2012 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 , Robins, Thomas
Current 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, 2012 through February 28,2013
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 Action Against Asthma (CAAA) coalition.

Progress Summary:

In Year 4, NEXUS field data collection activities were continued until December 2012 when the fieldwork concluded. Key activities included: (1) enrolling a total of 139 participants in NEXUS and maintaining a participant retention rate of 91%; (2) collecting health measurement data; (3) collecting exposure measurements; (4) developing data entry interfaces for health data entry; (5) identifying and training data entry staff; and (6) decommissioning field offices.

In January 2013, the focus of the study shifted to data analysis, modeling, and dissemination activities, the latter intended to share study findings with the scientific and lay communities. Key activities included: (1) data entry, data cleaning, and data analysis; (2) development and evaluation of exposure measures, including dispersion modeling predictions for participant and school locations from 2010 through May 2012 provided by US EPA; (3) statistical modeling and other analyses related to linking exposure measures to health outcomes; (4) regular meetings/teleconferences with EPA to plan analyses, publications, and other tasks; (5) coauthoring manuscripts and conference presentations describing the NEXUS study and its results; and (6) outreach and community education, including a health fair conducted in Detroit for more than 100 participants, and development of materials for participants describing findings pertinent to their children and homes.

We submitted a request for a 1-year no-cost extension, which was approved by US EPA.

Future Activities:

We will help sponsor, as part of CAAA activities, a community health expo in Detroit in April 2013. Preliminary results from NEXUS will be shared with study participants and the broader community. The expo will include discussions, hands-on demonstrations, poster presentations, raffles, food, and other activities.

We will provide feedback to study participants regarding results of their participation in the study during the July through August 2013 timeframe. This will include: a description of the asthma status of their child (results of our baseline tests including pulmonary function); results of sleep study for participating children; and results of mold sampling in their house. IRB permission has been obtained.

Throughout the year we will continue to work collaboratively with EPA to complete data analysis, exposure assessment, health modeling, and manuscript development. Most data cleaning is complete. These analyses are ongoing. Modeled exposure results using the new RLINE model will be provided from EPA in June 2013. 

Outreach and dissemination activities are aimed at providing study results to the scientific community and lay community. We will continue to be guided by CBPR principles and community partners will continue to be involved in all aspects of our research. 

A joint meeting of UM-EPA is planned at Research Triangle Park, NC, in October 2013.

We hope to obtain support from EPA to complete dispersion modeling analyses for the June-December 2012 period.  

Journal Articles on this Report : 1 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other project views: All 39 publications 12 publications in selected types All 12 journal articles
Type Citation Project Document Sources
Journal Article Vette A, Burke J, Norris G, Landis M, Batterman S, Breen M, Isakov V, Lewis T, Gilmour MI, Kamal A, Hammond D, Vedantham R, Bereznicki S, Tian N, Croghan C, Community Action Against Asthma Steering Committee. The Near-Road Exposures and Effects of Urban Air Pollutants Study (NEXUS): study design and methods. Science of the Total Environment 2013;448:38-47. R834117 (2012)
R834117 (Final)
  • Full-text from PubMed
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Associated PubMed link
  • Full-text: ScienceDirect-Full Text HTML
  • Abstract: Science Direct-Abstract
  • Other: ScienceDirect-Full Text PDF
  • Supplemental Keywords:

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