Particulate Air Pollution: A Deadly Mystery.

A Conversation with Ila Cote

From the Environmental Review Newsletter Volume Two Number Nine September 1995


Many medical studies have found an association between mortality and particulate air pollution, but how airborne particles damage health is not well understood.  In one such study, Pope et al. (1995) compared air pollution data from 151 U.S. cities to the health records of 552,138 adults who resided in those areas. This study confirmed the previous findings that death rates are higher in areas with greater particulate air pollution.
     Based on the early outcomes of this type of research the American Lung Society sued the EPA to force an overdue reevaluation of federal standards for particulate air pollution. The EPA is now in the process of reevaluating the standard.
     We spoke with Dr. Ila Cote who is a coordinator for the EPA's research to support this reevaluation. Dr. Cote is assistant laboratory director of EPA's National Health and Environmental Research Laboratory. Dr. Cote received the Ph.D. in medical sciences in 1979 and was subsequently at NYU in the department of environmental medicine. She has worked at EPA for ten years conducting risk assessments and overseeing air pollution research.

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