Kirk R. Smith contributes to air pollution report

COEH faculty member Kirk R. Smith of UC Berkeley has contributed to a special report, Health Effects of Outdoor Air Pollution in Developing Countries of Asia: A Literature Review, produced by the Boston-based Health Effects Institute (HEI), an independent research organization that provides information "on the health effects of emissions from motor vehicles, fuels, and other environmental sources."
Supported jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and industry, HEI "has come to be one of the most respected organizations for air pollution research in the world today," Smith said.
The report summarizes the current and projected Asian situation with regard to urban population, economy, health, and air pollution. It then evaluates epidemiological evidence from studies of outdoor pollution in Asia, using meta-analytic techniques to examine published time-series studies that estimate the effect of short-term exposure to air pollution on death and hospital admissions for cardiovascular and respiratory disease. It ends by identifying gaps in current knowledge that could be addressed with more research.
Smith is among those who influenced HEI to extend its research into Asia, and this report is the first that the institute has published addressing the health effects of air pollution there. Smith is a member of the International Scientific Oversight Committee of HEI's Public Health and Air Pollution in Asia (PAPA) program, which produced the report and is overseeing new epidemiological studies recently funded by HEI in Asian cities. COEH alumna, Sumi Mehta, is coordinating the South Asian studies at HEI.
Smith and other scientists urged HEI to create the PAPA program to address scientific and public health questions in Asia, where countries have severe air pollution problems that have a serious impact on human health. The nature of the problems and the health effects are of particular scientific importance as well, Smith said, because they are often different in size and character from those in the U.S. and Europe where most research has focused in the past.
HEI International Scientific Oversight Committee. Health Effects of Outdoor Air Pollution in Developing Countries of Asia: A Literature Review. Special Report 15 (Boston: Health Effects Institute, 2004)