This study seeks to understand how the environment influences our health by using a new device (the Portable Particle Monitor, PUWPM) that measures toxins in the environment, which was built and tested during the first phase of this study. These toxins include air pollution, noise, and allergens.
Exposure to particle pollution can result in increased hospital admissions, emergency room visits, absences from school or work, and restricted activity days, especially for those with pre-existing heart or lung disease, older people, and children. The size of particles is directly linked to their potential for causing health problems. Fine particles (PM2.5) pose the greatest health risk. The following is an example of what we are able to observe from collected data. Both maps show a morning walk in the summer. However, the walk on the right took place after major forest fires had broken out in the greater Pacific Northwest area. We can see that the PM2.5 this individual was exposed to was much lower before the fires broke out (map on left). By comparing twins, we can better understand how exposures to toxins in the unique environment may influence health.
Identical twins living apart within the State of Washington will be considered for this study. Eligible pairs will come to the Roosevelt Clinic in the University District of Seattle to receive the study materials. The study coordinator will record vital measurements and conduct a spirometry (lung function) test. At the end of the visit, participants will have their blood drawn. Biological specimens will be used to measure the amount of inflammation in the body, which may be related to environmental exposures. Data is then collected at home for two weeks. Participants will carry a GPS and wear an activity monitor that is similar to a pedometer or a Fitbit, as well as carry the PUWPM from the time they wake up until they go to sleep at night. They will also complete questionnaires. At the end of the two-week period, everything is returned to the study coordinator in a prepaid FedEx box.