The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and Air Pollution (MESA Air): Next Stage

EPA Grant Number: RD838300
Title: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and Air Pollution (MESA Air): Next Stage
Investigators: Kaufman, Joel D. , Barr, R. Graham , Burke, Gregory L. , Folsom, Aaron , Jacobs, David , Kronmal, Richard , Liu, Kiang J. , Post, Wendy , Sampson, Paul , Sheppard, Lianne (Elizabeth) A. , Szpiro, Adam , Watson, Karol
Institution: University of Washington , Columbia University in the City of New York , Northwestern University , The Johns Hopkins University , University of California - Los Angeles , University of Minnesota , Wake Forest University
EPA Project Officer: Ilacqua, Vito
Project Period: September 1, 2017 through August 31, 2021
Project Amount: $2,996,426
RFA: Long-term Exposure to Air Pollution and Development of Cardiovascular Disease (2016) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air , Health , Airborne Particulate Matter Health Effects , Environmental Health Disparities


Long-term exposure to air pollutants, including fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and traffic-related air pollution, is increasingly recognized as an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular mortality. The growing body of epidemiologicevidence has informed policy decisions related to air pollution.


This project will evaluate and reduce important areas of remaining uncertainty: the concentration-response relationship at low levels, sub-clinical responses, the impact of measurement error on exposure and health effects estimates, the relationships among multiple pollutants, and historical pollutant impacts.


This proposal builds on the unique resources developed by the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis and Air Pollution (MESA Air), a ten-year ancillary study to the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA), in order to reduce uncertainty regarding the relationship between air pollutants and cardiovascular disease. MESA Air paired state-of-the-art cardiovascular epidemiology with state-of-the-art exposure estimation, resulting in an extraordinarily well-characterized cohort with regard to air pollution exposures, cardiovascular outcomes, and potential confounding factors.

There are three components to this proposal: 1) evaluation of the relationship between individual-level exposures to ambient air pollutants and clinical cardiovascular disease events incorporating data collected as part of this grant from continued surveillance and adjudication of disease events and including impacts on early heart failure, including subtypes, and atrial fibrillation burden; 2) characterization of the relationships among individual-level exposures to air pollutants and sub-clinical evidence of cardiovascular dysfunction and its sequelae; and 3) assessment of the impact of measurement error on health effect estimation and bias.

The proposal also integrates the development of an easily accessed data sharing system for dissemination of information developed under MESA and MESA Air.

Expected Results:

MESA Air Next Stage will incorporate newly collected cardiovascular health data, extended and improved exposure modeling, and health analyses of clinical and sub-clinical cardiovascular disease including correction for exposure measurement error. This state-of-the-art scientific research will reduce uncertainty in the assessment of air pollutants and cardiovascular health effects, informing modes of action, and clarifying concentration-response relationships.

Supplemental Keywords:

ozone, oxides of nitrogen, biostatistics