Research Reports

HEI’s mission is to provide credible science to support environmental regulations and other policy decisions. The results of each HEI-funded project undergo peer-review by outside scientists and the Health Review Committee. The HEI Research Reports contain the Investigator’s Report and the Review Committee’s evaluation of the study, summarized in a Commentary or short Critique.

ISSN 1041-5505 (print)        ISSN 2688-6855 (online) 

Research Report 90
Mark W Frampton
William A Pryor
Rafael Cueto
Christopher Cox
Paul E Morrow
Mark J Utell

Dr. Pryor and colleagues at Louisiana State University developed methods for measuring ozone reaction products in in vitro models of lung lining fluids exposed to ozone and in lung fluids from rats exposed to ozone. During the study, Dr. Mark Frampton of the University of Rochester provided Pryor with lung fluids from humans exposed to air or ozone under controlled conditions. Frampton and colleagues exposed exercising smokers and nonsmokers to filtered air or to 0.22 parts per million (ppm) ozone for four hours.

Research Report 89
Thomas Burbacher

In an effort to improve air quality and decrease dependence on petroleum, alternative fuels such as methanol have been considered to substitute for gasoline or diesel fuel. Methanol is also a candidate to provide the hydrogen for fuel cells. Before people are exposed to increased concentrations of methanol, the potential health effects of such exposures require study. Dr. Burbacher and colleagues of the University of Washington studied the effects of long-term exposure to methanol vapors on metabolism and reproduction in adult female monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) and developmental effects in their offspring, who were exposed prenatally to methanol. 

Research Report 88
Robert R Mercer

In a follow-up study to previous research, Dr. Mercer and colleagues at Duke University exposed three groups of rats continuously for six weeks to 2 or 6 ppm nitric oxide (NO) or to filtered air to learn more about the toxicity of NO so as to compare it with two other important oxidants, ozone and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). At the end of the exposure period he used an electron microscope to measure the number of holes in the alveolar septa and to observe other structural changes, such as in the surface area and the number and type of other abnormalities in the alveolar septa.

Research Report 87
Assieh A Melikian
Min Meng
Ray O’Connor
Peifeng Hu
Seth M Thompson

Dr. Melikian and colleagues at the American Health Foundation developed and validated a novel, practical method for assaying metabolites of benzene in humans methods using a technique known as Liquid Chromatography–Electrospray Ionization–Tandem Mass Spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS/MS) to measure benzene metabolites in human urine.

Research Report 86
William Navidi
Duncan Thomas
Bryan Langholz
Daniel Stram

Dr. Navidi and colleagues at the University of Southern California discussed the development of three sophisticated statistical methods that would improve the estimates of the health effects of air pollution obtained from epidemiologic studies. First, they took a standard case-crossover design and introduced a bidirectional element where control data were obtained both before and after the health event of interest.

Research Report 85
Steven R Kleeberger
Malinda Longphre
Clarke G Tankersley

Dr. Kleeberger and colleagues at Johns Hopkins University compared ozone-induced inflammation, epithelial cell injury, and epithelial cell proliferation (a marker of cell injury) in three types of mice: mice with a normal content of mast cells, mutant mice without mast cells, and mutant mice whose mast cells were repleted by a bone marrow transplant from normal mice. Each group of mice was exposed to clean air or to ozone for varying lengths of time.

Research Report 84
Andrew J Grosovsky
Jennifer C Sasaki
Janet Arey
David Eastmond
Karyn K Parks
Roger Atkinson

Dr. Arey and colleagues of the University of California, Riverside, examined the genotoxic potential of two PAHs (naphthalene and phenanthrene) that are common air pollutants, and a subset of their atmospheric transformation products. The investigators evaluated the genotoxicity of these compounds using a variety of human cell lines with a range of metabolic capabilities. They examined the ability of these compounds to produce small-scale (damage to genes) and large-scale (damage to chromosomes) genetic damage.

Research Report 83
Douglas W. Dockery
C Arden Pope III
Richard E Kanner
G Martin Villegas
Joel Schwartz

Drs. Douglas Dockery at the Harvard School of Public Health and C. Arden Pope III at Brigham Young University speculated that exposure to PM might lead to a transient drop in blood oxygenation, which might have serious consequences in humans with heart or lung problems. The investigators designed a study to increase the possibility of observing PM effects by testing a potentially at-risk group (the elderly) at a time of year that historically had experienced relatively high levels of PM (the winter).

Research Report 65-XIII
Kent E Pinkerton
Barbara L Weller
Margaret G Ménache
Charles G Plopper

Ozone, a common outdoor air pollutant, is a highly reactive gas and a major component of smog. A public health concern is that prolonged exposure to ozone might damage the airways and contribute to the development of noncancerous respiratory diseases. To examine this issue, the Health Effects Institute collaborated with the NTP to provide HEI-funded investigators access to animals that underwent the same rigorously controlled ozone exposure and quality assurance processes along with the animals used for NTP studies. One of the NTP/HEI investigator groups, Dr.

Research Report 82
Edward L Avol
William Navidi
Edward B Rappaport
John M Peters

Dr. John Peters and colleagues of the University of Southern California School of Medicine compared the lung function, respiratory symptoms, activity levels, and bronchodilator use of 10- to 12-year-old healthy, asthmatic, and wheezy children. They conducted the study in Southern California during mid-spring (when ozone levels were expected to be low) and late summer (when ozone levels were expected to be high).