Scientists Study Health Effects of Field Burning. In the first study ever to look directly at how field burning affects the health of people with respiratory problems, researchers from Washington State University are working with researchers from the School of Public Health at the University of Washington to examine volunteers’ exposure levels to atmospheric pollutants coming from field burning in the region.

Working with funding from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Washington State Department of Ecology, researchers in WSU’s Laboratory of Atmospheric Research last fall placed particle monitors in backpacks that asthmatic volunteers wore to look at their personal exposure levels to particulate matter in the air for eight weeks during the field-burning season. They also placed the monitors in the volunteers’ homes. At the same time, the volunteers’ asthmatic symptoms were carefully monitored. Information from the data could be used to set better standards for particulate matter to better reflect its health effects.

Researchers will discuss design and implementation of the study at a public meeting Sept. 3, at 6:30 p.m. in the Compton Union Building, Room 123, on the WSU campus. A second meeting will be held this winter to discuss results of the study. Contact Candis Claiborn, associate professor in the WSU Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, 509.335.5055, claiborn@wsu.edu or Tina Hilding, communications coordinator for the WSU College of Engineering and Architecture, 509.335.5095, hilding@mail.wsu.edu. Contact at the University of Washington is Sally Liu, Department of Environmental Health, 206.543.2005.