In 2017, CE-CERT joined an innovative partnership to determine the effects of various air pollutants on human health. The BREATHE (Bridging Regional Ecology, Aerosolized Toxins, and Health Effects) Center at the UC Riverside School of Medicine is an interdisciplinary collaboration with a diverse group of UC Riverside faculty working together to conduct research on topics such as regional climate modeling, and the health impacts of aerosolized particles such as dust, pollens, and pollutants. The collaboration also addresses social and policy issues surrounding air quality, with research interests in environmental justice and health disparities, and culture and policy studies on air quality and health.
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CE-CERT and BREATHE Publish First Collaborative Paper
The CE-CERT and BREATHE research partnership produced its first collaborative publication for the journal American Society for Neurochemistry in 2018. The paper, titled “Continuous Inhalation Exposure to Fungal Allergen Particulates Induces Lung Inflammation While Reducing Innate Immune Molecule Expression in the Brainstem,” explored whether continuous inhalation exposure to aerosolized Alternaria alternata particulates (a common fungal allergen associated with asthma) would induce innate inflammatory responses in the lung and brain. The findings were surprising in that the inhalation exposure to this fungal allergen under conditions sufficient to induce lung inflammation actually caused reductions in baseline expression of select innate immune molecules in the region of the central nervous system controlling respiration. View full publication.
CE-CERT Partners with SCAQMD to Make Low-Cost Community Air Quality Monitoring a Reality
As a result of the passage of California Assembly Bill 617, the state now requires a plan to monitor criteria air pollutants in local communities. Dr. David Cocker, Dr. Cesunica Ivey, and Dr. Kelley Barsanti along with graduate student Brandon Feenstra are working with the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) and other partners to make portable, low-cost air quality sensors. One initiative led by SCAQMD with funding of $750,000 from the Environmental Protection Agency provides local communities with training and assistance to select, implement and maintain these sensors, and to correctly interpret the resulting data. In collaboration with a local community organization, the Sycamore Highlands Community Action Group, Dr. Cocker’s team deployed sensors in the Riverside community of Sycamore Highlands. This community has been significantly impacted by goods transportation and the construction of large warehouses and distribution hubs. The group hopes that the air quality data gathered will be of use to city planners and other local government officials when considering industrial construction projects in or adjacent to residential areas. Sensor data can be view at www.purpleair.com.