The Role of Traffic-Related Pollution in PM-Health Effects Associations Among Inner-City Children With Asthma.

EPA Grant Number: F6D30236
Title: The Role of Traffic-Related Pollution in PM-Health Effects Associations Among Inner-City Children With Asthma.
Investigators: Spira-Cohen, Ariel
Institution: New York University
EPA Project Officer: Hahn, Intaek
Project Period: September 1, 2006 through September 1, 2008
Project Amount: $111,172
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2006) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Air Quality and Air Toxics , Academic Fellowships , Children's Health , Fellowship - Air Pollution , Fellowship - Epidemiology , Particulate Matter , Human Health


Traffic-related air pollution has been associated with adverse respiratory health effects using distance from roadways as an exposure index, rather than direct personal monitoring. Using personal exposure data from a cohort of inner-city children with asthma, I will test the hypothesis that exposure to particulate matter (PM) pollution from localized traffic is especially responsible for the PM-associated increased incidence of adverse acute health effects.


Previously collected data from a personal exposure study will be analyzed to investigate the effects of traffic-generated PM pollution on a group of children with asthma in the South Bronx, NY. The South Bronx is a community in New York City experiencing high asthma rates and dense vehicular traffic. Thousands of diesel trucks pass through the area on a daily basis. Elemental Carbon (EC) measurements (via filter reflectance) will be used as a proxy for diesel truck emissions, given the high level of truck traffic and high variation in EC levels in the study area. Health outcome will be defined using daily measurements of subjects’ lung function and asthma symptoms such as cough and wheeze. The first component of the analysis will characterize the contribution of traffic to ambient pollutant levels in the study area and relate these levels to personal exposure using mixed effects models and source apportionment methods. The second component of the analysis will utilize mixed effects statistical modeling to determine health effects associations with: 1) personal and ambient pollutant levels; and 2) source profiles from the source apportionment analysis.

Expected Results:

I expect to find that exposure to traffic-generated PM pollution is the causal factor underlying the traffic density-asthma relationships found in other studies. If this is the case, then there will be significant differences between the health associations with traffic-generated components of the personal PM exposures versus other non-traffic PM, in this cohort of inner-city children with asthma.

Supplemental Keywords:

Air pollution, traffic, elemental carbon, mixed effects model, source-apportionment, diesel, asthma, PM pollution, particulate matter, personal exposure, health effects, children’s health, ambient particle health effects, atmospheric particulate matter, exposure assessment, particulate matter components,sensitive populations, traffic-generated pollution, truck traffic, personal monitoring, air pollution epidemiology., RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Air, ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, HUMAN HEALTH, Environmental Chemistry, Health Risk Assessment, mobile sources, Biochemistry, Health Effects, Children's Health, Risk Assessment, asthma, engine exhaust, traffic, community-based intervention, airway disease, respiratory problems, automotive emissions, Human Health Risk Assessment, automotive exhaust, childhood respiratory disease, susceptibility, ambient particle pollution, children's environmental health, outreach and education

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2007
  • Final