Exposure Disparities Related to Resident Behavior and Housing Characteristics

EPA Grant Number: R836156C002
Subproject: this is subproject number 002 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R836156
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: Disparities in Exposure and Health Effects of Multiple Environmental Stressors Across the Life Course
Center Director: Laden, Francine
Title: Exposure Disparities Related to Resident Behavior and Housing Characteristics
Investigators: Adamkiewicz, Gary , Backus, Ann
Institution: Boston University , Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
EPA Project Officer: Breville, Maggie
Project Period: July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2020
RFA: NIH/EPA Centers of Excellence on Environmental Health Disparities Research (2015) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Health

Objective:

The goal for this project is to develop and implement innovative methods to provide improved estimates for between-household variability in exposures.

Specific Aim 1: Develop and implement innovative methods to provide improved estimates for between-household variability in exposures.

Specific Aim 2: Identify the key determinants of indoor exposure to chemical stressors (e.g., PM2.5, ultrafine particles, NO2) within small spatial scales, to best characterize drivers of exposure disparities and to directly inform targets for future mitigation at the household level.

Specific Aim 3: Determine how resident behavior and housing characteristics affect indoor-outdoor associations of chemical stressors, noise, and thermal comfort in our study population.

Specific Aim 4: Assess housing and household characteristics to develop season-specific determinants that predict ventilation characteristics for every residence in Chelsea and Dorchester.

Approach:

Investigators will identify the key determinants (among activity patterns, temperature, source usage, ambient pollutant concentrations, and air exchange rates) of indoor exposure to chemical stressors (e.g., PM2.5, ultrafine particles, NO2) within small spatial scales, to best characterize drivers of exposure disparities and to directly inform targets for future mitigation at the household level. In addition, we will characterize variability in non-chemical stressors (noise, thermal comfort) to understand the distribution of these key modifiers and their sociodemographic and structural predictors. Investigators will focus our intensive exposure monitoring study on 200 homes in the Center’s two target communities of Chelsea and Dorchester, Massachusetts. Investigators aim to determine how resident behavior and housing characteristics affect indoor-outdoor associations of chemical stressors, noise, and thermal comfort in our study population, considering the extent to which associations can be predicted by detailed individual activity data, more general questionnaire information, and publicly-available geospatial covariates. Finally, investigators will use community-based crowdsourcing approaches to assess housing and household characteristics to develop season-specific determinants that predict ventilation characteristics for every residence in Chelsea and Dorchester. Project 2 will involve close collaboration with community partners in the research and outreach/dissemination process through the Community Engagement Core, strengthening both the quality of the research and its potential to improve public health. These goals have direct linkages to the Center’s activities under Projects 1 and 3. The results will contribute directly to the exposure disparities analyses and cumulative risk assessment applications in Project 3, and will help in the development of housing-related covariates to be tested in epidemiological studies within Project 1. Investigators will also be able to identify intervention targets that have the greatest potential to reduce indoor exposures for those experiencing differential exposures to chemical and non-chemical stressors at home.

Rationale:

While environmental health disparities are known to be related to neighborhood-scale gradients in ambient exposures, housing attributes and in-home activities can further differentiate exposures along significant within neighborhood socioeconomic gradients. Importantly, housing factors may not only modify personal exposures, but may also be a direct stressor with independent effects on health. Despite their importance in determining personal exposures to chemical and non-chemical stressors, household-level factors are rarely incorporated into epidemiological studies or risk analyses, leaving an important gap in evaluations of environmental health disparities.


Main Center Abstract and Reports:

R836156    Disparities in Exposure and Health Effects of Multiple Environmental Stressors Across the Life Course

Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
R836156C001 Multi-Exposure Epidemiology across the Life Course
R836156C002 Exposure Disparities Related to Resident Behavior and Housing Characteristics
R836156C003 Cumulative Risk and Geospatial Health Disparities Related to Chemical and Non-Chemical Stressor Exposures