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North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C. Awarded Nearly $900,000 for Research

Release Date: 12/04/2008
Contact Information: Dawn Harris-Young, (404) 562-8421, harris-young.dawn@epa.gov

(Atlanta, Ga. – December 4, 2008) North Carolina State University in Raleigh, N.C. has received a $893,439 grant to investigate the health problems associated with exposure to fine particulate matter (PM) and to determine whether there is a link between these health problems, geographic differences, PM sources, and diverse populations.

The primary objective of the study is to answer the following research questions:

    What is the recommended framework to integrate atmospheric models with monitoring data and other sources of information to obtain a better characterization of fine PM components and sources?
    Can we improve the PM component-based epidemiologic studies by using atmospheric models?
    How to integrate the atmospheric models in this epidemiologic framework, while characterizing uncertainties in the epidemiological and numerical models?
    How to use source apportionment approaches in national epidemiologic studies, while characterizing different sources of uncertainty in the models and the data?

The research team believes the key scientific benefits of the knowledge and modeling developed will be critical to improve the data, methods, and tools available to link health problems with sources and components of air pollution.

Particulate matter (PM) pollution is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets. It’s made up of a number of components, including acids, organic chemicals, metals, and soil or dust particles. The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. The EPA is concerned about particles 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller because those are the particles that generally pass through the throat and nose and enter the lungs. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects.

The National Center for Environmental Research’s (NCER) Science to Achieve Results, or STAR, program funds research grants and graduate fellowships in numerous environmental science and engineering disciplines through a competitive solicitation process and independent peer review. The program engages the nation’s best scientists and engineers in targeted research that complements EPA’s own outstanding intramural research program and those of other federal agency partners.

To learn more about NCER and STAR research grants: http://es.epa.gov/ncer/about/.