2009 Progress Report: Near Roadways Exposure to Urban Air Pollutants Study (NEXUS)

EPA Grant Number: R834117
Title: Near Roadways Exposure to Urban Air Pollutants Study (NEXUS)
Investigators: Batterman, Stuart A. , Lewis, Toby C. , Mukherjee, Bhramar , Dion, F , Robins, Thomas
Institution: University of Michigan
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: March 1, 2009 through February 29, 2012 (Extended to February 28, 2014)
Project Period Covered by this Report: March 1, 2009 through February 28,2010
Project Amount: $1,399,973
RFA: Health Effects of Near-Roadway Exposures to Air Pollution (2008) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Particulate Matter , Air


The Near Roadways Exposure to Urban Air Pollutants Study (NEXUS) has the objectives of (1) understanding the types and severity of respiratory and cardiovascular outcomes in children with asthma that are associated with near-road exposures to air pollutants, and (2) characterizing the pollutants and exposures associated with these outcomes. We will examine a diverse and innovative set of respiratory health outcomes and interactions that are hypothesized to be associated with near-road-way exposures to air pollutants.  Specifically, we will evaluate three health effect domains: asthma aggravation (lung function, symptoms), inflammation and oxidative stress (exhaled nitric oxide, nasal cytokines, urinary isoprostanes), and respiratory viral infections (frequency, severity, type) in order to explore a number of hypotheses: Which measures of traffic-associated pollution are most closely associated with asthma aggravation? Do children with asthma who are highly exposed to traffic, particularly diesel exhaust, exhibit more inflammation and oxidative stress? Does traffic exposure influence the likelihood of respiratory viral infections? How much error (exposure misclassification) is caused by the use of community monitoring versus indoor monitoring and exposure modeling, and what impact does this have on the effect size and statistical confidence of odds ratios relating exposures to health outcomes? These and other questions will be examined using an observational approach, which is highly relevant to real world conditions, focusing on children with persistent asthma, who tend to be highly susceptible to air pollutants. 

This research is undertaken as a cooperative agreement with US EPA, which is partnering with the University of Michigan (UM) researchers.  In brief, US EPA is conducting most of the exposure related measurements; UM is conducting most of the health related measurements. The study is designed and implemented as a community-based participatory research (CBPR) and includes monthly meetings and other interactions of a community- and Detroit-based steering committee, an element of the Community Allies Against Asthma (CAAA) coalition.

Progress Summary:

Most of the activities accomplished in year 1 were aimed at preparations for the field study. Key activities included (1) developing data collection instruments, consent forms, assent forms and recruitment materials; (2) obtaining UM-IRB approval for our full protocol of health measurements, and a subset of exposure measurements; and (3) establishing processes to ensure regular, ongoing, coordinated interaction, planning, learning and feedback between UM, US EPA, and community partners including effective use of shared resources and optimal efficiency.

Future Activities:

In August 2010 we will begin participant recruitment and baseline health and exposure data collection for NEXUS. Recruitment and data collection are scheduled to be completed by January 2011 and May 2011, respectively. We will continue to be guided by CBPR principles and community partners will continue to be involved in all aspects of our research. We believe that their input ensures the appropriateness of study methods, thereby improving recruitment, retention and the relevance and quality of the research.

In late September we will commence exposure measurements conducted in large part by US EPA, involving indoor and outdoor measurements, time activity diaries, GPS and accelerometers on participants, some surveys, dust collection, and other activities. This is anticipated to involve 30 homes, studied in two seasons.

At the conclusion of data analysis, we will provide individualized feedback to participants’ families, as well as group study results to participating families at a special forum in which they will have the opportunity to discuss individualized results with study investigators. In addition to disseminating the results through journal articles, fact sheets and articles will be developed to disseminate information to the media and policy makers at local, state and national levels.  

Journal Articles:

No journal articles submitted with this report: View all 39 publications for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

ambient air, health effects, susceptibility, epidemiology, Midwest, Region 5, transportation; human health air, scientific discipline, RFA, physical aspects, health, health, health risk assessment, physical processes, particulate matter, allergens/asthma, children's health, air toxics, air pollution, airborne pollutants, children, exposure, asthma triggers, asthma, human exposure, PM, RFA, Scientific Discipline, PHYSICAL ASPECTS, Health, Air, HUMAN HEALTH, particulate matter, Health Risk Assessment, Allergens/Asthma, Health Effects, Physical Processes, asthma, asthma triggers, children's health, air toxics, exposure, air pollution, children, airborne pollutants, human exposure, air pollutant, PM

Progress and Final Reports:

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