HIFIVE – Health Impacts of Filtration Improvements in Elementary Schools
Principal Investigator/Author: Veronica Vieira
Contractor: University of California, Irvine
Contract number: 20RD015
Project Status: Active
Topic areas: Environmental Justice, Air Pollution Exposure, People at Risk, Health Analysis, Indoor Air Quality & Exposure, Health Effects of Air Pollution, Health & Air Pollution, Community Health, Reducing Disparities, Racial Equity, Health Risk Assessment
While some studies have assessed classroom filtration effectiveness in reducing air pollutant concentrations and a substantial body of scientific evidence supports the link between criteria air pollutant exposure and child respiratory dysfunction, there is little direct evidence available for estimating the health benefits of air filtration improvements in schools. Moreover, asthma is a significant public health concern, especially among children living in many communities with disproportionally high exposures to particulate matter (PM). This study provides air filtration interventions in 17 LA Unified School District elementary schools located in the AB 617 communities of Carson, Torrance, Harbor City, and Lomita. There are a total of 435 classrooms in these schools. The study will investigate the possible benefits directly associated with PM2.5 exposure reduction through these interventions. Schools will receive portable high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter air purifiers for each classroom. The classrooms will be randomized using a crossover randomized controlled trail. In this design, each classroom gets the intervention, but during different terms of the school year. At each school, air quality sensors that measure real-time PM2.5 concentrations will be installed both indoors and outdoors to monitor air quality. In addition, 300 asthmatic students from classrooms with indoor air quality sensors will be recruited to longitudinally assess allergy and respiratory symptoms. The analysis of these students will provide direct associations between measured exposure values and health outcomes at the individual level. The results from this study will provide data on health benefits of filtration in elementary schools in order to fulfill the accountability reporting requirements of the incentive program in a vulnerable community selected pursuant to AB 617. The results from the proposed crossover randomized controlled trial will assess direct health impacts associated with PM2.5 levels that can be generalized to other AB 617 communities with similar exposure levels.
Keywords: indoor exposure and mitigation; reducing disparities; cumulative impacts; health assessment; particulate matter (PM); children’s health and development; pollutant exposure; indoor air; environmental justice; children’s health; personal exposure