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Release: Immediate

CHEEC announces seed grant recipients

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Center for Health Effects of Environmental Contamination (CHEEC) at the University of Iowa has announced three recipients of its seed grant program.

R. William Field, Ph.D., research scientist in preventive medicine and environmental health, was awarded $19,823; Paul Kleiber, Ph.D., professor of physics and astronomy, received $19,191; and Paul Romitti, Ph.D., assistant research scientist in preventive medicine and environmental health, received $19,965.

CHEEC awards an average of $100,000 each fiscal year to seed grants, given for pilot studies on exposure assessment, risk assessment and related areas. Proposed studies need not involve human subjects, but must have a potential relationship to human health effects. Examples include innovative laboratory measurement, field monitoring and sampling methods design and testing, statistical analyses relating environmental exposure to health outcomes, database design and development, and health survey design.

Field will use his grant to update lung cancer risk estimates previously used in the Iowa Radon Lung Cancer Study using radon progeny (decay product) dose measurement. Radon decay products, not the radon itself, deliver the radiologically significant doses to the lungs. Radon progeny produces lung cancer in underground miners, yet epidemiologic studies examining residential radon gas exposure and lung cancer have yielded inconclusive results. This raises the issue of whether residential radon progeny exposure poses a significant health risk. Thus, exposure risks need to measure actual radon progeny concentrations.

The objective of Kleiber's study is to develop new laboratory techniques for the study of processes involving environmental contaminants on mineral aerosol particle surfaces--such as wind-blown soil--under conditions of temperature, pressure and relative humidity. New laboratory strategies will help quantify the chemistry and physical transport process of aerosol particles under atmospheric conditions, and help investigate how these processes affect key environmental contaminants.

Romitti will evaluate the quality of self-reports of pregnancy history information provided by female spouses enrolled in the Agricultural Health Study (AHS), a prospective cohort study of the occurrence of chronic disease among pesticide applicators and their spouses. The pregnancy self-reports will be compared to those constructed from vital record data. Study findings will provide insight into the quality of pregnancy history information available in the AHS and provide preliminary data for future studies.

For more information on these projects or CHEEC seed grants, call (319) 335-4550.