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EPA Grants $1 Million to University of Pittsburgh for asthma study

Release Date: 06/21/2011
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith, smith.bonnie@epa.gov, 215-814-5543

PHILADELPHIA (June 21, 2011) -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has awarded more than $1 million to the University of Pittsburgh to conduct a study designed to increase the quality of life for children who live in underserved communities and suffer from asthma.

Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh and other institutions will coordinate efforts to determine and understand the effects of air pollution on childhood asthma when combined with social stressors such as poverty and violence.

“This research highlights the value and need for conducting cumulative risk assessments that are responsive to community concerns and environmental justice,” said Bill Sanders, Director of EPA’s National Center for Environmental Research. “Interdisciplinary studies like these aid in developing practical health and safety measures.”

The study will measure the levels of pollutants from vehicle exhaust and other sources, as well as incidences of crime, poor nutrition and other social stressors, in New York City neighborhoods. Adding this information to data on the rate and severity of childhood asthma in these neighborhoods, researchers will examine how and why these social stressors impact childhood asthma and develop ways to educate communities on this issue and ways to improve children’s overall health.

The study is part of an $8 million EPA grant awarded earlier this year through the Agency’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR) research grant program supporting a series of studies on cumulative human health risk assessments.

EPA’s STAR grant program supports human health, ecology, economics and engineering sciences through grants, centers and fellowships. The program stimulates cutting-edge research on life stage susceptibility (how age reflects a person’s risk to pollutants) and investigates methods for assessing exposure and environmental health disparities among different socio-economic groups. To date, research results from the STAR program have aided in the development of local and state policy, and have guided clinicians, community advocates and parents in creating safer, healthier environments.

For more information on STAR grant awards, visit http://www.epa.gov/ncer/cumulativerisk.

For more information on asthma visit http://www.epa.gov/asthma/awm/index.html.