A Study of Pollution Exposure and Life Expectancy Across Time in Different Generations in California
Who can apply?
In order to be eligible to apply for this solicitation, the principal investigator must be associated with the University of California or California State University (UC/CSU). UC/CSU researchers can partner with members of other public and private institutions, such as other universities, non-profit organizations, community-based organizations or private research institutes to submit a multidisciplinary proposal.
Relevant Dates and Process Description
Once a winning proposal is identified for each project, the proposal will require review by the Research Screening Committee before a contract is initiated. If approved, the proposal will be submitted for contract preparation and execution. It is anticipated that the project will kick-off starting in Spring 2023. Results are anticipated in two to three years after the kickoff.
Resources available for prospective applicants
This page contains a proposal and budget template and guidelines. Please see the documents linked at the bottom of this page.
Current Solicitation Details
To apply for the solicitation, submit a Letter of Intent by email to email@example.com before 5pm, January 10, 2023
Full proposals must be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org before 5pm, January 23, 2023
One proposal will be selected on January 31st, 2023
Responses to this solicitation should follow the full proposal and budget template attached to this page. The main elements of the proposal shall include the following:
All exhibits as described in the proposal guidelines and template
For projects that include an equity component and/or community engagement, it is required that research teams provide a cultural competency/humility statement not to exceed two pages in length. Guidelines for the cultural competency statement is attached to the bottom of this page
A budget using the budget template attached to the bottom of this page.
Scope of Work
The purpose of this proposed statewide study is to understand pollution exposure and health impacts in California across time and generations, ideally within families. Using air quality exposure data and geographic and demographic information of populations across generations the project will identify PM 2.5 levels in highly impacted communities over time and determine which communities in California have continued to experience high levels of PM2.5. The exposures will be combined with health data to assess PM2.5 impacts on life expectancy and possibly other health impacts in two different generations and determine the levels of these impacts over time. The findings on intergenerational PM2.5 exposures and health effects will be analyzed by race, income, and location. If feasible, projections of possible future exposure scenarios will be developed, and the health outcomes assessed. The project will use this data to create GIS maps that document the magnitude and persistence of exposures and health effects in under-resourced communities and vulnerable groups. These maps showing exposures and health impacts in highly impacted areas can be used to inform CARB’s regulatory and program development and support CARB’s work to better protect vulnerable groups and communities.
While state regulatory efforts have been focused on the reduction of pollution to meet state and federal health-based standards, pollution reductions have not been experienced equally in all communities. A history of racism involving discriminatory practices such as redlining and other forms of environmental injustice has resulted in some communities that continue to live in areas with high pollution. This disproportionate pollution exposure and the health impacts that result are experienced predominately in under-resourced communities and communities of color. For example, on the national scale, while the Clean Air Act and enforcement of the National Ambient Air Quality Standards reduced racial disparities in PM2.5 exposure from 2000-2015, Black populations continue to experience higher pollution exposure compared to White populations across the U.S.1 Understanding which communities continue to experience high levels of pollution and negative health impacts over time and across generations, particularly in people of color and underserved populations, is important to inform policies and resources that will reduce exposure and improve the health outcomes in these communities.
Many studies have investigated the effects of pollution exposure across and within generations in the United States. The studies have demonstrated that high levels of pollution persist over time in some communities more than others and have shown a range of adverse health and economic effects from these ongoing exposures. One study showed that children whose parents experienced higher prenatal air pollution exposure have less educational attainment.2 Additional studies found that those who were born in counties with higher air pollution have significantly lower labor force participation and lower earnings 30 years later3, and less intergenerational economic mobility for those who grew up in low-income households4. Furthermore, U.S. children who grew up in areas with higher levels of traffic-related air pollution and housing-derived lead risk have lower incomes relative to their parents as adults.5 Current research investigating disproportionate PM2.5 exposures in U.S. populations across generations, specifically in children-grandparent pairs, finds that disproportionate exposures to air pollution have continued from one generation to the next.6 A recent study analyzed the spatial distribution of PM2.5 concentration data across the U.S. from 1981 to 2016 and found that, while pollution levels have decreased overall, census tracts that were most and least polluted in 1981 remain the same in present day.7 For California, this study found that the Central and Imperial Valleys became relatively more polluted during this time period.7 Building on this research across the U.S., this study will look more deeply at the patterns of pollution exposure specifically in California over time, with a focus on the associated impacts to life expectancy and other health outcomes between two generations of adults, ideally within families. The study will investigate how those patterns differ across different racial and ethnic backgrounds and between more highly impacted and less impacted communities.
Scope of Work
This study is intended to understand the persistence of disparities in PM2.5 exposure in communities in California over time, ideally within families. This study is also intended to investigate the health impacts attributed to PM2.5 exposure levels over time such as changes in life expectancy and over multiple generations. These exposure and health impacts will be mapped statewide using interactive GIS software to identify effects by race, income, and location and will show which communities continue to experience high pollution burdens in California.
Task 1. Conduct a literature review
The investigators will conduct a comprehensive literature review on recent research that examines intergenerational effects of air pollution exposures and associated health impacts including changes in life expectancy seen with exposures to PM2.5. Studies such as Schwartz et al. 2018 should be considered8.
Task 2. Develop particulate pollution exposure profile for two generations
The investigators will use the best available particulate matter exposure data to determine PM2.5 exposures across California at the finest possible spatial resolution for different points in time (past vs current) over at least two generations (~30 years). Similar to the methods of Colmer et al. 20207, the investigators will combine the air quality exposure data with geographic and demographic data of populations in California to understand the changes in exposures over time statewide and ideally at the census tract level or smaller. To investigate intergenerational exposures over time, data that can identify how pollution exposure has changed within a family, such as specific parent-child links to compare one generation as adults to the next generation as adults, is preferred. The study will look at different effects by race/ethnicity, income, and location.
Task 3. Obtain mortality and health data and covariates
The investigators will obtain population data from available statewide or national level datasets on mortality and any other data needed to assess life expectancy as well as data needed to assess other PM2.5-related health effects for the population and years covered from Task 2. Covariates and/or confounding factors identified in previous research will be included. Health and covariate datasets will have a resolution as high as possible to align with exposure data layers (i.e., similar spatial alignment). Data that can identify intergenerational effects within a family is preferred. The data will also need to be able to be linked to race, income, and ethnicity.
Task 4. Link exposure to life expectancy and health impacts
Using the results from Task 2, data from Task 3, the latest epidemiological research on PM 2.5 impacts on life expectancy, and other health data as needed, the investigators will study the impacts of exposure to fine particulate pollution in California on life expectancy over time, ideally within families. The investigators will also consult the latest research on PM2.5 health outcomes to conduct a similar analysis for PM2.5 exposure and other health endpoints if possible. Additional endpoints could include asthma, cardiovascular, and/or birth outcomes. In addition to considering overall effects, the investigators will specifically investigate information for subgroups, including vulnerable populations by race, income, and location. The investigators will identify and control for confounding factors. The researchers may also evaluate, to the extent possible, future scenarios for changes in life expectancy related to changes in PM2.5 levels. The research team should include a member with epidemiology expertise to help inform the study design, methods, literature review, and interpretation of findings regarding health outcomes.
Task 5. Create GIS maps for the study results including subgroups
The findings on exposure and life expectancy from Tasks 2 and 4 will be produced statewide and displayed using GIS mapping software. The GIS map will have data layers that include the change in PM2.5 exposure and the change in life expectancy between two different points in time (past vs current) at the census tract level and will be able to display the results by race/ethnicity and income. Data that shows a change in other health outcomes will be included if possible. The GIS maps of the statewide results for the PM2.5 exposures and life expectancy will identify which communities in California have had persistent pollution and health disparities over time.
Task 6. Address impacts in disadvantaged communities
There will be a public outreach component to this project. Study methods and results will be shared at the beginning and the conclusion of the study using online meetings and clear and descriptive written material in lay person’s language. At the beginning of the project, the investigators will conduct multiple outreach meetings or webinars to inform members of low-income communities and/or communities of color, including tribal communities about the project in lay-oriented terms and will consider and incorporate where possible feedback from the community into project design and analysis. The investigators will conduct additional meetings near the close of the project to explain results and implications using lay-oriented materials. The investigators will provide details of how the meetings will be conducted and which communities will be engaged. The investigators will consult with CARB in developing public outreach components, including virtual meetings or webinars focused on impacted communities and lay-oriented materials.
Task 7. Reporting and data delivery
The investigators will include interim milestones and dates for accomplishing tasks and submit quarterly progress reports, a draft final report and final report to CARB, and participate in progress update meetings and a seminar at the conclusion of the project. The investigators will provide non-confidential raw data, modeled data, and all data analysis results generated through the course of the project in electronic format. Additionally, the investigators will prepare peer-reviewed journal articles as appropriate and provide a preview of the manuscript to CARB for their comments prior to submission for review by a journal. Submitting articles to open-access journals is recommended. Lastly, CARB requires new research contracts to incorporate equity components in the deliverables (see details in IV. DELIVERABLES).
The project proposal must include but is not limited to the following deliverables:
At Proposal Stage
- Provide a cultural competency statement in the proposal.
At Beginning of Contract
- All researchers must undergo cultural competency training (examples include implicit bias training, racial equity training, etc.). Trainings should be completed or scheduled within 30 days of contract execution.
During Active Contract Period
- Quarterly Progress Reports and conference calls; The progress reports will include plain-language summaries that can be posted publicly. A progress report template will be provided.
- Consultation calls with CARB and key stakeholders. Suggested frequency is monthly.
- Interim reports, as needed. It is strongly recommended to require interim reports or deliverables at the end of tasks to ensure that progress is being made.
Prior to Contract Close
- All data, analyses and analytical tools generated through the course of this project
- Produce plain-language fact sheets, including suggestions for preventative actions (if such information is available) and these will be translated into Spanish
- Draft final report
- Include a plain language summary in draft final report
- Include an equity implications section in draft final report
- (If Applicable) Community peer review prior to finalizing draft final report
- Work with CARB to create plain-language outreach deliverables for public summarizing results and impact of project (available in multiple languages);
- Final Report and virtual or in-person seminar
- Peer reviewed publications should be publicly available (please budget for this expense; submission-ready publications shall be reviewed by CARB staff).
- Additional deliverables to be determined in consultation with CARB staff.
It is anticipated this project will be completed in 36 months from the start date. Cost shall not exceed $500,000.
- What Caused Racial Disparities in Particulate Exposure to Fall? New Evidence from the Clean Air Act and Satellite-Based Measures of Air Quality. Currie J, Voorheis J, Walker WR. 2021. NBER Working Paper No. 26659. American Economic Review
- The grandkids aren’t alright: the intergenerational effects of prenatal pollution exposure. Colmer J and Voorheis J. 2021. Center for Economic Performance.
- Every Breath You Take - Every Dollar You'll Make: The Long-Term Consequences of the Clean Air Act of 1970. Isen A, Rossin-Slater M, and Walker WR. NBER Working Paper No. 19858. 2014
- O'Brien RL, Neman T, Rudolph K, Casey J, Venkataramani A. Prenatal exposure to air pollution and intergenerational economic mobility: Evidence from U.S. county birth cohorts. Soc Sci Med. 2018 Nov;217:92-96.
- Manduca, R., Sampson, R.J. Childhood exposure to polluted neighborhood environments and intergenerational income mobility, teenage birth, and incarceration in the USA. Popul Environ 42, 501–523 (2021).
- Environmental Justice and the Multigenerational Persistence of Environmental Exposure. Li H, Zhang R, Khanna N. Abstract from the 2022 Allied Social Science Association and American Economic Association Annual Meeting
- Colmer J, Hardman I, Shimshack J, Voorheis J. Disparities in PM2.5 air pollution in the United States. Science. 2020 Jul 31;369(6503):575-578.
- Estimating the Effects of PM2.5 on Life Expectancy Using Causal Modeling Methods (nih.gov) Joel DSchwartz et al. Environmental Health Perspectives4126(12) December 2018
- Responsiveness to the goals and objectives outlined in the proposal solicitation (15 points) Proposers should demonstrate a clear understanding of the policy objectives and research needs that CARB seeks to address with this project and should convey their knowledge of the subject. The proposal should have a clear research question or testable hypothesis. The proposal should consider various aspects of the research need and identify or acknowledge biases. The proposal should spell out, in adequate detail, exactly what the Proposer proposes to do to satisfy the requirements of the Solicitation. The proposal must propose work that would satisfy the objective(s) stated in the Research Solicitation: Conduct a literature review, develop particulate pollution exposure profile for two generations, link exposure to life expectancy and health impacts, create GIS maps for the study results, conduct outreach meetings to communities.
- Policy relevance/benefits to the state (10 points) – Does the proposal describe how the project will provide data, information, and/or products to help CARB accomplish its mission?
- Previous work (15 points) – Do the researchers have relevant experience in this area? Is the team composed of a multidisciplinary team of experts? Do they discuss how they will build upon previous relevant work that was funded by CARB, other state agencies, and federal agencies such as the U.S. EPA? Does the team have experience community outreach and engagement and collaborating with community or environmental justice partners? 5 points will be reserved for project teams that meet at least one of the following criteria:
- The project team is multi-disciplinary
- The project team members come from various universities or include non-academic institutions or community-based organizations
- The project team includes one or more members, contributing significantly to the project (i.e. a principle investigator, co-principle investigator or co-investigator, contributing 25% or more of their time to the project) who have not worked with CARB in the past 5 years.
- Technical merit (25 points) - Describe the submission's technical strengths and/or weaknesses. Proposers should demonstrate the logic and feasibility of the methodology and technical approach to the project, spell out the sequence and relationships of major tasks, and explain methods for performing the actual work. The proposal should provide an explanation of how the proposed methods are robust and how results will be validated. Please factor in how well the proposal describes these areas:
- Is the proposed work scientifically defensible?
- Does the proposed research demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of PM2.5 exposure, health impacts, and exposure disparity associated with different sensitive subpopulation and impacted communities?
- Will the proposed analysis produce the relevant results for CARB?
- Does the proposal demonstrate experience with community outreach?
- Does the proposed work address all the deliverables required in section “DELIVERABLES”? If not, the proposal should not be considered for funding.
- The review team will be selecting only one proposal for funding.
- Level and quality of effort to be provided (15 points) – Does the proposal allocate time and resources in such a way that the objectives of the study will be met? Is supervision and oversight adequate for ensuring that the project will remain on schedule? Is the distribution of workload appropriate for activities such as research, evaluation and analysis, data reduction, computer simulation, report preparation, meetings, and travel?
- Cost effectiveness (20 points) - Does the cost seem appropriate for the proposed work? Does the proposed work seem feasible within the requested budget? Projects that provide co-funding should be evaluated more favorably.
Clarifying Questions and Answers
We have received questions for clarifications regarding this solicitation. The questions and the corresponding answers are below:
Will any of the Letters of Intent be rejected and not allowed to submit a full proposal?
Answer: All who submit a Letter of Intent will be able to submit a full proposal.
Will a proposal be automatically rejected if it does not satisfy all the submission criteria?
Answer: Proposals without a scope of work and budget, proposals with a budget that exceeds $500,000, or proposals without a cultural competency statement will be disqualified automatically. If the proposal satisfies the solicitation requirements, including the above clarifications, then it will be scored based on the Scoring Criteria.
Will the winning proposal be posted on CARB’s website?
Answer: No, CARB will reach out to the winner directly with further instructions to complete the contract package. The proposal title and author will appear in public documents when it is reviewed by the CARB Research Screening Committee and will be added to the contract catalog on CARB’s website once it is executed.
Will more than one award be made?
Answer: Only one proposal will be selected for funding.
Cultural Competency Statement
For proposals that require a Cultural Competency Statement, please answer the following questions within 2 pages.
1. Discuss your research team’s perspective(s) on equity in knowledge production, especially in the context of doing research with and/or about marginalized communities. How does your team situate your research work in non-academic (policy, cultural, public, etc.) domains?
2. Describe your research team’s approach and practices to support self-evaluation and self-critique, the ways the team examines your beliefs and cultural identities, and how these relate to your ongoing research work and work proposed here.
3. How does your research team consider and address power dynamics in your work? How does your research team cultivate supportive and equitable relationships with academic and non-academic research partners and research subjects? Describe your team’s specific approach, actions, and accountability measures. What are your team’s practices to protect against harmful and/or extractive relationships?