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Principal Investigator: Johnston, Jill E
Institute Receiving Award University Of Southern California
Location Los Angeles, CA
Grant Number R21ES034720
Funding Organization National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Award Funding Period 10 Sep 2022 to 31 Aug 2025
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): TITLE: Health symptoms and risk perception of urban environmental justice communities after major hydrogen sulfide disaster ABSTRACT In October 2021, residents of Carson and nearby neighborhoods in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County, California began reporting strong malodor, headaches, nausea, and respiratory distress. A sudden and persistent spike in the concentrations of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), a toxic odorant gas, was identified as the source, affecting the quality of life and health of thousands of residents in the South Bay. At its peak, H2S levels reached upwards of 7000 parts per billion—230 times the California’s one-hour ambient air quality standard of 30 parts per billion—but H2S concentrations remained elevated for 6 weeks. While there is a body of literature surrounding the acute impacts of hydrogen sulfide exposures, health effects in the aftermath of a malodorous disaster in an urban environmental justice community like this are not well characterized. In this project, we aim to 1) Advance community education and research capacity through engaged participatory research; 2) Characterize hydrogen sulfide exposures in Carson and neighboring cities over space and time using a dense network of stationary monitors; 3) Examine the association between H2S exposure with (a) health symptoms, sleep quality, mental health, and odor experience using validated survey instruments; and (b) with measured cardiopulmonary outcomes across a longitudinal cohort of South Bay residents; and 4) Understand experiences during and post- disaster and their association with quality of life, precarity, stressors, and vulnerabilities—and how disaster shapes risk perception, coping strategies, and access to health protective resources through semi-structured interviews. Outcomes from this time-sensitive work will fill a critical gap in understanding the effects of malodor and H2S exposure events on community health symptoms and well-being in vulnerable populations through participatory research. Results from this study may also be used to improve understanding and communication of impacts of malodors and hydrogen sulfide releases in other communities.
Science Code(s)/Area of Science(s) Primary: 93 - Environmental Justice/Environmental Health Disparities
Secondary: 03 - Carcinogenesis/Cell Transformation
Publications No publications associated with this grant
Program Officer Liam O'Fallon
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