Examination of heavy metals and particulate matter exposures and effects in susceptible wards in the Washington, D.C. region

Natasha A. Greene, Vernon R. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The District of Columbia has one of the greatest health disparities of cancer in the nation and ranks seventh highest as one of the unhealthiest places to live due to poor air quality (EPA Report, 1999). Also, a 1999 report from the Centers for Disease Control stated that the District had the highest overall rate of cancer incidence in the nation. Particulate matter is one of the major contributors to pollution in the environment. Quite often particulate matter is composed of toxic materials including heavy metals, pesticides, and spores. In some cases, the heavy metal particulates are considered carcinogenic. They are typically characterized as particles with diameters smaller than μm and are easily deposited into the alveolar regions of the human lungs, which can impose threatening health risks. In this study, I will design and execute an environmental exposure assessment for PM 2.5, PM 10, and heavy metals like chromium, as well as lead, cadmium and arsenic, in four observed wards of Washington, DC. Most interestingly, spatial distributions of both aerosols and heavy metals will be characterized as a function of size and mass properties. This will formulate a limited climatology of both types of particulate matter and selected heavy metals for specific regions within the District of Columbia. This dataset will further be related to epidemiological data and health outcomes for the observed areas of study. The essence of this study lies in its notoriety as the first to generate a dataset that focuses on toxic air pollutants in particular wards and may be utilized in various aspects of public health.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6465-6471
Number of pages7
JournalBulletin of the American Meteorological Society
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes
EventCombined Preprints: 84th American Meteorological Society (AMS) Annual Meeting - Seattle, WA., United States
Duration: Jan 11 2004Jan 15 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atmospheric Science


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