2001 Progress Report: Assessing Human Exposures to Particulate and Gaseous Air Pollutants

EPA Grant Number: R827353C001
Subproject: this is subproject number 001 , 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: Assessing Human Exposures to Particulate and Gaseous Air Pollutants
Investigators: Koutrakis, Petros
Current Investigators: Koutrakis, Petros , Suh, Helen H. , Brown, Kathleen Ward , Sarnat, Jeremy
Institution: Harvard University
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 overall theme is to improve our ability to characterize air pollutant exposures for health effects studies. This project is one of three research studies proposed under Theme I: Assessing Particle Exposures for Health Effects Studies that were based on personal, indoor, and outdoor particulate and gas concentrations that were measured as part of our previous or current exposure studies. This project was intended to address Particulate Matter Research Topics 1, 5, and 7 identified by the National Research Council (NRC)-Outdoor Measures vs. Actual Exposures for Particles, Particle Components, and Gaseous Co-Pollutants. The objective of this research project is to collect exposure data for indoor, outdoor, and personal particle and gas samples for several sensitive subgroups and analyze the data for trends in sensitivity to air exposure.

Progress Summary:

Currently, we are completing our analysis of data collected in a series of exposure studies that were conducted in several cities located throughout the United States (Boston, MA; Baltimore, MD; Atlanta, GA; Los Angeles, CA; Steubenville, OH). As part of these studies, we have collected several thousand simultaneous outdoor, indoor, and personal particle and gas samples for several potentially sensitive subgroups, including senior citizens, children, and individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or recent myocardial infarctions (MI). (Data collection for the Atlanta and Steubenville studies was co-funded by the Center, while data collection for the remaining studies was supported by other agencies and EPA (under a separate cooperative agreement).

We are analyzing data from these studies to investigate: (1) the contribution of particles of outdoor and indoor origin to personal PM2.5 exposures; (2) the potential for confounding by gaseous pollutants to affect epidemiological study results; and (3) the ability of particles to penetrate from outdoor to indoor environments. We currently are completing our analyses of data from Boston, Atlanta, and Los Angeles, and we are beginning to examine data from Steubenville, OH.

The most recent of these studies investigates the ability of sulfur to act as a tracer of outdoor fine particles. Our results suggest that sulfur compounds are primarily of outdoor origin and behave in a manner that was representative of total PM2.5 in Boston, MA. Thus these findings provide evidence that sulfur can be used as a tracer of outdoor PM2.5. The size composition of outdoor PM2.5 was shown to be an important characteristic affecting the robustness of sulfur-based estimation methods. Sulfur was more representative of particles in the 0.06 and 0.5 µm size range as compared to particles in smaller and larger size intervals. The sulfur-tracer method produced consistently accurate results for 0.06 to 0.5 µm particles, however, this method significantly over-predicted indoor concentration of particles less than 0.06 and greater than 0.7 µm in size. These results reflect higher effective penetration efficiencies for sulfur as compared to particles in these smallest and largest size intervals.

Future Activities:

In the coming year, we will continue to analyze the exposure data for trends in sensitivity to air exposure.

Journal Articles on this Report : 3 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other subproject views: All 6 publications 6 publications in selected types All 6 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 Sarnat JA, Koutrakis P, Suh HH. Assessing the relationship between personal particulate and gaseous exposures of senior citizens living in Baltimore, MD. Journal of the Air & Waste Management Association 2000;50(7):1184-1198. R827353 (Final)
R827353C001 (2000)
R827353C001 (2001)
R827353C001 (2002)
R827353C001 (2003)
R827353C001 (2004)
R827353C001 (Final)
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Full-text: Taylor&Francis-Full Text PDF
  • Abstract: Taylor&Francis-Abstract
  • Journal Article Sarnat JA, Schwartz J, Catalano PJ, Suh HH. Gaseous pollutants in particulate matter epidemiology:confounders or surrogates? Environmental Health Perspectives 2001;109(10):1053-1061. R827353 (Final)
    R827353C001 (2001)
    R827353C001 (2002)
    R827353C001 (Final)
  • Full-text from PubMed
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Associated PubMed link
  • Journal Article Sarnat JA, Long CM, Koutrakis P, Coull BA, Schwartz J, Suh HH. Using sulfur as a tracer of outdoor fine particulate matter. Environmental Science & Technology 2002;36(24):5305-5314. R827353 (Final)
    R827353C001 (2001)
    R827353C001 (Final)
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Full-text: ES&T-Full Text HTML
  • Abstract: ES&T-Abstract
  • Other: ES&T-Full Text PDF
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    exposure, particulate, particulate matter, PM, gaseous, air, pollutant, epidemiological, outdoor, indoor., RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Air, Air Pollution Monitoring, particulate matter, Toxicology, air toxics, Environmental Chemistry, Epidemiology, Risk Assessments, Environmental Microbiology, Environmental Monitoring, indoor air, Atmospheric Sciences, Molecular Biology/Genetics, Biology, ambient air quality, monitoring, particle size, particulates, risk assessment, sensitive populations, chemical exposure, air pollutants, cardiopulmonary responses, human health effects, indoor exposure, lung, ambient air monitoring, exposure and effects, ambient air, ambient measurement methods, exposure, pulmonary disease, developmental effects, epidemelogy, respiratory disease, COPD, air pollution, ambient monitoring, children, particle exposure, chronic effects, human exposure, inhalation, pulmonary, particulate exposure, ambient particle health effects, inhaled, PM, inhalation toxicology, cardiopulmonary, indoor air quality, human health, air quality, cardiovascular disease, dosimetry, exposure assessment, human health risk, respiratory, measurement methods

    Relevant Websites:

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

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 1999 Progress Report
  • 2000 Progress Report
  • 2002 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