Seed Grants Awarded - 2016

The UTAS Smoke lab: An Australian facility for inter-disciplinary air quality research. (Dr Fay Johnston, Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania.

CAR is supporting the establishment of a new smoke laboratory for inter-disciplinary research in air quality in Australia. The smoke-lab, based at the University of Tasmania, will enhance Australia's capacity for research in a range of areas including basic fire services, fuel emissions, wood heater design, toxicology and public health.

Forest fires (haze) associated burden of disease in Malaysia. (Professor Bin Jalaludin, Epidemiology, Health People and Places Unit, SWSLHD, UNSW)

Smoke from forest fires (haze) in Sumatra and Kalimantan, Indonesia, affects many Southeast Asian countries, especially Malaysia. These haze or air pollution episodes have become a recurring phenomenon, the worst one being in 1997 and 2015. Air pollution levels during these haze episodes can reach up to 50 times the levels found in Australian cities. Such extreme levels of air pollution can have significant health effects. We want to calculate the additional deaths caused by these haze episodes.

Application of low cost air pollution sensors for personal exposure monitoring. (Prof Lidia Morawska, Queensland University of Technology)

This cross-disciplinary project aims to apply a developed personal exposure monitoring system, enabling individuals to utilise miniature sensors towards acquiring information about their micro scale personal exposure to air pollution and exposure mitigation. The significance of this research lies in addressing the increasing community demand for these information which is not available based on government fixed site monitoring. The outcomes will open a new era in management of population exposure to air pollution, at the level of an individual which will lead to significant national socioeconomic benefits and bring global advancement in population exposure measurement.

Assessing inflammatory responses to smoke-derived particles following short term exposure among asthmatics. (Dr Martine Dennekamp, Monash University Melbourne)

The pilot study aims to investigate how effective household HEPA air cleaners are at removing smoke derived particulates within the home environment. Any potential health benefits derived from the reduction in these particulates will be evaluated for individuals with asthma. Measures of lung inflammation will be conducted along with measures of urinary biomarkers of inflammation. The data will inform on the effectiveness of HEPA air cleaners at reducing smoke-related particulates. It will also inform on the health effects of smoke-related particulates by assessing the timing of exposure and inflammatory responses.

Ambient particulate matters and influenza transmission in China: a multi-city study. (Dr Yuming Guo, School of Public Health, University of Queensland.)

Influenza is a serious public health problem worldwide. Assessing the impacts of PM1/PM2.5 on influenza transmission is a new area of research. For the first time, we will provide evidence on whether high concentrations of PM1 and PM2.4 increase the risks of influenza transmission, and whether there are interactive effects between PM1/PM2.5 and meteorological variables. Our findings will be useful for implementing targeted public health interventions to reduce the health impacts of air pollution on influenza transmission, and will be helpful to promote the policy development of air pollution control.