Skip Navigation


Export to Word (
Principal Investigator: Johnson, Natalie M
Institute Receiving Award Texas A&M University Health Science Ctr
Location College Station, TX
Grant Number R21ES036034
Funding Organization National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Award Funding Period 24 Jan 2024 to 31 Dec 2025
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): ABSTRACT The overall objective of this project is to apply mobile air sampling strategies and novel health assessment and communication tools to rapidly characterize sustained health risks from hazardous volatile organic compound (VOC) exposure during the remediation and recovery phases of the East Palestine, Ohio environmental disaster. This research builds from ongoing mobile air sampling in East Palestine conducted as part of the Texas A&M University Superfund Research Center (TAMU SRC) showing elevated VOC levels, particularly acrolein, that vary spatially across the East Palestine township. The overall goal of the TAMU SRC is to characterize and manage the human health risks associated with exposure to environmental emergency-mobilized hazardous substances. The situation in East Palestine exemplifies the critical data gaps in both exposure and health risks. Current ambient air monitoring approaches lack fine spatial resolution. Additionally, standard methods like those used at EPA stationary monitors use “targeted” approaches, missing potential novel chemical exposures. Importantly, there is also a lack of critical health information despite the documented environmental concerns following the East Palestine train derailment, chemical spill, and controlled burn. Generally, there is very limited data on the health impacts associated with these occurrences. Thus, the central hypothesis of this project is that VOCs may vary spatially based on phases of the recovery, and mobile air sampling data in combination with resident self-reported symptoms will inform localized hotspots of VOC mixtures. To determine the distribution of VOCs over time as cleanup efforts continue, aim 1 will sustain mobile air monitoring by taking measurements that are highly spatially and temporally resolved at 9-, 12-, and 15-months post-disaster. Aim 2 will focus on interpreting VOC data, contextualizing risk, and collecting health data using validated surveys identifying chemical and non-chemical stressors, addressing physical and mental health, and unique chemical sensitivities. Also, the application of an innovative AI text messaging application for residents to freely report health and environmental concerns through a chat bot will provide a means for continued health surveillance. Overall, the novel tools and findings from this project will directly inform hyperlocal air quality and residential health concerns following an environmental disaster that can serve as a template for responding to air pollution in disasters.
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 Lindsey Martin
to Top