Mary E. Davis

Mary Davis, an assistant professor in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, published A Retrospective Assessment of Occupational Exposure to Elemental Carbon in the US Trucking Industry in Environmental Health Perspectives in 2011. The abstract is below –

Background: Despite considerable epidemiologic evidence about the health effects of chronic exposure to vehicle exhaust, efforts at defining the extent of risk have been limited by the lack of historical exposure measurements suitable for use in epidemiologic studies and for risk assessment. Objectives: We sought to reconstruct exposure to elemental carbon (EC), a marker of diesel and other vehicle exhaust exposure, in a large national cohort of U.S. trucking industry workers. Methods: We identified the predictors of measured exposures based on a statistical model and used this information to extrapolate exposures across the cohort nationally. These estimates were adjusted for changes in work-related conditions over time based on a previous exposure assessment of this industry, and for changes in background levels based on a trend analysis of historical air pollution data, to derive monthly estimates of EC exposure for each job and trucking terminal combination between 1971 and 2000. Results: Occupational exposure to EC declined substantially over time, and we found significant variability in estimated exposures both within and across job groups, trucking terminals, and regions of the United States. Average estimated EC exposures during a typical work shift ranged from < 1 ?g/m3 in the lowest exposed category in the 1990s to > 40 ?g/m3 for workers in the highest exposed jobs in the 1970s. Conclusions: Our results provide a framework for understanding changes over time in exposure to EC in the U.S. trucking industry. Our assessment should minimize exposure misclassification by capturing variation among terminals and across U.S. regions, and changes over time.

Mary has answered some questions about open access –

Please tell us a little about the research that went into this article.
The published work represents a collaborative effort with the Harvard School of Public Health to identify exposure to diesel exhaust particulate in a large epidemiologic cohort of lung cancer in trucking industry workers. This work will help us to more clearly identify the link between exposure to mobile source emissions and chronic human health effects such as cancer.

Why did you choose to publish in an open access journal?
Open access journals provide wider visibility for research and are more likely to be viewed, read, and cited. This journal is also very highly ranked in my field.

How do you think open access will impact your field in the future?
I think that open access will allow for a greater dissemination of research across a wider audience, especially to those outside of academics.

Davis, Mary E. Jamie E. Hart, Francine Laden, Eric Garshick, Thomas J. Smith. “A Retrospective Assessment of Occupational Exposure to Elemental Carbon in the U.S. Trucking Industry.” Environmental Health Perspectives 119, no. 7 (2011). Available from Tufts Digital Library, Digital Collections and Archives, Medford, MA.
As of 3/29/2013 this open access article has been cited 9 times, per Google Scholar.