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2015 Annual Report

annual report 2015

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.

HEI Annual Conference 2017

April 30–May 2, 2017, Alexandria, Virginia


Annual Conference a Mile-High Success – July 2016 NEW
Against a surprise snowy backdrop in May, diverse participants from academia, government, industry, and nongovernmental organizations gathered in Denver, Colorado, for HEI’s 30th Annual Conference. The three-day meeting provided interactive sessions featuring the latest research on air pollution and health and opportunities to meet others with similar interests.
Read more.. PDF Photo collage. PDF Go to program and slide presentations.

HEI publishes report on effectiveness of air quality regulations using causal inference methods – May 2016
HEI Research Report 187, Causal Inference Methods for Estimating Long-Term Health Effects of Air Quality Regulations, was funded as part of HEI’s Accountability research program, aimed at understanding whether actions to improve air quality have resulted in improved health outcomes. Corwin Zigler and his colleagues used existing and newly developed statistical methods to assess whether an intervention was causally related to changes in pollutant levels or health outcomes, and applied their methods in two well-developed case studies: effects of air quality interventions to reduce PM10 concentrations in nonattainment areas and the impact of installation of scrubber technologies on emissions from coal-fired power plants. To download HEI Research Report 187, including a Critique by the HEI Review Committee, click here.

HEI publishes report on ECG changes after exposure to particulate matter – May 2016
HEI Research Report 186, Ambient and Controlled Particle Exposures as Triggers for Acute ECG Changes, reports a study conducted by David Rich and Annette Peters and their teams using data from four previously completed studies (two panel studies and two controlled-exposure studies). Rich and Peters were interested in potential mechanisms behind the effects of short-term exposure to PM2.5 and ultrafine particles on changes in cardiac rhythm, including heart rate variability and other ECG parameters. To download HEI Research Report 186, including a Critique by the HEI Review Committee, click here.

HEI Spring Update now available – May 2016
The Spring Update newsletter features new research, including the third study of low levels of air pollution now underway in Europe, and setting priorities for research on the effects of traffic exposures. Also read about preliminary data on coal’s impact in China from the GBD MAPS project, a new HEI report on using causal inference methods for estimating long-term health effects of air quality regulations, and more. To download the newsletter, click here.

HEI publishes third report on multipollutant statistics – April 2016 
HEI Research Report 183, Part 3, Modeling of Multipollutant Profiles and Spatially Varying Health Effects with Applications to Indicators of Adverse Birth Outcomes, describes a study to develop and apply statistical methods to analyze the effects of multipollutant exposures on health, expanding beyond the two-pollutant approaches used in many studies to date. HEI funded three innovative studies in recent years to improve the tools for analyzing complex multipollutant exposures. In the last report from these studies, John Molitor and colleagues describe a Bayesian framework to identify spatial clusters of air pollution exposures — and other covariates such as socioeconomic status — and estimated pregnancy outcomes associated with those clusters, using a data set for Los Angeles county. To download HEI Research Report 183, Part 3, including a Critique by the HEI Review Committee, click here. See also Research Report 183, Parts 1 and 2.

HEI funds new studies on health effects at low-levels of pollution – February 2016
Three new studies, funded under RFA 14-3, will investigate health effects in millions of people exposed to low levels of air pollution in North America and Europe. The studies aim to shed light on the observation that some epidemiologic studies have reported associations of air pollution with health effects at levels below current air quality standards, raising questions as to whether current standards are protective of the general population. The principal investigators are Michael Brauer of the University of British Columbia, Bert Brunekreef of Utrecht University, and Francesca Dominici of Harvard University. They will use state-of-the-science exposure estimation and statistical methods to analyze large population-based databases in Canada, Europe, and the United States, respectively. Read more in the Fall Update Newsletter.

HEI Publishes its Annual Report for 2015 – January 2016
The 2015 Annual Report – Vision 2020 – describes HEI’s partnership with government and industry to provide high-quality science to inform policy decisions about air quality and public health. The report highlights the vision underlying HEI’s Strategic Plan 2015-2020 and outlines HEI’s contributions in the past year to important questions posed by its sponsors: effects at low pollution levels, traffic pollution, the risk of lung cancer from exposure to diesel engine emissions, and global effects of air pollution. The report also describes how HEI has employed its model for balanced science to design a research agenda for studying unconventional oil and gas development, using separate funding. To download the Annual Report, click here.

New HEI study highlights emissions, health benefits of US 2007/2010 and EURO VI/6 Diesel Engines – December 2015
The new Executive Summary of the Advanced Collaborative Emissions Study (ACES) summarizes the main findings of emissions and health testing of new technology heavy-duty diesel engines capable of meeting US 2007/2010 and EURO VI/6 diesel emissions standards. The results demonstrated the dramatic improvements in emissions and the absence of any significant health effects (especially cancer). ACES was the most comprehensive examination done to date of engines meeting the US 2007 and 2010 on-road standards. This new Executive Summary presents the main findings of all three phases of the project and places the results in the context of health risk assessment, noting that “the overall toxicity of exhaust from modern diesel engines is significantly decreased compared with the toxicity of emissions from traditional-technology diesel engines.” Press Release PDF. To download the Executive Summary, click here.

HEI releases long-anticipated review of diesel epidemiology studies – November 2015
An Expert Panel appointed by the HEI Board of Directors has completed its intensive review and analysis of the newest studies of mine and truck workers exposed to older diesel engine exhaust. In its report, HEI’s Diesel Epidemiology Panel concluded that the studies are well prepared and useful for applying the data to calculate the cancer risk due to exposure to diesel exhaust. The Panel noted, however, that efforts to apply these studies to estimate human risk at today’s ambient levels will need to consider the much lower levels of emission pollutants from newer diesel technology as well as the limitations they identified in each study. Press Release PDF. To download the Special Report or the Executive Summary click here.

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Last updated July 19, 2016