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 182
Thomas H Barker
Marilyn M Dysart
Ashley C Brown
Alison M Douglas
Vincent F Fiore
Armistead (Ted) G Russell
November 2014

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
June 2014

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
June 2014

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.

Research Report 180
Yifang Zhu
Qunfang Zhang
March 2014

This report 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.

Research Report 175
James M Robins
Peng Zhang
Rajeev Ayyagari
Roger Logan
Eric Tchetgen Tchetgen
Lingling Li
Thomas Lumley
Aad van der Vaart
November 2013

This report 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.

Research Report 177
Morton Lippmann
Lung Chi Chen
Terry Gordon
Kazuhiko Ito
George D Thurston
October 2013

This report describes the results of a study of long-term effects of PM components in the American Cancer Society's Cancer Prevention Study II cohort; a time-series study of short-term effects of PM components on cardiovascular and other diseases in people living in 150 U.S. cities; and two toxicologic studies in animals exposed by inhalation to concentrated ambient particles, and in animals and human cells exposed to particles collected on filters from five different airsheds across the United States. This report, along with Research Report 178 (Vedal et al.), is one of HEI's National Particle Component Toxicity (NPACT) studies, which describe the most systematic multidisciplinary studies to date to investigate the health effects of PM components in humans and animal models at locations across the United States where the effects of PM sources and components may differ. The report includes a Commentary and a Synthesis by the NPACT Review Panel.

Research Report 178
Sverre Vedal
Matthew J Campen
Jacob D McDonald
Joel D Kaufman
Timothy V Larson
Paul D Sampson
Lianne Sheppard
Christopher D Simpson
Adam A Szpiro
October 2013

This report describes the results of two cohort studies of long-term effects of PM components on subclinical and clinical markers of cardiovascular diseases and a toxicologic study in which animals were exposed to mixtures of vehicle engine emissions and non-vehicular PM and analyzed for vascular effects. Section 3 contains an integrated discussion of the studies. This report, along with Research Report 177 (Lippmann et al.), is one of HEI's National Particle Component Toxicity (NPACT) studies, which describe the most systematic multidisciplinary studies to date to investigate the health effects of PM components in humans and animal models at locations across the United States where the effects of PM sources and components may differ. The report includes a Commentary and a Synthesis by the NPACT Review Panel.

Research Report 176
Douglas W Dockery
David Q Rich
Patrick G Goodman
Luke Clancy
Pamela Ohman-Strickland
Prethibha George
Tania Kotlov
July 2013

This report revisits an earlier study of the air pollution and health impacts of a coal ban in Dublin, Ireland, and then extends the analysis to coal bans in 11 additional Irish cities. Dr. Douglas W. Dockery of the Harvard School of Public Health and colleagues evaluated changes in black smoke and sulfur dioxide concentrations for the 5 years before and after the coal bans and examined how those changes related to mortality and hospitalization rates in the counties affected by the bans, as compared with other counties where coal bans were not implemented. They also included in their analysis other trends in health and social factors that were occurring at the same time.

Research Report 174
Junfeng (Jim) Zhang
Tong Zhu
Howard Kipen
Guangfa Wang
Wei Huang
David Rich
Ping Zhu
Yuedan Wang
Shou-En Lu
Pamela Ohman-Strickland
Scott Diehl
Min Hu
Jian Tong
Jicheng Gong
Duncan Thomas
March 2013

This report describes a study to evaluate a series of aggressive policies intended to reduce local and regional emissions in the greater Beijing metropolitan area leading up to and during the 2008 Olympics. Dr. Junfeng (Jim) Zhang of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and colleagues evaluated the impact of the likely changes in air pollution levels on cardiovascular responses in 125 healthy young participants before, during, and after the Beijing Olympics. The investigators used mixed models and time-series methods to analyze associations between pollutant levels and biomarkers.

Research Report 173
Murray V Johnston
Joseph P Klems
Christopher A Zordan
M Ross Pennington
James N Smith
February 2013

This report describes a study in which a nano aerosol mass spectrometer (NAMS) was used to study composition of nanoparticles in real time near a major roadway intersection. Dr. Murray V. Johnston of the University of Delaware, Newark, and colleagues conducted a field test in Wilmington, Delaware, to evaluate performance of the instrument in a real-world setting and to assess whether it could aid in identifying the major source contributions to nanoparticle spikes and background levels, including distinguishing diesel from gasoline vehicles.