Researchers Study Link Between Pollutants, Health Issues in Detroit Neighborhoods

Jan 21, 2010
Researchers Study Link Between Pollutants, Health Issues in Detroit Neighborhoods
Clarkson University is using its Mobile Air Pollution Laboratory to measure the distribution of air pollution near Detroit’s highways.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Clarkson University researchers are helping the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health to study the link between air pollutants and health problems in children in Detroit.

"The overall project is designed to examine the relationship between asthma in children and exposures within 150 yards of major highways," said Philip K. Hopke, director of Clarkson’s Center for the Environment and professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering.

To conduct the study, Clarkson is using its Mobile Laboratory (MAPL) to measure the distribution of air pollution near Detroit’s highways. The MAPL can monitor a number of pollutants, including , ultrafine particles, , carbon monoxide and .

Suresh Raja, research assistant professor, said measurements were taken close to several highways, with additional measurements taken at several intervals moving away from the highways. "We did this in about eight areas and each area had about 12 stops," he said.

The first set of data was collected in October 2009 with a second set scheduled for April 2010, Raja said. Between the two collections, "we can estimate what kind of exposures would be there year-round."

"What we see is most of the black carbon in very high concentrations in areas closer to the highway as you would expect," he said, but, "it doesn’t mean you wouldn’t get those kind of exposures if you live far away from the highway, because we have meteorology playing a role in picking up these pollutants and transporting it to other places."

The two-year study also includes monitoring the indoor and outdoor environments of 210 asthmatic Detroit children living near highways. Researchers expect to find that pollution from cars and trucks will be a larger factor in the children’s asthma than any other source of pollution. Allergies and the presence of cigarette smokers in the household are expected to make the effects of pollution from the highways even worse.

Hopke said Clarkson has conducted similar tests in other cities. In Syracuse, he said, officials are discussing moving Interstate 81 instead replacing it as it nears the end of its useful life. "Our results will help inform the decision by better quantifying the impact of the on local air quality." The MAPL has also been used to measure the distribution of pollutants near I-490 and I-590 in Rochester.

The research, Hopke said, will help strengthen Clarkson’s role as a leader in aerosol and atmospheric science and exposure assessment. "The results of these studies will provide valuable insights into the heterogeneity of exposure in urban areas where there are major highways," he said.

Explore further: Mother-infant bed sharing messaging should be tailored, researcher says

Provided by Clarkson News Releases

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Traffic pollution worsens symptoms in asthmatic children

Nov 14, 2008

Traffic pollution, especially in cities, adversely affects respiratory health in children with asthma. A study published in BioMed Central's open access journal Respiratory Research has found that in this vulnerable group, ...

City Kids May Breathe Easier in the Country

Mar 10, 2009

Children with asthma have an easier time breathing if they spend even a few days in the country, safeguarded from urban air pollution, a study led by Giovanni Piedimonte, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of ...

Indoor air pollution increases asthma symptoms

Feb 19, 2009

A study by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University found an association between increasing levels of indoor particulate matter pollution and the severity of asthma symptoms among children. The study, which followed a ...

Recommended for you

Lack of sleep increases risk of failure in school

17 minutes ago

A new Swedish study shows that adolescents who suffer from sleep disturbance or habitual short sleep duration are less likely to succeed academically compared to those who enjoy a good night's sleep. The ...

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of healthcare?

17 minutes ago

"Obamacare"—was signed into law in 2010 and promised the largest overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system since the 1960s. Designed to provide medical care to uninsured Americans, it has been widely decried ...

Health woes to worsen due to climate change, study warns

2 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Coupled with worldwide marches demanding action on climate change, a new study warns that rising temperatures and altered weather patterns in the United States may soon exacerbate many existing ...

User comments : 0