Health, Environment, and Policy Program Awarded

Grants from the WHO and the Environmental Defense Fund

Director of Health, Environment, and Policy, Kevin Cromar, and his team have received two awards. The first, from the World Health Organization (WHO), will provide funding as part of the Sharing Knowledge on Air Pollution and Health in Europe project. Cromar and Fulbright Scholar Noussair Lazrak have assembled a team of 20 researchers and student research assistants from across Europe, who will conduct a rapid review of air-quality indices including index formulations, health messaging, and validation efforts in the WHO European Region. They will present their findings to the European Union Directorate-General, with the results to drive EU risk-communications policy.

The second award is from the Environmental Defense Fund, following from a workshop chaired by Cromar in May 2021 to update the health functions in economic models that estimate the social cost of greenhouse gases. Preterm birth and low birth weight are common adverse birth outcomes associated with exposure to extreme temperatures and air pollution that result in lifelong consequences for chronic-disease risk, yet these harms are not incorporated into U.S. economic-damage assessments for climate change or air pollution. The project will build on current efforts to update exposure-response relationships for cardiovascular-, pulmonary-, and infectious-disease temperature-mortality and temperature-morbidity damage functions based on recent epidemiological research. Estimates of the impacts of ambient air pollution on preterm-birth damages will be incorporated into the annual Health of the Air report. In addition, the team will publish a report with recommendations and modeled approaches for how these impacts can be included in estimating the social cost of greenhouse gases.

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