Relationship Between PM2.5 Semi-volatile Organic Material, Other PM2.5 Components and Heart Rate Variability in The Elderly

EPA Grant Number: R827993
Title: Relationship Between PM2.5 Semi-volatile Organic Material, Other PM2.5 Components and Heart Rate Variability in The Elderly
Investigators: Eatough, Delbert J. , Pope, Clive Arden
Institution: Brigham Young University
EPA Project Officer: Chung, Serena
Project Period: February 1, 2000 through January 31, 2003
Project Amount: $797,013
RFA: Airborne Particulate Matter Health Effects (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Particulate Matter , Air , Health Effects


The proposed study will explore the hypothesis that fine particulate mass, including semi-volatile PM is associated with acute changes in cardiac rhythm and markers of inflamation. Two related hypothesis will be tested in the planned research: 1. That total fine particulate mass, including semi-volatile PM is the appropriate surrogate for health-effect-related monitoring and 2. That the usefulness of PM monitoring data will be improved with the collection of 1-hour chemical composition data. EPA recently promulgated a new fine particle standard for fine particulate matter, based on a 24-hour measurement of PM2.5 mass using a single filter as specified by the Federal Reference Method (FRM). The FRM collection and equilibration process removes particle bound water but also results in the lost of a significant fraction of semi-volatile material such as ammonium nitrate and semi-volatile organic compounds. Techniques, such as the TEOM monitor, which attempt to make continuous measurements of PM2.5 mass, must heat the sample to remove the particle-bound water and in so doing evaporate much of the semi-volatile PM. As a result, there is currently no routinely used method for continuous measurement of the mass and composition of PM2.5 suspended in the atmosphere. Therefore, continuous, measurements and PM2.5 composition data are needed to better understand the relationship between exposure to PM2.5 and the development of health problems. The objective of the BYU STAR program is to provide continuous PM mass and composition data, and relevant health data in several study panels which will allow the determination of the relationship between PM2.5 semi-volatile organic material, other PM2.5 components and heart rate variability and development or inflammation in the elderly.


The PM monitoring goals of this BYU STAR program are: (1) Obtain 1-hr PM2.5 total mass and non-volatile mass using a newly-developed, continuous RAMS monitor for total (nonvolatile plus semi-volatile) mass and a conventional TEOM monitor for nonvolatile PM2.5 mass during summer and winter episodes. (2) Determine 1-hr total particulate number (nuclei mode) using a TSI Condensation Particle Counter and fine particle size distribution using a TSI Differential Mobility Particle Sizer during the same time periods. (3) Determine 1-hr fine particulate soot for the same time periods using an Anderson Aetheolometer. (4) Determine the diurnal variability in the composition of PM2.5 with emphasis on semi-volatile organic material and nitrate, fine particulate sulfate, nitrate, organic material, soot, acidity, Fe (and other transition metals) using a BYU PC-BOSS diffusion denuder sampler.

It has been postulated that fine particulate air pollution may provoke alveolar inflamation, resulting in release of potentially harmful cytokines, increased blood viscosity, and changes in cardiac function (e.g. changes in heart rate and heart rate variability). Repeated ambulatory monitoring will be conducted in several panels of elderly participants to evaluate acute changes in cardiac rhythm. Also, repeated blood samples will be taken from these same participants to analyze markers of inflamation and hemostatic function. All participants will be from nonsmoking households and will live within a very few blocks of the monitoring sites.

The monitoring and health data will be combined to evaluate, in part, the health relevance of the various PM2.5 and relevant gaseous co-pollutant concentrations. The objective of this correlation analysis will be to examine whether semi-volatile organic material, or any of the other determined PM2.5 components appear to be correlated with the expression of changes in cardiac function in the study population.

Sampling: These goals will be addressed in a three-year program, including two summer and two winter multiple-episode studies in three communities, Salt Lake City, UT, Bountiful, UT, and Lindon, UT. These communities are chosen because they are expected to have PM2.5 concentrations above the new NAAQS, the composition of aerosols in the three communities will provide significant differences among the chemical species to be studied, and the concentrations of ozone and SO2 will be nominal in the three study locations. Each of the locations to be studied has the advantage that co-pollutant gas concentrations and needed meteorological parameters will be available from collocated State of Utah monitoring sites. The Salt Lake City site is the current location of a BYU EPA EMPACT study. The STAR program will build on the current EMPACT study. The pollution sources at this site are dominated by urban emission, including mobile sources and, during the winter, wood smoke. The Bountiful and Lindon sites are influenced by urban emissions. However, these sites are also influenced by organic emission from several oil refineries just north of Salt Lake (the Bountiful site), and by emissions (including fine particle Fe) from an integrated steel mill (the Lindon site).

Expected Results:

There are many research projects that have and are evaluating health associations with various measures of particle composition and mass. The are also several studies evaluating associations with particle number. This project will monitor semi-volatile organic material, in addition to fine particulate composition, mass and particle number, and evaluate potential associations between these concentrations and important physiologic measures of human health. A focus of the study will be the evaluation of short term changes in particulate composition and in the measured cardiac function parameters. The project has the potential to provide insights into the health relevance of different constituents of PM2.5 as well as possible pathophysiological mechanisms of pathways linking PM and cardiopulmonary mortality.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 27 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 15 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

Cardiopulmonary health effects, PM2.5, organic material, semi- volatile particulate species., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Health, PHYSICAL ASPECTS, Air, particulate matter, Health Risk Assessment, air toxics, Susceptibility/Sensitive Population/Genetic Susceptibility, Risk Assessments, Biochemistry, Environmental Monitoring, Physical Processes, tropospheric ozone, genetic susceptability, ambient air quality, elderly adults, sensitive populations, cardiopulmonary responses, fine particles, human health effects, PM 2.5, semi-volatile organic material, stratospheric ozone, health risks, cardiovascular vulnerability, heart rate variability, ambient air, exposure, air pollution, chemical mixtures, chronic health effects, particulate exposure, human exposure, cardiopulmonary response, blood pressure, environmentally caused disease, highrisk groups, human susceptibility, mortality, Federal Reference Method, age dependent response, atmospheric chemistry, cardiac arrhythmias, transition metals, air quality, environmental hazard exposures, toxics

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2000 Progress Report
  • 2001 Progress Report
  • Final Report