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 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.

Research Report 172
Thomas J Smith
Mary E Davis
Jaime E Hart
Andrew Blicharz
Francine Laden
Eric Garshick
December 2012
Topics: 

This report describes a study that measured concentrations of selected volatile organic compounds and particulate matter in locations with potentially high levels of air pollution that could make them "hot spots" for human exposure. Dr. Thomas Smith of the Harvard School of Public Health and colleagues measured pollutant concentrations at upwind and downwind locations at the perimeter of the terminals, as well as inside truck cabs, at 15 truck terminals.

Research Report 168
Richard D Morgenstern
Winston Harrington
Jhih-Shyang Shih
Michelle L Bell
November 2012

This report describes a study that analyzed the relationships between reductions in pollutants from power plants and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) concentrations in the eastern United States between 1999 and 2005. Dr. Richard D. Morgenstern of Resources for the Future and colleagues used a novel data-driven source-receptor model to explore the statistical relationships between source emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides and monitored concentrations of PM2.5. They performed various external comparisons of their models, and compared the reductions to an estimated counterfactual scenario in which no mandated reductions in SO2 occurred.

Research Report 171
Isabelle Romieu
Nelson Gouveia
Luis A. Cifuentes
and teams of investigators in Brazil, Chile and Mexico
October 2012

This report describes the first-ever multicity study to estimate the effect of short-term exposures to particulate matter (PM10) and to ozone on mortality in nine Latin American cities. Led by Dr. Isabelle Romieu in Mexico, in collaboration with Dr. Nelson Gouveia in Brazil and Dr. Luis Cifuentes in Chile, the researchers evaluated mortality from all causes and in different age groups, using a common analytic framework. They analyzed mortality in each city and the region as a whole, and explored two pollutant models in individual cities. They also used two meta-analytic statistical techniques to further analyze the effects from individual cities.

Research Report 166
Jacob D McDonald
Jeffrey C Bemis
Lance M Hallberg
Daniel J Conklin
Maiying Kong
September 2012

This report provides the first systematic look at the health effects of exposures to emissions from a new-technology heavy-duty diesel engine. Included in this report are results obtained in rats and mice exposed for 1 and 3 months (and some results in rats at 12 months) to exhaust from a 2007-compliant diesel engine with aftertreatment to reduce particulate matter concentrations. Part 1 describes the core inhalation study by Drs. Jake McDonald and Joe Mauderly of the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, with results on general organ toxicity, lung histopathology, pulmonary function, and markers of inflammation and oxidative stress in blood and lung lavage fluid. Parts 2 and 3 describe studies by Drs. Jeffrey Bemis of Litron Laboratories and Lance Hallberg of the University of Texas Medical Branch, respectively, assessing genotoxic endpoints in the exposed rodents. Part 4 describes a study of vascular markers by Daniel Conklin of the University of Louisville. The Preface to this report contains background information about the planning and designing of the study, including decisions regarding the diesel exhaust dilutions and the choice of rodent strains.

Research Report 170
Chit-Ming Wong
Ari Rabl
Thuan Q Thach
Yuen Kwan Chau
King Pan Chan
Benjamin J Cowling
Hak Kan Lai
Tai Hing Lam
Sarah M McGhee
H Ross Anderson
Anthony J Hedley
August 2012

This report describes a study to explore the role that specific chemical constituents of particulate air pollution may have played in effects on daily mortality observed after the 1990 Hong Kong restriction on sulfur in fuels. The study was part of HEI's Outcomes Research program, which aims to assess the health impacts of actions taken to improve air quality. Dr. Chit-Ming Wong of the University of Hong Kong and his team also developed methods to estimate the impacts on life expectancy of the 1990 sulfur restriction.

Research Report 169
HEI Collaborative Working Group on Air Pollution, Poverty, and Health in Ho Chi Minh City
June 2012

This report describes a study to investigate the relationships among daily variations in air pollution in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC), Vietnam, hospital admissions for acute lower respiratory infections in children under age 5, and poverty. The study was part of HEI's Public Health and Air Pollution in Asia (PAPA) program and is the first study of air quality and health to be performed in Vietnam. The team of investigators, led by Drs. Le Truong Giang, Long Ngo, and Sumi Mehta, collected daily pollutant data for PM10, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and ozone at multiple locations throughout the city and obtained admissions data from the two pediatric hospitals in HCMC. They then performed statistical analysis on the data using Poisson time-series and case–crossover methods.

Research Report 167
Christopher J Paciorek
Yang Liu
May 2012

This report describes a study to assess the ability of satellite-based measurements from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) satellites to fill spatial and temporal gaps in existing monitoring networks in the eastern United States. Dr. Paciorek and colleagues developed statistical models for integrating monitoring, satellite, and geographic information system (GIS) data to estimate monthly ambient PM2.5 concentrations and used those models to estimate monthly average PM2.5 concentrations across the eastern United States. They then developed and applied statistical methods to quantify how uncertainties in exposure estimates based on ground-level monitoring data might be reduced. This study was funded under the Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award.