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 188
Jun Wu
Olivier Laurent
Lianfa Li
Jianlin Hu
Michael Kleeman

HEI Research Report 188 analyzes associations between increases in various air pollution exposure metrics and increased risks of preterm birth. Jun Wu was funded under HEI's Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award to conduct a comprehensive nested, case-control study of air pollution and adverse birth and pregnancy outcomes, using birth certificate data collected in California from 2001 to 2008. 

Research Report 186
David Q Rich
Annette Peters
Alexandra Schneider
Wojciech Zareba
Susanne Breitner
David Oakes
Jelani Wiltshire
Cathleen Kane
Mark W Frampton
Regina Hampel
Philip K Hopke
Josef Cyrys
Mark J Utell

Using data from four previously completed studies (two panel studies and two controlled-exposure studies), David Rich and Annette Peters and their teams investigated 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.

Research Report 187
Corwin M. Zigler
Chanmin Kim
Christine Choirat
John Barrett Hansen
Yun Wang
Lauren Hund
Jonathan Samet
Gary King
Francesca Dominici

HEI Research Report 187 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 M. 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.

Research Report 183, Part 3
John Molitor
Eric Coker
Michael Jerrett
Beate Ritz
Arthur Li

This report is Part 3 of HEI Research Report 183, Development of Statistical Methods for Multipollutant Research. It 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 this 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. 

Research Report 185
Patrick H Ryan
Cole Brokamp
Zhi-Hua (Tina) Fan
MB Rao

This report describes a study by Dr. Patrick Ryan at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He used the RIOPA data – which HEI has made available to all scientists on the Web to further explore relationships among the elemental composition of indoor, outdoor, and personal PM2.5 samples collected at participant’s homes. His analyses included traditional and novel approaches to comparing the samples.

Research Report 183, Parts 1 and 2
Brent A Coull
et al.
Eun Sug Park
et al.

This report contains two studies, by Drs. Brent A Coull and Eun Sug Park and their colleagues, and a Commentary discussing each study individually, as well as an Integrative Discussion of the two. 
Part 1. Statistical Learning Methods for the Effects of Multiple Air Pollution ConstituentsBrent A. Coull et al.
Part 2. Development of Enhanced Statistical Methods for Assessing Health Effects Associated with an Unknown Number of Major Sources of Multiple Air Pollutants. Eun Sug Park et al. 

Research Report 184
Jacob D McDonald
Jeffrey C Bemis
Lance M Hallberg
Daniel J Conklin

This report describes four studies conducted as a single phase (Phase 3B) of HEI's Advanced Collaborative Emissions Study (ACES) program, which was designed to evaluate the emissions and health changes resulting from substantially improved diesel engines required under the U.S. EPA 2007–2010 Heavy Duty Diesel Rule. These studies were conducted by Drs. Jacob D. McDonald of the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Jeffrey C. Bemis of Litron Laboratories, Rochester, New York, Lance M. Hallberg of the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, and Daniel J. Conklin, University of Louisville, Kentucky.

Research Report 182
Thomas H Barker
Marilyn M Dysart
Ashley C Brown
Alison M Douglas
Vincent F Fiore
Armistead (Ted) G Russell

This report is a study focused on lung tissue repair processes after inflammation and injury resulting from exposure to particulate matter (PM) from combustion sources. Dr. Thomas H. Barker of Georgia Institute of Technology, a recipient of HEI's Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award, and his colleagues tested the hypotheses that alveolar epithelial cells grown on substrates of increasing stiffness would transition to mesenchymal cells — an early step along the pathway to fibrosis — and that the addition of fine PM would enhance these effects.

Research Report 181
Stuart Batterman
Feng-Chiao Su
Shi Li
Bhramar Mukherjee
Chunrong Jia

This report 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.

Research Report 179
Charles O Stanier
Sang-Rin Lee

This report 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.