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 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.

Research Report 165
Marc A Riedl
David Diaz-Sanchez
William S Linn
Henry Gong Jr
Kenneth W Clark
Richard M Effros
J Wayne Miller
David R Cocker
Kiros T Berhane
February 2012

This report describes a study evaluating the effects of exposure to diesel exhaust (DE) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) on the lower airways and blood of allergic asthmatic participants. The study by Dr. Riedl and colleagues was funded as part of HEI's research program looking at diesel exhaust and other particle exposures and allergic response. The participants were exposed in random order to 100 µg/m3 diesel exhaust or 0.35 ppm nitrogen dioxide for 2 hours, with or without an allergen inhalation challenge. The investigators measured multiple physiologic and pulmonary function endpoints, including specific airway resistance, oxygen saturation, bronchial reactivity, and inflammatory and immunologic endpoints.

Research Report 161
Michelle L Bell
January 2012

This report describes a study by Dr. Michelle Bell of Yale University to evaluate the effects of exposure to components of the PM2.5 mixture on short-term morbidity and mortality, using data on 52 components of PM2.5 for 187 US counties. The report explores regional and seasonal variation in the chemical composition of PM2.5 and whether this variation affects the association between short-term exposure to PM and health effects. This study was funded under the Walter A. Rosenblith New Investigator Award.

Research Report 162
Curtis W Noonan
Tony J Ward
William Navidi
Lianne Sheppard
Megan Bergauff
Chris Palmer
December 2011
This report describes a study evaluating a community-wide program to improve air quality in a rural mountain community (Libby, Montana) by replacing older, more polluting wood stoves with new, less polluting stoves. Over the course of 4 winters, Dr. Noonan and colleagues measured PM2.5 and markers for wood smoke outdoors, in schools, and in about 20 homes before and after stove changeout. In parallel, they tracked children's respiratory symptoms (based on parental surveys) and school absences.