Vulnerability to Health Effects of Wildfires under a Changing Climate in Western

Summary

Principal Investigator: Michelle L Bell
Abstract: DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that climate change will likely increase forest fire severity, with fires that bur more intensely and spread more rapidly. NIH identified climate change and forest fires as a critical research need. According to the U.S. Forest Service, fire risk has already increased. Several studies suggest that forest fires affects health;however, the true health burden is unknown as no large- scale studies have been conducted. Current research is limited in scope and methods to estimate exposure to fire smoke. Scientific literature on ambient air pollutants indicates that some populations are more vulnerable than others to health responses. We hypothesize that some populations are more vulnerable to health impacts of forest fires under a changing climate. To estimate this vulnerability, new data and methods are needed. We propose to develop the necessary databases and methods so we can investigate the vulnerability to hospital admissions from forest fires in the western United States. In Aim 1 (exposure estimation), we will develop a new approach to integrate a chemical transport model, GEOS-Chem, with state-of-the-science forest fire emission inventories to estimate the contribution of forest fires to airborne particulate matter (PM). Our method generates daily, gridded estimates of PM2.5 from forest fire smoke and PM2.5 from other pollutant sources. In Aim 2 (risk estimation) we will develop a data set that links information on weather conditions, individual-level data on hospital admissions and co-morbidities, and community factors (e.g., unemployment) at the zip-code level with PM2.5 from forest fires. We will develop statistical models for estimating the association between exposure to forest fire smoke and risk of hospitalizations for persons >65 years. In this aim, we identify which populations are most vulnerable with respect to individual factors (age, race, sex, pre- existing conditions), region, community factors (e.g., unemployment) and environmental factors (e.g., weather). In Aim 3 (exposure and risk prediction through 2050), we will use the approach developed in Aim 1 and climate model projections to predict future area burned and forest fire emissions through 2050. These estimates will be used with chemical transport modeling to estimate future forest fire exposures. We will then use the approach developed in Aim 2 to predict the change in risk of hospitalizations, by vulnerability, under a changing climate accounting for the many sources of uncertainty in exposure and risk estimation. This study would advance understanding of how forest fires affect health in the present day and which populations are most vulnerable, and of how climate change could impact forest fires and thereby health and related vulnerabilities. Our findings would benefit efforts to manage forest fires, allow more targeted public health interventions, and aid effective allocation of resources, which is particularly important given the increased risk under climate change. The databases and methods developed would provide the research framework for studies of other environmental exposures, health outcomes, and climate change scenarios.
Funding Period: 2012-06-01 - 2015-05-31
more information: NIH RePORT

Top Publications

  1. pmc The effect of primary organic particles on emergency hospital admissions among the elderly in 3 US cities
    Marianthi Anna Kioumourtzoglou
    Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
    Environ Health 12:68. 2013
  2. pmc Methods to calculate the heat index as an exposure metric in environmental health research
    G Brooke Anderson
    Department of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
    Environ Health Perspect 121:1111-9. 2013
  3. ncbi Short-term effects of air pollution on hospital admissions in Korea
    Ji Young Son
    School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, CT 06511, USA
    Epidemiology 24:545-54. 2013
  4. pmc Heat-related emergency hospitalizations for respiratory diseases in the Medicare population
    G Brooke Anderson
    Department of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
    Am J Respir Crit Care Med 187:1098-103. 2013
  5. pmc Is the relation between ozone and mortality confounded by chemical components of particulate matter? Analysis of 7 components in 57 US communities
    G Brooke Anderson
    Department of Biostatistics, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
    Am J Epidemiol 176:726-32. 2012
  6. pmc Associations of PM₂.₅ constituents and sources with hospital admissions: analysis of four counties in Connecticut and Massachusetts (USA) for persons ≥ 65 years of age
    Michelle L Bell
    School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
    Environ Health Perspect 122:138-44. 2014

Detail Information

Publications10

  1. pmc The effect of primary organic particles on emergency hospital admissions among the elderly in 3 US cities
    Marianthi Anna Kioumourtzoglou
    Department of Environmental Health, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
    Environ Health 12:68. 2013
    ..5. The toxicity of the OC species may be related to their chemical structures; however, few studies have examined the association of OC species with health impacts...
  2. pmc Methods to calculate the heat index as an exposure metric in environmental health research
    G Brooke Anderson
    Department of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
    Environ Health Perspect 121:1111-9. 2013
    ..However, the method of calculating heat index varies across environmental studies, which could mean that studies using different algorithms to calculate heat index may not be comparable...
  3. ncbi Short-term effects of air pollution on hospital admissions in Korea
    Ji Young Son
    School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, CT 06511, USA
    Epidemiology 24:545-54. 2013
    ..Numerous studies have identified short-term effects of air pollution on morbidity in North America and Europe. The effects of air pollution may differ by region of the world. Evidence on air pollution and morbidity in Asia is limited...
  4. pmc Heat-related emergency hospitalizations for respiratory diseases in the Medicare population
    G Brooke Anderson
    Department of Biostatistics, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
    Am J Respir Crit Care Med 187:1098-103. 2013
    ..With climate change predictions of more frequent and more intense heat waves, it is of paramount importance to quantify the health risks related to heat, especially for the most vulnerable...
  5. pmc Is the relation between ozone and mortality confounded by chemical components of particulate matter? Analysis of 7 components in 57 US communities
    G Brooke Anderson
    Department of Biostatistics, John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205, USA
    Am J Epidemiol 176:726-32. 2012
    ..Previous research found that the ozone-mortality relation is not confounded by particulate matter measured by mass; this national study indicates that the relation is also robust to control for specific components of PM(2.5)...
  6. pmc Associations of PM₂.₅ constituents and sources with hospital admissions: analysis of four counties in Connecticut and Massachusetts (USA) for persons ≥ 65 years of age
    Michelle L Bell
    School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
    Environ Health Perspect 122:138-44. 2014
    ..5 and hospital admissions. The chemical composition of particles varies across locations and time periods. Identifying the most harmful constituents and sources is an important health and regulatory concern...

Research Grants62

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    Frank D Gilliland; Fiscal Year: 2013
    ..The Center is poised to advance research in these areas by building on its successful approaches in facilitating cutting-edge environmental health science research. ..
  4. Statistical Methods for Complex Enivronmental Health Data
    Roger Peng; Fiscal Year: 2013
    ..The evidence generated by this work will serve as the foundation for more targeted air quality control strategies. ..
  5. Elucidating Risks: From Exposure and Mechanism to Outcome
    James A Swenberg; Fiscal Year: 2013
    ..This Program is highly relevant to Superfund by addressing high-priority chemicals and by focusing on mechanisms underlying health effects, exposure assessment, and remediation to mitigate exposure and toxicity. ..
  6. Explaining Racial Disparities in Child Asthma Morbidity
    Robert S Kahn; Fiscal Year: 2013
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  7. Pacific NorthWest Regional Center of Excellence (PNWRCE)
    Jay A Nelson; Fiscal Year: 2013
    ..pseudomallei host pathogen response during both the septicemic as well as the intracellular phases of the disease. ..
  8. SCHS, mitochondria, healthy aging and longevity
    Gino A Cortopassi; Fiscal Year: 2013
    ..abstract_text> ..
  9. Does Violence Against Women result in disparities in cancer care for women with b
    Ann L Coker; Fiscal Year: 2013
    ..Findings will have significant public health impact in reducing disparities and improving cancer prevention and control in women. ..
  10. TOXIC SUBSTANCES IN THE ENVIRONMENT
    Martyn T Smith; Fiscal Year: 2013
    ..The program will be overseen and coordinated by an Administration core (A). ..
  11. Linking the physical and chemical characteristics of Qdots to their toxicity
    TERRANCE JAMES KAVANAGH; Fiscal Year: 2013
    ..These advances can then be used in safe design and manufacturing of nanomaterials so as to maximize their utility for many applications. ..
  12. DETECTION AND MODELS OF TOXICANT EXPOSURE
    Robert H Tukey; Fiscal Year: 2013
    ..Our combined efforts are anticipated to provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms that lead to environmental illness, and improve our understanding of the consequences of exposure to Superfund site contaminants. ..
  13. Prenatal air pollution, DNA methylation and early signs of atherosclerosis
    CARRIE VAN DOREN BRETON; Fiscal Year: 2013
    ..Moreover, small differences in IMT and stiffness at a young age may translate into clinically relevant cardiovascular disease later in life - a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the U.S. ..
  14. Beryllium: Exposure Immune and Genetic Mechanisms
    Lee S Newman; Fiscal Year: 2013
    ..The productivity and continuance demonstrate quality, commitment and ability to work together. PROGRAM AS INTERGRATED EFFORT ..
  15. Cardiovascular Health: Effects of the Social and Physical Environment
    Shakira Franco Suglia; Fiscal Year: 2013
    ..abstract_text> ..
  16. Particulate matter and black carbon:Respiratory Health in Sri Lankan Children
    Sumal Nandasena; Fiscal Year: 2013
    ..In doing so, the project will provide the evidence that may be translated into practice and policy for IAP exposure reduction in the country with extension of the benefits to include climate change mitigation. ..