Superfund Research Program
Environmentally Persistent Free Radicals Alter Pulmonary Immunologic Homeostasis
Project Leader: Stephania A. Cormier
Grant Number: P42ES013648
Funding Period: 2011-2018
- Project Summary
Environmentally persistent free radicals (EPFRs) are found in significant concentrations at Superfund sites and generated during thermal remediation and containment processes. Stephania Cormier, Ph.D., leads a team that has published and submitted for publication several major discoveries this year. First, exposure to EPFRs increase the severity of respiratory tract bacterial and viral infections by suppressing the body’s immune system to respond to the bacteria/viruses. Second, particulate matter (PM) levels lower than the annual U.S. Environmental Protection Agency allowable threshold (<12 micrograms/m3) are associated with enhanced risk for community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in children. Third, ambient PM concentrations do not adequately predict exposure to EPFRs. These later two manuscripts represent the first in the field. Two other reports from this team demonstrate that risk for CAP has a spatial component, and that mere measurement of PM2.5 concentration does not accurately represent community exposure to health deteriorating agents associated with PM2.5 (EPFRs in this case). Finally, the novel spatial phytosampling approach developed by their team provides a valuable tool for assessing community-level exposure.