BOX 1-1
Research Priorities and Questions Recommended by This NRC Committee

Research Topic 1. Outdoor Measures Versus Actual Human Exposures

What are the quantitative relationships between concentrations of particulate matter and gaseous copollutants measured at stationary outdoor air monitoring sites and the contributions of these concentrations to actual personal exposures, especially for subpopulations and individuals?

Research Topic 2. Exposures of Susceptible Subpopulations to Toxic Particulate Matter Components

What are the exposures to biologically important constituents and specific characteristics of particulate matter that cause responses in potentially susceptible subpopulations and the general population?

Research Topic 3. Characterization of Emission Sources

What are the size distribution, chemical composition, and mass emission rates of particulate matter emitted from the collection of primary-particle sources in the United States, and what are the emissions of reactive gases that lead to secondary formation through atmospheric chemical reactions?

Research Topic 4. Air Quality Model Development and Testing

What are the linkages between emission sources and ambient concentrations of the biologically important components of particulate matter?

Research Topic 5. Assessment of Hazardous Particulate Matter Components

What is the role of physiochemical characteristics of particulate matter in eliciting adverse health effects?

Research Topic 6. Dosimetry: Deposition and Fate of Particles in the Respiratory Tract

What are the deposition patterns and fate of particles in the respiratory tract of individuals belonging to presumed susceptible subpopulations?

Research Topic 7. Combined Effects of Particulate Matter and Gaseous Pollutants

How can the effects of particulate matter be disentangled from the effects of other pollutants? How can the effects of long-term exposure to particulate matter and other pollutants be better understood?

Research Topic 8. Susceptible Subpopulations

What subpopulations are at increased risk of adverse health outcomes from particulate matter?

Research Topic 9. Mechanisms of Injury

What are the underlying mechanisms (local pulmonary and systemic) that can explain the epidemiological findings of mortality and morbidity associated with exposure to ambient particulate matter?

Research Topic 10. Analysis and Measurement

To what extent does the choice of statistical methods in the analysis of data from epidemiological studies influence estimates of health risks from exposures to particulate matter? Can existing methods be improved? What is the effect of measurement error and misclassification on estimates of the association between air pollution and health?

Sources: NRC 1998, 1999, 2001.

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