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Your Environment. Your Health.

Wayne State University

Superfund Research Program

Center for Leadership in Environmental Awareness and Research

Center Director: Melissa A. Runge-Morris
Co-Investigator: Carol Jean Miller
Grant Number: P42ES030991
Funding Period: 2022-2027
View this project in the NIH Research Portfolio Online Reporting Tools (RePORT)

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Summary (2022-2027)

Evidence suggests that exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX), trichloroethylene (TCE), and tetrachloroethylene (PCE), is an important determinant of maternal-offspring health, with implications for preterm birth (PTB) and associated adverse health outcomes. VOCs emanate from landfills, brownfields, and Superfund sites, contaminating shallow soils and groundwater below residential, commercial, and industrial properties, leading to exposures via vapor intrusion. The Center for Leadership in Environmental Awareness and Research (CLEAR) is dedicated to understanding and mitigating this serious environmental health problem with a focus on post-industrial urban centers. Headquartered in Detroit, Michigan, CLEAR uses Detroit as a study site, which has the highest PTB rate in the country (15.2 percent) and is located in a state where 37 of the 67 Superfund sites must manage VOC contamination. CLEAR hypothesizes that VOC exposure through vapor intrusion during early life incites inflammatory responses in maternal tissues and/or the developing offspring that re-program the developing immune and other critical systems, setting the stage for PTB and/or associated adverse health outcomes. Five integrative environmental science and engineering and biomedical research projects, supported by five cores, investigate toxic mechanisms, exposure pathways, biomarkers, and strategies to prevent exposures and improve public health outcomes by:

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