Research Centers
National Environmental Respiratory Center (NERC)

Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute

The National Environmental Respiratory Center (NERC) is a joint government-industry program of laboratory research and information to improve our understanding of the relationship between complex mixtures of environmental (outdoor) air pollutants and human health.

Environmental air quality regulatory and research strategies have focused largely on single pollutants and sources, but it is unlikely that the health effects observed in individuals or populations are caused solely by single pollutants or sources. Indeed, as levels of regulated air pollutants are reduced, it is becoming less likely that the remaining effects observed in populations are attributable to single pollutant species or sources, or solely to regulated species or sources. There is a clear need to know more about the contributions of individual pollutants and classes of pollutants to the combined effects of exposure to complex mixtures of air contaminants from man-made and natural sources. This difficult, but important, area of research needs to receive increased attention. NERC was created to begin addressing this need directly by conducting key portions of the research necessary to fill this knowledge void and to provide information resources and collaborative research resources in the field.

NERC is located at the Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute (LRRI) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and the research is conducted by a team comprised of both LRRI and external scientists, collaborators, and subcontractors. The Center is pursuing a multi-year strategy developed with guidance from its External Scientific Advisory Committee, with input on experimental design features from topical expert workshops, and considering advice from its numerous sponsors. The resulting research program will certainly not resolve all "complex mixture" issues, but is making steady progress toward resolving complex composition-exposure concentration-health response relationships for among several common source emissions that encompass hundreds of air contaminants of public health and regulatory interest.

Center Publications:

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Main Center Abstract and Reports:

National Environmental Respiratory Center: Health Hazards of Inhaled Gasoline Engine Emissions and Street Dust
National Environmental Respiratory Center