronts, including whether some sources of particles are more or less toxic, whether new epidemiologic studies on the potential for exhaust from older diesel engines to cause cancer are suitable for risk assessment, and global questions on air quality and health. To view the 2013 Annual Report, please click here.

HEI issues Winter 2014 Research Agenda – January 2014
HEI has issued its Winter 2014 RFA booklet, which includes RFPA 14-1: Enhancing Near-Road Exposure Assessment Through Characterization of Non-tailpipe and Tailpipe Emissions Near Urban Roads and in Tunnels, and RFA 14-2: Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award. Please check our Funding page for more information and instructions on how to apply.

HEI announces report on emissions characterization of 2010-compliant diesel engines – December 2013
The Phase 2 report of the Advanced Collaborative Emissions Study (ACES) is now available on the Coordinating Research Council (CRC) Web site, www.crcao.org; it describes work conducted by Dr. Imad Khalek and colleagues at Southwest Research Institute and Desert Research Institute. As part of ACES Phase 2, the investigators conducted detailed emissions characterization of three recent model heavy-duty diesel engines that meet strict U.S. EPA 2010 standards for particulate matter and nitrogen oxide emissions. This important publication represents the fifth report from ACES, a collaborative project between HEI and CRC to provide emissions and health effects testing of new technology diesel engines. Please click on the following links to download free copies: Press Release,PDF Executive Summary,PDF and the CRC Report: ACES Phase 2.PDF

HEI publishes report testing a new statistical approach for air pollution research – November 2013
Research Report 175, New Statistical Approaches to Semiparametric Regression with Application to Air Pollution Research, describes semiparametric methods for epidemiologic investigations of the short-term effects of air pollution on health, intended specifically to improve the reliability of point estimates and confidence intervals. Dr. James Robins of the Harvard School of Public Health and colleagues developed the new methods, used simulations to compare them with other methods, and applied them to a large epidemiologic data set from the National Morbidity, Mortality, and Air Pollution Study (NMMAPS) to assess their effectiveness. The report is accompanied by a short editorial to assist the reader in understanding this study and its contributions to epidemiologic methods for air pollution. To download HEI Research Report 175, including the editorial and a Critique by the HEI Health Review Committee, click here.

HEI publishes two reports as part of the National Particle Component Toxicity (NPACT) initiative – October 2013
HEI’s NPACT reports describe the most systematic multidisciplinary studies to date to investigate the health effects of particulate matter (PM) components in humans and animal models at locations across the United States where the effects of PM sources and components may differ. Research Report 177, National Particle Component Toxicity (NPACT) Initiative: Integrated Epidemiologic and Toxicologic Studies of the Health Effects of Particulate Matter Components, led by Dr. Morton Lippmann at New York University, and Research Report 178, National Particle Component Toxicity (NPACT) Initiative Report on Cardiovascular Effects, led by Dr. Sverre Vedal at the University of Washington, include three cohort studies of long-term effects and one time-series study of short-term effects in exposed populations, and three toxicology studies in which animals and cell cultures were exposed to particles or mixtures from different airsheds or sources. Each report  includes a Commentary and a Synthesis by the NPACT Review Panel. Please click on the following links to download free copies: Press Release PDF, Executive Summary PDF, HEI Research Report 177 (Lippmann et al.), and HEI Research Report 178 (Vedal et al.).

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Last updated July 16, 2014