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EPA Funds New Research on Air Pollution, Children’s Health and Watershed Protection

Release Date: 07/29/2003
Contact Information:

Suzanne Ackerman, 202-564-7819 /

(07/29/03) EPA Assistant Administrator for Research and Development Paul Gilman announced over $10 million in research grants to study the long-term health effects of air pollution, the environment and children’s health, and watershed protection. As part of EPA’s commitment to base policy decisions on the highest quality science, the Agency funds cutting-edge environmental research in key areas. Scientific research is one of the most powerful tools for understanding the environment and the best methods for achieving environmental progress.

“Protecting the health of Americans, especially children, the elderly and other susceptible populations, is an integral part of EPA’s mission,” said Gilman. “EPA’s science and regulations together have achieved the impressive result of a 25 percent decline in air pollution over the past 30 years. Clean water is also essential to public health, and the watershed approach is widely recognized as the best method for ensuring water quality and healthy aquatic systems. In 2002, 94 percent of Americans were served by drinking water systems that met our health-based standards.”

These research grants were awarded through EPA’s Science to Achieve Results (STAR), which funds scientific work through competitive application and independent peer review processes. A recent National Academy of Sciences (NAS) evaluation stated that the STAR program fills a unique niche by supporting “important research that is not conducted or funded by other agencies.” The report also concluded that in less than 10 years, STAR research has succeeded in improving the scientific foundation of EPA decision making. The watershed protection projects were also funded through an agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).


Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, Calif., $964,000
Scientists will look at 23 years of human data for possible correlations between heart disease and the long-term effects of air pollutants.

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md., $1,034,000
Over three years, scientists will compare medical information on veterans and Medicare patients to historical weather and air monitoring data, looking at how particulate matter exposure may play a role in illnesses.

Brigham and Women=s Hospital, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass., $934,000
From an ongoing study of 121,700 United States women, researchers will evaluate correlations between long-term exposure to air pollution and heart and lung disease.

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich., $769,000
Scientists will study whether 15 years of exposure to air particles is associated with atherosclerosis in 6,500 adults.


Harvard University School of Public Health, Boston, Mass., $750,000
Researchers will determine if early exposure to PCBs, whose manufacture has been banned in the United States since 1976, can affect children's immune systems.

New York University, New York, $749,000
Researchers will investigate if there are genetic differences that play a role in the increased susceptibility of children to air pollution.

CIIT Centers for Health Research, Research Triangle Park, N.C., $726,000
Using an animal model, scientists will determine whether fetal exposure to phthalates, chemicals used to make plastic flexible, can affect male fertility and reproductive system development.

Research Triangle Institute, Chapel Hill, N.C., $750,000
A model will be developed to estimate fetal exposure to flame retardant chemicals.

University of Vermont, Burlington, Vt., $775,000
Researchers will study children exposed to contaminated ground water to determine whether they show genetic markers associated with cancer development.


Tufts University, Boston, Mass., $749,000
This research will focus on improving nutrient models used in calculating Total Maximum Daily Loads, which are the maximum amounts of a pollutant a body of water may contain and still meet water quality standards.

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich., $746,000
Researchers will develop a management plan to eliminate nuisance algal blooms in reservoirs along the Huron River in southeastern Michigan.

The University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C., $738,000
This research will investigate the transport of nitrogen runoff from agricultural and forested lands to the Neuse River Estuary.

University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis., $749,000
The grant will be used to improve two models that predict how agricultural phosphorus is transported.

More information about these grants is available at: (air pollution), (children’s health), and (watersheds). For more information on EPA’s STAR program, please see: