Spotlight on Student Research: Michael Petroni
Graduate Program in Environmental Science
202 Baker Lab
1 Forestry Drive
Syracuse, NY 13210–2787 USA
Fax - 315-470-6700
GPES PhD student Michael Petroni is the lead author on a September 2020 publication examining the links between chronic exposure to hazardous air pollutants (HAPS), such as formaldehyde and chromium, and COVID-19 mortality rates. HAPS are regulated by the Clean Air Act and known or suspected to cause cancer and other serious health problems. Analyzing county-level data, results from the study indicate that on average U.S. counties with the highest HAPS levels are experiencing double the COVID-19 mortality rate compared to counties with the lowest HAPS levels.
Interestingly, counties with high mortality were not just highly populated urban areas, but also semi-rural southern states. The study identified relationships between specific HABS concentrations and expected additional COVID-19 death rates. Ongoing work is hoping to probe deeper into the links between HAPS and COVID-19 mortality. The study involved SUNY ESF faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and is another example of the great work GPES graduate students are doing to improve our world.