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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

Oregon State: Researchers to Study Impact of Emission-Control Measures on Birth Outcomes with $1.2 Million Health Effects Institute Grant

Dr. Perry Hystad, associate professor of environmental and occupational health in the Oregon State College of Public Health and Human Sciences received a 3-year $1.2 million grant from the Health Effects Institute to assess the impact of emission-control measures on birth outcomes associated with traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) in Texas.

The research team will evaluate air quality changes associated with regulations for national motor vehicle emissions as well as an array of congestion reduction programs that were implemented in Texas over the past 25 years. They will analyze existing data from a population-based cohort of 7.6 million births in Texas from 1996–2016. Texas provides an ideal study area because during that period roughly 1.7 million pregnant mothers lived within 500 meters of a highway, while nitrogen dioxide concentrations (a marker of traffic-related air pollution) were reduced by more than 50 percent.

Because of the magnitude of emission regulations over the last two decades, it is important to evaluate the potential health benefits and the populations who may or may not benefit from TRAP exposure reductions. In addition, because the demand for local congestion reduction programs is growing, it is also important to examine potential health benefits from reduced local TRAP exposures. The project will determine if different local congestion reduction programs can improve birth outcomes to assist policymakers in selecting between different types of traffic congestion policies and conducting cost-benefit analyses. This research will provide robust new evidence on the impacts of emission regulations and local congestion policies on birth outcomes, an important health outcome linked to air pollution exposures.

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