Research Horizons


Cincinnati Children’s Supporting Price Hill Air Quality Study

U.S. Environmental Protection Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe and Cincinnati Mayor Aftab Pureval announced on March 29, 2022, that the EPA has awarded a $75,000 environmental justice grant to Groundwork Ohio River Valley.

The non-profit organization will use the EPA funding to monitor air quality in Lower Price Hill and to build up a program that trains and certifies young people for green jobs.

“EPA funding will expand an innovative local program that helps improve air quality and empower community members to better advocate for and protect their health,” McCabe says. “EPA is thrilled to be able to partner with Groundwork Ohio River Valley through this grant to provide young people from Cincinnati with an opportunity to learn new skills and use them to support and strengthen their community.”

Patrick Ryan, PhD, MS, Division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at Cincinnati Children’s, will be working on the air quality monitoring project.

Compared to the rest of Cincinnati, residents of Lower Price Hill suffer from disproportionately higher rates of cancer and asthma, upper respiratory ailments, seizures, learning disabilities, lead poisoning, and other health outcomes.

The new monitors will measure fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) both indoors and outdoors. Exposure to PM2.5 causes multiple short term and long term health impacts, and has been studied extensively by scientists at Cincinnati Children’s and the University of Cincinnati.

In response to community concerns regarding environmental exposures, Groundwork Ohio River Valley, an environmental justice non-profit organization, has been working closely with residents to improve health outcomes and climate resiliency through the Climate Safe Neighborhoods Partnership, a network run through Groundwork USA.

“We’re excited to begin this project with Children’s Hospital to continue our climate mitigation efforts in Lower Price Hill,” says Alan Edwards, Co-Executive Director of Groundwork. “This project will increase the number of citizen engagement in health equity.”

Data to Support Planning

One goal for the project is to create yearly air quality reports, which would be available to incorporate into neighborhood resilience plans as they are adopted by City Council.

“Cincinnati is proud to have Groundwork Ohio River Valley as a dedicated partner in our shared mission of comprehensive environmental justice,” says Mayor Pureval. “We are grateful for the EPA’s support of this project to foster ownership and education for Cincinnatians of all ages.”

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown also praised the news, saying, “This is great news for Cincinnati and the Ohio River Valley. These resources will help provide community members with the technology and training they need to monitor local air quality. We’re working to give Ohioans living in the Ohio River Valley the tools they need to take control of their health and help mitigate serious health problems caused by air pollution.”

The new EPA grant comes in addition to a Translation and Community Engagement Award from the University of Cincinnati’s Center for Environmental Genetics. The funding will support epidemiologists at Cincinnati Children’s  as they assist Groundwork with a pilot community and personal air sampling study in Lower Price Hill.

The Center for Environmental Genetics is housed in the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine and is funded by the National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).

The air monitor project includes installing a dozen PurpleAir Sensors throughout the neighborhood. In addition, several Lower Price Hill residents will carry mobile Airbeam monitors with them for week-long periods.

“I am excited to be a part of the next phase, which is residents wearing an air quality monitor,” says Kimberly Thomas, Vice President of the Lower Price Hill Community Council. “I just want Lower Price Hill to be greener and healthier.”

Research findings related to PM 2.5 pollution
Exposure to Air Pollution Can Increase Birth Defect Risk
$5M Grant to Support Exploring Link Between Air Pollution and Mental Health
Traffic Pollution Linked to Reduced Grey Matter Development in Children
Air Pollution Linked to Mental Health Issues in Children
Media coverage

See article in Cincinnati Enquirer

View story on Local12