Final Report: Cardiopulmonary Effects of Metal-Containing Particulate Exposure

EPA Grant Number: R828678C002
Subproject: this is subproject number 002 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R824834
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: Mickey Leland National Urban Air Toxics Research Center (NUATRC)
Center Director: Beskid, Craig
Title: Cardiopulmonary Effects of Metal-Containing Particulate Exposure
Investigators: Christiani, David
Institution: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: January 1, 1999 through January 31, 2004
RFA: Mickey Leland National Urban Air Toxics Research Center (NUATRC) (1997) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Targeted Research

Objective:

The purpose of this research was to investigate the role of respirable particulate matter (PM2.5) and associated metals in respiratory and cardiovascular responses in a cohort of boilermakers with and without chronic bronchitis. The experimental approach was an epidemiological study employing a prospective, repeat-measurement design assessing several biological parameters in relation to exposure. PM2.5 levels were monitored continuously with personal Dust Trak monitors. Personal metal exposure (V, N, Cd, Mn, Cr, and Fe) was measured daily.

The study’s three specific aims and corresponding hypotheses were as follows:

  1. Conduct a short-term prospective study of acute airway responses to combustion particulates. Hypothesis: Exposure to fuel-oil ash particulates induces airway inflammation and airflow obstruction, as reflected in increased expired NO and in decreases in FEV1.
  2. Conduct a short-term prospective study of acute cardiovascular responses to combustion particulates. Hypothesis: Exposure to fuel-oil ash particulates will result in acute changes in cardiovascular function as reflected in changes in heart rate (HR) and heart rate variability (HRV). Changes in HR and HRV will be in a direction believed to reflect increased sympathetic or decreased vagal tone.
  3. Assess the relationship between chronic respiratory disease and the cardiac responses to particulates. Hypothesis: Chronic bronchitis predisposes particulate-exposed workers to changes in cardiac function, including HR and HRV.

This project was leveraged with funds from a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) grant.

This study sought to identify whether fine respirable particulates (PM2.5) and the specific metals in those particles are associated with adverse effects on pulmonary and cardiovascular function. It was conducted among boilermakers and welders, who have unusually high exposure to metal fumes and to PM2.5. Thus, it provides a valuable set of observations on the respiratory and cardiovascular effects of these exposures among a highly exposed population. The study was well designed, conducted, and analyzed.

The initial hypothesis of this study was that exposure to fuel-oil ash particulates would induce airway inflammation, resulting in increased exhaled NO. The literature suggested that the direction of change exhaled NO varies with the type of exposure. An inverse exposure-response association between metal-containing PM2.5 exposure and exhaled NO indicates that fine particulate exposure and, specifically, soluble transition metals may be partially responsible for the adverse pulmonary responses seen in workers exposed to residual oil fly ash (ROFA). Exposure to fuel-oil ash particulates was hypothesized to be associated with acute changes in cardiovascular function, reflected in increased sympathetic or decreased vagal tone. Analyses of the cardiovascular outcomes suggest that there may be both a long-acting (several hours) and a short-acting (several minutes) component to the mechanism of action following exposure to metal-containing PM2.5. The clinical significance of these effects in a healthy working population is, at present, unclear. Investigators concluded that their results contribute to the knowledge base of information regarding the relationship between exposure to particulates and human cardiopulmonary responses in both normal and chronic bronchitic populations. Clarification of such exposure-response relationships has important implications for preventive efforts aimed at reducing morbidity and mortality from exposure to respirable particulates and their associated metals.

The Center Science Advisory Panel believes that the investigators' conclusion that fuel oil ash particulates induce increased expired NO was not supported by their data. Their 1999 data indicated that PM2.5 was associated with decreased expired NO, whereas their 2000 data showed no clear association in either direction. These findings are reasonably compatible with chance. The results provide support for the hypothesis that PMPM2.5 is associated with decreased airflow (measured as FEV1).

Based on their data, the Science Advisory Panel agrees with the investigators' conclusion that exposure to fuel oil ash particulates result in decreased heart rate variability, showing an association between PM2.5 and decreased heart rate variability. However, The Science Advisory Panel believes the findings regarding specific metals should be interpreted cautiously in light of the inconsistencies in these findings and their dependence on the averaging time used in the analysis. The specific findings that lead and vanadium were associated with increased heart rate variability are in the direction opposite to their hypothesis.

Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):

  • This project was developed in response to NUATRC RFA 98-02, “Contribution of Metals in Ambient Particles to the Particulate Associated Health Effects.”
  • The study is in compliance with Institutional Review Board of the Harvard School of Public Health. Human consent procedures met governmental guidelines. The study is compliance with appropriate NUATRC and EPA quality control and quality assurance guidelines.
  • The study started July 1999 and was scheduled to be completed in June 2002.
  • Dr. David Christiani presented preliminary results the study at the October 2001, Investigators’ Meeting.
  • A draft final report for the study was received in December 2002.
  • The Revised Final Report was received by the Center on September 08, 2003.
  • The SAP and Board of Directors approved publication of the report after a Statement by the SAP which provides alternate interpretation of the study results presented by Dr. Christiani.
  • The Center Research Report Number 8, “Cardiopulmonary effects of metal-containing particulate exposure,” was published in 2006.


Journal Articles on this Report : 6 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other subproject views: All 17 publications 6 publications in selected types All 6 journal articles
Other center views: All 144 publications 62 publications in selected types All 53 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
Journal Article Kim JY, Hauser R, Wand MP, Herrick RF, Houk RS, Aeschliman DB, Woodin MA, Christiani DC. Association of expired nitric oxide with urinary metal concentrations in boilermakers exposed to residual oil fly ash. American Journal of Industrial Medicine 2003;44(5):458-466. R828678C002 (2005)
R828678C002 (2006)
R828678C002 (Final)
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Abstract: Wiley Online Library
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  • Journal Article Kim JY, Wand MP, Hauser R, Mukherjee S, Herrick RF, Christiani DC. Association of expired nitric oxide with occupational particulate exposure. Environmental Health Perspectives 2003;111(5):676-680. R828678C002 (2002)
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  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Full-text: Environmental Health Perspectives Full Text
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  • Other: Environmental Health Perspectives PDF
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  • Journal Article Kim JY, Hauser R, Wand MP, Herrick RF, Amarasiriwardena CJ, Christiani DC. The association of expired nitric oxide with occupational particulate metal exposure. Environmental Research 2003;93(2):158-166. R828678C002 (2004)
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  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Full-text: Science Direct Full Text
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  • Other: Science Direct PDF
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  • Journal Article Magari SR, Hauser R, Schwartz J, Williams PL, Smith TJ, Christiani DC. Association of heart rate variability with occupational and environmental exposure to particulate air pollution. Circulation 2001;104(9):986-991. R828678C002 (2001)
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  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Full-text: Circulation-Full Text PDF
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  • Abstract: Circulation-Abstract
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  • Journal Article Magari SR, Schwartz J, Williams PL, Hauser R, Smith TJ, Christiani DC. The association between personal measurements of environmental exposure to particulates and heart rate variability. Epidemiology 2002;13(3):305-310. R828678C002 (2002)
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  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Abstract: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins
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  • Journal Article Magari SR, Schwartz J, Williams PL, Hauser R, Smith TJ, Christiani DC. The association of particulate air metal concentrations with heart rate variability. Environmental Health Perspectives 2002;110(9):875-880. R828678C002 (2002)
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  • Full-text from PubMed
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Full-text: Environmental Health Perspectives Full Text
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  • Abstract: EHP
  • Other: Environmental Health Perspectives PDF
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  • Supplemental Keywords:

    RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Air, HUMAN HEALTH, particulate matter, air toxics, Environmental Chemistry, Health Risk Assessment, Exposure, Risk Assessments, Susceptibility/Sensitive Population/Genetic Susceptibility, genetic susceptability, Atmospheric Sciences, Biology, copollutant exposures, sensitive populations, atmospheric particulate matter, cardiopulmonary responses, fine particles, morbidity, PM 2.5, long term exposure, inhaled pollutants, acute lung injury, acute cardiovascular effects, air pollution, chemical mixtures, susceptible subpopulations, cardiac arrest, cardiopulmonary response, chronic health effects, human exposure, lung inflammation, particulate exposure, time series analysis, National Cohort Studies, Acute health effects, inhaled, human susceptibility, cardiopulmonary, cardiotoxicity, mortality, acute exposure, air quality, cardiovascular disease, human health risk, toxics, environmental hazard exposures, air contaminant exposure, co-pollutants

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 1999
  • 2000
  • 2001 Progress Report
  • 2002 Progress Report
  • 2003 Progress Report

  • Main Center Abstract and Reports:

    R824834    Mickey Leland National Urban Air Toxics Research Center (NUATRC)

    Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    R824834C001 Air Toxics Exposures Among Teenagers in New York City and Los Angeles - A Columbia-Harvard Study (TEACH)
    R824834C002 Cardiopulmonary Response to Particulate Exposure
    R824834C003 VOC Exposure in an Industry Impacted Community
    R824834C004 A Study of Personal Exposure to Air Toxics Among a Subset of the Residential U.S. Population (VOC Project)
    R824834C005 Methods Development Project for a Study of Personal Exposures to Toxic Air Pollutants
    R824834C006 Relationship Between Indoor, Outdoor and Personal Air (RIOPA)
    R824834C007 Development of the "Leland Legacy" Air Sampling Pump
    R824834C008 Source Apportionment of Indoor Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Urban Residences
    R824834C009 Development of a Personal Cascade Impactor Sampler (PCIS)
    R824834C010 Testing the Metals Hypothesis in Spokane
    R828678C001 Air Toxics Exposures Among Teenagers in New York City and Los Angeles—A Columbia-Harvard Study (TEACH)
    R828678C002 Cardiopulmonary Effects of Metal-Containing Particulate Exposure
    R828678C003 VOC Exposure in an Industry Impacted Community
    R828678C004 A Study of Personal Exposure to Air Toxics Among a Subset of the Residential U.S. Population (VOC Project)
    R828678C005 Oxygenated Urban Air Toxics and Asthma Variability in Middle School Children: A Panel Study (ATAC–Air Toxics and Asthma in Children)
    R828678C006 Relationship between Indoor, Outdoor and Personal Air (RIOPA). Part II: Analyses of Concentrations of Particulate Matter Species
    R828678C007 Development of the “Leland Legacy” Air Sampling Pump
    R828678C008 Source Apportionment of Indoor PAHs in Urban Residences 98-03B
    R828678C009 Development of a Personal Cascade Impactor Sampler (PCIS)
    R828678C010 Testing the Metals Hypothesis in Spokane
    R828678C011 A Pilot Geospatial Analysis of Exposure to Air Pollutants (with Special Attention to Air Toxics) and Hospital Admissions in Harris County, Texas
    R828678C012 Impact of Exposure to Urban Air Toxics on Asthma Utilization for the Pediatric Medicaid Population in Dearborn, Michigan
    R828678C013 Field Validation of the Sioutas Sampler and Leland Legacy Pump – Joint Project with EPA’s Environmental Technology Validation Program (ETV)
    R828678C014 Performance Evaluation of the 3M Charcoal Vapor Monitor for Monitor Low Ambient Concentrations of VOCs
    R828678C015 RIOPA Database Development
    R828678C016 Contributions of Outdoor PM Sources to Indoor and Personal Exposures: Analysis of PM Species Concentrations” Focused on the PM Speciation and Apportioning of Sources
    R828678C017 The Short and Long-Term Respiratory Effects of Exposure to PAHs from Traffic in a Cohort of Asthmatic Children