Effects of Poverty, Pollution To Be Researched in Long-term EPA Study

The U.S. government will award $7 million in grants for research into the cumulative health effects of environmental pollution and social factors such as stress and poor nutrition in low-income communities. While the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) typically limits its research to the effects of individual pollutants and chemicals, this initiative will target neighborhoods that are exposed to multiple factors that scientists say can amplify the effects of toxic pollutants. The grants will support research into the combined effects of metals and stress on the central nervous system; disparities in air pollution risks; the effects of stress and traffic pollution on childhood asthma; and the reasons that some ethnic groups are more susceptible to environmental health risks. “This research could pave the way for more interdisciplinary work that is responsive to community concerns and environmental justice,” said Paul Anastas, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Research and Development.