Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

NIH Funds Highway Pollution & Health Study in Boston, Somerville

23.06.2008
Tufts University researchers and five Boston-area community groups received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to study the health effects of pollution exposure in neighborhoods adjacent to major highways. The 5-year, $2.5 million grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Science (NIEHS) will fund a study of four communities, including Boston’s Chinatown and Somerville, MA.

A steering committee comprised of representatives from the Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership (STEP), the Latin American Health Institute, the Chinese Progressive Association, the Committee for Boston Public Housing and the Chinatown Resident Association will lead the research in collaboration with principal investigator Doug Brugge, PhD. Brugge, director of the Tufts Community Research Center at the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship, is an associate professor in the Department of Public Health and Family Medicine at the Tufts University School of Medicine.

STEP initially approached Brugge about the impact of highway pollution on Somerville neighborhoods next to Interstate 93 - the major highway leading in and out of Boston. “Meeting with other communities in the same situation, a literature review by Tufts faculty and more recent pilot studies on Somerville’s I-93 pollution all set the foundation for the great leap forward provided by this NIEHS grant,” says Wig Zamore of STEP. “We feel fortunate to be included in this scientific effort to learn more about these understudied exposures and to help better define their most serious impacts.” By actively engaging the Boston and Somerville communities, the Tufts investigators predict the study will yield results that more traditional research methods would not achieve.

As part of the study, to be known as the Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure and Health (CAFEH), participants will be asked to submit written surveys and blood samples to be tested for evidence of heart and lung disease. “Many people live close to I-93 and I-95 and they may well be exposed to these tiny particles, but they aren’t aware of it,” says Bart Laws, PhD, senior investigator at the Latin American Health Institute. “The particles are invisible and odorless.”

Additionally, co-investigators from Tufts’ School of Engineering plan to outfit a van with air monitoring instrumentation that can measure concentrations of a variety of chemical pollutants. “Pollution levels are highest on the highway and gradually decrease to background levels as they drift away from the cars on the road,” says Brugge. “The air monitoring van will measure pollution levels within 200 to 300 meters of highways in communities where most of the residents can see the highway from their homes.”

In Boston, both I-93 and the Massachusetts Turnpike (I-90) border Chinatown. “Some residents have lived at the junction of two major highways for decades,” says Lydia Lowe, executive director of the Chinese Progressive Association. “What does it mean for the long-term health of Chinatown residents and what are the implications for future development and planning for our community? These are some of the questions we hope this study can help us to explore.”

Brugge says there is a large and growing body of scientific evidence that shows ambient pollution, even at levels below those set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, is harmful to health. “Most of the studies to date examine regional effects of pollution,” Brugge says. “Only recently has research begun to suggest that highly concentrated local sources, such as highways may be even more hazardous. To our knowledge, much of the work to date on near highway exposures and health has come from Southern California, so the project represents an expansion to the northeastern United States.”

About Tufts University School of Medicine

Tufts University School of Medicine and the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts University are international leaders in innovative medical education and advanced research. The School of Medicine and the Sackler School are renowned for excellence in education in general medicine, special combined degree programs in business, health management, public health, bioengineering and international relations, as well as basic and clinical research at the cellular and molecular level. Ranked among the top in the nation, the School of Medicine is affiliated with six major teaching hospitals and more than 30 health care facilities. The Sackler School undertakes research that is consistently rated among the highest in the nation for its impact on the advancement of medical science.

Andrea Grossman | newswise
Further information:
http://www.tufts.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Amputees can learn to control a robotic arm with their minds
28.11.2017 | University of Chicago Medical Center

nachricht The importance of biodiversity in forests could increase due to climate change
17.11.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Multi-year submarine-canyon study challenges textbook theories about turbidity currents

12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>