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Principal Investigator: Cho, Seung-Hyun
Institute Receiving Award Research Triangle Institute
Location Research Triangle Park, NC
Grant Number R21ES035913
Funding Organization National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Award Funding Period 19 Jul 2023 to 30 Jun 2025
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): PROJECT SUMMARY/ABSTRACT The communities in Sampson and Duplin Counties, in North Carolina, who are largely Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), have had their environmental quality disproportionately affected by long-existing concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs). A new initiative of large-scale pork industry to produce renewable energy from animal waste at CAFOs has been well-supported by North Carolina government and is expected to grow significantly in the coming years. Although the affected communities are concerned about the additional adverse impact of new swine waste-to-energy (SWE) operations, little data exist to provide any knowledge on the environmental health impact of SWE operations. The Sampson and Duplin communities have identified a time-sensitive need to systematically assess their current environment and public health status before the AlignRNG SWE project becomes fully operational. Our study goal is to address the communities’ needs for baseline data with an assessment of the environmental and public health landscape of the Sampson and Duplin Counties communities prior to widespread SWE transitions. We will conduct a comprehensive longitudinal environmental health monitoring (i.e., air, water, and health) with a community participatory research approach, leveraging existing resources, and through a partnership with a trusted community action group from other RTI-leading/collaborating studies in the same community. We will refine and improve technical approaches that previous studies, including ours, have developed and apply to this unique environmental challenge for understudied, disadvantaged population. Those approaches include co-production of study with active involvement from community members to identify and develop processes that meet their needs, low-cost sensor network to collect high-resolution longitudinal air quality data, longitudinal data of private well water quality and health and quality of life, and low-burden ecological momentary assessment tool. This study will provide all stakeholders (i.e., the study community, agriculture industry, researchers, state officials, and policy makers) a comprehensive baseline analysis of exposure and health status in this under-assessed community facing SWE transition. The study community and RTI researchers will co-produce data collection and summary methods that will also be used in future assessment phases to understand the SWE transition affects. The study findings, data, and processes from this study will be shared with other community groups that have similar needs but few resources for assessments and guidance to address their environmental health challenges and North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ NC Environmental Public Health Tracking Program for broader dissemination.
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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