Particulate matter is a complex mixture of particles of various sizes and chemcical composition originating from combustion and other sources. Over the past decades, research has focused on the question which particles may be more toxic than others, but it remains difficult to disentangle the effects of different types of particles fromeach other or from other pollutants.
HEI has conducted extensive research in this area, most recently with the completion of the National Particle Component Toxicity (NPACT) program (see HEI reports by Lippmann and Vedal). These studies have made a major contribution to the policy arena by showing that none of the particle components could be definitively excluded as not having an effect on public health, thus supporting the current regulatory approach to target the entire particulate matter mixture.
While fine particulate matter (particles less than 2.5 micrometer in aerodynamic diameter or PM2.5) has been the focus of a large number of recent studies, the effects of ultrafine particles (less than 100 nanometer) and larger, coarse particles (between 2.5 and 10 micrometer) from brake and tire wear and road dust cannot be discounted. In 2013, HEI published a comprehensive review of what is known about emissions, toxicity, and health effects of ultrafine particles.
This New Investigator Award study evaluated whether ambient PM exposure increases the risk for dementia and mild cognitive impairment, using data from the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS) cohort.
This New Investigator Award study investigates the toxicity of fine particulate matter formed from the photochemical oxidation of isoprene, in indoor and outdoor smog-chamber facilities. Experiments will feature synthesized isoprene oxidation products, mixtures of isoprene, diesel PM and urban VOCs, and also urban (“high” NOx) and downwind-urban (“low” NOx) conditions with an acidic seed.
This New Investigator Award study uses portable, real-time sensors to assess misclassification associated with surrogate measures of exposure in a panel of participants that live close to, or far from, traffic and have electric or gas cook stoves. The focus is on ultrafine particles, PM2.5, black carbon, and NO2.
This study will be examining the effect of exposure to air pollution on biomarkers of cardiovascular metabolic risk and blood-borne whole genome gene expression profiles in a cohort with clinically evident heart disease.