UA Signs MoA with Tribe to Investigate Air Quality and Asthma

Investigators from the University of Arizona Southwest Environmental Health Sciences Center (SWEHSC) and the Superfund Research Project (UA SRP) are partnering with an Arizona Tribe to develop an Air Quality and Asthma Project.  

Instrumental in establishing this relationship are Dr. Marti Lindsey and Ingrique Salt from the SWEHSC and Kyle Rine form the UA Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences. Dr. Clark Lantz (UA SRP Assistant Director), Dr. Eduardo Saez (UA SRP Investigator) and Tania Rodriguez (UA SRP Trainee) are developing the air sampling protocol and data analysis for the project.

The Tribe is concerned about the high incidence of asthma in their community. They signed the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with University of Arizona (UA) to perform dust sampling on the reservation as well as a community environmental health assessment and community outreach and education. The MoA is effective from 8/1/2016 to 3/31/2018.  

Project environmental exposure data will be collected to determine total suspended particulate (TSP) particle size using a micro-orifice uniform deposition impactor (MOUDI). Concentrations of metal and metalloids in the dust and aerosol will be quantified as a function of particle size. Lead isotopic analysis will be used to provide information concerning the source of the potential metal and metalloid contamination.

The purpose of this project is to: 

  • Assist the Tribe to understand the condition of their outdoor air. There is increasing concern among community members that air pollution from the nearby mine is contributing to increases in asthma.
  • Assist Tribal members with understanding asthma and its triggers.
  • Provide internships to tribal members who are UA students to aid the Tribe with:
    • Collection and analysis of data
    • Other technical assistance
  • Provide educational materials and assistance with a community environmental health assessment.
  • Assist the Tribe to obtain a pilot project grant to help them reduce the incidence of asthma among members.

Funds for air monitoring and data analysis are provided through the UA Superfund Research Program under grant #P42ES004940 (Dr. Raina Maier, PI). The UA SWEHSC Outreach Core is providing funding for the community assessment and outreach activities under grant #ES006694 (Dr. Nathan Cherrington, PI).