Air Pollution and Risk of Incident Hypertension and Diabetes in U.S. Black Women

It is well established that air pollution increases the risk of acute cardiovascular events like heart attacks. Whether it contributes to the risk of hypertension and type 2 diabetes is unknown. We have received funding to assess the relation of exposure to air pollutants – specifically, particulate matter and the traffic-related nitrogen oxides – to the incidence of hypertension and type 2 diabetes in the Black Women’s Health Study (BWHS).

It is of critical public health importance to identify whether exposure to air pollution increases the risks of hypertension and diabetes, given the high and growing prevalence of both conditions in the U.S. and the ubiquity of exposure to air pollution. Hypertension and type 2 diabetes occur much more commonly among U.S. black women than white women, and black women are more likely to live in neighborhoods with high levels of air pollution than their white counterparts. Thus, the study has the potential to illuminate causes of racial disparities in hypertension and diabetes incidence. The study is the first investigation of the effect of air pollution on incidence of hypertension, the first large-scale investigation of its effect on incidence of diabetes, and the first study of air pollution effects specifically in African American women.


Patricia Coogan, Sc.D., Principal Investigator
Slone Epidemiology Center

Robert Brook, M.D., Principal Investigator
University of Michigan

Michael Jerrett, Ph.D., Principal Investigator
University of California at Berkeley

Lynn Rosenberg, Sc.D., Co-Investigator
Slone Epidemiology Center

Edmund Seto, Ph.D., Co-Investigator
University of California at Berkeley

Laura White, Ph.D., Biostatistician
Boston University School of Public Health

Study Staff:

Jeffrey Yu, M.P.H., Data Analyst

Source of Funding:

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

Study Period:

2011 to 2016

Email Patricia Coogan at