Topic: air pollution

Emissions from traffic congestion may shorten lives

Air pollution from traffic congestion in 83 of the nation’s largest urban areas contributes to more than 2,200 premature deaths annually, costing the health system at least $18 billion, according to a study by Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) researchers featured…

Ecosystem alteration linked to human health risks

November 25, 2013 — Across the globe, there are signs that human activity is causing changes to Earth’s natural systems that may result in risks to health—from Indonesia, where fires used to clear land have been linked to cardiopulmonary disease downwind in…

Energy-efficient buildings can be hazardous to health

Buildings that are being weatherized and made energy-efficient and air tight can be hazardous to one’s health, according to a new Institute of Medicine (IOM) report. The report, “Climate Change, the Indoor Environment, and Health,” prepared by a committee chaired by Harvard…

Messages of Silent Spring still relevant 50 years later

The environmental lessons of Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring have applications today, 50 years after publication of the seminal book. Despite the book’s impact over five decades, some of its lessons appear to need reteaching, according to John Spengler, the Akira Yamaguchi…

Sleep apnea among health problems hitting the poor hardest

The poor are disproportionately afflicted with a wide range of health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, infant mortality, and dental disease. Sleep deficiency and disorders including sleep apnea also are particularly common among minority groups and those from economically…

Stress may add to pollution risks for low-income children

Children living in low-income neighborhoods, often exposed to unsafe levels of pollution, may also face additional risk from the stress of growing up in poverty, according to a new body of research. Such children may actually be more biologically susceptible to contaminants…

Aging light fixtures in New York City schools leaking PCBs

Inspections have revealed that elevated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, are leaking from aging light fixtures in many New York City public schools. HSPH’s Robert Herrick, senior lecturer on industrial hygiene, spoke to the Wall Street Journal about PCBs and their…

HSPH awarded $8 million from EPA for air pollution research

The Harvard School of Public Health was awarded an $8 million grant by the United States Environmental Protection Agency to launch one of four new university-based Clean Air Research Centers. Aiming to advance understanding of the effects of exposure to particulate matter,…

Measuring the effectiveness of public health interventions

February 11, 2013 -- If you’re examining the impact of air pollution control efforts in Denver, how do you statistically account for the fact that air pollution travels east—and that pollution reduction in the western United States could affect air quality in…

Solar-powered cooker helps reduce toxic indoor air pollution

August 27, 2013 — While studying climate change in the Himalayas, Catlin Powers, SM’11, a Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) PhD candidate in environmental health, was intrigued when a family asked her why scientists were studying outdoor air pollution instead of indoor…