2002 Progress Report: Investigating Chronic Effects of Exposure to Particulate Matter

EPA Grant Number: R827353C006
Subproject: this is subproject number 006 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R827353
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: EPA Harvard Center for Ambient Particle Health Effects
Center Director: Koutrakis, Petros
Title: Investigating Chronic Effects of Exposure to Particulate Matter
Investigators: Dockery, Douglas W.
Current Investigators: Dockery, Douglas W. , Laden, Francine , Schwartz, Joel
Institution: Harvard University
Current Institution: Harvard University , Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: June 1, 1999 through May 31, 2005 (Extended to May 31, 2006)
Project Period Covered by this Report: June 1, 2001 through May 31, 2002
Project Amount: Refer to main center abstract for funding details.
RFA: Airborne Particulate Matter (PM) Centers (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Particulate Matter , Air


The objective of this research project is to assess the cumulative effect of long-term exposures to particulate matter (PM).

Progress Summary:

We have followed up with the Six Cities Study cohort in an effort to assess the cumulative effect of long-term exposures on the incidence of lung cancer, nonmalignant respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, and cause-specific mortality. More specifically, vital status was determined for the 8,111 participants in the Harvard Six Cities adult cohort for an additional 9 years of followup (1990-1998). We identified 1,430 additional deaths bringing the total to 2,737 deaths. Survival analyses of all-cause mortality shows that life expectancy continues to be reduced in the more polluted cities, with the survival relative ranking being the same as that observed in the original study. During the followup-period, 1990-1998, air pollution levels decreased in two of the cities, while they remained about the same in the other four. Accordingly, the relative risk from mortality decreased in these same two cities as compared to the other four. This project has been completed; however, elemental carbon data may be provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which will make it possible to relate morbidity and mortality outcomes to tracers of traffic and power plant emissions. A paper is in preparation by Laden, et al., and an abstract was presented at the 2002 International Society for Environmental Epidemiology Meeting.

We have completed an analysis of the effects of control of particulate air pollution on mortality in Dublin, Ireland (Clancy et al., 2002). Because of high particulate (Black Smoke) levels, the Irish government banned the sale of coal within the city of Dublin as of September 1990. We showed that mean Black Smoke concentrations dropped by 36 µg/m3 following the ban. After adjusting for the age distribution of the population, weather, influenza epidemics, and background mortality in the rest of Ireland, Dublin total mortality rates dropped by 6 percent, respiratory mortality rates dropped by 16 percent, and cardiovascular mortality rates dropped by 10 percent. This analysis is being extended to other Irish cities that subsequently banned coal sales.


Lippman M, Frampton M, Schwartz J, Dockery DW, Schlesinger R, Koutrakis P, Froines J. The EPA's particulate matter (PM) health effects research centers program: a mid-course (2 1/2 year) report of status, progress, and plans. Environmental Health Perspectives (in press, 2003).

Future Activities:

Future activities include the assessment of the effects of chronic air pollution exposures (using ambient measurements and geographic information systems) on the incidence of disease among participants in ongoing chronic disease studies based on national samples. In the past year of the project, we have added two new investigators who currently are exploring different modeling approaches to assess chronic exposures. To date, the results are very encouraging and it is anticipated that these efforts will be continued over the next 2 years. There are no plans for the collection of health data, because this project will focus exclusively on exposure assessment.

Journal Articles on this Report : 1 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other subproject views: All 4 publications 4 publications in selected types All 4 journal articles
Other center views: All 200 publications 198 publications in selected types All 197 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
Journal Article Clancy L, Goodman P, Sinclair H, Dockery DW. Effect of air-pollution control on death rates in Dublin, Ireland:an intervention study. Lancet 2002;360(9341):1210-1214. R827353 (Final)
R827353C006 (2001)
R827353C006 (2002)
R827353C006 (2003)
R827353C006 (Final)
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Full-text: ScienceDirect-Full Text HTML
  • Abstract: Lancet-Abstract
  • Other: ScienceDirect-Full Text PDF
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    air pollution, air pollutants, particulates, particles, fine particulates, PM, PM2.5, exposure, health effects, Harvard Six Cities Study, lung cancer, nonmalignant respiratory disease, cardiovascular disease, mortality, pulmonary disease, urban air, elemental carbon, morbidity, traffic emissions, power plant emissions, Ireland, Dublin, black smoke, respiratory mortality, cardiovascular mortality., RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, PHYSICAL ASPECTS, Air, ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, particulate matter, Toxicology, air toxics, Environmental Chemistry, Epidemiology, Risk Assessments, Microbiology, Susceptibility/Sensitive Population/Genetic Susceptibility, Environmental Microbiology, Environmental Monitoring, Physical Processes, Children's Health, genetic susceptability, tropospheric ozone, Atmospheric Sciences, Molecular Biology/Genetics, Biology, Environmental Engineering, Risk Assessment, ambient air quality, health effects, interindividual variability, molecular epidemiology, monitoring, particle size, particulates, sensitive populations, chemical exposure, air pollutants, cardiopulmonary responses, health risks, human health effects, indoor exposure, lung, stratospheric ozone, ambient air monitoring, exposure and effects, ambient air, ambient measurement methods, exposure, pulmonary disease, developmental effects, epidemelogy, biological response, respiratory disease, air pollution, ambient monitoring, children, Human Health Risk Assessment, particle exposure, lung cancer, biological mechanism , cardiopulmonary response, chronic effects, human exposure, inhalation, pulmonary, susceptibility, particulate exposure, assessment of exposure, ambient particle health effects, elderly, indoor air, inhaled, atmospheric monitoring, epidemeology, human susceptibility, environmental health hazard, inhalation toxicology, cardiopulmonary, indoor air quality, inhaled particles, human health, measurement methods , air quality, cardiovascular disease, dosimetry, exposure assessment, human health risk, respiratory, measurement methods, genetic susceptibility

    Relevant Websites:

    http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/epacenter/ Exit

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 1999
  • 2000 Progress Report
  • 2001 Progress Report
  • 2003 Progress Report
  • 2004 Progress Report
  • Final Report

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R827353    EPA Harvard Center for Ambient Particle Health Effects

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R827353C001 Assessing Human Exposures to Particulate and Gaseous Air Pollutants
    R827353C002 Quantifying Exposure Error and its Effect on Epidemiological Studies
    R827353C003 St. Louis Bus, Steubenville and Atlanta Studies
    R827353C004 Examining Conditions That Predispose Towards Acute Adverse Effects of Particulate Exposures
    R827353C005 Assessing Life-Shortening Associated with Exposure to Particulate Matter
    R827353C006 Investigating Chronic Effects of Exposure to Particulate Matter
    R827353C007 Determining the Effects of Particle Characteristics on Respiratory Health of Children
    R827353C008 Differentiating the Roles of Particle Size, Particle Composition, and Gaseous Co-Pollutants on Cardiac Ischemia
    R827353C009 Assessing Deposition of Ambient Particles in the Lung
    R827353C010 Relating Changes in Blood Viscosity, Other Clotting Parameters, Heart Rate, and Heart Rate Variability to Particulate and Criteria Gas Exposures
    R827353C011 Studies of Oxidant Mechanisms
    R827353C012 Modeling Relationships Between Mobile Source Particle Emissions and Population Exposures
    R827353C013 Toxicological Evaluation of Realistic Emissions of Source Aerosols (TERESA) Study
    R827353C014 Identifying the Physical and Chemical Properties of Particulate Matter Responsible for the Observed Adverse Health Effects
    R827353C015 Research Coordination Core
    R827353C016 Analytical and Facilities Core
    R827353C017 Technology Development and Transfer Core