2008 Progress Report: Health Effects and Characterization of Urban and Rural Coarse ParticulateMatter in Northeastern Colorado

EPA Grant Number: R833744
Title: Health Effects and Characterization of Urban and Rural Coarse ParticulateMatter in Northeastern Colorado
Investigators: Hannigan, Michael P. , Milford, Jana B. , Miller, Shelly , Navidi, William C. , Peel, Jennifer
Institution: University of Colorado at Boulder , Colorado School of Mines , Colorado State University
EPA Project Officer: Hunt, Sherri
Project Period: January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2012 (Extended to June 30, 2013)
Project Period Covered by this Report: January 1, 2008 through December 31,2008
Project Amount: $1,200,000
RFA: Sources, Composition, and Health Effects of Coarse Particulate Matter (2006) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air , Air Quality and Air Toxics , Particulate Matter


The proposed research is designed to investigate associations between coarse particulate matter (PM10-2.5) mass concentrations and several health outcomes in a pair of urban and rural communities: Denver and Greeley, CO, and to characterize the particle composition and origin in both communities.

Progress Summary:

During the first year, we were focused on staffing the project, completing the QAPP, starting the paperwork process for obtaining medical data from the hospitals and the bulk of our effort went into getting the continuous PM10-2.5 mass concentration measurement network operational.

Development of the Continuous PM10-2.5 Mass Concentration Network

Instrumentation. Thermo Scientific released the TEOM 1405-DF at the end of 2007 – during the interim between the writing of our proposal the start of the project. The TEOM 1405-DF is billed as being capable of artifact-free hourly PM2.5 and PM10-2.5 mass concentrations.  The combination of PM2.5 and PM10-2.5 would allow us to easily explore any PM2.5 confounding health effects.  In addition, the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment (CDPHE) currently employs TEOMs as their continuous PM mass concentration instrument.  As such, we decided to push forward with this instrument which is shown in Figure 1.  Based on existing CDPHE monitoring, our proposed network, and project budget, we purchased four TEOM 1405-DF instruments.

TEOM w/shelter in Greeley.

Figure 1.TEOM w/shelter in Greeley.

Before deployment of these instruments, we conducted a co-location study to examine their performance.  Thermo Scientific specifies the precision of the TEOM 1405-DF as ±2.0 µg/m3 for 1-hr average mass concentration and 1.0 μg/m3 for 24-hr average mass concentration.  We placed all four TEOM 1405-DF instruments side-by-side, three under a roof and the fourth in a shelter.  This fourth was technically too far away from the other three to be considered co-located, so only the three under the roof were considered in subsequent analyses.  All analyses were done on individual channel data.  In other words, we analyzed the reference channel separately from the base channel and did not explore the combined information which is the mass concentration.  We did this to explore the effect of the reference channel as a few of the CDPHE TEOMs do not have this volatile absorption artifact correction feature.  The pair-wise correlation coefficients are shown in Table 1, and demonstrate the superior performance of the PM10-2.5 channel as we observed much higher correlations between the PM10-2.5 base channels for the three instruments.  In addition, it becomes obvious that the ref channel for the PM10-2.5 is predominantly noise as there is almost no relationship between the three instruments.  This may be due the sources and ambient temperature encountered during this experiment.  Examination of the residuals (average of the three instrument readings – the single instrument reading) showed that the instrument specified precision is roughly valid for the PM10-2.5 channel but is likely an underestimate for PM2.5.

Table 1. Correlation coefficients for side-by-side experiment (hourly averages).
TEOM pair
PM2.5 base
PM10-2.5 ref
PM10-2.5 base
1 – 2
1 – 3
2 – 3

Continuous PM10-2.5 Mass Concentration Network. The continuous PM10-2.5 mass concentration network consists of two sites in Greeley (rural) and four in Denver (urban).  The network was deployed during November and December of 2008.  Figure 2 shows the northern portion of the Colorado Front Range for perspective; the map shown in Figure 2 is approximately 100 miles by 100 miles. The PM10-2.5 sites are shown with green.  In Denver, the two CDPHE sites with co-located PM10 and PM2.5 TEOMs are the downtown site (called CAMP) and the southern site along I-25 which is the N-CORE site.  The two sites that we operate are equipped with dichotomous TEOMs for both PM10-2.5 and PM2.5 continuous mass concentration measurement and are located on the rooftops of Edison Elementary School, the western site, and Alsup Elementary School, the northern site and the CDPHE CSN site.  In Greeley, McAuliffe Elementary School is the green marker in the northwest, Maplewood Middle School is the marker in the middle and the hospital is the marker just to the right of Maplewood.  The distance between the northernmost Denver site and the closest Greeley site is approximately 95 miles.  The PM10-2.5 characterization team is located at the University of Colorado in Boulder, approximately 20 miles NW of the metro Denver sites, while the health effects characterization team is located at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, approximately 15 miles NW of the Greeley sites.

Coarse PM study area

Figure 2. Coarse PM study area (Google Maps).

Future Activities:

In the coming year, 2009, we will focus on five tasks: maintaining the existing continuous PM10-2.5 network, analyzing this spatial and temporal mass concentration data, collecting health outcome data, developing a PM10-2.5 filter collection network and implementing the filter analysis protocols in our labs.  The later task will involve substantial QAQC work to understand the uncertainty associated with each chemical/biological analysis.

Journal Articles:

No journal articles submitted with this report: View all 14 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

exposure, human health, dose-response, metals, epidemiology, modeling;, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, Geographic Area, particulate matter, Health Risk Assessment, State, Biology, PM10, atmospheric particulate matter, cardiopulmonary responses, human health effects, atmospheric particles, bioavailability, cardiovascular vulnerability, cardiotoxicity, coarse pm, chemical speciation sampling, exposure assessment

Progress and Final Reports:

Original Abstract
  • 2009 Progress Report
  • 2010 Progress Report
  • 2011 Progress Report
  • 2012 Progress Report
  • Final Report