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Your Environment. Your Health.

THE SALTON SEA AND CHILDREN'S HEALTH: ASSESSING IMPERIAL VALLEY RESPIRATORY HEALTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

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Principal Investigator: Farzan, Shohreh F
Institute Receiving Award University Of Southern California
Location Los Angeles, CA
Grant Number R01ES029598
Funding Organization National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Award Funding Period 15 Jul 2018 to 30 Apr 2023
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): ABSTRACT Across the southwestern US, particulate matter (PM) in the form of wind-blown dust is emerging as an increasingly prevalent exposure of public health concern. Changing weather patterns, droughts and competing water demands are dramatically altering the landscape and creating conditions conducive to the production of wind-blown dust and dust storms. In California, such factors are leading to the rapid shrinking of the Salton Sea, a 350-square mile land-locked “sea” situated near the southeastern rural border region known as the Imperial Valley. A regional water transfer agreement will accelerate the Sea’s drying and it is anticipated that large swaths of the lakebed will become exposed, leaving behind highly emissive salt flats containing toxic metals, pesticides, and other potentially harmful contaminants. As a result, the region is anticipated to experience a dramatic increase in wind-blown dust and existing studies suggest a significant impact on the health and quality of life for nearby residents of this predominantly low-income, Mexican-American community. The overall goal of this study is to develop a community-academic partnership to determine the health effects of childhood exposures to wind-blown PM and inform public health action in the Imperial Valley. There is an urgent need to understand the respiratory and other health effects of the shrinking Sea as little is known about whether chronic exposure to wind-blown PM is linked to the development of respiratory disease or impairment over time, especially in vulnerable populations. In collaboration with both academic and state partners, a local community organization, Comite Civico del Valle (CCV), has developed the largest community air monitoring network in the country and is uniquely situated to measure and identify localized dust events in the Imperial Valley. We will leverage this unique air monitoring resource coupled with community-engaged epidemiological approach to understand how the rapid drying of the Salton Sea will impact local levels of PM and affect children’s respiratory health and related atopic conditions over time using exhaled biomarkers. The results of this work will be shared with the community to increase the capacity of teachers and parents to take measures to reduce school, home and community exposures. Our work will provide an opportunity to build an evidence base to increase the environmental health literacy of community health workers and health care professionals and communicate key findings of the study. This study will build a novel base of evidence to assess impacts of wind-blown PM on children’s health and through participatory research, enhance the capacity of the Imperial Valley community to address the environmental and public health impacts of the anticipated rapid desiccation of the nearby Salton Sea.
Science Code(s)/Area of Science(s) Primary: 97 - Partnerships for Environmental Public Health/Community Research
Publications See publications associated with this Grant.
Program Officer Liam O'Fallon
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