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Health and Environmental Effects Research

EPHD Scientist Gives Plenary Lecture at AAAR Conference

Wayne Cascio, Director of NHEERL’s Environmental Public Health Division (EPHD), presented a lecture entitled “Health Disparities and Ambient Air Particle Pollution” at the 30th Annual Conference of the American Association for Aerosol Research in Orlando, FL, on October 6, 2011. Despite improvement over the past decade, significant disparities in health outcomes exist within the United States among racial and ethnic minorities and among other groups at high risk for adverse health events, such as low-income groups, women, children, aged adults, and the disabled. Identification of the specific social, economic, behavioral, and health factors determining particulate matter (PM)-induced health risks in these vulnerable populations deserves greater attention. Planned research will seek to understand the key factors responsible for environmental health disparities. Such knowledge will weigh heavily in developing mitigation strategies, improving public health and quality of life. The lecture drew heavily from EPHD’s research on the health impact of exposure to wildfire smoke in the economically disadvantaged counties of eastern North Carolina during summer 2008 and provided a contextual background for public health, social, and economic issues driving health effects of inhaled PM for an audience largely composed of aerosol scientists.

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