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Principal Investigator: Wells, Ellen M
Institute Receiving Award Purdue University
Location West Lafayette, IN
Grant Number R01ES032463
Funding Organization National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Award Funding Period 20 Sep 2022 to 31 Jul 2027
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): PROJECT SUMMARY Activity from steel, petroleum, and chemical industries has resulted in extensive metal and organic compound contamination in northern Lake County, Indiana. Residents have consistently voiced the need for more community input and unbiased data on the extent and the health impacts of their chemical exposures. Many of these contaminants, individually, are recognized as neurological toxicants; however, scientific understanding of the cumulative impact of exposure to multiple contaminants remains unclear. Therefore, our goal is to conduct a community-engaged assessment of the patterns of exposure to metals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) as well as their potential associations with selected health outcomes, particularly neurological health. We will accomplish this through completion of a cross-sectional study of 300 adults and 100 children from northern Lake County, Indiana. Community engagement will be achieved through a) engagement with a Community Advisory Board (CAB) to provide advice on all aspects of the project; b) employment of residents to serve as Community Health Workers (CHWs) to work closely with individual residents to share information about the project, recruit participants, and conduct study visits; c) empowerment of participants by involving them in collecting their own environmental and biological samples through a specialized sampling kit; and d) community outreach. In Aim 1, we will determine a) toxic metal concentrations in house dust, soils, tap water, hair and toenail samples as well as b) benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other common VOCs in ground-level air samples and silicone wristbands. Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in ambient air samples will also be determined. CHWs will show participants how to collect samples from their home using the sampling kit. The kit components have been validated; samples will be analyzed by scientific staff using semi-automated X- ray fluorimeters (XRF), inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) and gas chromatograph mass spectrometers (GC-MS). In Aim 2, we will assess the correlation of mixed chemical exposure with self-reported general health status, cognitive and emotional function, and epigenetic profiles. Trained study staff will be trained to administer the cognitive battery from the NIH Toolbox via videoconference. Epigenetic changes include altered methylation patterns in genes known to be related to neurologic disease. In Aim 3, we will evaluate the effectiveness of our community engagement strategies. Specifically, we will explore whether these strategies are effective at promoting participation in project activities and increasing the knowledge of environmental and health issues. At the conclusion of this community engaged research, we will have completed a high-quality assessment of the extent and characteristics of exposure to metals and VOCs in northern Lake County; determined correlations of these exposures with selected health outcomes; and determined which community engagement methods were most effective in this community.
Science Code(s)/Area of Science(s) Primary: 97 - Partnerships for Environmental Public Health/Community Research
Secondary: 03 - Carcinogenesis/Cell Transformation
Publications No publications associated with this grant
Program Officer Lindsey Martin
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