The Association between Particulate Matter 2.5 with Cardiovascular Disease and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Mortality in Minnesota Taconite Workers
Principal Investigator: Ashley Hernandez, MSPH – PhD Student
Academic and Research Advisors: Bruce Alexander, PhD – Professor and Division Head; Jeffrey Mandel, MD – Associate Professor
Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are leading causes of death in the United States and worldwide. A leading cause of CVD is atherosclerosis, which inhibits blood flow, while COPD is characterized by airflow obstruction. Despite their differences, CVD and COPD share similar risk factors that include age and smoking, but may also include environmental factors such as exposure to PM2.5 and PM2.5 components. Additionally, CVD and COPD both share similar mechanistic pathways that include inflammation and oxidative stress. Similarly, PM2.5 and components of PM2.5, such as iron oxides, have also been associated with inflammation and oxidative stress. Although the association between PM2.5 and CVD and COPD has been well-established in population-based studies, the association between PM2.5 and CVD and COPD mortality in taconite workers has not been explored. Additionally, associations between PM2.5 components with CVD and COPD mortality are limited. To investigate the role PM2.5 and PM2.5 components have on CVD and COPD mortality, the proposed study will utilize data collected from the Taconite Workers Health Study in order to help determine cumulative exposures that lead to CVD and COPD mortality in taconite workers.