Large air pollution center established at NYU School of Medicine

At the newly established Center for Particulate Matter Health Research at NYU School of Medicine, researchers are conducting important studies to identify and characterize the tiny particles in polluted air that contribute to a host of respiratory ailments, and may even kill thousands of people nationwide each year.

The tiny particles known as particulate matter form the haze and soot fouling the air in major urban centers. On hazy days in many big cities, the minute flecks of matter, measuring far less than the width of a human hair, obscure the view of skyscrapers. The particles are a result of the emissions from smokestacks, vehicle exhaust, forest fires and other sources reacting with sunlight and air.

NYU School of Medicine recently received a prestigious, multimillion-dollar grant from the Environmental Protection Agency to set up a research center for airborne particulate matter. Only five institutions nationwide were selected to receive funding to establish these centers. The NYU Center for Particulate Matter Health Research is based in Tuxedo Park, N.Y., the site of the School of Medicine's Nelson Institute of Environmental Medicine.

The $8 million federal grant to NYU will be used to build on a body of research showing how the inhalation of fine and ultrafine airborne particles into the deepest recesses of the lungs can contribute a variety of illnesses, especially in people with pre-existing heart and lung disease.

"There are many serious illnesses that may be caused or exacerbated by airborne particulate matter, including asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), coronary artery disease, and congestive heart failure" says Morton Lippmann, Ph.D., Professor of Environmental Medicine and Program Director of the Center for Particulate Matter Health Research. "We will be especially looking at the quality of New York City's air and its impact on these diseases as reflected by increased symptoms,

Contact: Deborah Miller
New York University Medical Center and School of Medicine

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