Longitudinal Indicators of Policy Impact on Pollution, Exposure and Health Risk

EPA Grant Number: R833991
Title: Longitudinal Indicators of Policy Impact on Pollution, Exposure and Health Risk
Investigators: Burke, Thomas A. , Fox, Mary A.
Institution: The Johns Hopkins University
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Project Period: October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2011 (Extended to October 31, 2012)
Project Amount: $499,961
RFA: Development of Environmental Health Outcome Indicators (2007) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Health Effects , Health


The overarching goal of this research is to develop state level indicators of environmental pollution, population exposure, and population health risks. The investigation will include a longitudinal analysis of changes over time that will provide a framework for evaluating the environmental and public health impacts of environmental policies and address the fundamental question “Have our environmental policies worked?”


The objectives of this research are:1) To develop and present state level environmental health outcome indicators that measure changes over time; and 2) To apply environmental health outcome indicators to evaluate the impact of environmental policies on population exposures and health risks. The research will address the EPA STAR special interest in examining the relationship between environmental health and exposure indicators and environmental risk management and policy decisions implemented at both the national and state level. The principal hypothesis to be tested is that federal and state risk management policies initiated over the past three decades have resulted in measurable reductions in pollution, exposure and population health risk.


The work will be a collaborative effort between Johns Hopkins University and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP). A subset of the EPA national indicators will be selected and a longitudinal analysis of NJDEP historical and ongoing monitoring data bases will be conducted. Candidate indicators include organic contaminants in drinking water, PCBs and mercury in fish, benzene in ambient air, and industrial emissions of each selected pollutant. The approach includes four steps: 1) data inventory and analysis to select indicators and related risk management policies; 2) population exposure characterization; 3) health risk characterization; and 4) policy impact analysis.

Expected Results:

For each indicator the results will include a summary of state level longitudinal trends in pollution levels; quantitative estimates of exposure and risk, including temporal trends; and, measures of the impact of state and federal policies on levels of pollution, exposure, and risk. Findings will improve current methods to measure the benefits of environmental regulations and stimulate environmental epidemiological investigations. It is anticipated that the findings will ultimately improve our understanding of the impacts of environmental exposures on human health and validate and improve our risk management policies.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 3 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 1 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

decision making, policy analysis, toxics, disinfection byproducts, PCB, heavy metals, human health, cancer,

Progress and Final Reports:

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