Center for Environmental Resource Management
This Advanced Research Cooperation in Environmental Health (ARCH) grant links the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), a Minority Serving Institution (MSI), with the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNM HSC), a Research Intensive University (RIU). The central research hypothesis is that children breathing air in the most polluted parts of El Paso, TX, have an increased prevalence of asthma, which may be under detected in the area's medically underserved Hispanic children. The project builds on the research strengths and previous work of UTEP investigators in documenting significant air and soil pollution problems in El Paso, TX, and contiguous Juarez, Mexico, and on UTEP's recent successful programs in public health. The Core Research Project ties high-density (both spatial and temporal) air and soil quality data to the prevalence and intensity of asthma and respiratory distress in a cohort of 1,200 households randomly selected from 100 stratified blocks in the El Paso community. The application has been completely revised with an improved environmental sampling design, development of a more expansive cohort, new environmental epidemiology expertise, and more productive interactions of all Pilot Projects with the Core Research Project. The Pilot Projects will monitor levels of pollutants, including PM2.5, carbon nanoparticles, toxic metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), atmospheric ozone, nitrogen dioxide (NO2), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and feed these data to the Research Core. In revised Project 1, lung function in children measured by Impulse Oscillometry (IOS) methods in a clinical setting will be compared to lung function measured with spirometry methods promotoras in the local communities. Project 2 is new and examines the relationship between indoor and outdoor air sample particle concentration and composition in a subset of the blocks in the Research Core Project. Project 3 is also new and will test for gases (NO2, ozone, and VOCs), again in neighborhoods tied to the Core. Revised Project 4 examines the hypothesis that the organic fraction of PM2.5 contributes to asthma via oxidized PAHs that activate cell signaling pathways important in inflammation and immediate type hypersensitivity leading to asthma exacerbations. Project 5 performs innovative studies on carbon nanotubes from local environmental sources. The ARCH Program is overseen by an Administrative Core and is supported by a Facility Core at UTEP.